BURTON PREPARES FOR FINAL PUSH
English import Steve Burton has been one of the star attractions of the 2011 State League season. The 28-year old striker linked up with Balcatta at the start of the year and spearheaded his clubs’ drive toward finishing top of the table for their first time in their 34-year history. “We’re all very happy to have secured the league, and it was nice to have achieved that with a few games in hand,” commented Burton. “We met the goals we set for our self at the start of the year to secure the title, now we go looking for the State Championship.”
Burton has absolutely no regrets about moving to Perth. “It’s been a great change of life style, I’m really pleased with the way it’s gone so far. In the UK I was in a job battling and a recession, which was just stressful, so the change is like chalk and cheese,” he said. “I arrived in February, just as the season was starting, but I had to wait a month before I could get clearance. My season started in Round Four and I was lucky to bag a couple of goals against Bayswater City on debut.”
To date Burton has snared eleven regular season goals to sit side-by-side with Ashley Rosindale as Balcatta’s top goal scorer. “I’m ordering a count back as I thought I had a few more than that but you don’t count NTC or Cup goals over here, do you?,” joked Burton. “I’m not sure what the secret is when me and Ashley play together but we both seem to get on the score sheet. I take the roll of target man, which is a strong part of my game, whereas Ash is always making clever runs in behind defences so we’re constantly creating chances for each other.”
In the space of twelve months Balcatta have gone from avoiding relegation to finishing top of the Premier League table, an achievement Burton chalks up to the clubs’ coaching staff. “Michael Roki, Pete Vatistas, Johnny Vatistas, Saul Contera and Mladen Mladinovic have all played there part in the clubs turnaround,” said Burton. “They are a hard working bunch trying to get the best out of us as players, and keeping us focused throughout the season. It’s worked so far and we are hoping it will keep on working in the play-offs.”
Burton, who began his football journey at Ipswich Town before spells with Doncaster Rovers, Crawley Town, Kettering Town, Guiseley and Bradford Park Avenue, has been impressed with the local competition. “The State League is very well organised, it would be nice to attract more fans to the games but Perth is more an AFL-orientated state and football has to take a back seat,” he said. “The standard is hard to compare but it is a very competitive league and has been enjoyable to be a part of.”
Burton’s ability to find the back of the net was rewarded with a couple of run-outs with Perth Glory. “I was selected in a Perth Glory XI team against Al-Ahli for a behind closed doors friendly on Sunday night,” said the striker. “I put in a good performance and was asked back for the first team squad game on Tuesday night, where I came off the bench and played ten minutes. I was hoping for a few more minutes to show what I can do, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
COCKBURN HEARTENED BY PERTH WIN: GODFREY
It’s been a very trying season for all at Cockburn City but if their recent demolition of Perth SC is anything to go by then it won’t be too long before they’re back in the top flight. The Cockerels turned in arguably their best performance of the Premier League season to return from Dorrien Gardens with a 4-1 win, a result Jason Godfrey says underlines just how competitive his team can be on their day. “It showed we still have confidence in ourselves and we can still play good football,” said the defender.
Ian McMurray scored three times on his return to Perth with Scott McCulloch getting the remainder to earn a deserved Cockburn victory last weekend. “It’s always great to beat Perth, and even better at their ground because they have been the best team in the league for the past ten years,” Godfrey commented. “The team played well, we wanted to finish the season of on a high and prove to ourselves that we still can beat the best teams. It all just came together and I don’t think anyone had a bad day, everyone played their part.”
The feeling in the rooms after the game at Dorrien Gardens contrasted sharply with that following the loss at Mandurah City earlier this month which confirmed Cockburn’s 37-year stay in the top flight was over. “We still had belief we could stay up prior to that game but afterwards everyone was shattered,” said Godfrey. “Letting the club down – the coaching staff, sponsors, fans, committee members and ourselves – it’s not a good feeling. The change rooms had a deafening silence that day as reality kicked in.”
Pre-season signs were positive for Cockburn but once the home and away series commenced the wheels fell off with the team picking up only one win from their first dozen games. “It’s hard to say what was the reasons were for that,” said Godfrey. “We started strongly, making the semi-finals of the Night Series, and believed we could do well. But at times we didn’t play well enough to win, I don’t want to make excuses but a few key injuries and some missed chances certainly contributed.”
Cockburn will carry the momentum of last weekend’s win at Perth into Saturday’s final game of the year, a home date with Armadale. “We want to finish the season strongly and give the club something to feel happy about,” said Godfrey. “The players too have a point to prove - that we can still play well and win even if the result means nothing. It would be good to take that winning feeling into next year and keeping the players in the team.”
Godfrey is well aware how desperate Armadale are to also end their season with a win. “Armadale is never an easy side to get a result against, they will give 100% and fight hard for the whole game,” said the Cockburn defender. “They have already beaten us this season and haven’t had the best year, but they’ve done enough to stay up. Everyone wants to win their last game of the year, it’ll be a hard game and with neither team contemplating a loss it should be exciting right up to the final whistle.”
HERD ‘OVER THE MOON’ WITH MAN-OF-THE-MATCH
Young defender Chris Herd is ‘over the moon’ with his eye catching display for Aston Villa on the weekend. Herd’s performance in the scoreless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award. “I was over the moon. I was really pleased to be given a chance at Villa Park for this great club in front of these great fans,” Herd said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the three points for the fans but hopefully a point was acceptable.”
Herd was particularly pleased with the clean sheet Villa kept in his first derby appearance for the club. “I was happy with my performance and I think all the lads put in a good shift too. It was a good team performance and I just feel we need to keep on going now,” the 22-year old said. “Despite not getting the win, it’s always great to get the clean sheet, as a defender that’s your job, defending strongly is key and anything else is a bonus.”
Cementing a place in Villa’s eleven may be his priority but Herd isn’t about to admit to it. “I am just going to concentrate on my game and just see what happens,” he said. “I have played centre midfield and obviously with the previous gaffer he saw me as a right-back. I just want to keep improving wherever I play and learning from the players around me and get more experience. I’d love to be involved in every game.”
GLORY LET GO OF HEFFERNAN
Defender Dean Heffernan has been released from his Perth Glory contract without kicking a ball. Heffernan, 31, was unveiled as one of Glory’s first recruits for the coming season in February and was immediately loaned out to Chinese side Liaoning Hongyun. He was expected to join Glory for pre-season training earlier this month but has decided to remain with his club in China. “We wish Dean all the best, but there are other areas of the squad I would now like to bolster,” commented Glory coach Ian Ferguson.
SEARCH FOR NEW KNIGHTS HOME CONTINUES
Western Knights have been granted a reprieve as they attempt to secure a suitable home ground for the 2012 Premier League. The Knights, one of the State League’s most successful clubs during the past fifteen years, are understood to be in discussion with a number of top flight rivals with the view to a ground share arrangement for next season. This comes after Football West advised the club their home of the past eleven years, Nash Field, was not suitable for Premier League football in its current state and a self-funded $2.5 million re-development of the venue was rejected by the Town of Mosman Park.
BOI’S BRACE GIVES STIRLING THE POINTS
Stirling Lions claimed a 3-1 victory over Floreat Athena in this afternoon’s dead rubber clash at Macedonia Park. Ludovic Boi scored twice and Phil O’Callaghan once to give Stirling all the points on offer, a result which keeps alive their hopes of ending the Premier League season in the top half of the table. “Ludo was great for us today, he scored two and had an assist in the goal too,” said winning coach Doug Hesketh. “We brought him into the middle of the park in the second half and he came into the game.”
It took the home side only 4 minutes to register their first goal, Dean Evans’ corner was met by Jason Gavin and while his effort was blocked by Julian Madaschi the ball fell kindly for O’Callaghan to lash in from 5-metres. Stirling should have had a second goal soon after when O’Callaghan’s centre found Boi whose shot was straight at goalkeeper Alex Dunn. Floreat hit back with their first meaningful attack on 11 minutes, Damian Catalano giving Cory Hugo no chance with his curling shot into the top corner from 15-metres.
With this Floreat began to take control and five minutes later Michael Van Dongen headed too close to Hugo from a Calum O’Connell cross. Hugo remained in the thick of the action, saving further shots from Michael Van Dongen, Catalano and Paul Van Dongen. So it was again the run if play that Stirling edged back into the lead on 31 minutes with Boi netting at close-range after Jamie Watt’s shot was blocked by Dunn. The home side would have had a greater lead at the break had O’Callaghan’s header gone in and not hit the post.
Stirling continued in much the same fashion after the turnaround, Watt getting the ball past Dunn only for O’Connell to clear his shot off the line. Hugo ensured Stirling kept the lead on 63 minutes by pushing Mark Pritchard’s long-range attempt around the post, and two minutes Bobby Wilson’s timely intervention denied Daniel Trevisiol a shot on goal. Boi made the game safe in the 67th minute by firing low into the bottom corner after Watt played into his path. O’Callaghan and Wilson each had chances to further add to the hosts tally without success before referee David Costello blew for the final time.
HUGG REFLECTS ON FIRST TWELVE MONTHS, PART ONE
It’s been over twelve months since Peter Hugg took his place in the chief executive seat at Football West headquarters in Maylands. Last week Peter Simcox caught up with Hugg, a self-confessed Queens Park Rangers tragic, to discuss the year that was, where football fits into the sporting landscape in Western Australia, the challenges which lay ahead for the code and the chief executive’s plans and hopes for the next few years. Tonight footballwa.net presents the first instalment of a three-part interview with Hugg…
Congratulations on your first year as chief executive of Football West. How have you found the position and the move to Perth? ?
Thanks very much for the opportunity to be part of your wonderful website. The position – and the many associated components of the game here in WA – is clearly very challenging but with that challenge comes excitement, hard work, liaison and consultation with stakeholders and partners and hopefully with some successes, a sense of some form of achievement as you come out the other end.
In terms of the move to Perth, for the past five years or so I have lived out of a suitcase and essentially been told where my next assignment or project was, so the trip west wasn’t much of an issue or upheaval personally. In saying that, I often joke that it seems a long way from everywhere, it’s not as if I can hop in the car and go ‘home’ (Canberra) to see family and friends for the weekend. But I am enjoying it – there are no frosts, I have bought a house and am beginning to settle and have been made to feel welcome by everyone.
Do you feel local football is in a better position today than when you were appointed chief executive in May 2010?
That is not for me to say so I might give that the body serve, and will leave that up to others to judge. In saying that, I would like to think I have made some sort of impact and the day that people begin to think that I have served my time and become ineffective, then I will happily move on. I do believe that people have a certain lifespan in any one position and can certainly overstay their welcome – this hasn’t happened with me to date in my career and I for one will not be hanging around simply to claim a pay cheque when I am not wanted.
But let me make one other point for the sake of clarity – one thing I know for sure, and I made it clear from day one is that you can’t please everyone. In a job like this you are bound to upset and displease clubs, players, individuals and so on. Unfortunately that is the nature of the beast, this job and the task at hand requires making some hard firm decisions that people are bound to disagree with and not like.
As much as I would like to be ‘Mr Popular’ and be liked by everyone, I would much prefer to be respected, be recognised and be remembered as someone who was prepared to consult, listen and make an informed judgement having heard all the relevant information. If that makes me unpopular but in the process the sport prospers and benefits, then so be it.
Whilst I am pleased with a number of things we have managed to achieve – three that spring to mind are our development grants to some of our regions, the total Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) program and the Beyond 90 e-magazine – there is so much more to do, and in some areas we are only just warming up. There is huge potential for improvement here and that is what’s currently driving me every day.
HERD EARNS PRAISE OF VILLA BOSS
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has lavished praise on young defender Chris Herd after a best on ground performance in yesterday’s scoreless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Herd, 22, made the most of his second Premier League start, challenging McLeish to consider him for a permanent role at full-back. “Chris had a really good game. He got up the line, had headers at set-pieces and he can look in the mirror and be proud of his performance,” McLeish said. “He has given me a problem. That is all I can ask … it’s another great performance from a kid from the academy.”
McLeish felt Herd was deserving of the man-of-the-match award after an enterprising display, where he almost scored the winner with a header which made Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey work. “I thought it was deserved. I thought he was terrific, absolutely brilliant,” McLeish said. “He’s got some spring, fantastic in the air, he may have had a goal at one of the set pieces. He matched (Matt) Jarvis brilliantly. Jarvis is a cracking player, very dangerous - Herdy can say to himself ‘what a job I’ve done today’.”
“Herdy didn’t do himself any harm at all. He’s a player who went out on loan last year, played a couple of games for the first-team and showed today his desire,” added McLeish. “Can he take that up another step? Can he give us the full blooded quality as well? There's no doubting about his athleticism. Some of his deliveries from wide areas were tremendous. Everything today for Herdy went right. It’s about putting a game together consistently for a number of games. That’ll be the test for him.”
INGLEWOOD QUALIFY FOR FINALS (with Neil Sherwin, Football West)
Inglewood United booked their place in this season’s finals series with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Bayswater City in front of a vocal crowd at 6PR Stadium. Adrian Caceres put the home team into a first half lead to which Jake Geddes and David Perich either side of Andrew Reale’s first goal for Bayswater. “It was our mini Grand Final and that’s settled it (a top five finish) for us,” said home coach Shane Pryce. “The boys are happy to go from fighting against relegation last year to possibly finish third or fourth depending on results next week.”
The teams entered the day level on points and knowing a top five place was in the offering for the victors. So it was no surprise that the game got off to a slow and cagey start before Gavin Knight got through on goal only to be thwarted by Oliver Taseski after 11 minutes. The hosts needed only three more minutes to break through, the ever-impressive Caceres swinging a wonderful free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner of Gianna Papalia’s goal.
Bayswater went close to hitting back immediately when successive shots by Knight and George Tchami were blocked after a dangerous corner went to feet. The visitors were dealt a serious blow on the half hour with Knight limping off suffering a knee injury as a result of a collision with Taseski. Inglewood were forced into a change of their own nine minutes later, Caceres exiting the action with a calf problem. Cisco Jorquera almost snuck Bayswater a goal on the stroke of half-time but his header was blocked on the line.
Jorquera was given another opportunity to restore parity early in the second period, linking well with Joseph Wilonja and David Sesay only to have Taseski come off his line to smother the shot. Inglewood’s lead was doubled in the 57th minute when substitute Jake Geddes was presented with a free header at a corner which he made no mistake sending beyond the ‘keeper. However, Bayswater responded three minutes later with Reale heading in after Taseski failed to hold on John Kearney’s free-kick.
Milan Mirkovic had been on the field just six minutes when he was shown a straight red card by referee Josh Manella for an off the ball elbow, leaving Bayswater to play with ten men for just under half an hour. Inglewood capitalised in the 70th minute when a long ball to the back post found David Perich whose looping header gave Papalia no chance. Bayswater’s misery was compounded eight minutes later when Bryan McKeown’s penalty kick was saved by Taseski.
SORRENTO TAKE A POINT FROM BALCATTA (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Sorrento came from two goals down to rescue a deserved point against regular season winners Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. The home side controlled the first half and entered the break a couple of goals the better thanks to strike partners Ashley Rosindale and Steve Burton. But it was a totally different story after the turnaround as Sorrento took over to be rewarded by goals from youngsters Adam Luca and Jason Mirco.
Chris Thackaray forced a reflex save from Curtis Aspden as the home side opened on a positive note. That proved to be a sign of things to come as Balcatta took an 11th minute lead when Paul Vatistas’ cross evaded everyone, ricocheted off the post and was headed into the net by Rosindale. Sorrento’s first opening had David Foster break the offside trap and rounded goalkeeper Lewis Italiano only for Adam Tong to clear off the line.
Play was understandably tight between two of the Premier League’s top three sides with Balcatta always looking the more likely to score. Burton was proving to be the hosts’ main attacking and after wasting a good opportunity at the back-post he finally got on the score sheet after 32 minutes. Several tidy passes out the ball wide on the right with Daniel Micevski, who beat his man before whipping in an inviting cross which Burton volleyed in.
It looked as though Balcatta would finish the job early in the second half but Thackaray sliced a good chance wide of the post. Foster should have pulled a goal back when he intercepted a poor back-pass but his hesitation to pull the trigger allowed Italiano to check his angles and block the shot. David Price then stung the palms of the home custodian from distance as Sorrento began to find their rhythm.
Luca pout Sorrento back in the game after 62 minutes by curling in from the edge of the 18-yard box after Jamie Harnwell’s ball forward wasn’t properly dealt with by the home defence. The momentum had swung in the Gulls favour and just seven minutes later they pulled level when Mirco hooked into the net from inside the area. Either team could have claimed victory in the closing stages but Aspden kept out Thackaray’s close-range header before Danny Cain hit the post with a speculative attempt.
MCMURRAY STARS AS COCKBURN PUNISH PERTH (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Bottom of the table Cockburn City has thrashed Perth SC 4-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Towering striker Ian McMurray played the Cockerels starring role by scoring three times against his former club with Scott McCulloch adding to Perth’s misery. “To go to Dorrien Gardens and win as convincingly that was great,” said McMurray. “I thoroughly enjoyed the game and scoring a scoring three times against my old club was special. One with the head, the left foot then the right foot – it doesn’t happen to often so I was delighted to get the ‘trick that way.”
A tale of missed opportunities would be a fitting way to describe the opening passages of what promised to be an exciting encounter. Lady Luck was clearly smiling on Greg Sharland when he got Perth the go-ahead goal after 23 minutes, the attacker’s cross from the left floating over veteran goalkeeper Michael Petkovic to creep inside the far top corner of the net. Cockburn’s day appeared to go from bad to worse when Rory Feely came off injured two minutes later, his place taken by Declan Boyham.
Perth briefly looked like running away with the game with Vlad Naumovski, David Onoforo and Dom De Felice combining well before Ewen Grant put an end to their foray. Cockburn were back on level terms after 33 minutes, McMurray rising highest to meet a Marc Anthony corner which he steered into Luke Martino’s net. Six minutes later Pavle Biserko seized on some nervous defending to pull the ball back for McMurray, who made no mistake slotting in from 7-metres to put Cockburn in control at the break.
The second half opened with Perth enjoyed the majority of possession but unable to penetrate the visiting backline. The hosts’ main problem was over-complicating their attacks with Sharland and Onoforo, in particular, often hesitating to shoot. There was no such wasteful at the other end of the park as McCulloch demonstrated on 53 minutes, the midfielder allowed space to size up the target before unleashing a sizzling shot into the top corner from 23-metres.
Perth didn’t start to seriously threaten until midway through the half when Petkovic smothered attempts by Sharland and Onoforo. Petkovic’s foul on Sharland in the 76th minute gave Onoforo a chance to reduce the deficit but the striker uncharacteristically stroke wide. Robbie Puca came off the bench on 81 minutes for his farewell appearance but there’d be no fairytale finish for the Perth legend. With five minutes of regulation time to go McMurray tapped in to complete his hat-trick after Martino could only parry Anthony’s effort.
ROBERTS THE KNIGHTS HAT-TRICK HERO (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Western Knights picked up their first win in a month by seeing off Armadale 4-2 at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Stuart Montgomery gave the visitors a dream start but it was Callum Roberts that shone with a match-defining hat-trick which keeps the Knights in fourth place. “I wasn’t going to start Callum,” coach Carl Medica said post-game. “But he trained well this week and showed great skill and pace. He finished well today, it was a great performance.”
The ball had been in motion just ten seconds when Montgomery’s audacious chip from the halfway line drifted over goalkeeper Joe Page for a one-nil lead. Armadale hit back through a Craig Robson free-kick that found Matt Barlow inside the 18-yard box, the striker producing a stunning overhead to bring the sides level with only 6 minutes played. The hosts should have gone ahead six minutes later but Barlow’s penalty kick was saved by Fraser Siddall’s following Stuart Ferguson’s studs-up tackle on Tom Robinson.
Roberts punished that miss in the 14th minute by skipping away from a couple of defenders and slotting past Page in a one-on-one. The Knights lead was increased six minutes later when Roberts latched on to an incisive through ball which he volleyed into the net. Armadale took until the 43rd minute to re-find their feet, Robinson getting clear of two opponents and crossing for Barlow to slot into the bottom corner, making it three-two at the break.
The second half opened with Armadale determined to score for a third time, and on 48 minutes they almost equalised through Barlow’s well-timed shot that was prevented from crossing the line by Siddall. Barlow was again unlucky just after the hour when his lob over the ‘keeper was cleared off the line by Ferguson. Roberts settled the game against the run of play in the 64th minute by belted his third goal past Page.
MANDURAH EDGES OUT NTC (with Karl Travaglini, Football West)
Mandurah City returned to action by defeating the National Training Centre 3-1 at Hyundai Stadium. Ryan Townsend, Michael Grigo and Ivan Zuvela were on target for the host side with the NTC’s solitary reply coming via Aleks Jovic. There were early chances for both teams to take the lead but Jovic and Grigo each shot past the target. The first goal arrived in the 10th minute when Townsend headed in from a corner with goalkeeper Francis Soale caught out of position.
Seb Bell took Mandurah into attack down the right side before threading through to Trevor Laure whose tame shot was straight at Soale. Laure remained in the thick of the action, volleying just wide and after Soale failed to sufficiently deal with a high ball. On the half hour Laure turned provider, slipped the ball through the visiting defence and into the path of Grigo who side footed into the net for Mandurah’s second goal. The NTC pulled a goal back ten minutes later when Jovic headed in a cross.
The second half had been underway two minutes when Mandurah posted their third goal, Zuvela tapping in on the end of a tidy exchange of passes. There were very few genuine chances on goal for the remainder of the afternoon with the ball all too often being turned over in midfield. Only James Marocchi tested the opposing ‘keeper but Phil Straker proved himself up to the task. The day ended on sour note with Bell stretchered from the field with a leg injury after tussling with Bryon Hudson.
BUNBURY INCREASE THEIR LEAD
Bunbury Forum Force strengthened their claim to the Division One trophy with a 3-0 win over Ashfield at Hay Park. The scene was set by Michael Marten’s early brace but it wasn’t until midway through the second period that the home side secured victory through Oliver McGee. With title rivals Shamrock Rovers and Swan United stumbling, Bunbury were able to increase their lead at the top of the table to three points with four regular season games to play.
The visiting team found themselves a goal down after only 3 minutes, Marten’s vicious shot from 25-metres catching Brad Eiffe by surprised as it crashed into the back of his net. Bunbury continued to heap pressure on their opponents with the end result being a two-nil lead after 12 minutes, McGee fending off two defenders before brilliantly playing into the path of Marten who placed across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. Although stunned, Ashfield worked their way back into the game but were unable to find the target before the half-time whistle sounded.
The second half opened with Bunbury again on the attack and ten minutes in McGee broke free only to fire against the post, the rebound was collected by Jayden Prosser but he also steered into the frame of the goal. Ashfield enjoyed some good possession and would have narrowed the gap had it been for a little more sharpness in the finishing department. The result was eventually put beyond doubt with twenty minutes remaining, McGee latching on to a poor defensive pass before rounding an exposed ‘keeper to walk the ball into an empty net.
SHAMROCK HELD BY MORLEY (courtesy Morley Windmills)
A goal deep into stoppage time has allowed Morley Windmills to salvage a 2-2 draw with Shamrock Rovers from an entertaining tussle at Wotton Reserve. A brilliant free-kick by Simon Wilson had the home team in front at the bread with Ian Stack equalising just before the hour. Shamrock edged in front though a Nick Carroll goal and it looked as though it would end that was when an own goal at the other end put the teams level. The split points mean Shamrock sit three adrift of top of the table Bunbury Forum Force with only four games to play.
Morley settled well and threatened to break through in the 5th minute when David Houston turned sharply only for John Parker to acrobatically keep the ball out of his net. With Fraser McGuire shining down the right and Wilsons controlling the centre of the park, the home side were on top and pilling pressure on their opponents’ defences. That said, Shamrock went close to scoring against the run of play but Carroll’s low effort was well saved by Stewart Delgarno. Morley got the goal they deserved on 39 minutes when Wilson lifted his free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net.
The second period opened with Shamrock in the ascendency and on 59 minutes Ross Cosgrove played through Stack who didn’t break stride in rifling in from 10-metres. This gave the visitors the impetus to continue on with the job and after dominating the next fifteen minutes Carroll put them two-one up when his snap shot deflected in off the upright. Morley clawed their way back into the contest over the closing stages with Parker thrusting out a glove to deny Lucas Whitehouse. The clock had just ticked over into the 92nd minute when Lee Thomas launched a long throw which glanced off a Shamrock defender to give Morley their second goal.
SWAN TRIPPED UP AT DIANELLA
Swan United’s hopes of backing straight back into the top flight have been dented by a shock 2-1 loss at Dianella White Eagles. Ozren Kotur and Simon Barber scored either side of the break to earn Dianella their first win in four months, and in the process end Swan’s eight-game unbeaten run. A bright start by the visiting side was rewarded on 10 minutes when John Montorosso instinctively lashed into the net after pouncing on a loose ball inside the 18-yard box.
Tom Shepheard went close to doubling the black and whites lead but his header was cleared off the line by Jimmy Taneski. Slowly but surely Dianella worked themselves into the game and although Frank Madafferi, Jimmy Nelson and Dhamon Kalamaras got in good positions goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo remained untroubled. That changed on 43 minutes when Rory Mouttet’s clumsy challenge on Kalamaras resulted in a free-kick which Kotur sent inside the upright with Agudelo rooted to his line.
Dianella continued to take the game up to Swan into the second half. Their reward came on 56 minutes when Barber coolly sent Agudelo the wrong way from the penalty spot after Nelson’s shot was handled by a defender. Swan responded by increasing the tempo and when Kotur was dismissed for a second yellow card with ten minutes left it looked as though they’d salvage a point, however, the closest they’d come to equalising was a Damian Scali header that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
FORRESTFIELD BLITZ WANNEROO
Wanneroo City’s hopes of winning promotion have been left in tatters by this afternoon’s 6-3 mauling at the hands of home team Forrestfield United. Anthony Lyons scored twice with Matt Harold, Jordan Hart, Julian Kesacott and an own goal rounding out the tally to move Forrestfield up to fifth in Division One. Wanneroo are positioned one above but successive losses have them trailing leaders Bunbury Forum Force by six points.
It was an all-action start by Forrestfield who needed just 9 minutes for Matt Harold to post their opening goal. That was added to a minute later by Lyons, who tucked into an empty net during a scramble inside the 18-yard box. There was no let up from the hosts as Lyons bagged his second in the 12th minute, the striker converting a penalty low into the net after being fouled. Hart joined the party on 23 minutes with an explosive drive from 22-metre that ricocheted in via the upright.
Guy McDonald gave Wanneroo hope five minutes into the second half by pulling a goal back. However, Julian Kesacott replied almost immediately with a stunning volley into the top corner to restore Forrestfield’s four-goal buffer. Wanneroo refused to concede the game and on 65 minutes gained a second goal through David Herety. Forrestfield returned to the attack through Hart whose cross was deflected into the net by a defender. The games ninth and final goal arrived in the 70th minute via Billy Quinncroft.
GOSNELLS COME FROM BEHIND TO BEAT FREMANTLE
Gosnells City collected maximum points for the third game in a row by returning from Wauhop Park with a 3-2 win over Fremantle Spirit. Aaron Coslani, Ian Maguire and Jamie Burns were on target to give Gosnells hope of finishing what has been a disappointing winter in the top half of Division One. Fremantle settled quickly to control the early tempo before being rewarded on 13 minutes when Jason Pottier crashed his first time shot into the bottom corner following good work on the left by Caleb Aquino.
It was only after going a goal down that Gosnells began to threaten, the visitors twice hitting the post while Maguire, Andy Pomfret and Darren Francis had shots on goal saved by goalkeeper Elhoussaine Atekhis. Parity was eventually restored on the half hour, Coslani lashing in from the edge of the 18-yard box on the end of a move which featured Pomfret, Graham Tough and Maguire. Things stayed that was just seven minutes before Pottier got the better of a one-on-one with Alan Dunlop after latching onto a Michael De Souza through ball.
Gosnells needed only eight minutes of the second period to draw level, a great exchange between Pomfret and Maguire ending with the latter chipping over an advancing Atekhis and into the top corner. With 66 minutes played the visitors edged into the lead for the first time, Adrian McBride whipping a cross from the left to the far post where Burns headed in what would be the winning goal. Although the tide was turning against them, Fremantle showed great character in pressing for a late equaliser before the referee brought the game to a close.
MATILDAS LOSE KERR FOR OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS
A serious knee injury has ruled Sam Kerr out of Australia’s qualification campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. Kerr, 17, injured her knee in training while in China ahead of the Matildas opening game with North Korea on Thursday. “Sam’s injury occurred during a fairly innocuous challenge at training,” said Australia coach Tom sermanni. “Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens in sport, but importantly Sam is in as good spirits as you can expect at this time. Sam is such a lively, popular member of the squad and creates such a vibrancy about the place that her presence will be sorely missed.” Kerr will return to Australia immediately for treatment.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The second to last round of the 2011 Premier League kicks-off with a top five decider between near neighbours Inglewood United and Bayswater City at 6PR Stadium. Jason Colli is well aware that an Inglewood win will secure his club a spot in the finals but that may be easier said than done. “It’s a massive game for both teams as we are both on level points,” he commented. “They have been in great form so it will be a tough game but if we play to the best of our abilities I know we can come away with the win.”
Bayswater are be unbeaten in eight games and, this being their final game of the regular season, must take maximum points to have any hope of making the finals. “This game will test the heart of the players, it is another must-win for us,” said youngster Alex Caniglia, whose team is without suspended striker Gustavo Marulanda. “Even if we do win it is not 100% that we will finish in the top five, but it will certainly be a stepping stone to try and get us up there. Winning the game is a must and we will go out there with the intention of doing so.”
With the State League Cup safely in their possession, Sorrento turns their attention to playing top of the table Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Home coach Michael Roki will be forced to re-shuffle his pack at both ends of the park with Jovo Pavlovic serving suspension and injury claiming both Mo Atak and Daniel Neiderberger. Sorrento claimed victory in this seasons’ previous meeting of the clubs and coach Paul Price has his fingers cross influential midfielder Brodie Martin has made a full recovery from the injury that saw him limp out of the Cup Final.
Western Knights know anything less than three points away at Armadale could put their top five plans in jeopardy. Luka Jukic misses the game due to suspension but with James Morgan, Stuart Ferguson and Paul Cooke pushing for a starting berth the Knights enter the afternoon as favourites. Armadale are without key players Cyril Sharrock (suspension) and James Robinson (returned to England) so their hopes of claiming victory from their last home game of the year hinge on the performances of Matt Barlow, Craig Robson and captain Steve McDonald.
Perth SC will farewell club captain Robbie Puca when they welcome Cockburn City to Dorrien Gardens. Coach Gianfranco Circati will look to Dom De Felice, Greg Sharland and David Onoforo as the hosts strive to make second spot on the table theirs. Cockburn are playing for pride having already been relegated to Division One. For the Cockerels to cause an upset they’ll need big efforts from Marc Anthony and Jason Godfrey as well as Rory Feely, who plans to put away a few more goals before the season is out.
The round concludes with the Sunday fixture between Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park. Both teams remain a mathematic chance of making the finals but they really need to get a move on to stay in the running. Midfielder Andy Brown and goalkeeper Corey Hugo come back in for Stirling, whose only absence is Jamie De Abreu (overseas). Liam Boland, Damien Catalano and Julian Madaschi have key roles to play if Floreat are to snap a two-game losing streak. All five Premier League games – be they Saturday or Sunday – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Anything less than three points for Wanneroo City away at Forrestfield United will effectively end their hopes of entering the top flight next year. The Roos trail leaders Bunbury Forum Force by three points and coach Gerry McEwan needs goalkeeper Clint Davies, Guy McDonald and Sahr Konomanyi to be on top of their games to take anything from the afternoon. Fifth-placed Forrestfield are still smarting from the five-goal hiding they received at Bunbury a fortnight ago and will look to Julian Kesacott, Andy Harold and Anthony Lyons to get them back on track.
Ashfield have a tough home fixture against Bunbury Forum Force. “Whilst Bunbury have their own aspirations of promotion, we are looking to consolidate ourselves in the top half of the table and continue an unbeaten home run which goes back to the first home league game of the season,” said Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers. “The break has been good for our squad, I expect that for the first time this season we will have a near full compliment of players available.”
The odds are stacked firmly against Dianella White Eagles taking anything from their home game with promotion chasing Swan United. Dianella, who have not won in four months enter the game without Sasa Cvijetic (hamstring), Curtis Prior (flu) and Maysam Majnoon (knee) while a late fitness test will determine what role, if any, Jimmy Nelson (calf) has to play. By contrast Swan is at full strength with Anthony McStea running the show from midfield and John Monterosso leading their search for goals.
Morley Windmills and Shamrock Rovers have lengthy lists of absentees for their meeting at Wotton Reserve. Andy O’Neill, Ryan Frisina (both suspended) and Adriano D'Adamo (foot) miss out for Morley, likewise the visitors’ Gavin Mooney (knee), Eamon Barnes (broken hand) and Alan O’Mahony (away). The final game takes place at Wauhop Park where Fremantle Spirit are expected to be overrun by a Gosnells City side aiming to win three in a row for the first time this year. The five Saturday afternoon games kick-off at 3.00pm.
The round concludes with a twilight fixture at Lark Hill Sportsplex where Rockingham City coach Steve Robinson has no intention of taking lightly Canning City (7.00pm). “Canning got their first win last time out against Fremantle so they will be confident and we will not be approaching the game with any complacency,” said Robinson, whose team are shooting for a third straight win. “We are at home, are playing and training well and our aim is to finish as high on the ladder as we can.”
PUCA CALLS IT A DAY
Former State midfielder Robbie Puca steps out for the final time as a Perth SC player this weekend after announcing his retirement. On-going injuries have led 32-year old Puca to hang up his boots for the last time at the conclusion of Saturday’s home fixture with Cockburn City. “It wasn’t an easy decision to retire but it had to happen as the body just couldn’t get over so many injuries,” commented Puca. “I’m really grateful to Perth for giving me a farewell game, I don’t think I’ll be fit enough to even last ten minutes but we’ll see how we go.”
Puca, who made his first team debut for Perth as a 17-year old, says there is a lot he will miss about playing out of Dorrien Gardens. “I’ve been involved with the club for half of my life so it’s going to take some time getting use too not being there for training and on match days, but I’m sure I will find something to keep myself busy,” he said. “I will definitely miss not being able to play competitive football at the highest level that I can and for the club that I love playing for.”
“I’ll also miss the social side of things, like Thursday night dinners and listening to all the Italian supporters telling us what they will do to you if we didn’t win that week,” Puca added. “The pre-season camps at Mornington, were we would go out in Bunbury at night for dinner and disconnect the battery on the team bus while no one was watching so we could stay out longer than our 12pm curfew. Golf days, the Gala Balls at the Burswood, the gentlemen's nights, end of season trips away and most importantly the open bar celebrations at the club after we won a trophy.”
A junior with Fremantle United, Puca quickly established himself in the Perth line-up after moving to Dorrien Gardens at the start of 1996. At the end of his second season with the clubs his talents were recognised with State selection for a two-game trip to Malaysia, adding to the State junior honours he’d already collected. Puca entered the national league arena in 1998 with Gippsland Falcons, making 69 appearances across his three seasons. When financial problems forced Gippsland into folding early in 2001, Puca returned west to the only place he felt comfortable calling home, Dorrien Gardens.
Puca says Perth coach Graham Normanton has had an enormous influence on his career. “Normo taught you how to win, how to demand the best out of yourself and he instilled the determination it takes to perform at your best,” commented the midfielder. “Sometimes though he was annoying, he’d constantly be pushing you to the limit. What this did was harden you up for the challenges ahead and when the end of the season came and you’re holding the Championship trophy in your hands you appreciate all the sacrifices Normo made you go through.”
During his time in the game Puca has played alongside and against some fine footballers. “The one I looked up to the most, not only as a player but as a professional, would be Gareth Naven, he was a complete player with that competitive edge,” said Puca. “Mehmet Durakovic was another one I had the privilege to play with. Not many players got past him as a defender. I managed it once in training at Morwell as when I first arrived he didn’t know I was left footed – the next time I tried I was left with stud marks from my groin down to my ankle, so as you can imagine it was never tried again.”
In his time with Perth Puca collected numerous medals and trophies, including his clubs’ Fairest and Best award in 2005. But it was last year’s Grand Final win that the midfielder puts as the top of his list. “Last season’s championship trophy had to be the most satisfying for me,” explained Puca. “It had been a season where we lost six games straight and we learnt Normo, who had been there for so many years was retiring. On top of that I injured myself just prior to the finals and everyone had already written us off.”
“I could have given the season up but instead carried on with my rehab, then after completing only one full training session Normo approached me about being fit enough to play in the semi-finals,” Puca added. “At first I thought he was kidding, but he thought that it was worth the risk. I knew there would be a good chance I would break down again but I wanted to repay Normo for the faith he showed in me over so many years. I ended up playing the full game which we won 4-1 and then went on to win the Grand Final, giving Normo the perfect send off.”
GOSNELLS FINALLY GET GOING
Gosnells City has started to demonstrate the potential which has been simmering under the surface all season. The eastern corridor club have spent much of this year languishing towards the foot of the Division One table but that looks set to change following convincing wins over Ashfield and Shamrock Rovers. “They were a couple of a fantastic wins,” said striker Jamie Burns. “We have been playing some good football and not picking up the results so from these two games we finally got what we deserved.”
Gosnells’ move up the table began at the start of the month by demolishing Ashfield to the tune of 5-0, a result which was backed up a week later by a 3-0 dumping of then table toppers Shamrock. “We were a different class, we played both teams off the park,” commented Burns. “A real positive was our finishing which was much better than in previous weeks. And defensively we looked good also, their strikers didn’t get the chance to cause us much bother.”
The season has more than its fair share of ups and downs for Burns who admits he’s beginning to feel the pinch of ongoing injuries. “Gosnells are a great bunch of lads and I’m scoring goals when I’m playing, so I’m enjoying things from that side of things,” commented Burns. “But I’m finding it difficult to get on the pitch to play because it seems I’m battling a different injury every week and that is starting to get on my nerves.”
Burns came up through the ranks at Forrestfield and although he found it difficult to leave the club he has no regrets about joining Gosnells. “Forrestfield are travelling along really well, most of my best mates are still there and I wish them all the best,” said Burns, Forrestfield’s top goal scorer last season. “But I felt I needed a change. I had been there for eight years and was just getting to the point where I wasn’t enjoying my football.”
Gosnells plan to carry the momentum gained from their two recent wins through the remainder of the Division One season. “Obviously we want to pick up as many points as we can and climb the table a little so we’ve got something to show for our season,” said Burns. “We have a good squad, on our day we can beat anyone in this league. Hopefully the two big wins will give us the confidence boost we need going into the last few games of the season.”
BUCKLEY PROMISES SOCCEROOS TO PERTH
Perth's chances of hosting the Socceroos have been boosted by plans to upgrade Perth Oval and build a new facility at Burswood according to Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley. Football West recently missed out on secure one of Australia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers but Buckley said the local association will get its wish. “We’ve been looking far more actively in recent months than we probably have in the last few years,” Buckley said in addressing a FW luncheon yesterday. “I think Perth and Western Australia deserves to have a Socceroos match. Bluntly speaking, Western Australia deserves to have a game.”
Plans to improve the facilities at Perth Oval along with a commitment to build a new $700 million venue at Burswood will increase the prospect of Australia’s star players flying into Perth. “With a twin stadium strategy we will have two wonderful options,” Buckley said. “We will have a 25,000 seat stadium (Perth Oval) and a 60,000 seat stadium (Burswood), so we can bring different levels of matches. From our understanding (a redeveloped nib Stadium) would be available at the tail end of our World Cup qualification campaign and also in the lead-up to the 2015 Asian Cup.”
SWAN WELCOME MOUTTET BACK INTO THE FRAY
Veteran defender Rory Mouttet has made a surprise return for Swan United just two months after suffering a horrific facial injury. Mouttet came into the black and whites starting eleven for their vital win over Wanneroo City recently and is looking forward to helping his clubs’ push for promotion. “I had surgery six weeks ago and my doctor gave me the all clear last week. I need to wear a protective face mask for the rest of the season,” said Mouttet, who can’t recall the collision with team mate Luke Martino against Ashfield. “I lost three and a half hours of memory so I don’t remember starting the game.”
Mouttet was understandably nervous leading into his comeback game against Wanneroo. “It was scary going back out there and I know that if I took a big hit that it would be serious. I got a ball right in the sore spot of the face early and the mask I was wearing protected me really well - that gave me the confidence to focus on the game,” explained Mouttet. “At the end it was great to get through 90 minutes and have a very important win. I hadn’t felt part of the team for weeks and I really missed sharing that with my mates.”
An Anthony McStea goal midway through the first half was enough to give Swan all three points over Wanneroo, a result which pushed the black and whites just a point off top spot. “It wasn’t a pretty game, we gave possession away to cheaply and put ourselves under a lot of pressure at times,” Mouttet said. “The positive thing is that we scrapped the win through nothing more than grit and determination. Everyone in our team did their bit and sometimes it’s that desperation that can make the difference against a very strong and in form opponent like Wanneroo.”
Mouttet feels Swan would be wise not to underestimate Saturday’s opponent Dianella White Eagles, whose last win was almost four months ago. “Dianella have had strong performances against us this year and have some very talented young players in their team,” said the veteran. “We need to be focused and come out with intensity and we can’t allow them to play their own game. By pressuring them in everything they do and closing them down quickly we will have more of a chance of playing the game on our terms. If we can get an early goal, we will settle and that will make us very hard to beat.”
IPSWICH TARGET LOWRY
English Championship side Ipswich Town are keen to take Aston Villa centre-half Shane Lowry on loan. Tractor Boys manager Paul Jewell has been keeping a close eye on Lowry, 22, as he considers how to prop up a defence that has leaked dozen goals in just two games. Lowry, who played juniors at ECU Joondalup, joined Villa in 2005 and has made three substitute appearances in cup competitions for the club. Through loan spells with Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United and Sheffield United he has chalked up a further 41 first team appearances.
SCHOOLBOYS SETTLE FOR FOURTH
West Australia finished just outside the medals at last weeks’ School Sport Australia National Championships in Adelaide. The State team completed the week-long tournament in fourth spot with three wins and as many losses from their six games. “The lads represented West Australia brilliantly,” said team manager Tony Campbell. “On the field we competed with everyone and it’s a shame we didn’t come home with a medal.” Although a medal eluded the team, the individual efforts of Scott Witschge, Friday Zico, Charles Touah and Blair Govan were recognised with selection in the Australian Schoolboys shadow squad.
The Schoolboys got their campaign off to a flying start by trouncing Victoria 4-0. “It was a fantastic result and performance from the lads,” said Campbell. “We made a nervous start and Victoria created a few chances but no clear cut ones. Ioasa Saemo scored for us on 17 minutes as we slowly started to take control of the game. In the second half we simply took Victoria apart, Friday Zico scoring twice and Saemo getting his second, and we probably should have had two or three more.”
Missed opportunities would come back to haunt the side on day two when New South Wales ran out 2-0 winners. “We had the early running and should have gone one up after 10 minutes but missed a golden chance, and three decent half chances were also missed in the minutes that followed,” said Campbell. “If you don’t take your chances against the top team you’ll pay, they scored with a great header from a corner and ten minutes later got another. New South Wales then denied us any avenue back in.”
A flat performance the following morning resulted in a 4-1 to the Australian Capital Territory. “We needed to be up for it and we weren’t,” explained Campbell, whose team was missing Charles Touah due to suspension. “We scored first through Friday Zico though their goal was coming and they eventually equalised just before the half. We seemed to get more tired as the game went on, though that does take credit away from a very polished ACT side. Other results went in our favour so a coming home with a medal was still on the cards.”
The misery continued with West Australia’s third successive loss, stumbling 4-1 this time to Queensland. “We went 1-0 up through Luke Palmateer and were probably the better team on a waterlogged pitch. But a couple of poor decisions on the ball and some bad mistakes put us 3-1 down midway through the second half,” said Campbell. “We dominated the last twenty minutes but just couldn’t get a shot away, then they scored a fourth on the breakaway with the final kick of the game … the lads didn’t deserve the scoreline.”
The Schoolboys bounced back to form with a 4-0 demolition of South Australia. “We ended the week as we started - a totally dominant display. The sun was out and the pitch had dried out considerably so we were able to play a better brand of football,” said Campbell. “Gene Magri scored the first with a half volley from outside the box, then he set up Friday Zico for the second. Scott Wistchge made a dazzling run from the right wing, beating five players to score the third and Blair Govan finished it off with a penalty.”
The week ended with a comfortable 10-1 win over the Northern Territory. “Knowing we were guaranteed fourth we approached this as a training game and made a rule of six passes minimum before having a shot,” said Campbell. “To be honest we held back a little, the Northern Territory was a very young side and got hammered in every game. Matthew Buiners scored five goals, Jarrod Belford got three, Blair Govan one and I can’t remember who got the other!” New South Wales topped the table with Queensland collecting silver and Australian Capital Territory bronze.
The 2011 West Australian Schoolboys squad was Matthew Weyell (Ashfield), Luke Palmateer (Balcatta), Charles Touah (Bayswater City), Jake Luik, Scott Witschge (Forrestfield United), Jarrod Belford (Floreat Athena), Matthew Buiners, Friday Zico (Fremantle Spirit), Dhurr Chol (Inglewood United), Liam Chapman (ECU Joondalup), Zachary Newton (Mandurah City), Jordan Candlish, Gene Magri, Ioasa Saemo, Marco Santaluca (Perth SC) and Blair Govan (Sorrento). Travelling with the squad were Alf Debono (coach), Tony Campbell (manager) and Peter Rickers (tour leader).
DOMINANT GLORY HELD TO DRAW
Perth Glory had to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting Dubai-based club Al-Ahli from this evening’s pre-season friendly at Perth Oval. Jacob Burns had given the hosts a deserved lead just before the break and they remained in total control for most of the second period until former Brazil international Grafite’s late header salvaged the Red Knights a share of the spoils. “It was a good hit-out for us,” declared Glory boss Ian Ferguson. “We controlled it for most of the game, created some really good chances. We’ve still got seven weeks to go and I think playing against that team, they’re quite a well organised team, a good team.”
The visitors looked the more purposeful in the early exchanges before Glory started to impose themselves upon the contest. Adam Hughes redirected a couple of corners narrowly over the crossbar, Mile Sterjovski also angled high while Shane Smeltz firm header drew a sprawling save from Obaid Al Taweela. The home side finally earned their reward when Travis Dodd’s header was pushed onto the bar by Al Taweela with the rebound falling kindly for Burns whose low strike evaded several defenders and squeezed over the line.
Glory picked up the second half where they left off, Josh Risdon picking out Smeltz whose powerful header forced another acrobatic save from Al Taweela. Hughes was next in line to test the increasingly busy goalkeeper with a stinging drive from 25-metres on the hour. Glory should have made the game safe on 76 minutes when Hughes steered a header wide from Mile Sterjovski’s corner. Al-Ahli threatened late on and deep in stoppage time Grafite headed in at close-range after meeting a cross from Ahmed Ali.
WILLIAMS JOINS SOCCEROOS ON ROAD TO BRAZIL
Utility player Rhys Williams has made the cut for Australia's opening qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Coach Holger Osieck today named Williams in an extended 23-player Socceroos squad for upcoming qualifiers against Thailand (2 September) and Saudi Arabia (6 September). The squad features the entire player group that defeated Wales earlier this month with the addition of Josh Kennedy, Nathan Coe, Sasa Ognenovski, Mark Milligan and Brett Holman, who was a late withdrawal from the game in Cardiff due to injury.
Australia's squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers is Lucas Neill (Al-Jazira Club), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Luke DeVere (Gyeongnam), Mark Milligan (JEF United), James Troisi (Kayserispor Kulubu), Scott McDonald, Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongham Ilwha Chunma), Nathan Coe (Sønderjysk Elitesport), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds), Adam Sarota and Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht).
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Colombian import Gustavo Marulanda is on the verge of becoming just the second Bayswater City player to win the Golden Boot. With two regular season rounds to play, Marulanda tops the Premier League goal scorer charts with 18 goals to be well clear of nearest rival Jamie Watt (Stirling Lions), whose tally stands at 12 goals. Sitting jointly a strike behind him are Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights), Phil O’Callaghan (Stirling) and Inglewood United pair Rory Grant and Ndumba Makeche. With ten goals each are Balcatta’s Ashley Rosendale and Steve Burton, Johnny Mirco (Knights/Cockburn City) and John Thornley (ECU Joondalup).
Swan United striker John Monterosso leads the race for the Division One award with 15 goals from 17 games. Nick Carroll of Shamrock Rovers is in second place with 12 goals, one more than Jamie Burns (Gosnells City/Forrestfield United) and another Swan player, Tom Shepheard. Bunbury Forum Force team mates Jon Brooks and Michael Marten have netted ten each along with Anthony Lyons (Forrestfield). Neil Chappell netted 9 times before parting company with Bunbury. Shamrock trio Sean Brookes, Ross Cosgrave and Ian Stack are side-by-side with Rory Binnie (Bunbury) and Ryan Frisina (Morley Windmills) on eight goals.
GLORY CONFIRM INGLEWOOD INTEREST
Perth Glory is considering forming an alliance with Inglewood United to help bridge the development gap between the youth and senior football. Glory chief executive Paul Kelly confirmed to the ‘West Australian’ discussions had taken place regarding establishing an administrative headquarters, training base and an academy set-up at Inglewood’s home on Hamer Parade. “The long term plan is for us to have an academy and a training venue and we’re looking at the options,” Kelly said. “We’ve looked at State league clubs and the one that stands out is Inglewood.”
Kelly said the National Training Centre program and Glory’s youth team structure were effective in developing young players but there was still work to be done to ensure players aged between 20 and 25 to ensure were best prepared for the step up to the A-League. “They have to be developed to be ready for A-League football and there’s got to be something that does that for them,” Kelly said. Long-time Inglewood president Siggy Kramer said he was compelled to look at Glory’s proposal for the sake of the State League club and the potential benefits to the game.
ALL IN THE FAMILY FOR WILLIAMS
Socceroos utility Rhys Williams is dreaming of creating history by lining up alongside brothers Ryan and Aryn for Australia at a FIFA World Cup. Williams is delighted by the progress of his 17-year old twin brothers, with Ryan making his debut for Portsmouth and right-back Aryn excelling with Burnley’s youth academy and reserves, and believes that all three may one day play on the same pitch together for their country. “That’s something I’d love to see happen with us,” Rhys told ‘the World Game’. “Anything is possible and I know how good my brothers are and what potential they have, so I think it’s definitely possible. It would be a dream if it happened in 2014.”
23-year old Rhys is happy to play the role of mentor to his siblings. “It helps me being here for them. I’ve come through a similar path at Boro,” he said. “Coming through the scholarship program, playing reserves, having things not go your way, going out on loan ... so it’s good that I can pass on those experiences to them. I really believe they can go all the way. For Ryan to be have already made three appearances this season for Pompey is fantastic for him and shows how well he’s progressing and I know Aryn is doing really well at Burnley, so the future is looking bright for all three of us right now.”
Rhys, who gained his sixth Socceroos capo this month against Wales, wants his brothers to better his achievements. “I’d love for them to match or beat anything I’ve done. They are both already ahead of where I was at the same age, so there’s no telling what they will do,” he said. “We’re all totally different players ... Ryan’s a tricky winger while Aryn is a right-back who can also operate as a centre back, which I used to be before moving into midfield at Middlesbrough. Maybe in 2014 you will see us all involved. If we all keep working hard and get some breaks then anything can happen.”
CANNAVARO HAS FOOTBALL WEST OFF GUARD
Football West were left red faced by the ‘disappearance’ of Fabio Cannavaro from the State League Cup Final on Saturday. Just 24 hours before the showcase event, Football West announced former Italy captain Cannavaro would present the Cup trophy to the winning team. Unfortunately, by the time Sorrento claimed victory in extra-time, star attraction Cannavaro had left Macedonia Park to attend a prior engagement with his club Al Alhi. With no ground announcement made to explain this, the post-game presentations went ahead with many questioning what had happened to Cannavaro. So what was a major coup for Football West ultimately ended in something of a public relations bungle.
COYNE READY FOR ACTION
One-time Socceroo Chris Coyne is ready to resume his career by lining up for Perth Glory in Tuesday’s friendly against Dubai outfit Al Ahli at Perth Oval. Coyne has not played for Glory since an A-League semi-final appearance against Wellington Phoenix 18 months ago because of transfer regulations on his return from a loan in China followed by an Achilles tendon problem. “From the time I tried to get back to the club (from China) after the second game of last season to the red tape holding up the transfer and then getting injured, it’s been very frustrating,” Coyne said. “It’s not been fun but you’ve got to get through these things and hopefully come out stronger and better for it on the other side.”
Coyne joined Liaoning in March last year in an unsuccessful last ditch attempt to force his way back into then Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek’s World Cup plans. He had hoped to return to Glory early last season but ended up staying in China until November and was then ineligible to play for his club until January. “It still rankles a bit but there’s nothing you can change about things in the past,” Coyne said, who did not play in Glory’s South African tour but witnessed the first signs of recovery in a team that struggled last season. “I think the squad we’ve been able to assemble this year is stronger in depth as well as quality,” he said.
BIRIGHITTI WAITS TO HEAR BACK FROM EUROPE
Mark Birighitti is hoping to get picked up by a club in Europe before FIFA’s transfer window closes at the end of the month. The Young Socceroos goalkeeper was on the radar of German club Hannover 96 prior to the Under-20 World Cup, where Australia bowed out with a solitary point from their three games. “There was a bit of interest from Hannover but nothing eventuated from it,” Birighitti told Adelaide’s ‘the Advertiser’ newspaper. “But I’m hoping something might come up in the next couple of weeks but now I’m playing a waiting game.” Birighitti is contracted to Adelaide United until March next year.
SORRENTO MAKE HISTORY WITH EPIC CUP WIN
Sorrento celebrated their 40th anniversary by claiming their first State League Cup, defeating Perth SC 1-0 in a tight and tense final. The game appeared destined to be decided from the penalty spot when Shaun Kilkelly had the misfortune of deflecting Jack Doyle’s shot into his own net deep into the second period of extra time. “It’s been a hell of a long wait for us, and for me since I stated as a 16-year-old, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” said Gulls captain Todd Harnwell, whose team mate David Price won the inaugural Stan Lazaridis Medal as best on ground.
The stands were full with over 3,000 fans packing into Macedonia Park for the occasion. Sorrento started strongly with Brodie Martin lifting high from 11-metres after being found by a Doyle cross. Price then brought goalkeeper Devon Spence into action with a shot from distance. Play continued to be one-way as Perth struggled to get out of first gear and bring any rhythm to their game. On 24 minutes Danny Cain volleyed just over the crossbar after getting on the end of another dangerous ball in from the left by Doyle.
Sorrento thought they had the lead on 35 minutes when Jamie Harnwell glanced a near post corner past Spence with Craig Simpson clearing from near the line. The Gulls players were adamant the ball had gone over but there was no convincing referee Joe Fusari who signalled for play to continue. It took until stoppage time for Perth to break down their opponents defences, Robert Sciascia running the ball forward and releasing Trent Kay whose long-range shot was palmed away by ‘keeper Curtis Aspden, and the follow-up shot by Greg Sharland was blocked.
Kay was called on to rescue his team two minutes into the second half, the defender clearing from inside the 6-yard box after Price's free-kick was nodded back across goal by Jamie Harnwell. Perth countered through Daniel Pereira whose surging run ended with a shot from 16-metres that Aspden held. Sorrento suffered a blow on 48 minutes when playmaker Brodie Martin was forced out by injury, his place in the middle of the park taken by Adam Luca. Despite this, the Gulls continued to press and four minutes later Ryan Pearson flashed just wide.
Perth were by this stage seeing more of the ball and on 69 minutes Pereira shot past the post after meeting a Sharland centre. Sharland was the creator again eight minutes later, this time picking out David Onoforo who fired wide from 11-metres. Kay then sent the ball in from the left to Andreas Oliviera but his low shot saved by Aspden. Both ‘keepers were called upon as regulation time came to a close. Sciascia slipped the ball into Oliviera’s path but Aspden was out quick to save. Price played through for Dejan Gurovski who got past Kilkelly with Spence keeping out his low finish.
With extra-time presenting very few opportunities, it was beginning to look as though the game would be decided by the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. That was until the 111th minute when Doyle worked his way inside the area before getting off a shot which took a wicked deflection off Kilkelly, looping over Spence who could only watch as the ball rolled into the corner of his net. Perth threw players forward in a desperate attempt to equalise which almost arrived in the final minute when Sharland delivered a superb corner to the back post where Simpson’s header found only the post.
Sorrento coach Paul Price could hardly contain his delight following the final whistle. “The players did fantastically well today. I thought we were the better side on the day, dominated possession and created the better chances,” he said. “Perth is a good side, but today I thought we deserved to win it. We’ve defended well all season and we’ve started to knock a few goals in recent week’s which is pleasing. We only got the one today, but we got the ball into a dangerous area and got the reward.”
Perth SC: Devon Spence, Trent Kay (Vlad Naumovski 112), Craig Simpson, Daniel Coletta (Dom De Felice 67), Shaun Kilkelly, Matt Danskin, Dave Onoforo, Andreas Oliveira, Rob Sciascia (Josh Wilkins 104), Josh Pereira, Greg Sharland
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Danny Cain, Jamie Harnwell, Daryl Platten, Jarad Love, Brodie Martin (Adam Luca 48), Todd Harnwell, Jack Doyle, David Price, Ryan Pearson, Dejan Gurovski (David Foster 116)
Bookings: Oliveira (18), Todd Harnwell (58)
Referee: Joe Fusari
SUPER-SUB PICKERING MAKES IT JOONDALUP’S CUP (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Shane Pickering' came off the bench to score in stoppage time and earn ECU Joondalup a remarkable 2-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in the State League Reserve Cup Final at Macedonia Park. The game didn’t come to life until just after the hour when Bill Barron poked Shamrock into a lead which lasted only a few minutes before Scott Bushby equalised. Joondalup had Mark Tebbutt sent off soon after but with the game seemingly heading for extra-time Pickering unleashed a stunning long-range shot into the net. The win was somewhat overshadowed by a horrific ankle injury that saw Josh Brook stretchered from the ground.
Pre-game favourites ECU Joondalup were handed a golden opportunity to assert their authority after 3 minutes when awarded a penalty, however, Bushby thumped the ball against the upright. It didn’t take long for the game to develop into something of a scrap with neither team able to create a lot in the way of genuine chances. Patrick Byrne probably should have put Shamrock into the lead when he lifted over goalkeeper Brynn Hindley but wide of the target. Byrne looked to have made amends on the half hour when he headed into the net only for it to be disallowed for offside, while down the other end Jonathon Park was called into action by Jake Benson-Cooper.
Whatever was said at the break clearly worked as both teams came out for the second half in an attacking frame of mind. Bushy fired straight at Parker from distance before Will Pender and Byrne put shots off-target. Shamrock’s persistence paid off on 68 minute when Barron timed his run to perfection, crashing the ball into the roof of the net after meeting a corner from Byrne. Three minutes later Bushby’s effort from 22-metres appeared to be covered by Parker but the ‘keepers attempt to palm the shot over the bar wasn’t firm enough and the ball dropped into his net.
Shane McCarthy surged forward from the restart only to cynically halted by Tebbutt, who was shown a red card by referee David Johnson. Shamrock responded with a string of attacks in which Byrne was denied by Hindley, who not long after was beaten by McCarthy’s long-range attempt that crashed into the post. With five minutes left Byrne swung a corner into the near post as Joondalup rode their luck. But as extra-time loomed Pickering gained possession and cut inside before unleashing a 22-metre shot into the top corner to send the trophy north.
David Tough was over the moon with the result which secured for Joondalup the league and Cup double. “It’s a great day for our club, but we didn’t play well today. We knew it was going to be a hard game, they are a big strong side. The lads fought it out right to the end and it was a cracking finish from Shane (Pickering),” said the Joondalup coach. “We’ve all but won the league and add the cup to that we’ve had a phenomenal season, I’m proud of the lads. It was tainted a little with the injury to Josh (Brooks), we all wish him a speedy recovery.”
ECU Joondalup: Brynn Hindley, Luke Smith, Jamal West (Shane Pickering 74), Ryan Lowry, Andrew Brown, Mark Tebbutt, Josh Brook (Alex Paddon 57), Scott Bushby, Jake Benson-Cooper (Alex Sallary 91), Jordan Dodd, Lee Thomson
Shamrock Rovers: Jonathan Parker, Simon King, Michael Atkinson (Adam Walsh 29), Brian Foley, Michael Boland, Shane McCarthy, Billy Barron, Patrick Byrne, Stephen Guest (Peter Hearty 74), Daniel McCurdy, Will Pender
Dismissals: Tebbutt (72)
Referee: David Johnson
TEN-MAN FLOREAT OVERCOME THE ODDS (with James Wragg, Football West)
Floreat Athena conjured a late winner to claim the State League Under-18 Cup 2-1 over Bayswater City from this afternoon’s pulsating final at Macedonia Park. Striker Kevin Beattie put Floreat in the driving seat with an early goal only to receive his marching orders just before the half hour for a second bookable offence. The momentum appeared to swing in Bayswater’s favour when Sebastian Melis brought the sides level soon after the interval but with five minutes left on the clock Mark McLaughlin stole victory and the trophy for Chris Barbas’ team.
Floreat found top gear from the get-go with Beattie delivering a dangerous cross from the left which goalkeeper Anthony Salpietro dealt with as Nathan Scully closed in. Scully should have put his team ahead on 10 minutes but could only angle into the side netting following a dreadful mistake by Milos Pavic and his ‘keeper. A minute later Floreat got the result they were after, Samuel Barbas finding Beattie on top of the 18-yard box with the striker bulging the back of the net with a powerful, low finish with only Salpietro to beat.
Although a goal up, Floreat weren’t about to rest on their laurels. Scully cut past one defender before shooting just past the post for a second time, then James Truong skipped past two opponents but placed too close to Salpietro, who saved well. The sting was taken out of Floreat on 29 minutes when Beattie collected his second yellow card for kicking the ball away after referee Ammar Timmour had blown for a free kick. It took until just before half time for Bayswater to threaten with Zeljko Petrovic’s shot saved by Jonston Walker.
Bayswater returned from the break with renewed enthusiasm and within two minutes the teams were level. A long throw by Sam Loveless was allowed to bounce in the penalty area and to the back post where Melis was positioned to head into Walker’s net. Taylan Randazzo’s speculative volley was then kept out by Walker, and soon after the same player glanced over the crossbar from a corner. Floreat were by no means down and out with McLaughlin hitting the post on the counterattack and Barbas skewed the follow up just wide.
There were good openings created by both teams as the game entered its closing stages. Petrovic was denied by Walker, while Andrew Scaldaffero had two attempts within a minute but rushed on both occasions. Floreat grabbed the deciding goal with five minutes left, substitute Daniel Tran was robbed of a shot by Salpietro but recovered possession and crossed for Mark McLaughlin whose shot hit the woodwork and was ruled to have crossed the line by the assistant referee. Bayswater worked furiously for equalise but it wasn’t to be and when the final whistle sounded it was Floreat’s players and officials who were celebrating.
Bayswater City: Anthony Salpietro,. Gianni Mammone,. Hiram Mustafa,. Milos Pavic,. Darius Turkash (Ryan Slade 90), Taylan Randazzo (Kadir Yilmaz 64), Darren Kitay, Justin Caratozzolo (Langdon Heath 85), Sam Loveless, Sebastian Melis, Zeljko Petrovic
Floreat Athena: Jonston Walker, Andrew Scaldaffero, Mark McLaughlin, James Truong, Nathan Grostate, Samuel Barbas, Kevin Beattie, Daniel Raso, Jayden Armenti, Nathan Scully (Daniel Tran 38 (Joshua Carulli 90), Ricky Berelowitz
Bookings: Beattie (23), Walker (77)
Dismissals: Beattie (29)
Referee: Ammar Timmour
GLORY BIDS FOR BECKHAM
Perth Glory are hoping to bring former England captain David Beckham and his LA Galaxy team mates to town for a friendly later in the year. Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said the game – if it happens – would most likely be played on Wednesday 30 November with initial estimates indicating around 35,000 fans would need to attend for the A-League club to break even. “We’ve verbally said we want the game. We are definitely interested,” Kelly said. “We’ve got some broad figures on it but there’s a lot more work to be done around it.” Kelly hoped the State Government would be interested in backing the game with Galaxy, who recently signed former Leeds United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane.
PERTH V SORRENTO PROMISES TO THRILL
The State League Cup Final takes centre stage with Perth SC and Sorrento ready to go into battle at Macedonia Park on Saturday from 3.00pm. There’s a lot of history between the two clubs and, having spent much of this season in the upper reaches of the Premier League, this promises to be a fiercely competitive battle that won’t be over until the final whistle sounds. They’ve met twice already this year with the initial Night Series fixture finishing ending scoreless, while three months ago Perth claimed the spoils with a 2-1 league win at Dorrien Gardens.
Sorrento coach Paul Price has his team in peak condition and the time appears right for the northern suburbs club to lift the Cup for the first time. Jamie Harnwell, Daryl Platten and Danny Cain form an imposing defensive line but should they be breached then there’s still the impressive Curtis Aspden to get past. Adam Luca, David Price and Brodie Martin operate in the middle of the park with the attacking drive out wide coming from Jason Mirco and Jack Doyle. Dejan Gurovski has been in terrific touch of late and will need to be closely watched regardless of whether he is partnered with David Foster or Todd Harnwell.
Perth have put a tumultuous few weeks behind them with Gianfranco Circati focused on starting his coaching rein with silverware. What impact Greg Sharland has in the final third is going to be vital to their chances of success, and fellow attackers David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera will also be out to upset the Gulls. Youngsters Josh Perirea and Daniel Coletta have been impressive in recent weeks and will partner Dom De Felice in midfield with Robert Sciascia and Matt Danskin likely to take up the wide roles. Defensively Perth are very solid with Devon Spence tucked in behind Adam Bachillor, Trent Kay, Shaun Kilkelly and Craig Simpson.
SHAMROCK OUT TO STOP JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup will be shooting for back-to-back State League Reserves Cups when they face underdogs Shamrock Rovers in the final at Macedonia Park on Saturday (12.30pm). The club from the northern suburbs secured the league title last weekend and are tipped to complete the double. That may be easier said than done against a Shamrock line-up which is second in Division One and accounted for top flight outfit Floreat Athena in the semi-finals.
Having guided Joondalup to the regular season title, coach David Tough has set his sights on the league and Cup double. “We are undefeated in the last 16 games, have gone the whole season undefeated at home and can only lose the league on goal difference,” he said. “In the squad we’ve got a number of match winners, Jordan Dodd, Josh Brook and Jake Cooper Benson can all cause problems to any team. All my players are well aware that this is going to be a hard game, we’re well prepared and ready to retain the Cup.”
Shamrock coach Mark Gillians has no complaints with the underdog tag that has been placed on his team. “This is a huge game for us, another big challenge for the boys but we are up for it. The boys have trained consistently hard and I am sure we will do our very best to bring the Cup to Shamrock,” said Gillians. “For us to succeed on Saturday the whole team will have to play as one. Each player will have a role to play and will need to be focused on the job in hand.”
FLOREAT TIPPED TO TRUMP BAYSWATER
Floreat Athena have been installed as the firm favourite to lift the 2011 State League Under-18’s Cup over Bayswater City at Macedonia Park on Saturday (10.00am). Should Floreat get their hands on the trophy it would be a fitting reward to a strong year for the club, however, underdogs Bayswater should by no means be counted out. The teams met only a fortnight ago in the league to play out a tense 3-3 draw, while their encounter of late April saw Floreat run out winners by 3-1.
It was a bumpy road to the final for Bayswater who scrapped past Balcatta (5-4 on penalties), Inglewood United (2-1) and Western Knights (5-4 on penalties) in the preliminary rounds. A Sebastian Melis hat-trick was at their heart of their 4-2 semi-final defeat of league leaders ECU Joondalup. “It will be a tough game against Floreat, but if we stay disciplined and follow the game plan we will certainly give the opposition a competitive and high pressured game,” said coach Aldo Trinca. “The boys have done well to reach this point, no matter what the outcome, and they will give it their best on Saturday.”
Floreat’s journey has been somewhat smoother with comfortable opening round wins against Ashfield (9-1), Armadale (6-1) and Stirling Lions (3-0). Their free-scoring habit flowed through into the round of four with a 7-2 demolition of Division One opponent Canning City courtesy of Nathan Scully’s double and singles from Ibrahim Hamad, Daniel Raso, Mark McLaughin, Daniel Tran and an own goal. “We have a team of players who depend and work for each other,” said coach Chris Barbas. “We have a great team spirit within the group, so it would be great to see one of my players have a big influence in a winning Cup Final.”
CANNAVARO TO PRESENT CUP
The stakes have been raised in the battle for the State League Cup with confirmation former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro will present the trophy to the winning team. It’s a major coup for Football West to organise for Cannavaro, who captained Italy when they lifted the 2006 World Cup, attend one Saturday’s blockbuster between Perth SC and Sorrento at Macedonia Park. “Clearly it is a great honour to have one of the world’s best players and most capped player for the Azzuri be present at one of our major matches for the season,” said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg.
Cannavaro, Italy’s most capped player with 136 appearances, is currently in Perth as an ambassador for Dubai club Al-Ahli Club, who will play Perth Glory at Perth Oval on Tuesday evening. “Visits like this cannot be over exaggerated,” add Hugg. “This training camp alone has contributed almost $400,000 to the WA economy and over the weekend, I hope to take the chance to explore future opportunities for return visits and maybe even the possibility of some form of formal exchanges between the UAE and WA. In the meantime, let us all get to Macedonia Park on Saturday to welcome Fabio to Perth.”
MATILDAS SELECTED FOR OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS
West Australia will be well represented as the Matildas head out on the road towards qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games. Local quartet Lisa De Vanna, Samantha Kerr, Collette McCallum and Lydia Williams have been selected in coach Tom Sermanni’s 20-player squad for next-months gruelling six-nation, 11 day round robin tournament in China from which the top two teams progress to next years’ tournament in London.
Australia’s squad for the 2012 Olympic Games qualifying tournament is Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Elise Kellond-Knight, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Sally Shipard, Emily van Egmond, Lydia Williams (Canberra United), Lisa De Vanna (magicJack), Heather Garriock (LdB Malmo), Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne Victory), Samantha Kerr, Collette McCallum (Perth Glory), Teigen Allen, Caitlin Foord, Kyah Simon, Servet Uzunlar, Sarah Walsh (Sydney FC) and Thea Slatyer (uncontracted).
HARNWELL TIPS THE GULLS TO FLY OFF WITH THE CUP
Experienced defender Jamie Harnwell says Sorrento will lift the State League Cup for the first time in their 40-year history this weekend. Harnwell, who was part of the Gulls side that lost the 1996 Final to Stirling Macedonia, has no doubt his team have what it takes to claim the trophy ahead of Perth SC. “Sorrento have created a lot of history over the past 15 years or so but the Cup is the one bit of silverware that has been missing over that time,” said Harnwell. “It would be great to be a part of the side that finally brings the Cup to Percy Doyle Reserve and all the boys recognise the significance of this game.”
A good run in the league which has taken Sorrento to third spot has served the team well leading into Saturday’s game at Macedonia Park. “There have been a few factors in the turnaround in results,” commented Harnwell. “We have been getting players back from injury and suspension and really starting to see some competition for places, which helps increase the tempo at training as well as during a game. We have also started to make the most of the chances that we have been creating. We are confident that we will score goals and they can come from a variety of different players.”
Perth responded to the recent appointment of coach Gianfranco Circati by thrashing Balcatta 4-0 last weekend, a result Harnwell says shows they have put aside any lingering off-field issues. “Everyone has been writing Perth off over the past couple of weeks but we know they are a good team with good individual players and can match it with any side,” he said. “The score line (against Balcatta) served as a timely reminder to us that we will have to be up for a big game … I don’t think it matters who is in charge when it comes to a Cup final, it’s all about what players stand up on the day.”
Saturday will be Sorrento’s fourth attempt to land the Cup and, although history may be again them, everyone at the club is positive and upbeat with Harnwell tipping his team to continue their recent league form. “We are confident of winning this game as we are confident of winning every game we play,” commented Harnwell. “We have started to have a much more settled team in recent weeks and we know we can score goals as well as stop them. We will need to make sure Perth doesn’t get in to their stride but we know we have players that will cause them a lot of problems.”
PERTH BACK TO THEIR BEST FOR FINAL: SHARLAND
Perth SC forward Greg Sharland expects Saturday’s State League Cup meeting with Sorrento to be a close encounter. It’ll be the first time these clubs have played off in the Cup Final but, going on previous league meetings, Sharland says very little will separate the teams come the end of the afternoon. “It’s going to be a very tight game with not many chances available for either team,” said Sharland. “People say ‘anything can happen in a final’ but if we play to our structure and keep organised as a team I am sure the chances we create can be scored.”
Perth’s preparation for the Cup Final has been far from ideal, the Blues chalking up just a single win from their last four league outings. “It has been a bit up and down in recent weeks, three bad losses – two of those at home – and we got into the bad habit of not winning,” commented Sharland, who played his part ending that run by scoring twice in last weekend’s 4-0 demolition of regular season champions Balcatta. “We were back to our best for that game. Our intensity was back, everyone worked very hard off the ball and for each other and that made a huge difference.”
Last week’s appointment of Gianfranco Circati as first team coach played a significant role in Perth getting the result at Balcatta according to Sharland. “A new coach brings a freshness to the team and all players are put on notice that they had to prove to the coaching staff they deserve the chance to play,” commented Sharland before paying tribute to former coach Ronnie Campbell, who steered Perth into the final. “Ronnie was a great motivator, I would like to thank him personally and from the team for all the effort and guidance he gave during his time at Perth.”
Sharland recognises Sorrento’s fighting spirit as one of the key attributes in their on-going success. “Sorrento are your typical English team who play a very high intensity game. They’ve had a great season and are back at the right end of the table where they belong after a couple of yo-yo years,” commented Sharland. “Even when they’ve not done so well in previous years, games between us were ones not to take lightly. With a lot of quality around the pitch we will need to be on top of our game from the first whistle to the last.”
Even so, Sharland believes his team hold advantages in key areas over Sorrento that will prove decisive on Saturday. “Stirling's ground is a wide field where we can hopefully get our passing game going. The movement our strikers have shown – especially on the weekend against Balcatta – makes it very difficult to defend against,” commented the Perth attacker. “If we can play together as a team again we can have a right go at it! And, hopefully, Kramer (Trent Kay) puts his boots on the right feet and can play a starring role for a change.”
THE COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY, PART ONE
This weekend’s State League Cup Final has been the talk of the town and it appears every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out. During the week footballwa.net’s Peter Simcox caught up with a number of Premier League coaches to get their thoughts on where the finalists – Perth SC and Sorrento – strengths lie before making a final score prediction...
Doug Hesketh of Stirling Lions says Perth will just edge it. “I’m expecting a very competitive, open final. Sorrento look to very strong flanks, Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson are excellent players but the same can be said for Perth wingers Robert Sciascia and Matt Danskin. Andreas Oliviera is a class act, Shaun Kilkelly is always steady at the back and Adam Bachiller is one to watch … Perth to sneak it 3-2.”
Western Knights were tipped out of the Cup in the semi-finals by Perth, who Carl Medica expects to go on and win the trophy. “They are a very experienced side who knows what it takes to win when it comes to finals,” commented Medica. “Also, they pose a greater threat attacking-wise with the likes of David Onoforo, Andreas Oliveira, Greg Sharland and Robert Sciascia, who all can turn a game on its head.”
Armadale were beaten in the semi-finals by Sorrento and coach Scott Miller expects the Gulls to take out the game. “Perth always tries to play nice football and construct their goals whereas Sorrento has a very direct approach (and) whoever can get the game played with their style will win,” said Miller. “Ryan Pearson gives the Gulls great drive and then you have the Harnwell brothers, Jamie and Todd. It’s a tough one but I’ll go for Sorrento 2-1.”
Taki Nicolaidis, assistant coach at Floreat Athena, is tipping the Cup to return to Dorrien Gardens. “Perth will win as they also have more goal scoring options, they have more big game players and showed last week against Balcatta that they have turned the corner,” said Nicolaidis. “Sorrento have showed greater consistent lately but if they are to win they will need to be at their best at the back, particularly Jamie Harnwell and Danny Cain.”
PERTH OVERLOOKED FOR INTERNATIONALS
Perth missed out on hosting an Olympic Games qualifier due to the Asian Football Confederation’s regulations relating to venue sponsorship. Football West had hoped the Olyroos’ opening qualifier would be played at Perth Oval, which is known as nib Stadium under a sponsorship deal, but AFC regulations require Olympic qualifier venues to be free of commercial signage. Instead the Olyroos will meet the United Arab Emirates at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. Perth was also overlooked for the Socceroos' World Cup qualifier against Thailand on 2 September.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg conceded the setback was a blow to the local game but stressed the organisation had not given up hope of securing an international fixture in the near future. He said the matter would be raised with Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley, who will visit Perth next week. “We understand and respect the circumstances of the decision,” Hugg told Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “We’ll keep trying. We won’t give up and Ben’s here next week and we’ll be asking him what we have to do to get a game.”
THE ROAD TO THE FINAL
The sun will be shining and the full house signs up at Macedonia Park tomorrow for one of the biggest games on the local football calendar – the State League Cup Final. Sorrento have been installed as pre-game favourite to lift the prestigious knock-out trophy, however, they must first find a way past a Perth SC side gunning for a record twelfth Cup. Both clubs worked hard in negotiating their way through to the preliminary rounds and who goes that one step further remains to be seen.
Sorrento’s campaign opened at Hartfield Park and a 4-1 defeat of Forrestfield United. After a scoreless first half, Sorrento raced to a two-goal lead through Jack Doyle and Todd Harnwell before Anthony Lyons pulled one back for the hosts after 71 minutes. Late finishes by Todd Harnwell and Jamie Harnwell secured the Gulls place in the next round. Perth chalked up the day’s biggest win, thumping Fremantle Croatia 7-0 with Andreas Oliviera returning five goals and Dom De Felice helping himself to a double.
Perth carried their free-scoring ways over into Round Two by accounting for Kingsway Olympic 6-0. Adam Bachiller, Dean Apelgren and an own goal gave the visitors a handy lead before David Onoforo converted a second half penalty and substitute Vlad Naumovski netted twice to complete the score line. It was a similar story at Percy Doyle reserve where first half goals by David Foster, Jamie Harnwell and David Foster were complimented by Dejan Gurovski’s strike off the bench to earn Sorrento a 4-0 win against Melville City.
The quarter finals had both Sorrento and Perth chalk up victory by 2-1. Brodie Martin and substitute Joe Allanson were on-target in the Gulls win at Shamrock Rovers, who grabbed a late consolation through Alan O’Mahoney. Perth fell behind Mandurah City after Jeff Bright netted just before the break but two minutes later were level through Greg Sharland. The outcome was decided in stoppage time by Dom De Felice, who shot through a sea of players after a goalmouth scramble.
Adam Bachiller struck twice to see off Western Knights 2-1 and send Perth through to the final. It took until the 58th minute for the opening goal to arrive, Bachiller cutting inside Duncan Hind before lashing past Fraser Siddall from 7-metres. Callum Roberts equalised seven minutes later by firing into an empty net after an attempted clearance by Devon Spence spilled his way. The game looked destined for penalties when Greg Sharland found Bachiller, whose shot was deflected into the net by Ryan Shackleton.
A trio of second half goals got Sorrento over the line 3-0 in their round of four clash at Armadale. The Gulls took the lead six minutes after the turnaround when Danny Cain’s in-swinging corner beat young goalkeeper Jack Adams. Todd Harwell’s low centre was side-footed into the net by an unmarked David Foster to double the margin before Armadale had Paul Lloyd sent off. The result was put beyond doubt by Foster’s diving header from Jason Mirco’s brilliant 78th minute cross.
SOCCEROO JONES BACKS DONATE BLOOD CUP FINAL (courtesy Football West)
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones has thrown his support behind this weekend’s Donate Blood Cup Final between Perth SC and Sorrento. Football West has teamed up with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to raise awareness of the ‘Donate Blood’ message in support of Jones and his son Luca, who is battling leukaemia. The four match officials will be kitted out in red uniforms, while both sets of players will be wearing red armbands.
Jones, a former Bayswater City player, is thrilled Football West are supporting the cause. “I’m delighted to see Football West team up with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service,” said Jones. “My son Luca has needed several blood transfusions in his battle with leukaemia. Without people donating he wouldn’t have been able to still be there fighting this horrible disease. If you can donate and help support the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, you could be giving someone a very special gift.”
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service will have staff present for pledging and a marquee providing plenty of information regarding the importance of blood and bone marrow donation. To become a bone marrow donor and possibly help Luca, call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95. Donors must be aged 18-40 and will become part of an international register. More information can be found at donateblood.com.au
THE COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY, PART TWO
This weekend’s State League Cup Final has been the talk of the town and it appears every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out. During the week footballwa.net’s Peter Simcox caught up with a number of Premier League coaches to get their thoughts on where the finalists – Perth SC and Sorrento – strengths lie before making a final score prediction...
Former Perth Glory defender Shane Pryce believes the trophy will go home with Perth. “In big games champion teams step up and with a change of coach and attitude at Perth I have to go with them,” said the Inglewood United boss. “Perth have too many game breakers in their side – David Onoforo, Andreas Oliviera and Shaun Kilkelly – and I think they will step up to the occasion win the game for Perth in a tight match.”
Mandurah City head Michael Brazil, whose side lost to Perth in the quarter-finals, is tipping a tight game from which Sorrento emerge triumphant. “Paul Price and Steve Neville have done an exceptional job with Sorrento, both in the league and the Cup, but we all know Perth are capable of beating any club and they certainly have the players who can hurt you,” reasoned Brazil. “Sorrento’s youth and hunger will get them over the line.”
For Bayswater City’s Mauro Marchione it’s Perth’s trophy. “Perth have a number of players who are highly experienced in playing this sort of game and in a final this kind of experience counts. There are a number of key players in the game, David Onoforo and Shaun Kilkelly for Perth and David Foster and Adam Luca for Sorrento … Perth will win, Gianfranco Circati won’t miss this opportunity in his first year of coaching.”
Another tipping a Perth win is Michael Roki, coach of home and away series winners Balcatta. “It could go either way on the day but Perth by rights have the name players, the big game experience and the more clinical finishers,” commented Roki, who feels Sorrento’s hope rest with a solid defensive performance. “Jamie Harnwell is the key to Sorrento keeping a clean sheet and giving the Gulls the chance to pinch a goal.”
INGLEWOOD GO SEEKING GLORY (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show )
It has been a long time between drinks for Inglewood United, whose last major trophy was the State League Cup in 1999 and the championship a few years earlier. This may not seem that long to some clubs but when you look at Inglewood’s facilities they are without a doubt at the pinnacle of State League football. Without the willing volunteers at the club and the financial support of the Kramer family, one has to wonder where the club would have been.
It is rumoured that change is just around the corner for Inglewood with Perth Glory poised to invest in the club, who’ll then become a feeder into the A-League side. This is a good move for Glory and for the State League, however, it will need to be handled very carefully. This season there have been many complaints about the National Training Centre coming straight into the Premier League, even more so that they played for no points.
If Glory buys into Inglewood will the latter remain Inglewood United? If not, then surely another club will have leapfrogged its way into the top flight even though having such players in the league would be a huge benefit to the league as a whole. The NTC were introduced as a supposed pathway to the A-League, so if Glory brings in their own side then surely the NTC playing in the top flight becomes redundant?
I am of the belief that Glory fielding a team in the Premier League is a step in the right direction - it has the potential to lift the current standard of football, bring more fans through the gates and possibly attract a few new sponsors to the local game. Should this happen it won’t be for at least two seasons. A lot can happen in that time and for it to work it needs to be given careful consideration and both sides of the argument must to be heard.
AMPHLETT STANDS DOWN AT JOONDALUP
Steve Amphlett has relinquished the coaching reins at ECU Joondalup. Appointed to the helm three seasons ago, Amphlett guided the northern suburbs club to finals football twelve months ago but admits this season has been difficult. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the job up to this year. The player’s response has been fantastic but I have not enjoyed it this year and have been very frustrated. I really believed I had a team capable of challenging but it was not to be,” explained Amphlett.
Amphlett took over at Joondalup early in 2009 and feels he has made a significant contribution to getting the club back on their feet. “I came in and steadied the ship after several coaching changes. (Last year) we had our highest finish in six years and made the top five,” explained Amphlett, whose teams’ poor disciplinary record has kept them rooted in the bottom half of the table this year. “There have been too many games where we had to win with only ten players, and not many games where I could choose the same side.”
Passionate about his football, Amphlett feels he has been stifled by officialdom this year. “I felt that Football West and the referees were going over the top with their view of my coaching style and in the end I just had to sit and watch instead of being the passionate, vocal person I am,” he said. “I could go on but just loads of things just frustrated me, I just got too involved in what was going on at the club instead of just concentrating on the team and now I need a break.”
Joondalup, like many Premier League clubs, are struggling with the financial demands of the game. “Our budget means we are now out of touch with players wage demands. We can not and will not pay the $500-$600 it takes to win the league, we would go bankrupt,” said Amphlett. “Probably the only way to halt this is to stop relegation and make promotion to the Premier League based on criteria, which includes having the finances to be able to cope. We had players approached to leave our club for much bigger wages but I’d like to thank them all for staying loyal to me and ECU Joondalup.”
Although he won’t be coaching, Amphlett plans to remain part of Joondalup’s backroom team. “I intend to stay at the club and ensure the next coach gets all the help he needs,” he commented. “That may not be financial, but it will ensure we continue to become as professional as possible, build the new club house and help ECU retain their status as a top academy. We can only help by continuing to produce our own players through our excellent academy structure.”
NEW BREED OF YOUNG SOCCEROO UNVEILED
Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen has brought a string of new faces into his squad for the SBS Cup in Japan later this week. The bulk of Australia’s 18-player squad is drawn from Australia with only one overseas-based player, Aaron Lennox, gaining selection. Perth Glory striker Jesse Makarounos is one of six players who turned out at the recent Under-17 World Cup in Mexico to be promoted to the Under-20 side. The Young Socceroos will face Shizuoka (18 August) followed by Japan (20 August) and Mexico (21 August) in the SBS Cup.
The Young Socceroos squad for the SBS Cup is Nicholas Munro (Adelaide Galaxy), Kwabena Boahene, Connor Chapman, Yianni Perkatis, Anthony Proia (Australian Institute of Sport), Corey Brown, Jason Geria, Alistair Quinn (Brisbane Roar), Andrew Hoole (Broadmeadow Magic), Jake Barker-Daish, Joshua Brillante, Elliott Ronto (Gold Coast United), Luke O'Dea (Melbourne Victory), Luke Remington (Newcastle United Jets), Jesse Makarounas (Perth Glory), Aaron Lennox (Queens Park Rangers), Joshua Da Silva (Sutherland Sharks) and Aaron Peterson (Sydney United).
DEVANNA LIFTS MAGICJACK TO VICTORY
Matilda’s striker Lisa De Vanna ensured magicJack end their roller-coaster season on a high note by tallying both goals in a 2-1 victory over second-placed Philadelphia Independence on Sunday. The win secured Florida-based magicJack third in the Women’s Professional Soccer league and place in the finals series. magicJack seized the initiative after 10 minutes when De Vanna was played through by Ella Masar and finished low inside the far post. Shortly after halftime the same two players combined with De Vanna this time angling her shot across the outstretched goalkeeper. magicJack are scheduled to meet Boston Breakers on Wednesday in the first round of the playoffs.
BIRIGHITTI TAKES POSITIVES FROM WORLD CUP
The Young Socceroos may have made an early exit from the recent Under-20 World Cup but Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he is definitely better off for the experience. Although disappointed with Australia’s results in Colombia – they took one point from three games – Birighitti says playing against quality opposition on the world stage has improved him as a player. “It did an enormous amount. Just playing against world class players that are playing for big clubs in Europe and around the world, it was a good indication to see where I’m at,” said Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior.
An opened game draw with Ecuador coupled with a loss to Costa Rica meant Australia had to beat Spain to progress beyond the group stage. “They scored in the first minute of the game and little errors cost us, and if you’re at that level playing against good opposition on the world stage you’re going to get punished,” Birighitti recalls of Spain’s 5-1 win. “It was disappointing, you don’t want to get knocked out of the group stage. The ideal scenario was to get out of the group stage, make the round of 16 and from there it’s anyone’s game.”
Birighitti was given the responsibility of captaining the Young Socceroos for that meeting with Spain, having also led the team in a pre-tournament friendly with Korea Republic. “Captaining your country at a World Cup – it’s a dream come true and it wasn’t the result that we wanted (against Spain), but it’s a real honour representing your country and I do that with an enormous amount of pride,” Birighitti said. “When I put on that shirt it’s an unbelievable feeling and hopefully it can continue in the future.”
Having trained solidly since the last A-League season ended to prepare himself for the World Cup, Birighitti could be excused for wanting to take time off and relax a little. Instead, he’s thinking about getting straight back into training with Adelaide. “I’ll have three or four days and then get back into it straight away,” Birighitti said. “I feel good, my body feels fine and I’m just looking forward to getting back into training with United again. As a goalkeeper I don’t think you get burnt out too much.”
PERTH SPOILS BALCATTA’S PARTY
Perth SC responded to a mid-week change of coach by thrashing a ten-man Balcatta 4-0 at Grindleford Reserve. Matthew Danskin gave the Blues a first half lead but it wasn’t until late that the game was made safe by Rob Sciascia and a stunning brace by Greg Sharland. “We played well today, it’s probably been one of the toughest week the club as ever had. It was great to see the boys go out there and play like that and put the turmoil behind them,” said Perth captain David Onoforo. “It sets us up nicely for the Cup final next week.”
Balcatta, who were presented the Premier League trophy at the end of the afternoon, fashioned the first couple of chances which John Migas and David Micevski put too close to goalkeeper Devon Spence. After taking their time to settle, the visitors threatened on 17 minutes through Andreas Oliveira’s low shot that Lewis Italiano saved. Chances continued to present at both ends but neither Daniel Micevski nor Perth debutant Josh Wilkins could find a way through. The deadlock was broken on 39 minutes when Wilkins released Danskin who got past Jovo Pavlovic and Adam Tong before finishing clinically from 9-metres.
The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Spencer Harris’ long-range shot whistled just high of the crossbar. Balcatta went even closer to equalising on 64 minutes when Steve Burton’s header crashed off the bar and at close-range substitute Ashley Rosindale put wide the follow-up. The game took a dramatic twist three minutes later when Pavlovic was issued his marching orders by referee Mathew Cheeseman for a two-footed tackle on Onoforo. Oliveira and Vatistas also had their names taken in the melee that followed.
Perth made the most of their numerical advantage count on 73 minutes, Josh Pereira playing out of the middle of the park to Sharland who outpaced Daniel Micevski before crossing to the back post where Sciascia fired in. Balcatta conceded again eight minutes later when Sharland collected the ball some 23-metres out and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner. With seven minutes remaining Sharland again shot into the top corner from distance, this time after taking possession of a pass from Vlad Naumovski, to complete a memorable Perth win.
FOOTBALL WEST MAKE CANNAVARO AN OFFER
Italy’s World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro could be make a guest appearance at next Saturday’s State League Cup Final. Cannavaro, one of the best defenders of his generation, will spend this week in Perth in his role as ambassador for Dubai club Al Ahli, who are already in town for a training camp. Football West have invited Cannavaro, who played for Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus, to present the trophy to the victorious Perth SC or Sorrento team following the State League Cup Final at Macedonia Park next weekend.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg confirmed an approach had been made and hoped for a positive response. “We’ve spoken to the team delegation and as part of a number of activities surrounding their visit an invitation has been issued to Fabio to attend the Donate Blood Cup final as a VIP guest,” Hugg told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “Hopefully we’ll have confirmation of that very shortly.” Al Ahli have already played ECU Joondalup and the National Training Centre and are scheduled to meet Balcatta (17 August), Perth Glory Youth (21 August) and Perth Glory (24 August).
SORRENTO SOAR TO NEW HEIGHTS (with Chris Correia, Football West)
Sorrento took second spot on the Premier League table with a convincing 3-1 victory over Armadale at Percy Doyle Reserve. A first half own goal had the Gulls in front by the break with Dejan Gurovski and Jarad Love taking the difference to three goals before Armadale captain Steve McDonald scored with a late header. “It was an important win with the State League Cup Final only seven days away, and also because it keeps our hopes of a top two finish alive,” said Gurovski.
The early passages were tight as the teams sized up their opponents by prodding and probing for openings. Tom Robinson created the games’ first genuine chance by going past home defender Jamie Harnwell but his shot was miraculously kept out by the foot of goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. There was no such luck for his opposite number, Cyril Sharrock, who could only watch as Ryan Pearson’s low free-kick was deflected off Matt Barlow and into the bottom corner after 24 minutes.
Armadale thought they should have a penalty after Warren Beattie appeared to be fouled by Aspden, however, referee Michael Nugus waved away all subsequent appeals. Sorrento continued to work towards a second goal, Pearson’s left-foot bomb was a whisker away from finding the back of the net while Brodie Martin was denied a certain goal by the brilliance of Matt Bennion. Going the other way, Tom Kennedy got around Jarad Love but shot past the far post.
The visitors continued to press in the second half and Barlow had the target in his sights when Jamie Harnwell applied a superb tackle to prevent the attacker getting off a shot. David Price came off the bench on 63 minutes with almost immediate impact, the Sorrento midfielder playing the ball to then receiving it back from Pearson before delivering a lovely cross which Gurovski netted at close-range to double the hosts lead.
Craig Robson’s foul on Todd Harnwell left the referee little option but to point to the penalty spot in the 86th minute with Love converting to secure all three points for the home side. Armadale consoled themselves a minute later with James Robinson, in his final State League appearance, swinging a corner onto the head of McDonald who made no mistake beating Aspden. The closing stages passed without further incident before Nugus sounded his whistle for the last time.
FINALS A CHANCE FOR BAYSWATER (with Karl Travaglini, Football West)
Bayswater City remain a chance for the end of season finals after coming away from a bruising encounter at Nash Field with a 2-1 win against Western Knights. All three goals arrived in the first half with Gavin Knight and Gustavo Marulanda netting for the visitors either side of a penalty conversion from Stuart Montgomery. The three points gained moves Bayswater in sixth spot and needing victory in their final game of the season – at Inglewood United in a fortnight – to make the play-offs.
Bayswater opened their account after 10 minutes, Marulanda gaining possession near the halfway line and advancing inside the 18-yard box before laying off for strike partner Knight to slide into the net. The margin was very nearly doubled ten minutes later when Knight tried his luck from 16-metres with the shot finishing high. It took until the 35th minute for the Knights to threaten, Luka Jukic chipping an inviting cross for Simon Versaico but his header smacked into the upright.
Nathan Diaz’s clumsy foul on Johnny Mirco eight minutes out from half-time led referee David Scragg to award the home side a penalty, Montgomery stepping up to slot past goalkeeper Gianni Papalia and bring the sides level. It stayed that way just three minutes before a long pass out of defence found Knight who ran the ball deep then cut it back into the area where Cisco Jorquera stepped over for the on-coming Marulanda to smash into the net Bayswater’s second goal.
If the first 45 minutes was anything to go by, then the second half was going to be a thrill-a-minute. However, that didn’t eventuate with the only real chance being a speculative Marulanda drive which Fraser Siddall tipped onto the post and out of play. The main talking point was the dismissal of Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione following a melee sparked by James Morgan’s rash challenge on Jorquera, Beyond the final whistle, Jukic was also issued his marching orders for his part in a heated exchange with Luka Njegich.
COCKBURN PENALISED BY INGLEWOOD (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Inglewood United have strengthened their claim on a top five finish with a controversial 5-2 win over relegated Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Referee Hugh Best awarded the visiting team three penalties – all of which were converted – to effectively decide the game. “When you’re bottom of the league, you tend not to get decisions,” Mick Lyons, coach of Cockburn, said. “Overall though, we haven’t scored as many goals as we should have and we’ve conceded too many. Some of my young lads will have learnt from this season. Hopefully we’ll be a lot better from this experience.”
Inglewood showed great composure from the get-go and with 14 minutes on the clock James Sammut converted their first spot kick awarded for Evan Grant’s foul on Ndumba Makeche. Cockburn did their best to hit back but struggled to exert any meaningful pressure on the Inglewood backline. Two goals in three minutes leading into half-time swung the game well in the visitors favour. On 42 minutes Ryan Clarke slipped the ball to Makeche, who got to the by-line before pulling back for David Perich to slot in. Makeche then got in on the act, capping off a lightning break by rounding goalkeeper Michael Petkovic to net.
Fired up by Lyons, Cockburn emerged from the break with a totally new outlook. Three minutes after the restart Marc Anthony brilliantly half-volleyed past Oliver Taseski after his initial free-kick came back off the defensive wall. The gap was further reduced on 55 minutes when Declan Boyham headed in from a corner to give the home side hope of taking something from the afternoon. Anthony’s pass into the 18-yard box clipped team mate Scott McCulloch and looped over Taseski, who breathed a sigh of relief when the ball rebound back to him off the post.
Cockburn pressed forward with determination but lacked the creativity required to unlock the visiting side for a third time. Inglewood retook control on 70 minutes when Jason Colli made no mistake from the spot after Sammut went down under the challenge of Anthony. Taseski made sure Anthony wouldn’t find the target on 84 minutes, pushing wide the Cockburn captain’s powerful strike after being set up by Rory Feely. A minute later Inglewood made it five with Makeche beating Petkovic after a dubious foul on Perich which the referee deemed to be inside the box.
AMPHLETT SIGNS OFF ON A HIGH
ECU Joondalup farewelled coach Steve Amphlett by defeating Floreat Athena 3-0 at Litis Stadium. John Thornley scored twice from the penalty spot with Tommy Jones sealing the win in Amphlett’s last game in charge of the northern suburbs club. “The players were determined to finish the season on a high and provided one of their performances of the season,” said Joondalup’s delighted coach. “It was also Charlie Comyn-Platt’s last game for the club, he was paired with Dale McCulloch and probably had his best game of the season. But everyone played their part, it was good to finish with a win!”
The left-sided partnership of Jarred Smith and Callum O’Connell was influential in Floreat’s positive start. Liam Boland hit the junction of post and crossbar with a looping header that cleared goalkeeper Andy Banks, Damian Catalano dragged wide of the near post and Paul Van Dongen had the ball swept from within his path by Comyn-Platt. Joondalup eventually got into rhythm, an explosive half-volley by Scott Bushby wasn’t too far off-target while Alex Dunn did well to take Jon Higgins’ shot which bounced up off an uneven surface.
On 29 minutes John Thornley fired the visitors into the lead by sending Dunn the wrong way from the penalty spot after he was felled by Julian Madaschi. Floreat went within inches of an immediate reply but Madaschi’s close-range attempt was blocked by Banks after James Isaia’s free-kick went to feet. As half-time neared Banks thrust out a glove to push Michael Van Dongen’s first time strike away from the top corner, and two minutes Madaschi’s corner evaded the ‘keeper and was hooked to safety by Thornley.
Floreat held sway at the start of the second half, pilling on the pressure as they sought to draw level. However, Thornley almost doubled the visitors lead with a pacey counter attack which ended with the striker drilling not too far beyond the top corner. A dubious foul on McCulloch by Madaschi after 62 minutes led Trent Fleskens to awarded Joondalup a second penalty before farcically sending off Madaschi, only to change his mind after consulting his assistant. Once order was restored, Thornley made it two-nil by sending Dunn the wrong way.
The game was made safe immediately after the restart, Jones steaming straight down the middle to confidently slot under Dunn. Bushby was within inches of bagging Joondalup a fourth goal on 71 minutes when his neat flick came down just the wrong side of the bar. Floreat continued to plug away in the hope of clawing a way back in but they found very few genuine openings in a defence under the command of Comyn-Platt and McCulloch. Only substitute Daniel Trevisiol tested Banks, who tipped wide the low angled strike.
STIRLING ACCOUNT FOR NTC
A couple of second half goals earned Stirling Lions a 2-0 win over the National Training Centre on a gloomy afternoon at Macedonia Park. The NTC dominated the opening stanza but entered the break with nothing to show before Jamie Watt broke the deadlock with Clayton Arnez sealing victory midway through the second half. “We were excellent on the ball in the first half but struggled physically in the second,” said NTC coach Kenny Lowe. “We got behind them on numerous occasions but when the ball went into the box we wanted too many touches.”
Playing with a strong wind, the NTC dominated the first half and would have gone ahead after 11 minutes had Sahr Musa been able to make more of a defensive lapse. Sebit Oyet curled wide from the top of the 18-yard box while successive shots by Reece Vittiglia were blocked by Luke Woodard and Dennis Galan. Stirling suffered a blow on 21 minutes when Campbell exited the game following a collision with Oyet, 16-year old Drew Jenke stepping in for his first team debut.
Stirling didn’t threaten until four minutes later when Watt’s volley was kept out by Francis Soale. The NTC were playing some great football and on 28 minutes Vittiglia’s free-kick was well taken by Jenke. A short corner move caught the home defence napping as Daniel Dols headed just high from Blamo QuaQua’s cross. Either side could have scored leading into the break, Vittiglia curling against the crossbar before Watt was thwarted by James Marocchi’s fantastic covering tackle.
Whatever coach Doug Hesketh said at the interval worked a treat as, ten minutes in, Galan and Bobby Wilson combined for Watt to break the deadlock from 7-metres. Soale was at full stretch to tip over Phil O’Callaghan’s effort from 16-metres and soon after Jason Gavin’s powerful header crashed off the post as the hosts took control. Stirling were rewarded with a second goal on 73 minutes, Arnez sending into an empty net from 18-metres with Soale caught out of position.
DROUGHT BREAKS AT CANNING
Canning City have ended the State league’s longest winless run by dumping Fremantle Spirit 2-0 at Burrendah Reserve. Goals inside the opening quarter hour by Emlyn Whetnall and Josh Findlater were enough to give Canning their first win in seventeen league games. “It was a good win and could have been by a few more goals, but we are just happy to get the points,” commented Whetnall. “The past two weeks has seen a vast improvement at Canning and this result will boost confidence, especially for some of the young boys in the team.”
The ball had been in motion just 3 minutes when a corner floated in from the right came off Whetnall and finished up into the top corner of Elhoussaine Atekhis’ net. That lead was doubled ten minutes later, Findlater heading in a curling free-kick by Matt Blake. Whetnall could have added a third goal before the break but placed wide after good work in the lead-up by Findlater. Fremantle came more into the game as half-time approached and were unlucky not to reduce the deficit via a Caleb Aquino free-kick that hit the bottom of the post.
Canning regained control as the second half began, continually harassing their opponents into conceding possession. On 51 minutes Findlater played through Whetnall who was thwarted in the one-on-one when Atekhis thrust out a glove to turn the ball around his post. Both teams created numerous half chances across the remainder of the afternoon with Canning always looking the more likely to score. That said, Fremantle were by no means out of the contest and on several occasions caused considerable concern for the home defence, which was pleased when the final whistle sounded.
BUNBURY RETURN TO THE SUMMIT
Bunbury Forum Force jumped back into the winners’ circle – and the top of Division One – by thrashing Forrestfield United 7-2 at Hay Park. Oliver McGee and Michael Marten scored twice each with Jayden Prosser, Jon Brooks and Ashley Young also finding the net to end Bunbury’s two-game losing streak. The home side asserted their authority early with Prosser posting their opening goal after 11 minutes by converting a cross from Brooks.
McGee fed Brooks to double the margin before those roles were reversed with McGee volleying in from Brooks’ delivery after 16 minutes. Anthony Lyons gave Forrestfield a way back into the game by stabbing into the net from 14-metres a centring ball from Julian Kesacott on 34 minutes. However, Bunbury returned fire just three minutes later when Marten lobbed the goalkeeper Luke Woodfin to send his team into the break with a three-goal buffer.
Bunbury started the second half much like the first, Marten and Young finding the net by the time the 53rd minute had ticked by. A flowing move from the visitors twelve minutes later was finished in the bottom corner by Simon El Chami from the edge of the 18-yard box. McGee had the final say by lobbing the ‘keeper for Bunbury’s final goal seven minutes from full-time. The win rekindles Bunbury’s hopes of gaining promotion to the top flight come the end of September.
SWAN TAKE FLIGHT OVER WANNEROO
Swan United moved to within a point of top spot in Division One after grinding out a 1-0 win over Wanneroo City at the Swan Italian Club. In a game of few chances, Anthony McStea’s goal midway through the first half was enough to give the black and whites the points and extend their unbeaten run to eight-games. “It was a horrible win, but we’ll take it,” said coach John O’Reilly. “We played bad but won, which is a true sign of a team with winning determination.”
There were very few highlights in the opening passages as the two sides scrapped for possession and negated the other’s attacking forays. The games’ deciding moment arrived on 25 minutes when Rory Hollingum surged down the left and crossed for Aaron Colli, his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Clint Davies who was helpless as McStea put away the rebound. Chances presented at both ends of the park as the half came to a close, Davies denying Tom Shepheard before Josh Booysen’s effort was cleared off the line by Rob Monterosso.
Wanneroo again opened up the home defence on the hour when a Sahr Konomanyi’s header was kept out of the net by ‘keeper Daniel Agudelo. McStea went close to doubling Swan’s lead a few minutes later, the midfielder firing wide with the goal at his mercy after being found unmarked by John Monterosso. Wanneroo pressed hard to salvage something from the afternoon as the clock ticked down but could find no way through a defence marshalled by Rob Monterosso and Rory Mouttet.
GOSNELLS KNOCK OFF SHAMROCK (courtesy Gosnells City)
Shamrock Rovers stay at the top of Division One is over after being trounced 3-0 by Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. Darren Francis, Adrian McBride and Ian Maguire netted inside the half hour to set-up Gosnells’ second win in as many weeks. “We seem to have found a bit of form, but to be fair we shouldn’t be where we are on the league,” said Gosnells coach Tony Maguire. “We comfortably ran out convincing winners thanks to a whole team effort which was fantastic.”
It took Gosnells just a minute to post the opening goal, McBride delivering a wonderful free-kick which Francis headed powerfully into the net. The home side quickly went searching for another and got one in the 14th minute when McBride brilliantly curled a free-kick into the net from 22-metres. Maguire, Ravi Kuppasamy and David Tough had chances to further increase Gosnells’ lead. Their luck changed in the 29th minute when Kuppasamy robbed a defender and laid the ball off for Maguire to smash in from close-range.
In an attempt to unsettle the home side and get themselves back in the game, Shamrock switched to a three-man attack for the second period but were continually held out by a well-organised defence. The pressure on Gosnells intensified on 72 minutes when Brent Mayhew was issued sent off following a second yellow card offence. Veteran goalkeeper Alan Dunlop brilliantly denied the visitors what looked a certain goal soon. With Shamrock pushing forward in numbers Francis and Jamie Burns almost snuck through for a fourth time on the counter attack.
NO WINNER FROM BRUISING DERBY (courtesy Morley Windmills)
An action-packed derby between Morley Windmills and Ashfield saw the points shared 3-3 at at Wotton Reserve. In a highly entertaining but spiteful game, Morley went ahead three times but on each occasion had that lead reeled in. The home side posted their first goal after 25 minutes with Ryan Frisina finding the target after some good work down the right by fellow striker David Houston. Nine minutes later a defensive mix-up allowed Mladen Kovacevic to angle past goalkeeper Damien Todorovic at his near post.
The second was only three minutes old when Adriano D’Adamo received the ball wide on the left and beat one defender before chipping Brad Eiffe from 20-metres. Ibnen Charming equalised in the 57th minutes by scrambling the ball over the line despite a push on Todorovic which the referee failed to notice. A tidy lead-up involving D’Adamo, Frisina and Houston was swept into the net by Andy O’Neill from 10-metres to put the home side back in the box seat after 73 minutes.
It took Ashfield only four minutes to reply through Jason Feather, who bundled the ball across the line at close-range. By this stage the game had deteriorated into a series of late and dangerous challenges with the referee seemingly haven lost his authority. Amid this Frisina lost his cool and was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card. Ashfield’s attempt to capitalise saw livewire attacker Alex Stamatiadis come off the bench but after a frantic last few minutes the final whistle sounded.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The finals race takes centre stage in the Premier League tomorrow with the highlight being Western Knights against Bayswater City at Nash Field. Carl Medica’s team have taken points from their last two games and is looking for another good performance to secure their place in the play-offs. “A win for us would cement a spot in the top five and, depending on other results, a win for Bayswater could see them slip into the five,” said the Knights coach. “They are one of the form teams at the moment, undefeated in their last seven league games, so this will be a great challenge for us.”
There’s a very good chance a home win for Sorrento against Armadale will put them into second spot by the end of the weekend. The Gulls head into the game as red hot favourites, unbeaten in their last three games and with Jared Love, Brodie Martin and Todd Harnwell at the top of their games. Armadale are breathing easier after avoiding relegation and need big efforts from Matt Barlow and Marlon Ramirez if they’re to farewell star import James Robinson in the manner he deserves.
Floreat Athena must collect all the points on offer when they meet ECU Joondalup at Litis Stadium. Home coach Ante Kovacevic will look towards captain Julian Madaschi, James Isaia and Paul Van Dongen to give them the edge. Not a great deal has gone right this season for Joondalup and coach Steve Amphlett would no doubt like to finish the season on a positive note. John Thornley, Scott Bushby and Dale McCulloch will be key figures if they are to achieve that.
Relegation is now evitable for Cockburn City who are on home soil to Inglewood United. Cockburn’s 37-year stay in the Premier League is almost over but before it ends Marc Anthony, Rory Feely, Jon Davite and Jason Godfrey will give their all to bring some light to what has been a very frustrating winter for the club. It’s time for Adrian Caceres, Ryan Clarke and Dannie Richman to get their stakes on and end Inglewood’s four-game winless run, if that doesn’t happen they may just miss out on the finals.
Balcatta will receive the Premier League winner’s trophy at the conclusion of Sunday’s top of the table clash with Perth SC at Grindleford Reserve. The home side enter the afternoon as strong favourite, Adam Tong and Steve Burton have led by example with goalkeeper Lewis Italiano possibly the signing of the season. Perth, who sacked coach Ronnie Campbell in midweek, have taken nothing from their last three outings and unless they end that their top five spot will be in jeopardy. All five Premier League games – be they Saturday or Sunday – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The winner-take-all showdown between promotion chasing Swan United and Wanneroo City at the Swan Italian Club is the pick of tomorrow’s Division One action. “We have to treat every game from now on like a Cup Final if we are to win the league,” commented Wanneroo midfielder Guy McDonald. “If we can win at Swan then we could possibly put them out of contention. It will be difficult though, Swan are a class outfit and have shown their character recently be getting themselves back in the mix to win the league.”
Bunbury Forum Force faces the difficult task of re-establishing their championship credentials by hosting one of the competition’s form sides, Forrestfield United. Successive losses may have knocked Bunbury from top spot but they remain confident of returning to the summit in time for seasons’ end. In order to do that they’ll first need to get the better of a Forrestfield side which is unbeaten in five games. There are match winners in both camps with Ashley Young and Jon Brooks the hosts players to watch, while for Forrestfield it’s Andy Harold and Anthony Lyons.
It’ll be a confident Gosnells City side that steps out onto Walter Padbury Reserve to play Shamrock Rovers, who sit on top of the table with six games to play. Ashfield makes the short trip down the road to play Morley Windmills in what promises to be a classic derby between two sides determined to make a statement as the season comes to a close. A late revival saw Dianella White Eagles collect a long-overdue point last weekend and a full 90 minute performance on home soil against Rockingham City could lead to their first win in three months.
Canning City are confident of ending their 16-game pointless at home to Fremantle Spirit. “The game against Fremantle will be your typical bottom of the table dogfight. They have six points and we have none so we have it all to play for,” said home coach Richard Francisco, who team went down last weekend by a single goal to Shamrock Rovers. “We were unlucky not to get something out of that game. Saturday is going to be another tough one, but then every game is hard when you’re in our position.” All six Division One games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
THE SEASON IS IN OUR HANDS SAYS BUNBURY CAPTAIN
Bunbury Forum Force have put aside a disappointing fortnight and will now push on and win the Division One championship according to club captain Jordan Rispin. Back-to-back losses to Swan United and Wanneroo City led to Bunbury’s removal from the top of the table for the first time this season but Rispin says those blips were only temporary and that the teams’ true character will be revealed in coming weeks. “We have six games left and our motivation is that winning all six will see us crowned champions,” said the defender. “We are positive and believe in the team we have. The season is still in our hands and we know what has to be done.”
Bunbury can reignite their title aspirations by taking all three points over Forrestfield United on Saturday at Hay Park, where they’ve won all eight league encounters this year. Although confident his team can extend that record, Rispin knows the danger in underestimating an opponent that is unbeaten in five games and occupies fifth on the table. ““Forrestfield are always a difficult team to play, even more so for us coming off two defeats,” he said. “But we are focussed on our job and now it’s boiled down to a mini season in a season in which the best team over the next six games wins promotion.”
Shamrock Rovers head into the final rounds of the Division One season sitting on top of the table, holding two point lead over Bunbury and Wanneroo with Swan, who are unbeaten in seven games, also well within striking distance. With tough games coming up for all four contenders, Rispin expects the race will only be decided on the final day of competition. “There will be still some twists and turns in the remaining games with Wanneroo still to play Swan and Shamrock,” he commented. “We will see on the 24th of September who the best team is and we hope it’s us sitting in top spot come 5pm that day.”
CAMPBELL AXED BY PERTH
Perth SC have sensationally parted company with coach Ronnie Campbell less than a fortnight out from the State League Cup Final. Campbell’s coaching tenure at Dorrien Gardens lasted only ten months but in that time he achieved considerable success with the club, guiding them to victory in the pre-season Charity Shield, to second in the Premier League in addition to a spot in the Cup Final with Sorrento. “I have no regrets, I gave the job 100% effort and commitment,” commented Campbell. “To be honest I’m shocked and disappointed with the decision, and it surprises me that it was made with president Joe Italiano away in Europe.”
The fact Campbell, who took over late last year from Graham Normanton, has effectively taken Perth to into this year’s finals series is a testament to his ability to get the best out of players. The coach rallied against and overcame many obstacles, amongst them a lengthy injury list and player absences due to suspension and for other reasons, to keep Perth near the top of the table. With so many players absent – no fewer than nine players were unavailable last weekend – Campbell was forced to bring into his squad several players from the club’s youth ranks who, perhaps, were not quite ready for senior football.
Former Perth Glory defender Gianfranco Circati has been installed to lead the club for the remainder of the season. “My best wishes go to Gianfranco and the players,” said Campbell “I hope the boys win the Cup and then the Grand Final.” Circati, who was Campbell’s assistant, enjoyed a lengthy playing career in Italy where he turned out for Serie B and Serie C sides Siracusa, Modena, Salernitana, Savioa, Cosenza, Cagliari and Padova. He first experienced Australia in early 1999 during a 15-game spell with Glory and returned seven years later to play four seasons at Perth before hanging up his boots.
SOCCEROOS TOO GOOD FOR WALES
Australia notched up a 2-1 friendly win over Wales in the first ever senior international between the two nations. Tim Cahill and Robbie Kruse put the Socceroos into a comfortable position before Darcy Blake pulled a goal back in the closing stages at Cardiff City Stadium. “Timmy is always a threat for the opponent’s defence and he scored a goal which was another good combination play,” said Australian coach Holger Osieck, who was pleased with the strike partnership of Cahill’s and Scott McDonald. “I think Scotty McDonald did a great job today, he did a lot of running for the team and defensively he did great.”
Australia had the better of the chances throughout the match with the Wales' back four looking wobbly at times. Carl Valeri scuffed a good opportunity from the edge of the 18-yard box midway through the first half while on 35 minutes Luke Wilkshire’s stinging 25-metre shot crashed off the near post. The match stirred to life just before the break with Gareth Bale going down inside the area under pressure from Brett Emerton. A minute later the Socceroos edged in front, Wilkshire delivered a teasing cross which Cahill volleyed past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from close-range.
Kruse came off the bench at half-time and within two minutes forced Hennessey into blocking his shot with Valeri’s follow-up rebounding off the post. Wales finally got a look at goal in the 50th minute but substitute Jack Collison’s effort was high. The Socceroos doubled their lead when Cahill, Kruse and Scott McDonald combined with the latter’s low cross parried by Hennessey to Kruse, who made no mistake netting from 5-metres. With seven minutes left Wales found themselves a consolation goal, an unmarked Darcy heading beyond the reach of Mark Schwarzer from a Gareth Bale corner. West Australian Rhys Williams came on at half-time.
FINANCIAL WOES LEAD ARMADALE TO TAKE STOCK
Declining sponsorship dollars has led Armadale to re-consider whether the Premier League is where they want to be. Reds club president Tony Greipl said his club are finding the going tough this year with the economic downturn affecting small business which, when combined with falling crowds and club membership numbers, is putting their top flight status in jeopardy. “We’re not going broke at this stage but sponsorship is definitely the big one, something we’re really struggling with,” Greipl told Jaime Shurmer of the ‘Comment News’.
To remain competitive in the Premier League Armadale needs annual sponsorship upwards of $40,000 but Greipl says his club has achieved around half figure this year. “The State Premier League is the equivalent of the WAFL, it’s the next level down from Perth Glory,” he said. “To continue to be in that league costs money, tens of thousands, before you start playing and there are associated costs each week like equipment and uniforms.”
Football West are aware that a number of clubs are experiencing financial difficulties but chief executive Peter Hugg said the association will work with any ailing club to help keep their head above water. “Clubs pulling out of competitions - which essentially means lost opportunities for players to play the game - will always be the absolute last resort and we will do whatever we can to ensure that players are looked after and the sport continues to thrive,” commented Hugg.
Hugg said businesses were being more selective about how they spent their sponsorship dollars since the economic downturn. “The challenge for clubs is to be able to demonstrate to businesses in their immediate surrounds the value of their club to the community and for members to support such businesses which sponsor them,” Hugg commented. “After all, that is why businesses market their services through sport.” Football West offers financial management and budgeting training to club volunteers through its development program.
STAN LAZARIDIS MEDAL ANNOUNCED FOR CUP FINAL
Western Australia's most capped player, Stan Lazaridis, will be recognised with the best player in the State League Cup Final walking away with the inaugural Stan Lazaridis Medal. Lazaridis, whose glittering career spanned over 450 appearances in Australia and England, is thrilled have his achievements recognised by Football West. "I'm absolutely flattered, you don't expect anything like this at all," he said. "To be acknowledged like this is something special and I am honoured that Football West have done this. I made it in England as just a kid with a dream, and that's what any young footballer wants to do and I was lucky enough to do it."
Lazaridis, who started out with Floreat Athena before times as a professional with Adelaide United, West Ham United, Birmingham City and Perth Glory, is tipping Perth SC to lift the State League Cup over Sorrento on 20 August. "I'll probably say Perth, but Sorrento historically can cause an upset on the day - they were like that even when I was playing," he said. "I just love watching the local leagues and try to get around to as many games as I can, as well as being a keen follower of the A-League and the Glory. I think there will be a few goals in it but I'm tipping Perth, just."
WILLIAMS KEEN TO FACE OLD TEAM MATES
Rhys Williams didn't feel comfortable sitting on the bench for Wales against Poland in early 2009. Having represented Wales at youth level, Williams said playing for that nation's senior team was a different matter. "When the national anthem came on, I did not know it," said Williams, who was eligible to play for Wales through a Welsh grandfather. “At the time it was right and I enjoyed it but at the end of the day it did not feel right (to play for Wales at senior level). I am Australian and my family is Australian. I want to play for my country and not someone else's."
Fortunately for Australia, then Wales boss John Toshack opted not to call Williams onto the pitch against Poland. "If I had come on that would have ended it," said the versatile Middlesbrough player. "I was in the squad a few times for the first team but never got on. It was meant to be that I played for Australia." With Williams on the verge of becoming a Welsh international, then Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek welcomed the versatile youngster into the Socceroos fold before handing him a senior international debut against Japan in June 2009.
Williams, who now has five caps for Australia, is unlikely to start against Wales but remains hopeful of making an appearance off the bench. Should that eventuate, the 23-year old will be in the odd position of having played more games with opponents such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey than his Socceroos team mates. "Their team now is pretty much the Under-21s team we had so it will be nice to be lining up against them," said Williams. "I am looking forward to seeing some of my mates again." The first ever senior international between Wales and Australia takes place tonight in Cardiff.
ARMADALE SECURE SURVIVAL
Armadale will play in next seasons’ Premier League after defeating a ten-man Inglewood United 4-1 under light tonight at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Warren Beattie netted twice with Tom Robinson and Matt Barlow also on the scoresheet to ensure the Reds’ top flight survival and at the same time condemn Mandurah City and Cockburn City to relegation. The result leaves Inglewood, who had Rikki Smith sent off just before half-time, as one of four teams vying for the fifth finals spot.
Beattie gave Armadale just the sort of start they were after by exchanging passes with James Robinson to open up the defence and fire into the net from 10-metres with only 4 minutes gone. Cyril Sharrock had to be alert moments later to keep out a Rory Grant header as Inglewood began to spark. Their reward arrived on 13 minutes when Adrian Caceres’ clipped a pass over the defence to send through Ryan Clarke, who beat Sharrock with a low strike from 9-metres.
With the game in the balance, Armadale should have regained when James Robinson’s corner found an unmarked Steve McDonald but the team captain headed high at close-range. The Reds were doing all the attacking with Beattie and Ross Diamond sending the ball wide of the target. Inglewood suffered a major setback five minutes out from the break with defender Smith issued his marching orders for a last man foul on Barlow. The last chance of the period was the resulting free-kick, Craig Robson’s effort superbly saved by Oliver Taseski.
Both teams had chances to score early in the second half before, with 62 minutes played, Tom Robinson took possession on the right and cut past his marker to fire in from the top of the 18-yard box to put Armadale back in the ascendancy. Ten minutes later Barlow ran at the defence and from the edge of the area brilliantly lobbed goal number three over an advancing ‘keeper. The result was put beyond doubt with ten minutes to go when Beattie netted his second at close-range after Taseski spilled James Robinson’s corner.
Post-game, Scott Miller expressed his delighted with how the Armadale players responded to what has been a difficult period for the club. “Since the players were hit with the news they weren’t getting any money, they have to a man trained well and performed well,” commented Miller. “We thrashed the National Training Centre and beat Perth SC on Saturday. Tonight we knew it would be a tough test, they thrashed us 4-1 last time, but the players were fantastic and we deserved the win to keep us in the Premier League.”
RED CROSS TAKE UP CUP FINAL SPONSORSHIP
The upcoming State League Cup Final has been badged the ‘Donate Blood Cup Final’ under an agreement between Football West and Australian Red Cross Blood Service. The four match officials will be kitted out in red uniforms for the occasion while both players Perth SC and Sorrento players will don red armbands to help promote the cause. As part of the match day activities, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service will have staff present for pledging, and being able to provide plenty of information about donating blood.
The issue of blood donation carries special significance in local football circles as the son of Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, who played at youth level for Bayswater City, needs a bone marrow transplant. Jones’ 5-year-old son Luca had a transplant last September, three months after being diagnosed with cancer, prompting his father to dramatically quit the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to be by his side. Luca has since been re-admitted to hospital after tests confirmed that acute myeloid leukaemia had reappeared.
Football West are keen to raise awareness of the need for more blood and bone marrow donors, and the Cup Final is the perfect stage for this. “With the case of young Luca still fresh in our minds from last year’s World Cup, it was fitting that we work with the Red Cross on this occasion,” said Peter Hugg, chief executive at Football West. “I would encourage everyone to attend The Donate Blood Cup Final, enjoy a wonderful day of football at the same time make a difference to someone who may need a blood transfusion in the event of an emergency.”
Red Cross Community Relations Officer Jackie Kallen says that WA needs over 3,000 blood donations each week to help save lives. “Many of us take our health for granted but one in three Australians will need donated blood during their lifetime,” she said. “This probably means that someone you know will need blood. The Donate Blood Cup Final invites everyone to roll up their sleeves and give blood to save lives and make a difference.” To become a bone marrow donor and possibly help Luca, call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95. More information can be found at donateblood.com.au
TOMBIDES INKS PROFESSIONAL DEAL
17-year old Tombides, a former Stirling Lions junior, put pen to paper on has been added to the Hammers' senior list and is expected to re-join the squad after completing a program treatment for testicular cancer. "Dylan is receiving the best possible care," West Ham doctor Sean Howlett told whufc.com. "All the doctors have advised Dylan he will make a full recovery in terms of his illness and his ability to return to his football career. He is undergoing the standard series of treatments for his condition which is a course of chemotherapy."
It was while in Mexico that Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which he is currently being treated for in London. "Dylan is receiving the best possible care. All the doctors involved have advised Dylan that he will make a full recovery in terms of his illness and his ability to return to his football career," said West Ham medical officer Sean Howlett. "He is undergoing the standard series of treatments for his condition which is a course of chemotherapy."
LEEDS BID FOR HERD
Leeds United has entered into discussions with Aston Villa about taking versatile youngster Chris Herd on loan. Leeds started the new Championship season with a loss to Southampton on Saturday and manager Simon Grayson wants to bolster his squad by bringing in Herd, who can play central midfield and full-back. Villa manager Alex McLeish rejected an off-season offer from Portsmouth for his 22-year old starlet, however, Grayson is hopeful an offer to pay Herd’s wages in full for the season may be enough to swing the deal.
WILLIAMS BOYS ON SHOW IN CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a family affair at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday as Middlesbrough’s Rhys Williams confirmed his status as a rising star while his youngster sibling Ryan Williams stepped out with Portsmouth for the first time. Rhys Williams scored his teams’ second goal in the 2-2 draw but it was the first team debut of 17-year old Ryan Williams that the midfielder will best remember the game for. “It made my day to see my little brother make his debut and it is great to be part of that,” said Rhys Williams, 21. “He is only 17 and hopefully will have a bright future. My mum flew over from Australia so it was fantastic we both played.”
Ryan Williams, who joined Portsmouth around twelve months ago, was thrilled to come face-to-face with his brother when brought off the bench after 63 minutes to replace Hermann Hreidarsson. “It was a dream to make my debut against Rhys and I was happier at the end as they probably deserved the three points," said Ryan Williams. Middlesbrough had only Marvin Emnes’ effort to show for their early dominance and two minutes after the break David Norris netted the equaliser. Rhys Williams looked to have wrapped up the points with a second half strike but again Pompey came back with Luke Varney grabbing a stoppage time equaliser.
DESPOTOVSKI RE-UNITES WITH GLORY
Bobby Despotovski is back on board with Perth Glory as they prepare to roll out a program to assist in developing young players and help increase the fan base. The Glory legend, whose glittering career spanned 241 games and reaped 113 goals, has joined as a development coach and will line up alongside former teammate Michael Garcia, who is community development officer. "It's the right direction for the club and I want to help any way I can," said Despotovski, a Glory regular during their National Soccer League heydays and also witnessed the clubs' A-League decline.
Despotovski believes Glory's plans, which includes a summer development program for players from under-7 to under-9, will help foster goodwill with local clubs. The club will invite some of the best players from each age group to be coached during the A-League season with players to return to their local teams during winter. "I don't think we ever built the bridges with the local clubs and this will help that," Despotovski told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "We are introducing a program to let the kids play all year round."
FOOTBALL WEST WON’T GIVE UP ON SOCCEROOS
Football West will continue to push to bring the national team to Perth after missing out on the Socceroos' opening World Cup qualifier against Thailand. Football Federation Australia announced last week the Socceroos would kick-off their bid to reach Brazil 2014 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 September, dashing West Australian hopes of luring the green and gold to Perth. "Whilst we are disappointed in missing out on the Thailand match, we are going to keep on ploughing ahead and trying for another World Cup qualifying match," commented Football West chief executive Peter Hugg.
Opportunities to lure the Socceroos west are limited during Australia's first phase of Asian qualifying with just three home games available, including the opener against Thailand. "There's another stage after that and there are friendlies and warm-up matches come June-July next year that we would be interested in," Hugg said. Meanwhile, Football West are hopeful plans to redevelop the eastern stand at Perth Oval will include space for an administrative base for the game. The State Government recently announced it would increase to $95.1 million the budget for the venue's redevelopment to include corporate facilities and a barbecue terrace.
INSAURRALDE GIVES MANDURAH HOPE
Mandurah City’s chances of avoiding relegation remain alive thanks to Rafael Insaurralde, who grabbed the only goal of this afternoon’s clash with Cockburn City at the Hyundai Stadium. The 1-0 win keeps Mandurah hot on the heels of Armadale, who have two games in hand on the Dolphins, with just three rounds to play. “It wasn’t pretty out there today but the lads battled for everything and we got the rewards with Rafa’s goal,” said Mandurah coach Mike Brazil. “The lads showed fantastic character and we had to fight hard late on as they threw everything at us … it was a great team effort.”
Cockburn made a positive start with midfielder Marc Anthony calling goalkeeper Phil Straker into the early action. Anthony went close again on 13 minutes when his in-swinging corner beat Straker only to bounce off the top of the crossbar. Garin Collins’ crisp first time was shot superbly kept out by Michael Petkovic as Mandurah started to spark, then five minutes later Ian McMurray’s downward header was captured by Straker. Mandurah got the all important breakthrough on 34 minutes when Insaurralde fired in from 5-metres after the visiting side failed to respond at a Darren Broxton free-kick.
McMurray was presented a chance to put Cockburn level three minutes into the second half but Straker saved the shot from 15-metres. Petkovic almost handed Mandurah a second goal on 53 minutes when his poor clearance went to Insaurralde, who round the veteran ‘keeper but was robbed of a clean shot by Jason Godfrey’s last ditch tackle. With their season on the line Cockburn lifted and began to dominate. On the hour Ross Edwards’s cross to the back post picked out Rory Feely whose header was parried by Straker with Ivan Zuvela clearing the loose ball.
Mandurah were very much on the back foot and defending in numbers as Cockburn drove forward time and time again. Straker needed two attempts before saving McMurray’s close-range header from an Anthony corner. McMurray was thwarted again moments later when his shot was cleared off the line by Ryan Townsend. The home side should have made the game safe on 81 minutes when Broxton picked out an unmarked Tom Straker who nodded wide at close-range. Cockburn refused to give up hope and a final minute push had Edwards through on goal until Tom Straker came across to intervene.
HUGHES DOUBLE GIVES GLORY VICTORY
Perth Glory registered their first win in South Africa by defeating Premier League side AmaZulu 3-1 at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban. A couple of long-range thunderbolts by Adam Hughes and new Brazilian import Andrezinho's first goal for the club secured Glory victory. "It was an encouraging performance but we still have a lot of work to do," said coach Ian Ferguson, who brought Neil Young, Josh Risdon, Steven Old, Todd Howarth, Steven McGarry, Tommy Amphlett and Jesse Makarounas into the starting line-up. "It was good to rotate the squad and get game time into players who didn't start the first game."
In front of a passionate and vocal crowd, Hughes put the visitors in front just before half-time when he unleashed a drive from 35-metres. Hughes was again on target in the second half, latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the 18-yard box from where he blasted into the roof of the net. Glory were then robbed of a penalty despite the referee initially pointing to the spot after Jacob Burns was fouled inside the area before awarding a free-kick just outside. However, that was soon forgotten as Andrezinho stepped up and with his left foot curled the ball inside the near post. AmaZulu pulled a goal back with a few minutes to play through a powerful-free kick from distance.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS SENT PACKING
Australia have been eliminated from the Under-20 World Cup after suffering a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Spain in their final group game. The Young Socceroos, who needed to win to progress to the knock-out phase, were completely out-played by an opponent that lead four-nil inside 20 minutes. “When you have to play a third game against one of the better teams in this World Cup and you know you have to win this game, you have to also take some risks,” said coach Jan Versleijen, who is bound to come under fire after Australia failed to register a point at the tournament.
Spain opened the scoring in the 1st minute, Sergio Canales setting up Sergi Roberto who made no mistake placing beyond the reach of Mark Birighitti from the top of the 18-yard box. The lead was increased on 6 minutes when Daniel Pacheco’s through ball was sent first time into the net by Alvaro Vazquez. Seven minute later Vazquez brilliantly rounded Birighitti and tapped in Spain’ third, and only another five minutes passed before he completed his hat-trick by heading in from a corner.
Kerem Bulut pulled a goal back on 27 minutes by intercepting a defensive pass and going past goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco to slot into the empty net. However, Spain restored their four-goal advantage soon after with Sergio Canales converting a penalty awarded after Trent Sainsbury’s foul on Vazquez. Although the game was gone, Australia worked hard after the break with shots on target by Terry Antonis and Bulut saved by substitute goalkeeper Alex. Birighitti played a full game, Sainsbury was replaced at half-time and Nick Feely remained unused on the bench.
ARMADALE DEMOLISH PERTH (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Armadale kept alive their dream of staying in the Premier League by mauling Perth SC 4-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Reds captain Steve McDonald got the ball rolling with James Robinson doubling their lead from the penalty spot just before the interval. Greg Sharland pulled a goal back for the home side but there’d be no comeback as Matt Barlow and Ali Parades netted late to condemn Perth to a third successive loss. The result puts Armadale four points above relegation threatened Mandurah City, who play bottom side Cockburn City tomorrow.
It was Perth who started the better with Greg Sharland’s long-range attempt going just wide of Cyril Sharrock’s post in the 4th minute. After being on the defensive for the opening 20 minutes, Armadale grabbed a surprise lead when James Robinson’s delightfully landed a free-kick on the head of McDonald, who gave Devon Spence no chance of saving. That set the tone for the rest of the half but, despite dominating, the Reds struggled to create any chances of any real significance.
As half-time approached Armadale took their game up a notch and started to seriously threaten. Barlow fired over the crossbar in a one-on-one with Spence after good lead up play by Robinson and Marlon Ramirez. In the 40th minute Barlow was again sent clear, this time Spence miss-timed his challenge and brought down the striker leaving referee Josh Mihevc no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped James Robinson who made no mistake beating Spence to send his side into the break with a two-goal buffer.
Armadale continued to attack after the turnaround with Ramirez and Warren Beattie each having opportunities to add a third to their tally. Perth were finding it difficult to break down their opponents defences with their only attempts on goal coming from distance. Just as it appeared all was lost for the visitors a brilliant combination from David Onoforo and Sharland saw the latter finish past Sharrock from 5-metres in the 79th minute. Perth should have equalised shortly after but substitute Vlad Naumovski blazed over after meeting a Sharland cross.
Any hope Perth had of taking something from the afternoon evaporated in the 88th minute when James Robinson fed Barlow who blasted goal number three past Spence. The post-goal celebrations even saw Sharrock sprint to the opposite end of the field to savour the moment. Armadale capped off the day in stoppage time with a classy chip from 10-metres by substitute Paredes. The three points were a fitting reward for an strong all round performance by Armadale, strengthening their hopes of staying in the top flight for an eighth season.
THE GULLS ARE FLYING HIGH
Sorrento consolidated their place in the top five by thrashing neighbouring ECU Joondalup 4-0 at the Edith Cowan University campus. The Gulls didn’t look from the moment Todd Harnwell posted their opening goal inside a minute with Dejan Gurovski netting twice and Jared Love converting from the penalty spot to seal the win. “We had a great start, and we carried on with it all game and I think it’s the best we’ve played all season,” said Sorrento coach Paul Price. “Dejan did well today, scoring two goals but he holds the ball up well and that’s something we’ve been lacking all season.”
The writing was on the wall as early as the 18th second when Todd Harnwell’s shot from 7-metres deflected into the net off the post after being found by a Jack Doyle centre. Joondalup attempted to reply instantly but John Thornley twice had the ball on target but on both occasions Curtis Aspden was positioned to save. In typical derby fashion, play was tight with the teams negating the others attacking desires. That was until the 42nd minute when Love’s driving run down the right saw him deliver a cross to the near post which Andy Banks spilled and Gurovski netted at close-range.
In an attempt to spark his team into life, home coach Syd Amphlett brought on Chris Wylie and Matt Italiano at the break. The double substitution appeared likely to pay off when Marc Rodgers volley beat Aspden only to be cleared off the line by Doyle. Sorrento then took the ball to the other end where Scott Bushby was ruled to have handled inside the 18-yard box and from the penalty spot Love sent Banks the wrong way to make it three-nil. To their credit Joondalup continued to push for a way back into the game but Wylie placed wide while Jon Higgins’ hit the post with a free-kick.
Jack Doyle was unlucky not to score Sorrento a fourth goal in the 78th minute when his bullet-like shot beat Banks but crashed back off the post shot on the end of a mazy run. Further opportunities to extend the visitors lead came the way of Todd Harnwell and Adam Luca with neither able to capitalise. The icing was finally put on the Gulls cake in stoppage time when a partial clearance fell to Ryan Pearson, he fed Danny Cain whose cross was nodded in at the near post by Gurovski.
INGLEWOOD, KNIGHTS SPLIT THE POINTS (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Finals contenders Inglewood United and Western Knights picked up a point each from an entertaining 1-1 draw at 6PR Stadium. Johnny Mirco ensured the Knights wouldn’t go home empty handed by netting early in the second period, cancelling out Jake Geddes first half opener. “We definitely had an edge over the Knights in the first half, it was a high intensity 45 minutes of play,” Inglewood boss Shane Pryce said. “That intensity dropped off in the second half though – I expected more input from the subs – but overall I’m happy with a draw.”
Inglewood enjoyed the lions’ share of first half possession and, not surprisingly, created the better opportunities on goal. Ndumba Makeche’s shot after 9 minutes was pushed over the crossbar by goalkeeper Fraser Siddall, and when the resulting corner came in neither Jason Colli nor Geddes were unable to find a way through the crowded goalmouth. The Knights first opening didn’t come until 17minutes were on the clock, Callum Roberts lifting high after nicking the ball off Ross Harvey. The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute when Geddes, who played much of the season off the bench, skilfully lost his marker and slotted into the bottom corner of Siddall’s net.
The second half had been underway only a couple of minutes when the game erupted into controversy, Makeche’s goalbound shot striking the hand of Mirco with referee Joe Fusari remaining unmoved by appeals for a penalty. The Knights were unlucky not to draw level soon after with Roberts powerful strike hitting the post and Stuart Montgomery stabbed wide the rebound. That miss was forgotten in the 55th minute when Mirco raced clear from the defence and, after taming the ball, rifled past Oliver Taseski to bring the sides level. The Knights had several chances to score for a second time but at the end of 90 minutes had to be content with a single point.
BAYSWATER CRUSH LACKLUSTRE FLOREAT (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Bayswater City underlined their finals credentials with an emphatic 5-1 defeat of Floreat Athena at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Marulanda starred throughout for the home side, scoring twice in the first half before Gavin Knight added a third for a comfortable half-time lead. John Kearney helped himself to a brace in the second period with James Isaia smashed in a classy consolation goal late on for the visitors. Compounding Floreat’s woes was injury to midfielder Mark Pritchard who exited the game before the quarter hour.
It took Marulanda only 8 minutes to make his mark, the Colombian import stealing the ball off Isaia just outside the 18-yard box which he entered before slotting under goalkeeper Alex Dunn. Otherwise, it was a relatively quiet opening with both sides enjoying some good possession without creating a lot of genuine openings. Bayswater should have been increased their lead just before the half hour when, after a fine run by Francisco Jorquera, the ball broke to Marulanda but he couldn’t quite make clean contact and fired into the side netting.
Floreat were unlucky not to equalised when a corner was flicked on by Liam Boland and in the confusion that followed the ball was sent into the crossbar before being hacked away to safety. Marulanda then went close again with a free-kick from distance that Dunn expertly tipped over. Five minutes out from the break Marulanda made amends by shrugging off his marker and shooting past Dunn in a one-on-one situation. Two quickly became three as Jorquera sliced open the Floreat defence to set up Knight, who rounded the ‘keeper to roll into an empty net.
The carnage continued into the second half as Marulanda went twice close to scoring his hat-trick. On 66 minutes Marulanda eased his way around several opponents before rolling the ball across for Kearney, whose scorching shot from 16-metres gave Dunn no chance. Four minutes later Kearney was allowed to run unchallenged from near the half way line before unleashing a powerful drive into the bottom corner for a five-nil lead. Floreat’s only response came seven minutes from the end when Paul Van Dongen held the ball up superbly before laying off into the path of Isaia who thundered into the top corner from 23-metres.
EASY WIN FOR TEN-MAN BALCATTA
Premier League premiers Balcatta were rarely troubled in defeating the National Training Centre 3-1 at Grindleford Reserve. Coach Michael Roki fielded an experimental line-up which needed only 9 minutes to open their account, Ashley Rosindale headed down into the path of Steven Burton who knocked it past the goalkeeper. Balcatta’s advantage was doubled 34 minutes when a good passage of play involving John Migas, Michael Black and Daniel Micevski saw the latter deliver an inch-perfect cross which Burton volleyed in. The result was made safe just before the break when Rosindale put away his teams’ third goals after capitalising on some sloppy defending.
Burton, Rosindale and Micevski made way at the break for Daniel Neiderberger, 16-year old Luke Palmateer and Geneveo Human. Neiderburger lasted only a few minutes before limping out with a quadricep injury, leaving Balcatta to see out the remainder of the game with only ten players. Not surprisingly, the NTC enjoyed some better possession in the second half before finally calling goalkeeper Lewis Italiano into action with a few shots from distance. Full-time wasn’t too far away when Reece Vittiglia scored the visitors a consolation goal from the edge of the 18-yard box as Balcatta’s defence stood off watching.
SHAMROCK TAKE TOP SPOT
Shamrock Rovers claimed the Division One leadership following this afternoon’s 3-2 win over Canning City at Harold Rossiter Park. With six games remaining State league debutant Shamrock hold a two point lead over Bunbury Forum Force and Wanneroo City with Swan United only one further point adrift. The Hoops started slowly and had Eamon Barnes to thank for keeping the game scoreless after he thwarted Steve Kane. That miss was compounded on 11 minutes when Nick Carroll’s pressure led a Canning defender to turn an Ian Stack cross into his own net.
Not content with a single goal lead Shamrock created several half chances to add to their tally without success. That was until the 25th minutes when Stack punished a handball inside the 18-yard box by firing past goalkeeper Dave Cameron from the penalty spot. Although two-down there was still plenty of fight in Canning and after a period of pressure they deservedly halved the deficit through Kane, who smartly volleyed into the net after Barnes failed to take cleanly a cross into the danger zone.
The second half was a fairly dour affair with scrappy football seemingly the order of the day. Shamrock eventually posted a third goal with 88 minutes played, Barry Mulligan slotting a one-on-one past the goalkeeper after getting on the end of Ross Cosgrove’s great through ball. Two minutes later play was at the opposite end where Josh Findlater got his angles right with a superb glancing header that gave Barnes little chance of making the save. The referee’s final whistle sounded soon after to signal Shamrock’s rise to the top of the table.
WANNEROO KNOCK OVER BUNBURY (courtesy Wanneroo City)
Bunbury Forum Force’s promotion hopes are in tatters following this afternoon’s 2-1 loss to Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Goals half goals by David Herety and Ross Laing moved Wanneroo into joint second spot alongside Bunbury, whose second loss in eight days had them removed from the top of Division One for the first time this year. Bunbury made a confident start but despite their first half dominance were unable to break through a well-organised home defence. Wanneroo only came into the game as half-time approached and would have been a goal the better had Sahr Konomanyi or Herety taken advantage of one-on-one opportunities.
After a cagey start to the second period Wanneroo began to take the upper hand. The all-important first goal arrived on 63 minutes via a well-worked short corner in which Brad McDonald played to Guy McDonald who delivered a great for Herety to head in from 4-metres. Wanneroo started to turn the screws and on 85 minutes Laing won possession on the halfway line and surged forward, going past two defenders then goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery to knock into an empty net. A stoppage time mix-up in the Wanneroo defence was punished by Jordan Rispin who slid Bunbury’s consolation into the net.
MONTEROSSO GUIDES SWAN TO VICTORY (courtesy Swan United)
Swan United continued to push towards the top of the table by thrashing Rockingham City 5-0 at Lark Hill Sportsplex. John Monterosso bagged a hat trick with Solomon Onyuku and Thomas Shepheard also on the scoresheet to move Swan to within three points of new Division One leaders Shamrock Rovers. The visitors made their intentions clear early through Soloman Onyuku, whose cross from wide on the left deceived goalkeeper Craig Olejnik and hit the back post before entering the net.
Rockingham attempted to hit back but it was to no avail as Swan registered their second goal just five minutes later when John Monterosso ran at the home defence before unleashing a powerful shot from 18-metres that gave the ‘keeper no chance. The game was effectively over as a contest in the 20th minute, Shepheard’s run inside the 18-yard box was unceremoniously ended by a defender and from the penalty spot John Monterosso sent Olejnik the wrong way for a three-nil lead.
Swan were by no means finished and three minutes into the second half Aaron Colli played a lovely pass through for John Monterosso who finished well to complete his hat-trick. The black and whites fifth goal arrived just after the hour when Shepheard chipped into the net from 15-metres after Olejnik thwarted John Monterosso. Rockingham were allowed back into the game at this stage but the closest they would come to a consolation goal was Craig Tone’s header which hit the crossbar.
HONOURS EVEN AT HARTFIELD PARK
Forrestfield United extended their unbeaten run to five games with an entertaining 2-2 draw with Morley Windmills at Hartfield Park. The away side had the better of the early exchanges and on 4 minutes Adriano D’Adamo got free down the right before crossing for Andy O’Neill to calmly volley into the top corner from 6-metres. With Ian McKean, Simon Wilson and Ryan Frisina in red hot touch, Morley controlled the opening half hour but were unable to add to their tally before Forrestfield came into the game. The hosts’ best chance to equalise had Anthony Lyons’ shot blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Damien Todorovic.
Matt Harold put Forrestfield back in the game after 57 minutes, the midfielder placing to the ‘keepers left after an impressive move through the centre of the park by Andy Harold and Julian Kesacott. Ten minutes later Morley reclaimed the lead through a Wilson penalty kick awarded for a dubious handball against Anthony Cunningham. Justice was seen to be done on 71 minutes when Forrestfield equalised for a second time, Andy Harold delivering a quality free-kick across the box which was met by Lyons’ diving header. Both teams had late chances to snatch a winner but with neither able to convert the game finish level.
GOSNELLS SAVAGE ASHFIELD
Gosnells City showed their lowly position on the Division One table is by no means an indication of their potential by whipping Ashfield 5-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home team were out of the blocks fast, Ravi Kuppasamy turning superbly on the edge of the 18-yard box before lashing into the top corner with just 6 minutes gone. The margin was doubled only two minutes later, Andy Pomfret delivering a dangerous ball into the area where Kuppasamy leap high to glance across goalkeeper Brad Eiffe.
Jamie Burns had been on the park a couple of minutes when he made it three-nil, the striker powering in his header from an Adrian McBride corner. A poor clearance in the 89th minute saw Burns come out on top of a 50-50 challenge with Eiffe before walking the ball into the net for the simplest of goals. Gosnells fifth and final goal arrived sixty seconds later when teenager Joe Greenwood skipped past a couple of opponents to swing in a fantastic ball which Darren Francis head in to complete the route.
LATE REVIVAL HAS DIANELLA ROB FREMANTLE
Three goals in the final few minutes has seen Dianella White Eagles steal a dramatic 3-3 draw against Fremantle Spirit at Wauhop Park. Much of the early pressure was on the home side who had Elhoussaine Atekhis to thank for keeping the teams level when he kept out Jimmy Taneski's volley. Fremantle only started to come into the game towards the end of the half and three minutes before the break Jason Pottier played a tidy one-two with Caleb Aquino before sending the ball into the top corner for a surprise lead.
Fremantle picked up where they left off and on 47 minutes Jacob Aquino played in a cross behind the visiting defence for Caleb Aquino to slam into the top corner. Dianella were opened up for a third time on 55 minutes when good lead-up work allowed Friday Zico to cut the ball across to Roberto Colalillo, who found the net from a tight angle. With Fremantle pushing forward in search of more goals, the game at this point looked to be over. Only goalkeeper Matt Battigelli stood between Pottier and Caleb Aquino and Fremantle’s fourth goal.
Dianella, however, refused to give up hope and on 86 minutes Jimmy Nelson cut in from the right and clipped to the top of the 6-yeard box where teenage debutant Maysam Majnoon headed in. This gave the visitors hope and two minutes into stoppage time Curtis Prior forced the ball over the line from inside a congested goalmouth to set up a grand stand finish. Having turned the ball over soon after the restart Dianella raced into attack where Majnoon pounced on the loose ball and coolly slotted in from 7-metres to complete a remarkable comeback.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The clash of finals contenders Bayswater City and Floreat Athena at Frank Drago Reserve is the pick of tomorrow’s Premier League action. Home striker Gavin Knights wants to bag a few goals and ensure Bayswater stretch their run of six games without loss. “We have had a great run undefeated and confidence is high,” said Knight. “The next three games for us are like Cup finals for us. So Saturday is a must-win. Last time we played Floreat we were awful last time, we won't be doing that Saturday, we’ll be up for this one.”
Liam Boland says the importance of Floreat taking home the three points on offer can’t be underestimated. “We have three crucial games to finish of the year and if we don’t win this weekend it will be extremely hard to make the top five,” said Boland, who has so far found the back of the net 21 times this year. “Bayswater will be no push over and have hit some really good form over the past few weeks. I expect this to be a really hard-fought game with us coming away with a win.”
Fifth-placed Inglewood United has a tough home fixture with Western Knights, who have moved to within a few points of second spot. Adrian Caceres and James Sammut will be vital across the middle of the park for Inglewood coach Shane Pryce, who is still trying to figure out where David McNally, Danny Stoitis and Dannie Richman fit into his plans. Knights boss Carl Medica has selection dilemmas of a different kind with Duncan Hind, Cormac Dawson (suspension) and Stuart Ferguson (injury) out and Stuart Montgomery and James Morgan to prove their fitness.
Perth SC are out to end successive losses with Armadale calls in at Dorrien Gardens. Influential midfielder Dom De Felice is likely to come back into the Blues line-up, however, Matt Danskin is out through suspension while they’ll also miss the creativity of Antonio Naglieri (overseas). Armadale have never won at Perth and should they change that this weekend then they’ll be secure an eight season in the top flight. James Robinson comes back in front a lengthy suspension, and with Craig Robson and Matt Barlow firing on all cylinders the Reds will fancy their chances.
ECU Joondalup have home ground advantage in the northern suburbs derby with Sorrento. Syd Amphlett has a full squad to choose from and with captain Dale McCulloch and striker John Thornley hitting their straps they go into the game full of confidence. Sorrento currently occupies fourth spot but run the risk of slipping out of the finals positions should they not win this one. Jamie Harnwell, Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson have been in good form for the Gulls, who enter the afternoon without suspended midfielder David Price.
The round concludes with Sunday’s cellar-dweller battle between Mandurah City and Cockburn City at the Hyundai Stadium. Time is fast running out for both clubs to climb out of the relegation zone but they really need to get a move on if they’re to overhaul Armadale. Mandurah are unbeaten in their last three games, will look to Aaron dos Santos and Ivan Zuvela for inspiration. Cockburn welcomed Marc Anthony back from injury last week and he has a key role to play along with attacker Rory Feely. All five Premier League games – be they Saturday or Sunday – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Kingsway Sporting Complex is the place to be on Saturday for the Division One blockbuster between Wanneroo City and Bunbury Forum Force. Wanneroo enter the afternoon knowing a win could put them into joint top spot alongside their opponents, but for that to happen they’ll need Josh Booysen, Guy McDonald and goalkeeper Clint Davies to be on top of their games. Competition leaders Bunbury are coming off only their third loss of the campaign and must win this one to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Oliver McGee, Ashley Young and Jamie Tandy are the visitors players to watch.
Fremantle Spirit are confident of easing their relegation fears by claiming victory over Dianella White Eagles at Wauhop Park. “We are close to the relegation zone so it is important that we pick up points anywhere we can, especially against teams who have been struggling like us,” said Fremantle’s Cameron Hayes. “Dianella is an absolute must-win for us. With a few regular first team players coming back into the side we should get back to playing good football and get Fremantle the win against Dianella.”
Shamrock Rovers are expected to win at home against Canning City, a result which may just put them into the Division One leadership come Saturday night. Rockingham City will be put to the test by a Swan United side that is unbeaten in six games. In all likelihood Forrestfield United’s winning run will stretch to five games following Morley Windmills’ trip to Hartfield Park. Gosnells City will need one almighty effort to take so much as a point from their home fixture with Ashfield. All six Division One games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
BALCATTA RISE TO THE OCCASION
Years of hard work have finally paid off for Balcatta with the capture of their first ever Premier League title. Founded in 1977, Balcatta have spent much of their life in the second tier before two years ago climbing into the top flight where they are can now rightly call themselves ‘champions’. “The entire club is ecstatic at reaching the pinnacle of WA football,” said coach Michael Roki. “It’s a credit to the progressively minded but level-headed committees at Balcatta – past and present – who have shown that even the smaller clubs can ‘go places’ if they are well organized.”
Balcatta’s dominance of this years’ Premier League is highlighted their securing of top spot although there is still a month worth of games to be played. Heading into last weekend Balcatta, who were out of action due to the bye, held a 14-point lead over nearest rival Perth SC. So when the Blues succumbed to Western Knights 4-1, the trophy was put on a platter for Balcatta. “It was an unusual scenario,” commented Roki. “We pushed very hard to get ourselves in a position that would put maximum pressure on the other teams when we got to the bye and NTC rounds.”
Roki is delighted that his players are now able to reap the rewards that they deserve. “We were fortunate enough to assemble and then maintain a squad of good depth and versatility, which goes a long way in this league,” said the coach. “We’ve been a fairly cohesive unit that has been prepared to work hard for each other, sharing the workload and the goal scoring. In the second round, the defensive effort of seven clean sheets in the last eight games has been outstanding … I can honestly say working with this group has been an absolute pleasure.”
Roki only stepped into the coaching role at Balcatta nine months ago and readily admits to being taken aback by how quickly success has come. “It’s been a sensational season with the performance of the team to date exceeding all our expectations,” said Roki, who steered Floreat Athena to the regular season trophy in 2007. “I think the real measure of success though will be if the team can embed itself into the top end of the table over the next few years while the club as a whole continues to develop in other vital areas.”
With the regular season trophy theirs, Balcatta’s focus now turns towards the finals. “We can now dedicate the next six weeks to a more detailed preparation for the finals, but we will also be focussed on maintaining our standards in the last three matches of the season regular,” commented Roki. “Winning the league carries a lot of significance for all of us at the club and whilst the prospect of capturing the Top Five still beckons as an exciting conclusion, I think it would pale in comparison as an achievement should we be fortunate enough to win it.”
FORRESTFIELD CHEERED ON BY LYONS
Anthony Lyons' rich vein of form in front of goal is at the heart of Forrestfield United's drive up the Division One table. Just six weeks ago it looked as though Forrestfield's season had gone off the rails with the eastern corridor club stuck in the bottom half of the table and rocked by the sudden resignation of long-time coach John Hunter. However, the appointment of Phil Butler has not only steadied the ship but also galvanised the players into a four-game winning streak that's totally transformed their season.
In the midst of all this has been Lyons whose put away seven goals in those four games to propel Forrestfield into fifth on the table. "Putting the ball in the back of the net was proving difficult for Forrestfield and a frustrating time on the sideline motivated me to score as many goals as possible on my return to fitness," said the 22-year old striker. "I've been working really hard off the field. I use football as a tool for escapism, to get away from my jobs and take my mind off other off the field issues."
Born and bred in Liverpool, Lyons played with success for Liverpool College and Old Xaverians prior to being convinced to give Forrestfield a go by an old friend. "Craig Anderson introduced me to Forrestfield. I went to pre-season training, instantly liked the lads and I've never looked back," Lyons said. "I think our main strengths as a team are the tempo at which we can pass the ball. We're also very talented in the centre of midfield, particularly brothers Andy and Matt Harold. When we keep the ball, we become very dangerous as a team."
The promotion of Phil Butler to first team coach just over a month ago provided the catalyst for Forrestfield to turn their season around. "Since Phil has taken over things could not have gone any better, he has given us a renewed belief that we can go out there and win," said Lyons. "Phil has given me personally a lot more freedom to express myself on the pitch. The return of Craig Anderson has been a huge part of our recent success as has the reserve players who've made the step up, including Wade Farmer and Mitch Sapworth."
Forrestfield collected their fourth win in as many weeks by defeating eastern corridor rival Gosnells City 5-2 last time out. The game was blown apart in the minutes before half-time with goals from Anthony Cunningham, who ended the day with a hat-trick, Matt Harold and Lyons. "As soon as we went one-nil up we weren't going to stop. We knew we needed to build on our lead and goals started to come like buses," Lyons commented. "We played really good possession football in spells during the game, took our chances and defended really well."
Saturday presents Forrestfield with another difficult road trip, this one to a Morley Windmills side desperately trying to stay in touch with the top half of the table. "I've heard Morley can be a tricky opposition. They have good players and can play good football," said Lyons. "I have every confidence that we can take all three points from the game. If we defend the way we have been we'll be half way there, but we must also go to Morley with the right attitude, intensity and make sure we put away our chances."
VERSAICO RE-IGNITES THE KNIGHTS FINALS PUSH
The sight of Simon Versaico teasing the Perth SC defence last weekend was a sight for sore eyes for Western Knights loyal supporters. Versaico, 24, has missed the past month with a groin injury but made up for lost time with a starring role in the Knights defeat of Perth which puts them within a few points of second spot. “All the boys were happy with their performance,” said Versaico. “We played to our strengths and did what we were told. We were unlucky not to score a few more goals but happy we came out with a win.”
Such is Versaico’s importance to the Knights that coach Carl Medica brought the attacking midfielder Versaico straight into the first eleven. “I wasn’t expecting to play a full game but I was delighted to get through unscathed. I did pull up a little bit sore but that was to expected, the more games I play the better it will become,” he said. “My groin kept me out for four weeks, which has been frustrating, but it seems to be okay now. We’ve been unlucky with a few injuries throughout the season but everything is going well at the moment and all looks good for a tilt at the top five finals.”
Versaico, who began his career at Leeming Strikers and played with Canning City prior to moving to Nash Field last year, says this weekend’s clash at Inglewood United is vital for the Knights finals hopes. “A win is very important for us this week as we need to consolidate our spot in the top five,” commented Versaico. “Coming off the back of the Perth win, the boys are confident that we can carry on our good form and do the job this week.” The Knights take on Inglewood at 6PR Stadium from 3.00pm on Saturday.
GLORY GET THEIR BRAZILIAN
Perth Glory has signed Brazilian midfielder Andrezinho for the coming A-League season. Andrezinho, whose full name is Andre Luiz Rodigues Lopes, has already linked up with his new team mates in South Africa and comes into the squad as an injury replacement for Victor Sikora. “Andrezinho is actually a player we tried to get last season. We kept tabs on him and are now delighted to have him at Perth Glory,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “He’s a player with pace. He’s exciting and direct and exactly what i have been looking for."
Andrezinho, an attacking midfielder who can play wide on the left or right, represented Brazil six times at Under-20 level and counts Uruguayan powerhouse River Plate amongst his former clubs. Glory defender Chris Coyne played alongside the 26-year old during his loan spell with Chinese side Liaoning Hongyun last summer and has no doubt he’ll bring some South American flair to the Glory line-up. “Andre is an excellent signing,” Coyne said. “He’s positive, quick and has a bag of tricks. He’ll entertain the fans just like he did when we played together in China.”
YOUNG SOCCEROOS CRASH TO COSTA RICA
Australia is on the verge of early elimination from the Under-20 World Cup following a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica this morning. The result leaves the Young Socceroos needing to beat Spain on Sunday morning while hoping other results go in their favour. "I thought we played a very good game but we played naive in certain parts of the game," coach Jan Versleijen said. "If you make those types of mistakes in this level then you will be penalised for that and that's what we faced today. Of course I must have hope (that we can get through to the next stage) but we know what our target is now – we have to win against Spain."
The Young Socceroos fell behind to a 22nd minute goal from Joel Campbell but hit back just four minutes later through Tommy Oar. Almost immediately Costa Rica went back into the lead with Campbell taking advantage of some poor defending. Australia were back on terms on 64 minutes when Francisco Calvo diverted the ball into his own net, however, eight minutes later John Ruiz headed in a corner for what proved to be the winner for Costa Rica. Mark Birighitti and Trent Sainsbury played full games, while Nick Feely was an unused substitute.
FOOTBALL COMMUNITY CHIPS IN FOR GRANT
Morley Windmills coach Salv Todaro says last weekend’s benefit evening for Morley Windmills goalkeeper Steve Grant was a great success. Todaro organised a quiz night at the Wotton Reserve clubrooms on Saturday to aid Grant, who suffered a fractured jaw, two fractures of his eye sockets and required extensive dental work as a consequence of a second half collision against Swan United last month. “We had over 100 people support the event. Morley Windmills club was jumping and the atmosphere was electric,” said Todaro. “We had a major raffle rather than auctions and all the money raised will go to Steve to ensure he will not be out of pocket too much.”
Todaro, like the entire West Australian football community, can’t wait to see Grant back out on the field of play. “We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him coming back to play next year. He is an integral part of the future of the club and was having an exceptional season,” said the Morley coach. “Steve is an excellent character to have around the club, he is a joker and provides the light hearted moments to make training and games enjoyable. He is also very dedicated and a hard trainer, and he hates getting beaten even at training and lifts the intensity to ensure everyone is working at 100%.”
FERGUSON TAKES POSITIVES FROM SOUTH AFRICAN LOSS
Perth Glory has lost the opening game of their South African tour but coach Ian Ferguson has no complaints. Glory went down 1-0 to Premier League side Platinum Stars with Ferguson pointing out the trip is not about on-field results. “Obviously it’s nice to win but the focus is on conditioning the players for the A-League season,” the coach said. “We got some good minutes into the players and it was another chance for team to gel. We have eleven new faces at the club this season so the players need games to combine.”
Glory controlled play for long periods of the game against Platinum Stars, who are just ten days out from the start of their season. The only goal of the game arrived midway through the first half when the Crocodiles headed in a free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Glory got better as the game progressed, adjusting to local conditions and the pace of the ball at altitude. Defender Evan Berger made his first start for Glory while Young Socceroos striker Jesse Makarounas gained his first minutes for the club with a second half appearance off the bench.
UNIVERSITY TO OFFER FOOTBALL DEGREE
Edith Cowan University in Joondalup will launch a new undergraduate course in football next year. The only university course of its kind in Australia, the three-year Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science and Football) will combine 16 general exercise and sports units with eight football-specific units. Graduates will have the skills to coach a football team, test and analyse players on the field and in the laboratory, design and implement strength and conditioning programs specific to football, analyse game performance, manage player injuries and lead and manage players.
School of Exercise and Health Sciences senior lecturer Michael Newton said the course had been designed to take advantage of the growing demand for dedicated sports science staff at football clubs. “This course provides graduates with a background in sports science combined with soccer-specific knowledge,” Newton told Belinda Cipriano of the ‘Joondalup Times’. “Those graduating from the course could fill roles ranging from the manager at a junior club, where they are hands-on with all aspects, to a specific sports science or coaching role in a major international club.”
WILLIAMS IN LINE TO PLAY WALES
Defender Rhys Williams is set to face the nation he turned his back on after being named in the Australia squad for next week’s historic friendly with Wales. Williams, who played for the Dragons at youth level before committing to the Socceroos two years ago, is amongst 18-players selected by coach Holger Osieck for next Wednesday’s first ever senior international meeting with Wales. Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer and Scott McDonald are back in contention after missing the June games, while Josh Kennedy (club commitments), Harry Kewell and Sasa Ognenovski (both fitness) were overlooked.
The Australia squad to play Wales on 10th August is Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Luke DeVere (Gyeongnam), James Troisi (Kayserispor Kulubu), Scott McDonald, Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds), Michael Zullo (Utrecht) and Lucas Neill (uncontracted).
JOONDALUP JUNIORS AIM TO BE THE WORLD’S BEST
They form arguably one of the best junior teams in Western Australia and now they are out to prove they are the best in the world. ECU Joondalup's Under-12s have not lost a game in two years and later this year will compete as the only WA team at the Junior Masters Australia, a 20-team tournament to be held in Sydney. "I expect they will go very well because of the fact they play in an under-13 tournament and not the under 12s," coach John Brown said. "Obviously it will be a lot harder than the West Australian tournament." The winner of October's tournament will travel to Poland in May 2012 to take on the world's best junior clubs in the Junior World Masters.
Brown feels his squad had an advantage because some players have been working together in the same team for as long as three seasons. "They have a good record of playing together and they've got a good attitude and spirit among each other," he said. "Technically and physically, they're big and strong boys for their age ... whether they can win it, that's a massive thing, but you never can tell." Joondalup were admitted into the national tournament after impressing selectors with their on-field prowess and community-minded approach. The club gives back to the sport by donating used playing kits disadvantaged Indonesian children.
MILLWALL WANT LOWRY ON LOAN
English Championship club Millwall are keen to sign Socceroo hopeful Shane Lowry on loan from Aston Villa. Millwall boss Kenny Jackett is hoping he can snap up the 22-year old defender on a season-long loan after entering into talks with Villa manager Alex McLeish. Lowry, who is comfortable in both the centre and left side of defence, played juniors at ECU Joondalup prior to linking up with Villa in February 2005. He has made 44 first team appearances through loan spells Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United and Sheffield United.
GLORY LOOKS TO GEL ON TOUR
A pre-season tour of South Africa will lay the foundations for Perth Glory to emerge as one of the A-League's most exciting teams this coming summer according to coach Ian Ferguson. Glory departed yesterday for a 16-day tour of South Africa in which they'll unveil a new 4-2-3-1 system in friendlies with AmaZulu, Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United. "The plan is to play better-structured and better-organised football," said Ferguson. "We're away for 16 days and we'll get that cohesion and camaraderie with the boys on and off the park, so it's a good trip all around. We'll see what everybody's got."
Ferguson, who bolstered the playing stocks with ten off-season signings, is happy with how Glory is progressing towards the coming season. "The depth in the squad's measurably stronger," the coach said. "We've got three quality games and it's good preparation because it gives me time to try to work on different things: different personnel, different shapes and different formations. We've got a lot to work on ourselves but results at this point in time are irrelevant. The main thing is trying to get things fixed and making sure we're prepared for the start of the season."
OAR STUNNER EARNS YOUNG SOCCEROOS A DRAW
A spectacular Tommy Oar free-kick rescued Australia a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in their opening match of the Under-20 World Cup. A Juan Govea goal midway through the first half looked likely to give Ecuador a deserved win when Oar's curling shot from 30-metres secured a precious point for Australia. Ecuador manufactured the majority of clear cut chances after their goal as their pace and passing ability caused plenty of problems for the Young Socceroos, who were kept in the game by goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
Australia missed a glorious opportunity to hit the front inside the first 30 seconds when Kofi Danning sliced side at close-range. Danning almost atoned on 14 minutes by crossing for Marc Warren whose header was pushed away by goalkeeper John Jaramillo. Ecuador found a way through in the 24 minute, Marcos Caicedo’s centring ball was pushed away by Birighitti and Govea blasted in from close-range. The South Americans then took control, manufacturing numerous opportunities to extend their lead but unable to get past Birighitti.
Ecuador also threatened early in the second half, Govea heading over from a corner and Birighitti saving well from Marlon De Jesus. The game was starved of noteworthy action thereafter. Oar fired a firm, low shot wide on 66 minutes, and Dylan McGowan had a header that went just over as Australia seemed destined for defeat. Then, out of nothing, Oar produced a goal of the tournament contender with a superb curling 30-metre effort in the second to last minute of regulation time. Birighitti and Trent Sainsbury played full games with Nick Feely watching from the bench.
WILLIAMS IN NEW DEAL TALKS
Rhys Williams is "over the moon" that Middlesbrough are poised to open talks over a new contract. The versatile Socceroo has been constantly linked with a big money move to Bolton over the past few months but reaffirmed his commitment to Boro by declaring his intention to extend his current deal. “I really like it there,” Williams told the ‘Evening Gazette’. “I am settled and have a great relationship with the fans. I am over the moon about the club wanting to tie me up and the manager has told me he sees me as a vital part of his plans.” It is understood Middlesbrough are preparing to add another two-year to Williams current contract, which expires in 2013.
SAINSBURY REDISCOVERS DRIVE
Young Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury is determined to help Australia progress from a tough group at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia. However, Sainsbury admits he has not always been driven to succeed and that had it not been for a stint in the National Training Centre five years ago then he may well have given football away. "When it all became about winning," said Sainsbury, identifying the time when he questioned his passion for the game. "I had a string of injuries as well, so that didn't help."
Sainsbury, 19, started out as a junior with Armadale but found his interest in football began to wane after breaking a collarbone in a BMX accident and suffering Achilles tendonitis. It was only after coming under the tutelage of NTC coach Kenny Lowe that things turned around. "I've had three very good junior coaches," Sainsbury told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "My dad, for one, was a big influence, so was Gareth Naven and Kenny Lowe, who taught me to love football again because at the time I wasn't really enjoying it."
Although he played for Perth Glory Youth, Sainsbury reject interest from the club to join Central Coast Mariners, where he made ten first team appearances last season. "I thought I might get to play one game last season and that was about it," said Sainsbury. "I think I'm a more mature player now. I've had Graham Arnold, who's a great coach, and he's taught me a lot about being professional I've had great players around me like Alex Wilkinson, Chris Doig and Patrick Zwaanswijk, and they've been an awesome help in getting me settled in."
Sainsbury has his fingers crossed he will feature regularly in Colombia, where Australia's campaign commence tomorrow against Ecuador (7am, Perth time). The Young Socceroos then face Costa Rica (9am Thursday) before meeting Spain (6am Sunday) in their final group match, all of which will be shown live on SBS TV. "We want to get out of the group stage and anything after that is a bonus," Sainsbury said. Also in the Young Socceroos squad are fellow West Australians Mark Birighitti (Adelaide United) and Nick Feely (Celtic), who’ll battle it out for the goalkeeping gloves.
SOCCEROOS WORLD CUP PATH REVEALED
Australia has been drawn with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand for the third round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, who is currently in Colombia to watch the Under-20s World Cup, will start gathering information on his side's opponents immediately. "Our first step is to collect all necessary information about our opponents so we are fully prepared for the matches," Osieck said. "We will start our preparations when we get the team together in Wales for our friendly match and then it's just a short time before our first match against Thailand."
The Socceroos are scheduled to play at home against Thailand (2 September) before travelling to Saudi Arabia (6 September). Match day three in October has Australia hosting Oman after which they’re away to Oman (11 November) and Thailand (15 November). The final match of the third round of Asian qualifiers will be at home to Saudi Arabia (29 February). Venues are expected to be confirmed by the AFC by the end of August. The group winner and runner-up will advance to the next round of Asian qualifiers from which four nations will progress to the World Cup finals tournament.
MONTGOMERY LEADS THE KNIGHTS CHARGE
Western Knights produced one of their best performances of the season to dump Perth SC 4-1 on a wintry afternoon at Nash Field. Stuart Montgomery (2), Johny Mirco and Simon Versaico found the net for the home side with Perth’s solitary response coming via David Onoforo. “Today we had a lot to prove. Perth has had the wood on us recently so it was nice to get on top of them and score a few goals as well,” said Knights assistant coach Alex Christie. “After last week’s loss to Cockburn, Carl (Medica) and I were delighted the way the players responded, to earn three valuable points and close the gap on Perth on the table.”
The sky was dark with clouds at kick-off and it took only 6 minutes for the gloom to descend on Perth as Fraser Siddall’s long clearance was flicked on by Luka Jukic to send clear Montgomery, who held his nerve to stroke past Devon Spence from 10-metres. Montgomery could have had a second but fired wide after meeting a Callum Roberts cross, then Versaico centred for Mirco whose effort was saved by Spence. Perth finally got a shot on goal after 16 minutes when Sharland cut in from the left but couldn’t find a way past Siddall, who was grateful when Oliveira hit the follow up straight at him.
Siddall maintained the Knights lead with a superb save to Adam Bachiller’s low drive on the half hour. This sparked the home side back into action and two minutes later Mirco tucked goal number two in from close-range after Spence parried Roberts’ attempt from 16-metres. Perth were seemingly back in the game on 42 minutes when Onoforo sent Siddall the wrong way from the penalty spot after Bachiller was taken down by Daniel Trim. However, it took the Knights just two minutes to restore their two-goal buffer through a speculative long-range strike by Versaico that drifted over the head of Spence.
The Knights picked up the second half where they left off, Mirco finding Roberts who outpaced Matt Beyer before crossing to the back post where Glen Thomas should have done better than blaze high. That miss was forgotten on 53 minutes when Jukic won possession in the middle of the park and played through Montgomery who finished with aplomb from the edge of the 18-yard box. Roberts would have made it five-one but his shot bounced off the upright and to Spence after being released by a David Annall long ball. Perth’s best chance to pull a goal back saw Onoforo fire into the side netting from an angle.
HARNWELL JUMPS SORRENTO INTO TOP FIVE (with James Wragg, Football West)
Sorrento has continued their push towards the finals by grinding out a 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Cockburn City in driving rain at Dalmatinac Park. A scrappy goal by veteran Jamie Harnwell was enough to send the points north but Cockburn will be disappointed they didn’t collect anything from the afternoon. “Cockburn were unlucky not to grab a goal in the first half,” said Jamie Harnwell. “We started to come into the game and it was end-to-end stuff when I managed to just get in front of my marker to nod in.”
Slippery condition and driving rains made for some difficult conditions and, not surprisingly, a tight opening that had neither team offer much in the way of a clear threat on goal. Ryan Pearson stung the hands of Michael Petkovic with a strong drive from the edge of the 18-yard box for the games first chance. Marc Anthony was doing all he could to lift Cockburn with some fantastic distribution and the midfielder whistled a low shot just past the post after being teed-up by David Araya.
Anthony had another chance to break the deadlock on 28 minutes when his spectacular half volley fizzed over the crossbar, although goalkeeper Curtis Aspden had the shot covered. Scott McCulloch was next to try his luck but he couldn’t keep down the shot and another half chance went begging to Cockburn. Neither side could create any more telling chances in the first half as they found it hard to break each other down in the tricky conditions.
Rory Feely missed a golden opportunity to put Cockburn in front just after the break by failing to connect with Anthony’s superb free-kick. Up the other end Todd Harnwell had a fantastic chance when he was played in down the left but Euan Grant impressively slid in and cleared the immediate danger Ivan Gavranich was next to go close with a shot from just inside the area that deflected off Jamie Harwell and looped up onto the woodwork.
Cockburn by now were pressing for the goal they needed but McCulloch’s thunderbolt was straight at Aspden, then Darryl Platten somehow managed to block Feely’s goal bound on the line. There were just ten minutes left when Jamie Harnwell’s glancing header from a Danny Cain corner passed through a sea bodies and into the net to put Sorrento in front. Cockburn fought desperately to equalise but it seems only a miracle can now save them from the drop.
A waterlogged pitch at Alfred Skeet Reserve led match officials to abandon the meeting of Armadale and Inglewood United midway through the first half. The playing surface was already swampy at kick off and the situation worsened after a heavy downpour just before the half hour left the pitch ‘unplayable’ in the eyes of the referee. Prior to the game being called off it was Armadale that looked the more likely to score, however, the poor condition of the pitch soon enough ended those hopes. It is expected the game will be re-scheduled to mid-week in the near future.
ZUVELA STEALS MANDURAH A DRAW
Mandurah City scored late to snatch a 2-2 draw with Floreat Athena on a windy afternoon at the Hyundai Stadium. A controversial goal early in the second half by Miki Vujacic put Floreat but within sixty seconds the hosts were level thanks to Aaron Dos Santos. James Isaia looked to have grabbed a winning goal before Ivan Zuvela converted from the penalty spot just minutes from the end to the end to ensure the points would be shared.
Mandurah, with the wind at their backs, attacked from the outset and really should have entered the break a few goals the better. Aaron Dos Santos’s attempt from outside the 18-yard box grazed the outside of the post as Floreat focused on defensive duties for much of the opening twenty minutes. Rafael Insuaralde wasted a golden opportunity by hesitating long enough for Ante Kovacevic to get across and block his shot after going past Alex Dunn.
Floreat rallied with good lead-up work by Isaia and Mark Pritchard sending Paul Van Dongen through one-on-one with Phil Straker, whose goal remained intact. The referee remained unmoved after Garin Collins had his heels clipped in rounded the Floreat goalkeeper. Jared Smith nicked the ball off Collins’ boot but his attempted clearance struck team mate Calum O’Connell, who breathed a sigh of relief when the ricocheted went wide of the post.
The break through goal arrived five minutes into the second half when Miki Vujacic’s in-swinging corner was palmed into the net by Phil Straker amid appeals by the home side that their goalkeeper had been impeded. Mandurah hit back instantly through Dos Santos, who had no trouble finding the net from 12-metres after intercepting Ante Kovacevic’s pass across the top of the box that was intended for Julian Madaschi.
Smith’s flick at a corner was blocked on the line and with the follow-up Paul Van Dongen headed just wide at close-range as Floreat sought to regain the lead. They did just that on 58 minutes when James Isaia headed past Phil Straker after getting on the end of Pritchard’s cross into the 6-yard box. With this the momentum swung back in the visitors favour but what would have been a decisive third goal evaded them.
There were four minutes remaining when Graeme Matthews had his heels clipped by Dunn, the referee this time agreed it was a foul and from the penalty spot Zuvela sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to level the game. Floreat still had time to mount one final attack, some great build-up play saw Isaia lay the ball off to O’Connell who slotted the wrong side of the target with only the ‘keeper to beat.
THORNLEY STEERS JOONDALUP TO VICTORY (with Neil Sherwin, Football West)
John Thornley found the net three times to see ECU Joondalup claim a 4-2 win over a lacklustre Stirling Lions outfit on a wintry afternoon at Edith Cowan University. The home side raced to a four-goal lead through Thirnley’s hat-trick and another by Mark Rodgers before Stirling brought some respectability to the scoreline with goals from Jamie Watt and Phil O’Callaghan. “John’s had to carry to burden really because we haven’t had that second striker,” said Syd Amphlett of Thornley’s importance to Joondalup. “We’ve relied on him to score the goals and for whatever reason that hasn’t happened but he scored three today and could’ve had a few more.”
Joondalup settled quickly and with 6 minutes on the clock Thornley opened the hosts account by tucking the ball past Cory Hugo after the Stirling goalkeeper blocked a penalty kick by the striker, who converted his second chance. Stirling didn’t threaten until the 16th minute but Ludovic Boi’s shot was straight at Andy Banks. Scott Blackmore went close to doubling Joondalup’s lead with a crisp left footer that flew just past the post. Stirling crafted a terrific chance to equalise as the ball moved from Michael Pugliese to Jamie De Abreu whose cross to the back post was send high by David Hunt.
Stirling continued to prod and probe for a way to get in behind the opposing defence without success. By contrast, Joondalup seemed to have little trouble opening up the visitors and Charlie Comyn-Platt forced Hugo into an instinctive save following a goalmouth scramble. Half-time was five minutes away when referee Hugh Best pointed to the penalty spot for a second time after Scott Bushby’s shot struck defender Bobby Wilson on the hand. Once again it was Thornley that stepped and this time he calmly converted past Hugo to put Joondalup two goals the better at the end of 45 minutes.
The game effectively put to bed two minutes after the restart when an unmarked Rodgers fired in Jon Higgins corner to make it three-nil. Joondalup’s fourth arrived just after the hour, Scott Blackmore feeding Thornley who slotted in at the second attempt following another good save by Hugo. With the game all but over, Stirling were allowed back into the game and on 70 minutes Watt finished superbly from O’Callaghan’s cross. And in the final minute Watt returned the favour by supplying strike partner O’Callaghan, who buried his header past Banks.
Home coach Amphlett was satisfied with both the result and the method by which his team achieved it. “The boys have been playing really well and we haven’t been putting the ball in the net and it was important to get the first goal and settle them down but then we just totally dominated the game,” he said. “They’ve been up for it every week but we just haven’t put our chances away and today we did.” Joondalup remain ninth on the table but are have put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
EIGHT GOAL THRILLER AT BAYSWATER (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Bayswater City scored twice in the final minutes to salvage a 4-4 draw with the National Training Centre from an exciting game at Frank Drago Reserve. Mauro Marchione, coach of Bayswater, praised the efforts of the NTC youngster after the game. “NTC plays very structured football. It’s hard to play against them if you’re not structured as well. I was very impressed by three or four of the young players at NTC,” he commented. “At the end of the day for me it was a training game, honestly. It’s always good to play these games if the purpose is to try out new players, new formations.”
The NTC started impressively and should have taken an 8th minute lead but Alexander Jovic’s free header from a Sebit Oyet corner was wide of the mark. That miss was punished three minutes later when Matthew Spurling converted at close-range after being played through by Million Butshiire. The NTC responded soon after, Hanafi Ghazali swinging in a corner that Blamo Qua Qua controlled before lashing in from just inside the 18-yard box. Both teams created chances to go into the break in front but neither Joseph Wilonja nor Oyet was able to capitalise.
Gavin Knight was one of three players introduced by Marchione at the break and the striker wasted little in making his presence known, forcing goalkeeper Francis Soale into a good save. Going the other way, , Oyet’s storming run was halted by a last ditch tackle with the ball spilling to Masa whose effort was deflected for a corner. The ball was returned into the area where Reece Vittiglia’s header was parried by Francis Allen, who was helped as Masa put away the follow-up. O’Neill further increased the NTC’s lead on 65 minutes by beating Allen from the penalty spot after being brought down by George Tchami.
Referee Phil Trianedes awarded another penalty two minutes later, this time for a foul on Abdul Sesay with Knight making no mistake from the spot. The NTC looked to have the game won when O’Neill converted his second penalty kick which was awarded for a foul on Vittiglia in the 78th minute. However, Bayswater had other ideas and in the final minutes of regulation time Knight curled a superb free-kick into the net to make it three-four. With the very last play of the afternoon Knight tapped in the equaliser after great work from Sesay and Wilonja.
BUNBURY TRIPPED UP BY SWAN (courtesy Swan United)
The Division One title race has been blown wide open after Swan United toppled league leaders Bunbury Forum Force 3-1 at the Swan Italian Club. Tom Shepheard put the black and whites into an early lead only for Jon Brooks to send the teams into the break level. The game was decided midway through the second half when Aaron Colli and John Monterosso netted within the space of a minute to move Swan just four points off top spot.
Bunbury may have found their rhythm the quicker but it was Swan that struck after only 6 minutes when Trent Wood sent the ball into the 18-yard box where Shepheard made no mistake from 5-metres. With this the hosts settled and John Monterosso would have doubled the margin if not for Bunbury goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. The visitors struck back on 23 minutes, Brooks catching ‘keeper Daniel Agudelo unsighted with his shot from 16-metres.
Colli was denied by Montgomery on the hour as Swan attempted to make the most of the home ground advantage. The black and whites got their noses back in front in the 70th minute, Rory Hollingum picking out Colli who’d shrugged off his marker to head past the ‘keeper. The game was made safe ten minutes later when John Monterosso showed why he’s the league’s top goalscorer by converting a pass from Shepheard.
Swan coach John O’Reilly said the difference on the day was that one team took their chances whereas the other didn’t. “It was a game where two good teams went at it hammer and tongue, and in games like this the middle of the park is practically even so it comes down to who finishes chances and we did that today,” he said. “I’ve got to give special praise to Tommy Shepheard, who was superb at both ends of the pitch.”
SHAMROCK NARROWS THE GAP (courtesy Shamrock Rovers)
Shamrock Rovers moved to within one point of top spot by coming away from Dianella White Eagles with a 3-0 win. Ian Stack posted the only goal of the season half with Alan Carroll doubling Shamrock’s but it wasn’t until late that Nick Carroll made the game safe. Dianella came fast out and could have gone a goal up through but neither Jimmy Nelson nor Sotiris Theodosiades were able to capitalise. However, their chances were dealt a blow on 23 minutes when Bojan Randinovic was issued his marching orders for two quick yellow cards. Shamrock made the most of their extra player in the 37th minute when Stack volleyed across Matt Battigelli and inside the far post after Sean Brooks met a deep Nick Carroll cross.
The second half had Shamrock playing with the benefit of the breeze and, not surprisingly, they dominated the remainder of the afternoon. That’s not to say Dianella didn’t press but it was rare that they found a way past a well-organised defence. Battigelli on several occasions thwarted the visitors but on 62 minutes he was beaten for a second time by Alan Carroll’s tidy shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. Gavin Mooney and Stack each had shot pushed over the crossbar by Battigelli as Shamrock attempted to score for a third time. It eventually came on 85 minute when Nick Carroll got the goal he deserve, having had one disallowed for offside five minutes earlier.
WANNEROO KEEP PACE WITH LEADERS (courtesy Morley Windmills)
Wanneroo City came away with a 4-2 win over Morley Windmills from a wet and windy afternoon at Wotton Reserve. Sahr Konomanyi and Josh Booysen scored twice to put the visitors’ just three points behind top of the table Bunbury Forum Force. The early pace was set by Wanneroo, who hit the front after 4 minutes when Konomanyi gave a badly exposed Damien Todorovic no chance after pounced on Mitch Castrilli’s error. Morley’s best chance to equalise finished with Ryan Frisina shooting wide after skipping past his marker. Wanneroo adapted better to the conditions and on 29 minutes Booysen made his way past several defenders before lashing in from 22-metres.
The second half was only two minutes old when Lucas Whitehouse reduced the deficit by slotting in from close-range. Morley were enjoying the better of play when they conceded for a third time, Booysen punishing a defensive mix-up by curling into the net on 53 minutes from 14-metres. Back came Morley and fourteen minutes later David Houston’s instincts saw him net from 10-metres after Whitehouse headed down a Leo Harman cross. Wanneroo sealed the win with ten minutes to go, the ball deflecting off a defender to an unmarked Konomanyi who slotted in goal number four. Morley attacked relentlessly for a way back in but it wasn’t to be their day.
CUNNINGHAM INSPIRES FORRESTFIELD TO VICTORY
Forrestfield United picked up their fourth straight win by defeating neighbours Gosnells City 5-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. A hat-trick from Anthony Cunningham and singles by Matt Harold and Anthony Lyons keeps Forrestfield in fifth place on the Division One table. The early passages were tight and it took until the 38th minute for the visitors to break through with a gem of a goal, Andy Harold delivering a superb cross to the front post where Matt Harold headed in.
>From there Forrestfield took control and six minutes later a terrific exchange of 15-passes instigated by Julian Kesacott and Matt Harold saw the ball eventually switched to John Krawec whose cross from the right was rifled into the top corner by Cunningham. Half-time may have been only minutes away but there was still time for Forrestfield to score for a third time with Lyons lobbed effort from 30-metres catching veteran goalkeeper Alan Dunlop by surprise.
Cunningham took the difference to four goals by opportunistically sliding the ball over Dunlop and into an empty net with 63 minutes elapsed. A scrap inside the box saw Darren Francis peg one back for Gosnells, however, two minutes later Kesacott provided the ball for Cunningham to slam in an unstoppable volley from 18-metres. Substitute Ravi Kuppasamy grabbed Gosnells another consolation on 82 minutes with a classy finish into the corner of the net.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE BY ASHFIELD
A rampant first half performance laid the foundations for Ashfield to inflict a 5-1 loss on Canning City at Ashfield Reserve. Alex Stamatidais scored twice with Karl O’Reilly, Brian Maybin and an own goal putting Ashfield into sixth in a congested mid-table. Ashfield’s high intensity start had Canning onto the back foot from kick-off and with 6 minutes gone a Canning defender had the misfortune of heading O’Reilly’s cross into his own net. It was two-nil just five minutes later when O’Reilly chipped the advancing goalkeeper in a one-on-one after being played through by Stamatiadis.
Any chance Canning held of working their way back into the game were snuffed out as Ashfield added three unanswered goals in quick succession. Some exquisite one-touch football in the 20th minute between Stamatiadis, Maybin and O’Reilly released Wayne Culverwell but instead of taking the shot he back-heeled for Maybin to slot into the bottom corner. O’Reilly beat his marker to square for Stamatiadis who had no trouble scoring into an open net. And a foul on Maybin led to Stamatiadis shooting beyond the out-stretched gloves of the goalkeeper to make it five-nil.
Matt Carruthers made several changes at the break and as a result it took Ashfield time to re-find their feet. Ten minutes in Canning pulled a goal back amid sloppy defending, the ball square across for Josh Findlater to slot into the back of the net. This seems to spark Ashfield back into life and although they created numerous chances to extend their lead a combination of wayward finishing, desperate defending and a very soggy playing surface denied them a greater winning margin. Canning’s fifteenth straight loss leaves them almost certain to play next season in the new State League third tier.
EARLY GOALS GET ROCKINGHAM HOME
Two goals inside the opening few minutes paved the way for Rockingham City’s 3-0 win over Fremantle Spirit at Lark Hill Sportsplex. The ball had been in motion just 4 minutes when a series of passes down the right put the ball with Tom Downes whose left foot shot was too good for goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon. Rockingham maintained the high tempo and four minutes later Josh Cartman displayed good skill in getting past three defenders before slotting in goal number two. After this both sides settled and genuine chances became scarcer in no small part to the increasing wind and rain.
Fremantle came out with greater purpose in the second half and newly introduced substitute Michael De Souza should have done better than shoot tamely at Craig Olejnik after finding himself unmarked inside the 18-yard box. That miss proved costly as on the hour Tom Mills latched onto a ball lofted over the defence, beating the offside trap in the process before side-footing past the oncoming ‘keeper. Fremantle thought they had a consolation goal with ten minutes to go when De Souza finished into the top corner but a raised offside flag mean his effort went unrewarded.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Armadale and Inglewood United will try every trick in their respective bags to get the win from tomorrow’s Premier league clash at Alfred Skeet Oval. The home team will put aside a week of off-field distractions for 90 minutes as they attempt to secure another season in the top flight. “It’s very important for us to win,” said coach Scott Miller. “There are a lot of issues at the club at the moment, it’s been a tough time for the players but we will go out there and enjoy ourselves and hopefully get the right result.”
Although in fourth spot, Inglewood are one of six teams vying for three play-off spots. “We need to put a good run together and hopefully hit some good form heading into the finals,” said Inglewood midfielder Dannie Richman, whose team are still getting over the season ending injury suffered by James Duncan last weekend. “What happened to Jimbo had a real effect on us and it will be hard to physiologically pick ourselves up … everyone at the club wishes him all the best for his recovery.”
Anything less than maximum points for Perth SC at Western Knights will end their chase for regular season honours. Ronnie Campbell returns to Nash Field for the first time as Perth coach but does so without senior players Antonio Naglieri (overseas), Andreas Oliviera (disciplinary reasons) and Matt Danskin (suspension). The Knights have run hot and cold of late and they really need to start bringing some semblance of consistency to their game if they’re serious about being been part of the end of season finals. Defensive pair Duncan Hind (suspension) and Stuart Ferguson (injury) will watch from the sidelines.
ECU Joondalup are out to arrest their slide down the table by taking the points on home soil over fifth-placed Stirling Lions. Syd Amphlett’s side have one win from their last six outings and the coach must surely be considering injecting John Thornley, Ryan McDarby and Marc Rodgers in the starting eleven. For the trip north Stirling are without Andy Brown, Denis Galan (suspension) and James Davies (overseas) but they’ll still enter the afternoon as favourite. Clayton Arnez and Bobby Wilson have been impressive for the visitors while Jamie Watt will want to put a few goals past his former club.
For Cockburn City to stay in the top flight they must come away with the points over Sorrento at Dalmatinac Park. Michael Petkovic, Scott McCulloch and Ian McMurray have key roles to play for the Cockerels who’ll be missing Paul Natale through suspension and Marc Anthony still on the injury list. Sorrento’s away form has left a lot to be desired, the Gulls winning just twice from eight starts, and that must be of concern for coach Paul Price. The contributions of Adam Luca, Todd Harnwell and Ryan Pearson will be vital with David Price out through suspension.
Floreat Athena can strengthen their top five claim by getting the better of Mandurah City at Litis Stadium. Paul Van Dongen has been in terrific goal scoring touch for the home side and what he brings to the game may well determine where the points finish up. Of equal importance to Floreat’s drive up the table are the defensive efforts of Calum O’Connell and captain Julian Madaschi. Mandurah are fighting for Premier League survival and need Aaron Dos Santos, Matt Stares and Phil Straker to be on top of their game. All five Premier League games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
One of the biggest games of the Division One season has fourth placed Swan United on home soil to competition leaders Bunbury Forum Force on Saturday. Swan have worked their way into fourth position with a six game unbeaten run and will be rely heavily on the big game experience Rob Monterosso, midfield general Anthony McStea and Tom Shepheard to get them over the line. Bunbury told a four-point lead over the chasing pack and to maintain that will need import Ashley Young and local talents Rory Binnie and Jayden Prosser in tip-top condition.
Walter Padbury Reserve has the eastern corridor derby between Gosnells City and Forrestfield United, who’ve collected all the points from their last three games. “We want to maintain our winning streak under our new gaffa, Phil Butler, to improve our chances of a top four finish this season,” said Forrestfield’s Anthony Lyons. “We have had to work hard for the success we have found in recent weeks with each individual giving 110 per cent. If we go out there with the same mentality and attitude we took into our three previous performances, we can get the result.”
Morley Windmills gave a very good account of themselves last weekend and return home from a fortnight on the road to take on Wanneroo City. “The team has been playing well over the last six weeks,” said Morley coach Salv Todaro. “We will continue to work hard and keep to our principles of trying to play good attacking football.” Wanneroo’s absentee list seems to be going by the week with Brian Cairney, Jay McDonald (work), Glen Moore, Darren Quinncroft (suspended), Craig Bowman, Tom Orme and Callum Trainor (injured) all unavailable on Saturday.
Ashfield will be wary for their visit to last-placed Canning City. “It will be a dangerous game against a Canning side who is yet to pick up a point, you just know sooner than later they are going to end that,” said Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers, whose only absence is Bobby Irving. “Our boys were excellent last week and should have plenty of confidence going into this one.” Canning’s hopes have received a boost with the return of Steve Kane and Oscar Pitt, from suspension and injury respectively, but work commitments rules out Gary Smith.
It’s difficult seeing Dianella White Eagles getting anything out of their home encounter with second-from-top Shamrock Rovers. Dianella are winless from a dozen outings and injury has put Jimmy Taneski (hamstring) and Jimmy Nelson (knee) in doubt for this weekend. On the flip side, coach Jamie Goodman has Ozren Kotur, Byron Allen and Sasa Cvijetic vying for starting spots. Simon King, Daniel McCurdy and Barry Mulligan are out to force their way into a Shamrock side that’s lost once in two and a half months. Their only absence is likely to be Steve Cowbrough with a knee injury.
The final game takes place at Lark Hill Sportsplex with Rockingham City up against Fremantle Spirit. Rockingham have been the surprise packet of 2011 and are expected to win this game by a comfortable margin. Fremantle, who are second-from-bottom, failed to put a reserves team on the park last Saturday but player numbers in training have been better this week. Darren Monaghan is likely to come into the line-up along with goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon, who’ll replace injured teenager Chris Farmer. All six Division One games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
SURVIVAL THE NAME OF MANDURAH’S GAME
Defender Ivan Zuvela is hopeful last weekend’s win over ECU Joondalup can be the catalyst for Mandurah City to claw their way out of the relegation zone. With only a handful of games remaining in the season Mandurah find themselves slumped second-to-last on the table and in desperate need of points to make up ground on Armadale in tenth spot. “It was very important. We are in a relegation battle so a win was the minimum we needed,” Zuvela commented. “We hadn’t won in over two months so it was good to get that monkey off our back and look forward to the remaining games.”
New arrival Aaron Dos Santos had the Dolphins noses in front by half-time against Joondalup with Garin Collins sealing victory late on. “It was a pretty even game, both teams defended well and it was just us who scored a goal in each half, and two well-worked goals at that,” commented Zuvela. “We came out with a more attacking attitude as we needed goals with Garin and Rafael (Insuaralde) up-front supported by Aaron and (Michael) Grigo. To be honest I was a bit surprised Joondalup played with only one up-front and John Thornley on the bench.”
The win ended a lengthy barren run for the Dolphins, who managed only a solitary point from their previous ten games. Those statistics may suggest Mandurah have been struggling but Zuvela says that has certainly not been the case. “The boys were obviously happy (to beat Joondalup) but we were more relieved in that we finally got a win,” said the defender. “We have had a lot of games where we played well but couldn’t get the win. Apart from maybe a couple of games, we have never really been played off the park. We have only been beaten by the odd goal, and usually that has only come towards the end of the game.”
Saturday’s result has renewed Mandurah’s hope of remaining in the Premier League next year. “We know we are a good team and always play in that positive frame of mind. All the boys feel we can get something out of each game, no matter who we play,” commented Zuvela before suggesting his teams’ major strength to be their defensive line-up. “We haven’t conceded too many goals this year. Phil Straker is a quality ‘keeper, Townsend is always good and Tom Straker has been outstanding all year. Rafael Insuaralde is another player I rate highly, with his touch and class he adds a lot to the team going forward.”
Zuvela feels the number of squad upheavals Mandurah has experienced has played it part in their poor showing. “We haven’t had the best of luck with players going, Andy Brown, Jordan Rhodes and Jeff Bright are three quality players who would get a game in any team. Then losing Phil Straker for a couple of months due to work commitments didn’t help,” he said. “But that gave the chance for new players to come in and our recent signing Garin Collins, Aaron Dos Santos and Michael Grigo have been fantastic, all three have played well since they arrived to the club.”
A foot injury that kept Zuvela out of action for three months has also contributed to the instability among Mandurah’s ranks. “I tore my plantar fascia tendon which is in the sole of my foot and that caused me to miss twelve weeks. I kept myself fit and came back in the draw against Bayswater City couple weeks ago,” he commented. “It’s good to be a part of it and playing again and helping the boys out. We’ve got three games to go and I want to win all three – I really don’t want to be part of a side that gets relegated.”
Mandurah’s quest for top flight survival takes them to Litis Stadium on Saturday for a must-win encounter against Floreat Athena, who’ve lost only once in eight games. “Floreat are a good team, no doubt, they’re fresh from winning 3-0 at Perth and have a settled line-up. Paul Van Dongen is someone we have to watch out for, I played with him at the Knights and he’s a quality player,” commented Zuvela. “But we head to Floreat confident – we won’t be happy with a draw and I don’t see any reason why we can’t win.” Mandurah lock horns with Floreat from 3.00pm on Saturday at Litis Stadium.
EVANS BUZZING FROM CHELSEA OUTING
Dean Evans has rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of world football. Currently trialling with Hong Kong league champions Kitchee, Evans came on early in the second half in his team’s 4-1 loss to a star-studded Chelsea line-up in last night’s semi-final of the Asia Trophy. “It was probably the best moment in my career as a footballer … it was a real buzz and an experience I’ll never forget,” enthused 21-year old Evans. “Knowing you’re playing against some of the best players in the world is a bit terrifying but when you’re out there it’s like playing against any other men.”
A near full strength Chelsea took the lead late in the first half through Frank Lampard’s penalty conversion. The London club had the put the game to be by the hour mark as Kitchee captain Ubay Luzardo turned into his own net followed by Didier Drogba’s precision header. Daniel Sturridge bagged Chelsea a fourth goal thirteen minutes from the end. Eight Chelsea players – John Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), Paulo Ferreira (Portugal), Florent Malouda (France), Drogba and Saloman Kalou (Ivory Coast) – played at last year’s World Cup.
Evans, who swapped shirts with long-time England defender Cole after last night’s the final whistle, has been at Kitchee since the beginning of the month and will turn out against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday before finding out whether he has been successful in landing a contract. “I’m very happy with the way I’ve trialled at Kitchee. I’ve played quite well in the friendly games so hopefully I’ve done enough to secure a deal,” commented Evans. “I have a meeting on Sunday with the coach and chairman to find out whether or not the deal will go through, fingers crossed it is all positive news.”
TRIALISTS JOIN GLORY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Two international trialists will battle it out for the final spot in Perth Glory’s squad during the club’s up-coming visit to South Africa. New Zealand defender Steven Old and Brazilian attacker Andrezinho are expected to be no board when Glory heads to South Africa on Sunday for a pre-season tour that takes in friendlies with AmaZulu, Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United. Old, 25, has played for New Zealand on 17 occasions with Newcastle Jets, Wellington Phoenix, Kilmarnock and Cowdenbeath amongst his former clubs. Andrezinho , 26, played with Glory defender Chris Coyne at Chinese club Liaoning Hongyun last summer having previously turned out for Roma and River Plate, amongst others.
Glory coach Ian Ferguson said he was hoping to make another signing but refused to confirm Andrezinho was in his sights. “I’m not going to talk about which players we want to sign,” Ferguson said. “We want to get quality players in and South America is one of the places we've been looking at.” Glory had hoped to sign youngster Julius Davies on loan from Bayern Munich but the midfielder has decided to stay in Germany. Ferguson has already made ten new additions as he attempts to spark a major revival after the bitter disappointment of last season's slump.
WE’RE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE FINALS SAYS STIRLING’S ARNEZ
Stirling Lions defender Clayton Arnez says Stirling are capable of overcoming any hurdle and qualify for the end of season play-offs. Arnez has been one of the unsung heroes of Stirling’s push up the Premier League table and now they’ve taken fifth position they intend to stay there. “Lately we have been struggling a bit with players leaving or being out to injury and suspension but, hopefully, we can finish strong and challenge in the finals,” the 19-year old said. “Our squad definitely has a very good mix of young and senior players, I think that’s been the real key to our success.”
Stirling finished last weekend’s game with ten-men but still managed to take a point away from the fixture with Inglewood United. “The boys all showed lots of character to hang on and get a point from the game after losing Browny (Andy Brown),” said Arnez, whose team grabbed a late equaliser courtesy of Jamie Watt. “That just shows how much determination we have to win and make the finals this year after such a bad start of the season, the boys are looking to rectify that and show our class in the finals.”
Arnez, a junior with Sorrento and Stirling Lions, got a taste of life at the next level through four years in the National Training Centre and Perth Glory Youth squads. “I enjoyed my time at the NTC and working with Kenny Lowe. He always allows players to express themselves through football and encourages players to play the game as it should be played,” said Arnez. “I then went to the Glory Youth team under Gareth Naven, that was a good experience for me as a young footballer. My highlight during that time was stepping onto the field for the first time wearing the Perth Glory colours.”
Those experiences served only to intensify Arnez’s desire to play professionally. “I definitely want to make that next jump to A-League and it has been an ambition of mine since I was young,” commented Arnez, who last summer turned out for Auburn Montgomery in Alabama. “I went to the USA to see what it was like, but I feel I have better opportunities here. I definitely intend on going overseas to trial if it doesn’t work out here, but at the moment I’ve got to work hard and play my best for the Lions.”
Stirling can consolidate their place in the top five this weekend by returning from ECU Joondalup with all three points, however, Arnez knows that is not going to be an easy task. “We need to be on our best game to beat them this weekend,” the teenager said. “It’s going to be one of our toughest games of the season. Joondalup are fighting for their lives trying to save their season, hungry and determined to win and prevent us from beating them on their own turf.” Stirling comes up against Joondalup at Edith Cowan University campus from 3.00pm on Saturday.
CANCER STRIKES YOUNG SOCCEROO TOMBIDES
West Ham United teenager Dylan Tombides is being treated for testicular cancer. Tombides, 17, was diagnosed while away with the Young Socceroos at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico last month and immediately returned to England to undergo chemotherapy treatment in London. “Dylan is receiving the best possible care. All the doctors involved have advised Dylan that he will make a full recovery in terms of his illness and his ability to return to his football career,” said West Ham club doctor Sean Howlett. “He is undergoing the standard series of treatments for his condition which is a course of chemotherapy.”
Former Socceroos captain Craig Moore, who beat the disease to represent Australia at last year’s World Cup in South Africa, has been in touch with Tombides to offer his support. “I spoke to Dylan not long after the diagnosis and my message was that he should stay extremely positive,” Moore said. “It’s tough for a teenager to deal with this, but Dylan has plenty of support from family and friends and I will be among many people who’ll be there for him throughout this time … He’s a quality player with a great attitude and he can overcome this challenge.”
REFEREE BLOWS IN TO WHISTLE WHILE AT WORK (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
World Cup referee Eddie Lennie has called on a top English Football Association official to help improve the standard of officiating in Australia. Lennie, who took the whistle for two games at the 1998 World Cup in France, was instrumental in getting to Perth the FA's senior national referee manager, Ian Blanchard, for a series of workshops which start this weekend. Blanchard, who has English Premier League experience, will spend ten days here as part of the Department of Sport and Recreation's coach-in-residence program.
Lennie believes the standard of refereeing in Australia had declined in recent years but feels it could be turned around. "I think in the last couple of years we've gone backwards and we need to improve," said Lennie, who is Football West's referee development manager. "Ian is in charge of all the referees in the UK and he works with the referees in the EPL. He'll hold an FA workshop this weekend for our elite guys and over the next two weeks he'll present the same workshop to all our metropolitan referees from juniors to seniors."
COACH WAS OVERRULED BY THE BOARD: COYNE
Jamie Coyne has broken his silence on his departure from Perth Glory. Coyne, who will play the coming summer for Sydney FC, was a near-ever present last season and needed to play just one more game to secure a ninth season with the club when coach Ian Ferguson delivered the news that his Glory days were over. “Fergie told me he’d been told by the board that I wasn’t allowed to play any more games with six games to go,” said Coyne. “He said it was a decision that had come from the top and that it wasn’t his call.”
As Coyne came to terms with his axing he was stunned by the way the club attempted to portray him. “What really annoyed me is that they lied about it,” the former Glory captain said. “They came out in the media and said I hadn’t been playing well, when, to that point, I’d played every single minute of every game the whole season. Even Fergie told me that I’d been one of his best two players all season – but he could only say that to me privately. Publicly, he had to come out and back what the board had told him to do.”
Despite this treatment, Coyne bears no grudges towards the club he played for on 164 occasions. “I don’t hold any bad feelings towards the club. Obviously, there’s one or two individuals there that I’d rather not speak to and if I see them, I’d keep my distance,” he said. “I’ve had ten years at Perth, there’s been some good times early on – winning the NSL a couple of times – and 99 per cent of it is good memories. I’ve had some good coaches, played with some great people. It’s a bit sad the way it’s ended, but unfortunately these things happen in football.”
Coyne feels Glory’s succession of management changes has so far robbed the club of A-League success. “The ownership changed a few times, that was probably the biggest issue,” he said. “The old owner, Nick Tana, was great during the NSL days but once the A-League came along, he moved along, and once that old team broke up we never recovered the lost ground. It feels like we were always having changes in administration, coaches, physios and so on. The stability we once had ended abruptly (and) they’ve gone through another round of changes again this year.”
Sydney have picked up a player of considerable experience and flexibility in Coyne. In addition to eight seasons with Glory, the 30-year old has spent time with West Ham United (England) and Den Haag (Netherlands) but perhaps his greatest asset is his versatility. Coyne is more capable of filling in anywhere across the backline, as a defensive midfielder or on the right side of midfield, “'all of which has been done in one game,” he said. “I’ve really got no preference – perhaps, if anything, right wing-back, but I don’t mind … I’ll even play striker.”
Coyne had hoped to join Sydney in February ahead of their Asian Champions League campaign but was forced to cool his heals until the situation with Glory was finalised. “There was quite a few different options for me in the A-League and in Asia, but I’d never played for another team in Australia, and where better to do that than in Sydney,” said Coyne, who eventually put pen to paper with Sydney in May. “They’re one of the biggest clubs, and even though they had a bad year last year, they were champions before that and they’re striving to be up there again.”
RUKAVYTSYA ON THE VERGE OF EUROPEAN BREAK THROUGH
Socceroo striker Nikita Rukavytsya is living out his football dream. The one-time Perth Glory player is deep in preparation for his first season in the German's top flight just months after playing a key role in Hertha Berlin finishing top of the 2.Bundesliga. "I have always wanted to play in Europe because that is where the best players and the best competition is," 24-year old Rukavytsya told au.fourfourtwo.com. "People live and breathe football over here and it was always my dream to play for a big club in a top European league when I was growing up. I'm now living that dream."
Hertha play a very attacking style of football which Rukavytsya feels suits his game. "We like to keep possession of the ball but when it's time to go forward we go. We play a three striker formation and I play in one of the wide positions," he explained. "I've usually played as a central striker all my life but when I came here, we started playing with three up front – one target man and two quicker guys on the side. It was a bit new to me at the start but I've adapted well and I'm really happy with the way I'm playing at the moment.
Ukraine-born Rukavytsya moved to Perth at the age of 14 and played youth football with Inglewood United and Perth SC before spending a year at the Australian Institute of Sport. When that ended his linked up with Glory and over the course of two and a bit seasons bagged 20 goals from 50 League and Cup appearances. He moved to Dutch club FC Twente in early 2009 and a few months later made his Socceroos debut against the Republic of Ireland. First team opportunities were scarce at Twente for Rukavytsya and in January 2010 he was loaned out to Belgium club KSV Roeselare.
That move paid dividends with Rukavytsya gaining selection in Australia's squad last year's World Cup in which he lined up against the host nation Germany and Ghana. "When I was a young kid I would always watch the World Cup and think to myself how unbelievable it would be to play in one. So to then play in one at such a young age – to say I have done that – it’s an amazing achievement and one that I’m very proud of," he said. "The whole experience was just amazing – the camps before and getting prepared, arriving in the host country and experiencing the buzz of the tournament from all the fans, the build-up ... I’ve never seen anything like it."
Rukavytsya's first appearance at the tournament was off the bench for a ten-man Socceroos who crashed 4-0 to Germany. "I was waiting to come on thinking "Wow, this is unbelievable - this is a dream come true. I didn't really feel nervous, you don't think about it at the time because you get into the game so much. You take it as a normal game and once you're on the field you concentrate 100 per cent on the job at hand," he commented. "It was just hard playing with ten men against a team of that quality ... It would’ve been a different game if we'd had eleven men on the park."
The opportunity to join Hertha came hot on the heels of Rukavytsya's appearances at the tournament in Germany. "After the World Cup there were a few clubs that said they were interested in me, but when my agent told me that Hertha were interested in offering me a contract, I didn’t have to think about it," he said. "It's a massive club and a great environment and culture for a footballer to be in. There were no second thoughts when we knew the interest was there. Markus Babel had only taken the coach's job a month before so it was good to know that he wanted me to be one of his first signings."
There is plenty Rukavytsya misses about his old life in Perth. "I miss family and friends a lot ... this season has been good for me because my girlfriend has been with me most of the time and my father and girlfriend's parents have been over to stay with me, which makes life a lot easier," he said. "The weather and the lifestyle are the other things I miss the most. It's such a relaxed lifestyle compared to Europe (and) although I lived in Ukraine until I was a teenager, I've got used to the good weather in Australia so when I came to Europe again it did take a bit of getting used to the cold again."
Rukavytsya has mixed feelings about not being selected in the Socceroos squad that went all the way through to the final of January's Asian Cup before losing out to Japan. "It was a little disappointing (to miss out) but it was mid-season and there were a lot of important games for us during that time," he said. "So I was just as happy staying here and concentrating on helping the side win games and try and get back to the Bundesliga. Of course, I was very happy for the boys and the team in what they achieved. It was a real shame they couldn’t go all the way and win the tournament."
Rukavytsya got his first taste of life under new Socceroos boss Holger Osieck when called up for the late March friendly against Germany. "It was the first time I'd worked with him and from what I've seen so far he's good with the players and has some great ideas. He's shown he's a flexible coach who's willing to try new things," commented Rukavytsya, who watched from the sidelines as Australia avenged their World Cup loss by defeating Germany 2-1. "I spoke to him (Osieck) while I was in camp and he told me I was doing well at my club and to continue working hard ... I'm looking forward to working with him in the future and being part of successful Socceroo teams."
VAN DONGEN SEES FLOREAT HOME
Floreat Athena staked their claim on a finals appearance by demolishing Perth SC 3-0 on a sunny afternoon Dorrien Gardens. Paul Van Dongen scored twice and substitute Daniel Trevisiol once to give Floreat the win, a result which moves to within two points of the play-off positions. “We’re in the mix now for the top five,” said Taki Nicolaidis, assistant coach at Floreat. “It was good performance from the side, we had no passengers and really deserved the win.”
Mark Pritchard was the architect of the games’ first opening, crossing to Liam Boland whose close-range header was well saved by Devon Spence. Perth caught their opponents out when David Onoforo slipped the ball through for Greg Sharland but Alex Dunn came to Floreat’s rescue. Referee Michael Nugus had no hesitation pointing to the spot on 26 minutes for a handball against Adam Bachiller, however, there’d be no joy for Boland as Spence guessed correctly to keep out his penalty kick.
That miss was forgotten four minutes later when James Isaia and Calum O’Connell combined down the right with the formers cross met at the back post by Paul Van Dongen, who made no mistake redirecting the ball into Spence’s net. The wind was very much in Floreat’s sail and just after the half hour Pritchard played through Boland but the strikers shot was the wrong side of the post. Perth didn’t threaten again until stoppage time when Sharland’s pinpoint cross was blazed high by Onoforo.
Isaia went within a few coats of a paint of giving Floreat a dream start to the second half, his long-range attempt crashing off the base of the post. This sparked Perth into life and for the next twenty minutes they created a number of promising openings without being able to find the back of the net. Trent Kay got his header from a Sharland corner on target only for Boland to clear off the line, then Craig Simpson’s cross found Sharland who fired wide from 7-metres.
Those misses were punished on 68 minutes when Paul Van Dongen volleyed in sweetly from 9-metres after meeting Pritchard’s ball into the 18-yard box. Undeterred, Perth quickly resumed the attack with Simpson’s header parried by Dunn and Dom De Felice putting the rebound high. Floreat were not yet finish with Boland denied by Dunn and then the post in the space of a few minutes. Boland was involved again on 90 minutes when Dunn parried another shot and Trevisiol was on hand to tuck into the net. Perth’s woes were compounded by the late dismissal of Matt Danskin.
EUROPE MAY TEMPT MCCALLUM AWAY FROM GLORY
Perth Glory's Collette McCallum is considering a spell in Europe following her experiences at the Women's World Cup in Germany. A key figure in the engine room throughout the Matildas campaign, McCallum has set her sights on playing for Australia at next years' Olympic Games in London but admits where she'll play between now and then is very much up in the air. "With club football I'm not sure, I might play in the W-League but I'm thinking of going overseas," McCallum told rutherglenreformer.co.uk. "I've played in the (United) States so I've experienced that but I think I'd like to play here in Europe."
McCallum represented the Matilda's in China four years ago but says taking the tournament to Europe this time around added something special. "The atmosphere was fantastic with so many people there, it was quite overwhelming," McCallum said. "I think it was better than China, you get this great vibe in Germany, as football's such a European game. It gives you goosebumps when you get on the field. When I was younger I was a bit more naive and I took it for granted. I'm older now and you realise how big a deal it is and that you don't get a lot of these opportunities."
Australia was narrowly beaten by Brazil in their opening game but rallied to defeat Equatorial Guinea and Norway to qualify for the quarter-finals. "The Brazil game was great, even though we got beat! In the first half we were all over them then, unfortunately, they went on to score," said McCallum, who was delighted with Australia's thrilling win over Norway. "We knew Norway are a very direct team and can be unpredictable, it was a tough game. We made a mistake and went down 1-0, but we've got that Aussie spirit to keep going and we went on to score straight after their goal and we eventually won. You're going to have games like that but you just need to work hard."
Unfortunately, defensive lapses then cost the Matildas the chance of beyond the last sixteen. "It was disappointing to get knocked out at that stage as I felt we were good enough to go further and maybe get to the semis," commented McCallum. "It was heartbreaking that we got beat 3-1. We went down 2-0 to two mistakes and we came back to make it 2-1. At half-time the girls were really positive as we just needed a goal to equalise. Then there was another mistake at the back and that threw it all off and it was 3-1. It was really hard to get back in to the game after that. We've got such a young squad, but really good depth, it was unfortunate we went out like that."
TITLE WITHIN A WHISPER OF BALCATTA
Balcatta edged a little closer to their first major piece of silverware with this afternoon’s 2-0 win over Cockburn City at Grindleford Reserve. Daniel Micevski and Chris Thackray posted the goal to move Balcatta, who are in only their second year of the Premier League, 14 points clear at the top of the table with just five rounds to play. The game, however, was no without its controversy with referee dismissing Cockburn captain Paul Natale just before half-time for swearing while allowed similar outbursts to go totally unpunished by referee Josh Mihevc.
An all-action start had both teams moving the ball around well as they pushed into their attacking third of the field. Stephen Burton’s close-range attempt was saved low by Michael Petkovic while at the other end Lewis Italiano did well to push wide Scott McCulloch’s swerving shot. Cockburn had a legitimate penalty claim when David Araya’s cross struck Adam Stillitano on the arm, however, the referee opted not to blow his whistle. Balcatta slowly assumed control with Petkovic thwarting Thackray and Atak before Daniel Neiderberger headed high when it seemed easier to find the net.
Cockburn suffered a massive blow on 39 minutes when Natale was shown a straight red card for venting his anger at the referee’s failure to see an infringement in Adam Tong’s challenge on Ian McMurray. That said, the team with ten men went within inches of the lead soon after but McMurray’s header hit the outside of the post from a Rory Feely cross. The game had just ticked over into stoppage time when Thackray played a corner to Micevski who, from the top of the 18-yard box, clipped the ball inside the far post to send Balcatta in one-nil up.
The visitors continued the good fight after the break with Jon Davite shooting straight at Italiano from a good position. However, the wind taken out of their sails on 59 minutes when Thackray slammed the bouncing ball past an exposed Petkovic after playing a tidy one-two with Burton. Not happy with a two-goal lead, Balcatta went looking for another with Neiderberger and Tong shooting not too far wide of the target. Petkovic comfortably saved Neiderberger’s next attempt before Thackray put a free header high from a quickly taken free-kick by Tong.
Going into the final ten minutes the teams found they had energy in reserve and the tempo quickened accordingly. Neiderberger fashioned an opening but his low strike across Petkovic rolled past the upright. Two minutes later McCulloch headed high after being picked out at the far post by Araya’s free-kick. Paul Vatistas found himself in space to unleash a fierce low drive that flashed wide, then Italiano was stretched by McMurray’s goal bound attempt. The final chance of the afternoon came the way of Burton whose effort was well taken by Petkovic.
WATT POWERS UP TO SAVE STIRLING
A late equaliser by Jamie Watt gave a ten-man Stirling Lions a deserved 2-2 draw with Inglewood United at Macedonia Park. Watt scored twice – one at either end of the afternoon – with Ndumba Makeche and Rory Grant finding the net in between for the visitors. The drama wasn’t consigned only to goal scored with Stirling captain Andy Brown shown a straight red card just before the break, while Inglewood defender James Duncan suffered a horrific broken midway through the second period.
An uneventful opening was punctuated on 12 minutes when Roberto Lujan snapped wide of the post from 9-metres. There was no such wasteful from Watt two minutes later with the striker firing in at close-range after Clayton Arnez’s cross to the far post was cut back across the face of goal by Phil O’Callaghan. Stirling were running rampant and could have had a second goal if not for Oliver Taseski who was off his line quickly to deflect the ball wide after O’Callaghan was played through.
Inglewood eventually got going and on 22 minutes Ryan Clarke got the better of Clayton Arnez before centring for Makeche who beat the challenge of Bobby Wilson to net on the angle. This seemed only to spur on the home side and O’Callaghan was foiled twice in quick succession by Taseski. With 38 minutes gone Stirling suffered a blow with Brown issued his marching orders for a full-blooded tackle on Dannie Richman. There was still enough time for Arnez and Caceres to each stretch the ‘keepers before referee Paul Anderson signalled half-time.
Taseski again thwarted O’Callaghan at the start of the second half before the Inglewood ‘keeper tipped over the crossbar a Wilson header. Duncan’s season was ended on 68 minutes following a 50/50 challenge with James Davies that left the Inglewood player with a broken leg, the incident taking some of the gloss off the game. However, there were still three points up for grabs and five minutes later Inglewood hit the front with an unmarked Grant heading on Caceres’ deep cross.
Stirling looked for a response and nearly had one in the 84th minute when O’Callaghan and Watt combined to send through Arnez but standing between him and a goal was Taseski, who once again came to Inglewood’s rescue. With time running out Wilson launched a long thrown into the area where the ball pinged about before coming to Jason Gavin, who looked up and slotted to the feet of Watt who from 5-metres fired in a dramatic equaliser.
Stirling captain Gavin was delighted with his players’ fighting spirit, although he admitted it was overshadowed by the injury to Duncan. “It’s a bit of a hollow feeling after what happened to the young lad, we hope he has a speedy recovery as no one likes to see that,” said Gavin. “Going down to ten men we knew it was going to be tough, but the lads dug deep and I think we got what we deserved with a late goal to earn a point.”
CAIN EARNS SORRENTO A SHARE (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Defender Danny Cain popped up in stoppage time to grab Sorrento a dramatic 2-2 draw from an entertaining encounter with Bayswater City at Percy Doyle Reserve. The home side entered the break in front thanks to captain Todd Harnwell, however, it looked as though Bayswater would take out the points after Gavin Knight equalised just before the hour and Gustavo Marulanda converted from the penalty spot late on. With time fast running out, Cain found himself in an advanced position and made the most of his chance, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Bayswater came out of the blocks quickly, Marulanda twisting inside the 18-yard box to get off a shot that flashed just wide of the near post. Alex Caniglia was denied by a good save from Curtis Aspden, then Brian McKeown’s shot deflected off an opponent for a corner. Sorrento turned the resulting set piece over and after channelling play through of Jack Doyle and David Foster it was left to Todd Harnwell to apply a classy finish. Daryl Platten should have made it two-nil but somehow headed over Adam Luca’s corner. Marulanda almost grabbed an equaliser with a stunning long-range free-kick that ended just wide.
A similar pattern emerged at the start of the second half as Knight placed straight at Aspden from distance before Alex Caniglia blazed over from 23-metres. Bayswater got the result they were after on 58 minutes when Knight finished off some slick link up play with a cracking drive from outside the area. Knight could have doubled his tally twelve minutes later but blazed over when he should have at least tested Aspden. Sorrento’s day took a turn for the worse on 76 minutes when David Price earned an early shower for his second bookable offence.
It took Bayswater only four minutes to capitalise with Marulanda coolly converting from the spot his 15th goal of the season. The decision by Mathew Cheeseman to point to award the penalty kick was harsh considering Cain had his back to the ball when it struck him on the arm. Justice was seen to be done three minutes into stoppage time when Cain made amends by chesting down Doyle’s clipped ball and volleying across Gianni Papalia and ensure the points would be shared. The result does neither teams’ play-off hopes any good with Sorrento remaining in sixth spot and Bayswater seventh.
DOLPHINS GIVE THEMSELVES HOPE
Mandurah City picked up some much-needed points in their battle to avoid relegation by defeating ECU Joondalup 2-0 in an entertaining encounter at the Hyundai Stadium. Aaron Dos Santos had the Dolphins in front by half-time with Garin Collins sealing the win late to renew Mandurah’s hopes of getting out of the relegation zone. “We are really starting to string things together,” commented Dos Santos. “There were some very encouraging signs for us, I’m very confident we can stay up in Premier League. All the senior players stood up for us to get us past the line.”
Attack was clearly the name of the game as both teams focused on getting the ball forward in search of an early goal. Joondalup captain Dale McCulloch headed narrowly high when found unmarked at a corner before Rafael Insaurralde’s lofted attempt failed to beat Andy Banks. Jake Benson-Cooper brought a brilliant save from Phil Straker in the 20th minute, the home ‘keeper back-tracking to tap away his opponents’ chip shot. The breakthrough came six minutes from the break when Insaurralde laid the ball into the path of Dos Santos whose curling shot from 16-metres was beyond Banks’ reach.
Joondalup emerged for the second half determined to get back on level terms. Jon Higgins worked space only to shoot just wide of the target and two minutes later the Joondalup defender crossed to McCulloch whose header was into the crossbar. John Thornley came off the bench to almost immediate effect, the Joondalup striker bundling Straker into the net as he collected a high ball with referee Trent Fleskens ruling a foul. Michael Grigo was within inches of doubling the hosts lead when his weak shot squirmed past Banks onto to come back off the post.
Mandurah were by this stage taking the upper hand and just a minute Insuarralde’s volley kissed the top of the bar. In the 76th minute Darren Broxton spotted Banks off his line but his attempted chip from 35-metre drifted wide. Joondalup’s reliance on playing the ball long served only to hinder their chances of grabbing an equaliser. The game was settled with four minutes remaining when Collins timed his run nicely to get on the end of a Matt Stares pass which he coolly tucked in Banks’ net. The loss puts Joondalup perilously close to the relegation zone, the northern suburbs outfit sitting just five points above second from bottom Mandurah.
NTC ROUTED IN ARMADALE (with James Wragg, Football West)
Armadale made the most of the brief respite in the wintry weather by handing out a 9-1 thrashing to the National Training Centre at Alfred Skeet Oval. Matt Barlow and Ali Parades each helped themselves to a hat-trick with Tom Robinson also grabbing a brace and Steve McDonald getting the remainder in the one-sided contest. Armadale were out of the blocks fast and with 4 minutes gone Paredes pounced on a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and tucked past Francis Soull. The margin was double six minutes later by McDonald, who headed in Paredes corner.
The NTC halved the difference on 24 minutes when Sebit Oyet didn’t break stride in receiving a pass out of midfield before calmly sliding his shot past oncoming goalkeeper Jack Adams. However, this only fired up the home side on 31 minutes Barlow drilled in from 9-metres, then soon after the striker punished some poor defending by heading in his second goal. Chris Rizidis appeared to have scored the NTC a second goal just before half-time but his effort was disallowed for offside.
Armadale continued to exploit the frail visiting defence after the turnaround with Paredes tapping into an empty net on 48 minutes after unselfish play by Warren Beattie. The interplay between Barlow and Tom Robinson was an absolute pleasure and on 52 minutes the former’s cut back was lashed into the net by the latter. The NTC enjoyed a ten minutes spell in possession but no goals would come with Rizidis and Reece Vittiglia each spurning good chances.
By contrast, the final half hour produced three further goals for Armadale. Paredes completed his hat-trick on the hour after another defensive lapse. Barlow followed suit by also putting away his third goal, side -ooting beyond Soull after exchanging passes with Robinson in the 72nd minute. The games tenth and final goal arrived on 89 minutes when Robinson scrambled the ball into the net to Scott Miller’s men plenty of encouragement going into next week's crucial game at home to Inglewood United.
BINNIE GETS BUNBURY OVER THE LINE (courtesy Morley Windmills)
A goal six minutes from full-time by Rory Binnie gave Bunbury Forum Force a 2-1 win over a gallant Morley Windmills at Hay Park. The first half was littered with missed opportunities before Corey Cullen slotted past stand-in Morley goalkeeper Damian Todorovic. Ryan Frisina put the teams back on a level footing midway through the second period and it looked as through the game would end that way when Binnie stole Bunbury the win.
Nerves got the better of Todorovic, whose regular position is as striker, early on with the Morley custodian spilling a cross but recovering in time to block the follow-up shot. Having survived this initial scare Morley worked their way into the game and Lucas Whiteside forced a good save from Ryan Montgomery, while Ian McKean lifted over the crossbar after being played through. Half-time was five minutes away when Cullen stole possession from Simon Wilson and from 25-metres his dipping shot found the target to make it one-nil.
Chances were few and far between it the second half as the teams wrestled to take the upper hand. Morley grabbed themselves an equaliser on 66 minutes when the hard-working Frisina pounced on a loose ball to calmly slot in his seventh goal of the campaign. Bunbury snuck the winner on 84 minutes with Binnie poking the ball in after the visiting defence failed to clear from inside their defensive area. The win maintains Bunbury’s position at the top of the table where they lead Shamrock Rovers by four points.
CARROLL SINGS A FINE TUNE
Nick Carroll scored all the goals in Shamrock Rovers 3-0 win over Rockingham City at Harold Rossiter Park. The three-goal haul took Carroll’s tally to seven in eight days after the attacker bagged four against Fremantle Spirit last weekend. Shamrock should have been awarded an early penalty but the match officials failed to spot a blatant handball on the line. In the 35th minute Ross Cosgrove laid the ball on for Carroll who beat the oncoming goalkeeper to post Shamrock’s first goal. It wasn’t until ten minutes into the second half that the margin was doubled, good work in the lead up by Ian Stack by finished off by Carroll. Full-time was approaching when Carroll completed his hat-trick by stroking into the bottom corner after latching onto a ball over the defence.
GOSNELLS TAKE A POINT FROM WANNEROO (courtesy Gosnells City)
A nine-man Wanneroo City salvaged a 4-4 draw with Gosnells City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The visiting side made all the early running before being rewarded on the quarter hour when Andy Pomret’s cross was fumbled by Clint Davies and Adrian McBride was positioned to smash into the net. However, Wanneroo soon enough drew level with Sahr Konomanyi tucking into the bottom corner after seizing on a poor clearance. The home side continued to press and entered the break two goals the better after Guy McDonald and Konomanyi found the net in quick succession.
With coach Tony Maguire words ringing in their ears, Gosnells reeled in the difference five minutes into the second half through McBride, who lashed a free-kick into the net from 18-metres. Six minutes later McBride turned provider by crossing to the back post where Pomfret headed past the ‘keeper. Davies prevented Gosnells from going ahead by saving Jamie Burns penalty kick after he’d been felled inside the 18-yard box. Ravi Kuppasamy entered the game soon after and with his first touch found the back of the net with a stunning 23-metre strike.
With ten minutes remaining it looked as though Wanneroo’s chances of taking anything from the game were over after Glen Moore was dismissed following an off the ball incident. Kuppasamy had two great chances to seal Gosnells the win but both shots were taken by Davies. Wanneroo pushed forward in numbers as the game came to a close and hesitant defending allowed McDonald to shoot into the bottom corner and make it four-all. The game ended on a sour note with Darren Quinncroft sent from the field after clashing with his Gosnells opponent.
FIVE-STAR SWAN SHOW PLENTY OIF SPIRIT (courtesy Swan United)
Swan United consolidated fourth spot by thrashing Fremantle Spirit 5-0 at Wauhop Park. The game didn’t spark into life until the second half when Tom Shepheard grabbed a brace with Anthony McStea, Solomon Onyuku and Chris Marshall also on the score sheet. Only a few minutes were on the clock when Swan threatened for the first time through an unmarked Shepheard, who somehow failed to hit the target. The visitors controlled play saw John Monterosso test goalkeeper Chris Farmer midway through the period, while Shepheard’s effort just before the break was disallowed for offside.
It took Swan just a few minutes of the second half to break through with McStea making no mistake from the penalty spot after referee Ian Edwards signalled for handball. The one-way nature of the game continued with Onyuku firing wide before Adam Pygrum was denied by Farmer. The visiting team doubled their lead thanks to Onyuku, who hit the target from 5-metres after being picked out by Trent Wood. Fremantle attempted to hit back with L.Fernandez’s shot which crashed back off the crossbar would be the closest they’d come to scoring.
On 64 minutes Pygrum’s cross into the box saw Shepheard get to the ball before Farmer and head into an empty. It became four-nil just minutes after with Shepheard putting the ball away at the back post after John Monterosso headed back across goal from Wood’s free-kick. Swan’s fifth arrived in the 73rd minute with Marshall heading in powerfully from a McStea corner. The win moves Swan to just a point behind third-placed Wanneroo, and provides the perfect preparation for next weekend’s home clash with top-of-the-table Bunbury forum Force.
ASHFIELD COME FROM BEHIND
Ashfield hit the target three times in the final half hour to inflict a 3-1 loss on Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve. The result puts Ashfield back into sixth place whereas Dianella, who last tasted victory twelve games ago, languishing third from bottom. A tight opening period had scattered chances at both ends of the park where goalkeepers Brad Eiffe and Matt Battigelli were kept busy. The visitors entered the break with the slenderest of leads thanks to Frank Modafferi’s header just moments before the half-time whistle sounded.
Ashfield came out after the break fired up and on 61 minutes Alex Stamatiadis brought the teams level with a tidy finish off the crossbar. Byron Allen went close to putting Dianella in front but was unable to capitalise when the opportunity presented. With twelve minutes left Jason Feather got his angles right to head the home side into the lead. Sloppy defending by the visitors cost them dearly in stoppage time when Karl O’Reilly stabbed into the net from 8-metres despite appearing to be in an offside position when Feather played him in.
FORRESTFIELD’S HIGH FIVE
Forrestfield United overturned a half-time deficit to take the points over Canning City by 5-1 in the night fixture at Hartfield Park. The opening half appeared destined to finish without score when Josh Findlater popped up to send Canning into the break with a surprise lead. The visitors clung to their slender advantage until the 64th minute when Anthony Lyons brought the sides level. It took Forrestfield only another thirteen minutes to effectively secure the win with Lyons bagging his second after which Anthony Cunningham took the score line to three-one. Canning had the misfortunate of scoring an own goal before, with three minutes left on the clock, Lyons completed a deserved hat-trick.
COACH HAPPY WITH YOUNG SOCCEROOS PROGRESS
The Young Socceroos have gone down 1-0 to England in their final hit-out before the Under-20 World Cup. The outcome didn’t concern coach Jan Versleijen who was happy with Australia’s overall performance just a week out from the tournament. “We definitely made a step forward from the Korean match in terms of our fitness and understanding between the players,” said Versleijen. “There’s still some time to work on a few things, but I’m happy with what we achieved from the two training matches and I’m confident that we will be ready for our first match in Colombia.”
The opening third didn’t reach any great heights with neither team successful in finding a way through the opposing defence. Bernie Ibini-Isei had a couple of close-range attempts blocked in in the second period before England striker Saido Berahino slotted past goalkeeper Mark Birighitti from inside the 6-yard box on 47 minutes. Birighitti made some important saves to keep Australia in the game which substitute Tommy Oar almost equalised with a long-range shot that hit the crossbar. Birighitti played the full game with Trent Sainsbury replaced on 61 minutes.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
This pick of this weekend’s Premier League action takes place at the Hyundai Stadium where relegation threatened Mandurah City come up against an ECU Joondalup side that has taken just three from their last six outings. “We have to win to give us a lifeline,” comment Mandurah’s Garin Collins, who played much of his career with the northern suburbs outfit. “A win for Joondalup would make them mathematically safe and would all but send us down, so we know the importance.” Defender Tom Straker is back for the Dolphins but midfielder Robbie Hamm misses out through suspension.
With his team in free fall, Joondalup’s Ryan McDarby knows a win on Saturday is a must. “The way our last few results have gone, we have to go down there and get something from the game,” said the defender. “It’s something we haven’t managed to do the last few seasons but we are all confident we can get a result and not get sucked into the relegation battle.” Scott Blackmore and Mark Tebbutt are in contention to come straight back into the starting line-up but Luke Smith is ruled out by suspension.
Grindleford Reserve has the top verses bottom clash of Balcatta and Cockburn City. Balcatta, who have one hand on the regular season trophy, could be bolstered by the return of Ashley Rosindale while defender Adam Tong will have to pass a late fitness test after receiving a nasty eye injury last week. The Cockerels picked up three valuable points last time out to give themselves a glimmer of hope of avoiding relegation, and with former Socceroo Michael Petkovic in goal and Ian McMurray upfront Mick Lyons’ players have good reason to be full of confidence.
Jostling for the top five continued with Stirling Lions up against Inglewood United at Macedonia Park. Home coach Doug Hesketh knows his players need to be at their best against an imposing opponent. “The lads have worked hard over the week and will be looking for a far better performance than the last one at Inglewood when we were thrashed 5-1,” said Hesketh. “Shane Pryce has assembled a strong squad this season and they have been impressive in games I’ve seen, so we know we will have to be at our best to get a result.”
Bayswater City can extend their unbeaten run to six games when they visit Sorrento. It’s been a fairly lean couple of months for the Gulls and for them to get anything out of Saturday veteran Jamie Harnwell, State player Jason Mirco and striker David Foster will need to be in tip-top form. Bayswater let two points slip from their grasp last time out and coach Mauro Marchione will be looking to George Tchami and Cesar Gonzalez to keep the back line tight with the league’s top goal scorer, Gustavo Marulanda, the one to watch in attack.
The round concludes with Sunday’s derby clash between Perth SC and Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens. On-going injuries have led Perth captain Robbie Puca to announce his retirement but otherwise the Blues will be at full strength. With Trent Kay, Antonio Naglieri and David Onoforo in good form it’s the home side that are tipped to win. But pulling out all the stops to make sure the results goes in the other direction are Paul Van Dongen, Damian Catalano and Julian Madaschi. All five Premier League games – be they Saturday or Sunday – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Morley Windmills may be without a specialist goalkeeper for their visit to Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force (3.00pm). With regular stopper Steve Grant sidelined by long-term injury Morley have spent the week scouring the local scene for a replacement and, should one not be found, coach Salv Todaro may position an out-field player between the posts. Bunbury boss Nigel Wilcox has some selection headaches of a much different kind with defensive pair Jordan Rispin and Oliver McGee banging on the knocking on the door of a first team recall.
Anything less than maximum points for Shamrock Rovers at home to Rockingham City (3.00pm) could spell the end of their title hopes for 2011. The arrival from Ireland of John McElnce and Sean Tobin has increased competition for places as well as depth at Shamrock where Alan O’Mahoney, Barry Mulligan and Eamon Barnes are looking to force their way back into the eleven. Rockingham have won three of their last four games and the recruitment of former Perth Glory player Jeff Bright signals their intention for a strong finish to the season.
There'll be some Wanneroo City regulars missing for their home encounter with Gosnells City (3.00pm). Team captain Brian Cairney (flu) hasn't trained this week and in all likelihood will be absent along with Jay MacDonald (work), Tom Omre (foot) and Craig Bowman (hamstring). Gosnells have looked good in spells but need a full 90 minute performance if they're to take anything from the game. Striker Jamie Burns has a key role to play while the timing could not be better for veteran Alan Dunlop to keep his first clean sheet of the winter.
It's shaping up to be another long afternoon for Fremantle Spirit who welcome an in-form Swan United to Wauhop Park (3.00pm). Darren Monaghan should come back into Fremantle's eleven after missing last week through injury while teenager Chris Farmer is expected to retain the spot between the posts. Swan are one of Division One’s form sides with John Monterosso banging in the goals and his brother, Rob, marshalling the defence. Damian Scali (knee) is absent this weekend with defender Adam Pygrum needing to pass a late fitness test to make the match day squad.
There’s good reason why Dianella White Eagles fancy their chances of upsetting home side Ashfield (3.00pm). Jamie Goodman is yet to taste victory with Dianella but with Jimmy Nelson, Sotiris Theodosiades, Sasa Cvijetic and Bojan Radinovic back in training that could be able to change. Ashfield boss Matt Carruthers has some tough decisions to make with Jason Feather, Mladen Kovacevic and Gareth Lloyd all vying for starting spots. The final game brings together Forrestfield United, who have Matt Harold and Martin Barnes suspended, against an as yet pointless Canning City under lights at Hartfield Park (7.00pm).
HARNWELL RE-DISCOVERS HIS PASSION WITH SORRENTO
Perth Glory legend Jamie Harnwell is enjoying life back in the State League. Harnwell, 34, retired from the national league in February after 256 appearances for his hometown club and has transitioned smoothly back onto the local stage with Sorrento. “It’s a strange feeling not having to go into training every day, but it means I’m now looking forward to training and having a run around whereas before it was a job and I wasn’t enjoying it,” said Harnwell. “It’s also been a nice change to not be worried about whether you will get another contract or what an injury might mean.”
The Harnwell family are synonymous with Sorrento and Jamie is delighted to be putting something back into the club he played for as a junior. “It’s been great to go back and play with my brother, Todd, again and with other guys I have known for a long time,” he said. “Unfortunately, guys like Stuart Banks, Glen Thomas and James Morgan have left the club – hopefully that's nothing to do with me – but there others like Brodie Martin who I coached when he was 15. It’s also nice to be playing in front of people who have followed my career from Sorrento to Glory and back again.”
Sorrento’s recent form has been inconsistent at best, the northern suburbs outfit picking up a solitary win from their last six league outings to slip out of the top five. “It’s been an interesting month or two,” commented Harnwell. “Before our loss on the weekend (at Stirling Lions) we hadn’t lost for a few games but we just couldn’t get wins on the board. We probably haven’t done enough going forwards as a team. Todd and David Foster work very hard to create and finish chances but we could be doing a lot more to help them up there.”
Harnwell is confident the Gulls can turn their league form around and be part of this years’ finals series. “We know we are a good team. We have matched it with the best teams throughout the season and have only let ourselves down on occasions with some bad defending and not taking our chances,” said the defender. “We had a bad run with injuries and suspensions and that is hard when you only have a small squad. However, we now have most of the team back on the park and there is quality all through the line-up, plus we have games in hand over some of the teams around us.”
Scattered amongst the Gulls up and down league form is a 3-0 State League Cup semi-final defeat of Armadale which has everyone at Sorrento excited. “It’s a great achievement reaching any final. It’s not something you can take for granted as I discovered in the last five or so years with Glory,” said Harnwell, who won two Grand Finals with Glory. “It’s the only trophy that Sorrento has yet to win so it would be great to finally put our name on it. Sorrento v Perth games are always very hotly contested and should prove for a great final.”
Sorrento crashed 3-1 to Stirling Lions last weekend with a performance Harnwell says was way below par. “It was an aberration, pure and simple. There were too many of us who had a poor day, myself included, mentally we weren’t switched on,” he commented. “Stirling were fired up for the game and full credit to them, they deserved to win. In saying that, when we got back to 3-1 we had one or two chances and if we had taken one of those it would have made for an interesting finale. But I believe we got what we deserved on the day.”
The importance of a Sorrento win at home this Saturday over Bayswater City, who have put itself into finals contention with a five game unbeaten run, is not lost on Harnwell. “This is a big game, they turned us over at their place and we know they have some very dangerous players who can change games in a split second,” commented the Gulls defender. “We need to show that last week was just a one-off. It’s a great test for us against an in-form team and if we can win it will help us to pull away from the chasing pack.”
YOUNG SOCCEROOS CALL-UP FOR FEELY
Former Cockburn City goalkeeper Nick Feely has been drafted into Australia's squad for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup. Feely, who turned out for the Hoops' pre-season encounter with Partick Athletic on the weekend, comes into the squad after Lawrence Thomas suffered a thigh injury in training. The teenage shot-stopper joined Celtic last year and played his part in the under-19's Scottish Youth League and Cup double success. He'll compete with Mark Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior, for the gloves in Colombia where Australia meet Ecuador (31 July), Costa Rica (3 August) and Spain (6 August) in the group phase.
KNIGHTS ON THE MOVE
It's looking increasing likely Western Knights will have a new home ground when season 2012 kicks off. The State League Facilities Review of earlier this year found Nash Field, the Knights home since 2001, unsuitable for Premier League football in its current state. With substantial redevelopment of Nash Field required to bring the venue up to standard, Football West have requested the club either re-locate to a venue that meets the criteria or to enter in to a 'ground share' arrangement with a club whose ground meets the criteria. Should the club fail to come up with a solution then Football West may mandate that all the Knights home games will be played away in 2012.
MONTEROSSO LEADS SWAN FROM THE FRONT
Joining Swan United has given striker John Monterosso a new lease of life. Monterosso, 25, is clearly relishing his second spells with the blacks and whites having toyed with the idea of giving the game away at the end of last season, which he spent with Ashfield. “If it wasn’t for my brother, Rob, who managed to convince me to come down and give it another crack at Francis Street I would have hung up my boots,” Monterosso explained. “Going back to Swan is the best decision I could have made.”
Monterosso has led the line well for the black and whites, scoring 16 goals in all competitions to date and spearheading Swan’s attempt to return to the top flight. “Personally I’m having the best season yet,” he said. “Things are going well down in the valley, the atmosphere and jest around the club is the best I’ve been a part of. We would have to be one of the – no – we are the closest tight knit team in the league and that is visible before and after every game.”
A brace last weekend against Morley Windmills propelled Monterosso into outright leadership of the Division One goal scorer charts. “It’s nice to be top scorer in the league - let’s keep it that way,” said the striker. “Goals come easy when you have a great team around you. Coach John O’Reilly has extensively worked on my finishing at training, over and over and over again … and Aaron’s (Colli) work rate and with Maccas (Anthony McStea) creativity and ball skills, it’s no wonder goals come freely to us.”
Swan came back from two-nil down against Morley to claim the point 4-2 and keep alive their hopes of gaining promotion. “We may not have played the prettiest football in the first hour but in the end we got the job done and we played some fantastic football in the final third of the game,” said Monterosso. “Coming from two-down and to fight back has given a new air of confidence amongst the lads which is well needed as the season nears the business end.”
Last weekend’s game was turned on its head by just after the hour by a collision between Morley team mates Steve Grant and Mark Walsh which came about after the latter jostled for possession with Monterosso. “I’ve heard reports regarding the incident against Morley that I had maliciously pushed Walshy into the ‘keeper which caused the injury – this was certainly not the case. It was an unfortunate event and I do wish the two lads a speedy recovery,” commented Monterosso.
Swan could be forgiven for taking a relaxed approach into Saturday’s game at second-from-bottom Fremantle Spirit, however, Monterosso says that is far from the case. “It’s an absolute must that we take all three points down in Freo,” he said. “Confidence around Swan is sky high after the dramatic win against Morley and nothing short of a convincing win will be acceptable if were to carry this momentum into what may be a season defining game the following week against leaders Bunbury Forum Force. Fremantle will be no pushover, any team in this league can take points from anyone.”
TODARO HAPPY WITH MORLEY’S PROGRESS
Morley Windmills are well down the road to re-establishing themselves as a major force in Division One. Coach Salv Todaro is pleased with the progress made in the past six months and is confident of a bright future for the one-time State League giants. “The objectives we set for this year were to have three competitive teams on the park every weekend; to stabilise the club financially; to develop a footballing culture at the club; and to improve the junior set-up,” explained Todaro. “We have made major improvements in all of these areas and next year the club will go forward even further.”
Todaro has been especially pleased by the commitment of his players. “They are a hard working group who are prepared to listen and take advice, not to mention that are all very talented players,” said the coach. “The way they play the game is fantastic, and I have had the pleasure of watching some really enjoyable football this year. They are all at the club for all the right reasons, many of them have been offered money to go to other clubs but they have chosen to remain at Morley.”
The first hour of Saturday’s game at Swan had Morley playing some of their best of football to date. “The passing was crisp and sharp and the movement off the ball was causing Swan lots of problems,” said Todaro, whose team looked to be cruising at two-nil up courtesy of Ryan Frisina and Andy O’Neill. “Swan are an excellent team but our back four were giving their forwards no time on the ball. It was pleasing to hear some of Swan’s supporters say that we have been the best team to come to Francis Street so far this year.”
Unfortunately, the game was turned by a 63rd minute collision between Mark Walsh and goalkeeper Steve Grant with Swan coming back to win 4-2. “The horrific clash of heads was a definite game defining moment,” commented Todaro, whose ‘keeper was hospitalised with fractures to his jaw and eye sockets. “Losing two outstanding individuals with blooding streaming from head wounds certainly unsettled the team … up to that moment Swan were never in the game but they took advantage of the situation to keep up their hopes of promotion.”
The absence of Walsh and Grant this weekend puts added pressure on Morley for the trip to Bunbury Forum Force. “I will have to reshuffle the team but I have great belief that my players can beat any team in this league,” said a confident Todaro. “Bunbury are a very good team, they have recruited very aggressively with overseas imports and I understand they have added another two players recently. When we played Bunbury earlier I thought we played quite well but we didn’t take our opportunities and were punished for that … we will be going all out to keep improving on performances and meeting our season goals.“
SKORICH SETS HIS SIGHTS ON GERMANY
Striker Anthony Skorich is hoping to open a new European chapter of his career after being released by Perth Glory. Skorich, who has been playing for Stirling Lions, will shortly head to Germany and Croatia where he has trials lined up. “My agent has sorted me some trials in Germany and Croatia, and I’m looking forward to the challenge at Kickers Offenbach FC,” said Skorich. “I've asked a few people that have experienced football in Germany and they have said that it is very professionally run, even through to the non-professional leagues … I expect a high standard of football which will be a lot different to the Australian brand.”
Skorich, 21, made 13 appearances last season for Glory and was looking forward to playing for the club again this summer when news arrived that he was no longer required. “It was a little disappointing to part ways with Perth Glory, however, I was looking forward to a new start, even though it took a little longer than I had expected,” explained Skorich. “To be honest the way in which the younger players were treated throughout the club was a little disappointing, the sooner they realise this, the better off football will be in Western Australia.”
MACEDONIA PARK TO HOST CUP FINAL
Football West have announced Macedonia Park, home of Stirling Lions, as the venue for the 2011 State League Cup Final. Eleven-time Cup winners Perth SC will battle it out with Sorrento, who are yet to the knock-out trophy aloft, on the afternoon of Saturday 20 August for the prestigious piece of silverware. “We are pleased to be able to spread some of our key matches around and reward these clubs that have invested money in the development of their facility,” Football West chief executive Peter Hugg said. “The Macedonia Park complex is also the recipient of the MySolar energy system and a keen supporter of our Black, Gold and Green project, which we thank them for.”
YOUNG SOCCEROOS DRAW WITH KOREA
The Young Socceroos have drawn 1-1 with Korea Republic as they prepare for the Under-20 World Cup in Columbia later this month. Bernie Ibini-Isei break the deadlock shortly before half-time only for the Koreans to equalise through Lee Ki Je early in the second period at the Regis University Soccer Field in Denver. “For us at this moment it is important to play matches like this against quality opposition like Korea,” said coach Jan Versleijen. “The majority of players had a good amount of game time and most importantly there were no injuries to speak of.”
Although both sides were more concerned with performance rather than the scoreline, the match - divided into three periods - began at a fast pace, with the teams trying to adjust to the altitude. The breakthrough arrived on 38 minutes when Kofi Danning cut the ball to the far post where Ibini-Isei made no mistake from close-range. Six minutes into the second half Lee Ki Je swung a perfectly placed free-kick into the top corner, giving Mark Birighitti no chance. Birighitti played the opening 55 minutes, with fellow Trent Sainsbury coming off the bench at that same stage of the game.
BUTSHIIRE SETTLES IN AT BAYSWATER
One-time Australia youth international Million Butshiire is looking forward to helping Bayswater City’s push towards playing finals football. Butshiire, 19, joined Bayswater at the end of last month and admits he is still finding his feet with his new club. “I’ve been there almost four weeks now and I’m slowly adjusting to the team structure and the formation they play,” commented the attacker. “They like to play football and build up from the back which helps me as an attacking player, it allows me and by team mates to create space and give us the opportunity to score goals.”
Butshiire says the decision to leave Cockburn City, where he scored three times in as many games during a brief spell, was not easy. “It was a difficult decision to move from Dalmatinac Park as all the players, coaching staff and fans made me feel really welcome there,” he explained. “Mike Lyons was great and he understood the player I am and gave me a license to express myself which gave me a great deal of encouragement and belief … but as a footballer you have to make decisions and I’m confident I’ve made the right one.”
Born the Congo, Butshiire’s football journey started with Perth SC and the National Training Centre before entering the national league with Perth Glory. “I was with the youth team (in 2009) and had a good pre-season and was fully involved with the first team. Dave Mitchell assessed ways to sign me on an injury replacement deal,” he said. “After problems with my hip I found out I had a stress fracture and was ordered to rest for three months. While doing my rehab towards the end of the season opportunities came for me to go to Europe on trials, and that’s where I last left Glory.”
Trials with Nuremberg, Duisburg and Budapest Honved followed and although Butshiire impressed his hopes of playing in Europe now look remote. “The plan was to head back to Germany this summer transfer window but due to poor establishment and poor foundation as a young player the next step is unknown for now,” he said. “Not having a European Union passport makes the situation harder. It is very important to be consistent and prominent here in Australia before I can consider exploring that level of European football again and that will come with games and gaining experience.”
It appears Butshiire will sit tight in Perth until such time that a professional deal comes knocking. “Being from Perth makes it hard because there is only one A-League team here,” Butshiire said. “For the moment my main focus is to gain good form and be consistent week in week out at Bayswater and continue to score goals. The Asian market is also another good option at the moment, it’s a market that gets good exposure but the most critical thing now is to maintain good momentum and keep working hard.”
Whatever the next step, Butshiire is grateful to the coaches who have helped him along the way. “Kenny Lowe played a prominent role in me becoming a player within a team with structure who understands positional tactical awareness and individual responsibilities within that particular structure,” said Butshiire. “Gary Marrocchi was responsible for guiding me into organised football and prepared me for the next step into my junior development. And Gareth Naven brought a lot of discipline to my game while with the Glory Youth team and also exposed me to different attributes I could bring to my game.”
MIDDLESBROUGH IS HOME FOR WILLIAMS
Rhys Williams has shrugged off transfer speculation by insisting his future lies with English Championship club Middlesbrough. Since the end of last season, Williams has been linked with a big money move back to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers, however, the 23-year old utility Williams has restated where his loyalties lie. “I came through the ranks (at Middlesbrough) so it means a lot to me to be here,” Williams told the ‘Evening Gazette’. “Yes I’ve been linked with people, but I’m enjoying it here, I’m settled and nothing would mean more to me than to get Middlesbrough back to the Premier League.”
Williams has endured an ongoing pelvic injury over the past 18 months but with a solid pre-season so far he intends to reward Middlesbrough for the support they’ve given him. “Middlesbrough have stuck by me through my injury problems so the club definitely means a lot to me. I’ll do anything for this club,” he said. “The best way to say thanks is to help to push for promotion back to where we belong … I spoke to the manager and he says it’s going to be a long journey but if we can get up into the Premier League he’ll have money to spend and he said he’d keep us there.”
BIRIGHITTI ON CUSP OF WORLD CUP DREAM
Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti cannot wait for the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia to begin. Birighitti is no stranger to international competition having represented Australia at Under-17 and Under-20 levels but the former Perth SC junior admits there is an added air of excitement when it is getting ready to play in a World Cup. “It’s every young kid’s dream to represent their country, especially to do that at a World Cup is a dream come true, and of course there are going to be some nerves going into the first game against Ecuador,” Birighitti said.
Birighitti is ready to be at the peak of his powers for the start of the World Cup despite Adelaide being in pre-season mode. The 20-year old featured throughout the Young Socceroos’ European tour in May and also more recently has been training with the Olympic squad. “Since the season finished I had one week off and then I was back into it again,” Birighitti said of his training schedule over the last few months. “The only thing lacking is game time. You can train as much as you want but there’s nothing that compares to playing games.”
With a 90 minute hit out against the Central Coast Mariners under his belt, 20-year old Birighitti is now looking forward to Australia’s pre-World Cup friendlies in the United States of America. “We had a game recently against Central Coast (Mariners) and credit to the boys, they did well,” said the ‘keeper. “When we get to Denver we’ve got games against Korea Republic and England, so hopefully I’ll get two good games under my belt leading up to the World Cup and then hopefully go into the tournament doing well. I feel confident, my body is in good shape and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Birighitti believes progressing to the knock-out rounds is not beyond the Young Socceroos but first they have to get the better of Ecuador, Spain and Costa Rica in the group stage. “We’ve just got to go out there and not be afraid of anyone, show that true Aussie spirit and give it all we’ve got, whether that’s playing attractive or ugly football, whatever it takes to get three points,” Birighitti said. All the Young Socceroos games as well as the semi-finals and final of the Under-20 World Cup will be broadcast live on SBS TV.
GIRLS SHINE AT NATIONALS
Western Australia performed strongly at last weeks’ National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The State Under-14 team took second spot in their group with three wins and one loss, that coming on the final day to an undefeated Queensland. The State Under-15’s finished their group in third place with two wins, a draw and just one loss for the tournament. Standout performances by Jessica Darmago and Caitlin Doeglas led to their selection in the Under-15 All Stars team, while Emily Henderson was named in the Under-14 All Stars.
The State Under-14’s commenced the tournament with back-to-back wins over the Northern Territory and New South Wales Country. Maddison Schofield (3), Amy Le Roux (2), Emma Leaning, and Tiahna Scandrett were on target against the Northern Territory (7-0), while Henderson scored early in a 1-0 defeat of New South Wales Country. Schofield and Mikayla Lyons were the scorers in Wednesday’s 2-0 ‘not for points’ win over Northern New South Wales. Tasmania were swept aside 4-0 with Henderson bagging a double and singles to Schofield and Leaning. Queensland topped the group by taking out the final game 4-0 over Western Australia.
The Under-15 team also made a flying start to their campaign with Emma Neville, Hope Compton and Laitysha Wyatt netting a 3-2 defeat of Tasmania. Victoria claimed the points on Day Two by downing West Australia 2-1, Doeglas our scorer, an 8-0 win over the Northern Territory 24 hours came about through Leigha Bullock (2), Tia Stonehill, Wyatt, Covell, Mackenzie Bell, Doeglas and an own goal. Stonehill and Nakita Millar scored in a 2-4 loss to New South Wales Metro with Bullock on target in the final days 1-1 draw with the Australian Capital Territory.
Football West Game Development Manager Andrew Bettell says the performances of the teams have been nothing short of outstanding. “It’s a real credit to Jessine (Bonzas), Tanya (Oxtoby) all the coaching staff and these future Matildas,” he said. “They’ve been training for several months now and the hard work has paid off with some impressive results at the Championships. “From all reports, the girls that made the All Star squads have thoroughly deserved their selections and we look forward to seeing their development in years to come.”
SHAMROCK PEAKS IN ON CELTIC
Shamrock Rovers were granted an exclusive look at what it takes to be a professional footballer during Celtic’s recent visit to Perth. The Division One club jumped at the opportunity to watch Celtic go through their paces in a behind closed doors training session only days before downing Perth Glory in last Saturday’s friendly at Perth Oval. “We enjoyed two hours watching the Celtic lads go through a rigorous training session followed by meeting the players and the manager, Neil Lennon,” said Shamrock’s first team manager Bill Byrne. “It was great experience for all at Rovers who attended and gave a real insight into the training (and the intensity) at that level.”
Byrne planted the seed for his clubs’ playing and coaching staff to attend Celtic’s Thursday afternoon session at the WACA Ground soon after the Scottish club announced their plans to visit Perth. “In early June I made direct contact with Celtic’s marketing people by email, I gave them some background on our club and put forward the suggestion of our squad attending one of their training sessions,” Byrne explained. “When they arrived in Australia I called Ian Jamieson, their media contact, who said he would organise something. After numerous calls and text messages, and to my surprise, he invited a group of 24 of us down to a closed training session.”
JONES’ LIVERPOOL DAYS NUMBERED
Liverpool is poised to release goalkeeper Brad Jones following the recruitment of Brazil international Alexander Doni. Jones was brought to Merseyside just twelve months ago by then manager Roy Hodgson to provide competition for incumbent custodian Pepe Reina. However, the 29-year old managed just two first team appearances before Kenny Dalglish’s appointment in January, after which he was loaned out to Derby County. Overnight confirmation Liverpool has signed Doni from AS Roma is almost certain to signal the end of Jones’ time at Anfield.
COCKBURN UPSET THE KNIGHTS (with Karl Travaglini, Football West)
Cockburn City have given themselves a glimmer of hope of surviving relegation by defeating high-flying Western Knights 2-0 in front their loyal supporters at Dalmatinac Park. Scott McCulloch gave the Cockerels a dream start by firing them into an early lead with Declan Boyham sealing victory not long after the start of the second half.
Cockburn hit the ground running, new goalkeeper Michael Petkovic hitting a long ball forward which eventually made its way to McCulloch, who lashed into the back of the net on the volley with just a minute on the clock. The majority of the early exchanges took place in the visitors’ defensive half with Cockburn creating numerous chances to extend their lead without success. The Knights only opening arrived on the half hour when referee Josh Mannella waved away claims for what would have been a soft penalty.
The home side continued to dictate terms into the second half and just before the hour their attacking desires were rewarded. Rory Feely darted down the left before delivering a low cross which deflected goalward off a defender, Fraser Siddall brilliantly got a glove on the ball but could then only watch as Declan Boyham tucked the follow-up into the net from 5-metres. A rash two-footed tackle by Duncan Hind on Jon Davite gave the referee little choice but to red card the Knights defender with just over twenty minutes to play.
The ledger was balanced just minutes later when new Cockburn signing Ewan Grant kicked the ball away after the whistle had sounded, and having been booked earlier on the defender was sent for an early shower. With both teams down to ten men the Knights stepped up the pace in an attempt to find a way back into the game, however, they would find very few ways past a Cockburn defence which was in no mood to throw away the efforts of a tough afternoon. The win narrows the gap between Cockburn and tenth place to six points with seven rounds remaining.
ZUVELA ROBS BAYWATER OF VICTORY (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Mandurah City snatched a dramatic 1-1 draw from a largely lacklustre encounter with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Alex Caniglia’s first half goal looked like deciding the game when Mandurah were controversially awarded a last minute penalty which Ivan Zuvela converted to steal the visitors a point. Post-game, Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione could not hide his disappointment with both the performances of his side and match officials. “As usual we don’t score, and like the beginning of the season, we concede goals, or dodgy penalties,” he said. “It was a very poor decision by the linesman. If there was a foul, I don’t believe there was a foul, it was outside the box.”
Genuine goal scoring chances were rare throughout the first half with neither team displaying the creativity needed to break down the opposing defence. That said, Bayswater did go ahead on the quarter hour when Caniglia broke the offside trap and finished tidily past goalkeeper Phil Straker. The home side could have gone into the break a couple more goals the better but both Marulanda and Million Butshiire were guilty of guilty of wasteful finishing. Mandurah were just as determined to find the net but, as has been the case all season, they lacked the cutting edge to test ‘keeper Francis Allen.
Bayswater should have increased their lead two minutes after the turnaround when Luka Njegich’s back post cross found Gavin Knight but his header was brilliantly saved by Straker. Just before the hour Butshiire linked well with Marulanda only to send his shot just wide of the target, while Marulanda and substitute Joshua Tumoe both had shots saved by Straker. Mandurah were just beginning to get themselves into gear when midfielder Matt Strares was issued his marching orders for a second bookable offence after 77 minutes. But rather than wave the white flag of surrender, the ten men of Mandurah took control.
Substitute Rafael Insauralde stole possession from George Tchami who recovered before the attacker could get off a shot. It was Insauralde who went close again a few minutes later with a deflected shot that hit the crossbar. The 89th minute had just ticked over when Graeme Matthews went down ground after tangling with Njegich, prompting referee Michael Nugus to halt play and consult with his assistant before pointing to the penalty spot from where Zuvela confidently stroked in the equaliser. The home crowd were understandably incensed by the decision, not only as the foul appear dubious but because the incident appeared to have taken place outside the box.
NEIDERBERGER DOUBLES SEES OFF INGLEWOOD
Balcatta took another step towards claiming regular season honours by returning from Inglewood United with a convincing 3-0 win. Daniel Neiderberger scored twice against his former club with defender Jovo Pavlovic also on the scoresheet to keep Balcatta eleven points clear at the top of the Premier League table. “Our targets have been raised as the season has progressed and now the premiership has obviously become a potential reality for the club,” said Balcatta boss Michael Roki. “Our focus at the last few weeks has been on ‘giving nothing away’ and the teams response of six clean sheets in seven games has been near-perfect.”
The first meaningful action of the afternoon saw Neiderberger slip the ball through to David Micevski whose shot was brilliantly blocked by Oliver Taseski. Inglewood returned fire a few minutes later, Adrian Caceres’ low drive across the face of goal deflecting off Rory Grant and onto the frame of the goal before ricocheting away to safety. Grant was presented a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when he met Ryan Clarke’s cross from the right but the big strikers’ free header hit the crossbar with Lewis Italiano gratefully capturing the rebound.
Stephen Burton should have put Balcatta into the lead but headed wide after meeting a Pavlovic cross. Adam Tong exited the game with blood streaming from a head wound five minutes from the break after an unfortunate clash of heads with team mate Pavlovic, forcing visiting coach Roki to reshuffle his defence. David Micevski had a chance to break the deadlock in the shadows of half time but after sprinting past the defence the midfielder shot tamely and Taseski was able to save without too much trouble.
Inglewood pushed forward at the start of the second period with Caceres again causing trouble by cutting in from the left only to shoot into the side netting. Sensing the game was there for the taking, Balcatta for the breakthrough on 58 minutes when David Micevski’s header sat invitingly for Neiderberger who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the bottom from outside the 18-yard box. Ten minutes later Neiderbger rammed in his second goal at close-range after a lovely move orchestrated by Burton which had started deep in Balcatta’s defensive half.
With this the Balcatta midfield assumed control, moving the ball around to great effect on the large surface at Inglewood. The result was made safe on 73 minutes when David Micevski clipped a free-kick into the area where Pavlovic reacted quickest by volleying in the loose ball. Niederberger was denied what would have been a deserved hat-trick when his explosive shot was miraculously blocked by Taseski and John Migas blazed high with the follow-up. Burton was also presented a chance to add to Balcatta’s tally but placed wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.
SHARLAND STUNNER GETS PERTH THE WIN (with Neil Sherwin, Football West)
Perth SC consolidated second place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over ECU Joondalup on a picturesque afternoon at the Edith Cowan University campus. An early David Onoforo finish and Greg Sharland’s brilliant free-kick were all Perth needed to claim the points against a flat Joondalup outfit for whom Dale McCulloch scored a late consolation.
Perth were out of the blocks fast to take a 6th minute lead, Antonio Naglieri’s lob over oncoming goalkeeper Andy Banks presented Onoforo with an early header at close-range. Joondalup were lucky not to concede a couple more as Perth time and time again got in behind the visiting defence. Onoforo lifted the ball over Banks only to see it land on the roof of the net, and a few minute later the striker’s low drive was blocked by the home ‘keeper.
It wasn’t until midway through the half that Joondalup conjured their first chance on goal, Tommy Jones’ header from a Jon Higgins cross bringing Devon Spence into the action. Spence was impressive throughout and moments later tipped over Marc Rodgers’ rasping long-range effort. Despite a good spell of pressure Joondalup failed to create any additional chances to draw level. Instead, it was Perth that looked more likely to score with Onoforo, Naglieri and Craig Simpson all trying their luck from outside the area.
Jake Benson-Cooper’s in-swinging corner early in the second period was met by Ryan Lowry but his towering header clipped the top of the bar. Perth responded almost immediately with Sharland picking out an unmarked Andreas Oliveira whose back post header was superbly kept out by Banks. Sharland found a way through on 67 minutes with a crisply struck free-kick from 22-metres that sailed into the top corner with Banks watching on helpless.
Although Joondalup brought on Andy Brown to partner John Thornley in attack, Perth stood tall at the back with Trent Kay particularly impressive. Substitute Vlad Naumovski should have grabbed Perth a third goal but the youngster blazed high from 5-metres after getting on the end of an Onoforo centre. McCulloch grabbed the home team a consolation in the closing minutes but that was all they deserved after being out-played across the 90 minutes by Perth.
WATT WINGS THE GULLS
Scottish striker Jamie Watt scored all three goals in Stirling Lions 3-1 defeat of Sorrento at Macedonia Park. The win leaps Stirling over Sorrento and into fifth place, but just two points away from third on the table. “The boys were up for it and for 70 minutes we were on top,” said Watt. “We used the flanks well and I was in the right place at the right time to score the goals. It’s always a hard game against Sorrento but it was a good performance from the side and the win moves us into the top five.”
Stirling began the brighter with Phil O’Callaghan bringing Curtis Aspden into the early action before Andy Brown fired wide from 10-metres. Their enterprising start was rewarded on 16 minutes when Michael Pugliese put Watt through on goal with the striker finishing neatly past Aspden. Stirling continued to dominate but Jamie De Abreu’s close-range attempt was pushed wide by the ‘keeper. A superb reflex save by Corey Hugo denied Jack Doyle an equaliser, and close to half-time the Sorrento attacker curled just the wrong side of the post.
Another chance for Sorrento to equalise went begging early in the second half when Todd Harnwell’s first time shot whistled wide. That miss was punished on 56 minutes, De Abreu and David Hunt combining with the latter’s ball to the back post tuck in from 5-metres by Watt. Sorrento looked to hit back immediately but David Foster’s low shot was saved by Hugo. The home supporters were out of their seats again on 68 minutes when Pugliese’s centre picked out an unmarked Watt, who fired in to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Sorrento continued to fight and on 74 minutes Jason Mirco found an unmarked Joe Allanson who headed over from 7-metres. Three minutes later another Mirco cross caused panic in home defence with Clayton Arnez deflecting into his own net under pressure from Allanson. To the visitors credit they refused to give up hope and should have further reduced the margin but Todd Harnwell placed agonisingly wide after being played through by Doyle, while Allanson headed wide in stoppage time after meeting a Mirco cross.
NTC SHOW MATCH FOR FLOREAT (by Jordan McArdle, Football West)
Floreat Athena had little trouble accounting for the National Training Centre 7-1 under lights at Litis Stadium last night. Paul Van Dongen scored twice with Michael Van Dongen, Kyle Moran, Callum O’Connell, James Isaia and Liam Boland also on the scoresheet for the home team with Reece Vittiglia netting the NTC’s solitary response. It took Floreat only 10 minutes to break through with Paul Van Dongen sending the ball past goalkeeper Tom Doyle.
The hosts advantage was doubled seven minutes later when Isaia’s perfectly timed pass setting up Michael Van Dongen to slot into the net. Michael Van Dongen turned provider on the half-hour by delivering a precision cross which Moran put away for a three-nil lead. The NTC pulled a goal back on 42 minutes with Vittiglia blasting beyond Alex Dunn’s reach after Sahr Musa pounced on a stray defensive pass. Floreat hit back deep in stoppage time when an unmarked O’Connell headed in from Moran’s corner.
Floreat continued to tally up goals after the break with Liam Boland’s shot crashing into the crossbar and Paul Van Dongen was in the right place at the right time to head in the rebound. Isaia was rewarded for his hard work on the hour with a sensational right foot shot which found the net from outside the 18-yard box. Genuine goal scoring chances were few and far between for the NTC in the second half with the best coming the way of Vittiglia who struck well over the bar. Boland finally got the goal he deserved by converting a Damien Catalano through ball after 79 minutes.
BUNBURY MARCH ON TOWARDS PROMOTION
Bunbury Forum Force continues to set the pace in Division One after coming away from Walter Padbury Reserve with a 4-1 win over Gosnells City. After a scoreless first half it was Gosnells that broke the deadlock through Jamie Burns in the 50th minute. However, the game was very quickly turned on its head with Jon Brooks equalising before Jayden Prosser put Bunbury ahead after 55 minutes. Prosser strengthened the visitors hold over proceedings with a second goal ten minutes later with Neil Chappell sealing the win nine minutes from the end. The result keeps Bunbury at the top of Division One, four points clear of Shamrock Rovers and Wanneroo City.
CARROLL STARS AS SHAMROCK MAUL FREMANTLE
Nick Carroll orchestrated Shamrock Rovers 7-1 thrashing of Fremantle Spirit by finding the back of the net four times in a one-sided contest at Wauhop Park. The visitors needed only 4 minutes to open their account through Gavin Mooney’s stunning left volley from outside the 18-yard box. Tidy lead-up work out wide from Ian Stack laid the foundations for Sean Brooks to add another for the visitors in the 18th minute.
Fremantle’s failure to deal with another dangerous ball in from Stack was punished with Carroll posting his first of the afternoon. The game looked to have been ended as a contest in the 22nd minute when Alan O’Mahoney’s pass out of defence released Carroll whose cross from the right was brilliantly headed in by Brooks. Half-time was beckoning when Tyrone Fenwick applied a stylish finish to reduce the difference to three goals at the break.
Had it not been for goalkeeper John Parker then Fremantle would further cut Shamrock’s lead following the turnaround. This near-misses would come back to haunt the port side midway through the half with Carroll pilling on three goals in a blistering eight minute spell. A next exchange between Mooney and Stack on the edge of the box paved the way for Carroll to beat the ‘keeper on 67 minutes. Stack’s cross to the far post saw Carroll complete his hat-trick, then the striker bagged his fourth after being found by Mooney on top of the box.
NO SURPRISES AS WANNEROO DEFEAT CANNING
Wanneroo remains in joint second place thanks to a resounding 4-0 win over Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. It took only 4 minutes for Wanneroo to open their account with Ross Laing blasting in from 18-metres after the home side only partially dealt with a free-kick into the danger zone. Guy McDonald doubled the visitors lead a few minutes out from half-time by lashing past the goalkeeper after being set up by Brian Cairney.
Sahr Konomanyi took the gap to three goals by stealing the ball from a defender and making the most of the subsequent one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Wanneroo could have tallied up several more goals but it wasn’t until stoppage time that Craig Bowman put the icing on the cake with a close-range finish. The win keeps Wanneroo level on points with Shamrock Rovers in second place whereas Canning remain rooted to the foot of the table, pointless after 13 games.
SWAN COME FROM BEHIND TO BEAT MORLEY
Swan United over-turned a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 win over Morley Windmills on a day of high drama at the Swan Italian Club. A goal early in each half from Ryan Frisina and Andy O’Neill seemingly had Morley on the road to victory before the visitors lost Steve Grant and Mark Walsh in a sickening clash of heads that forced both players out of the game. With this the game turned and John Monterosso netted twice in quick succession before late strikes by Aaron Colli and Anthony McStea stole Swan the points.
Morley wasted no time in settling and with 8 minutes gone Lucas Whitehouse played through Frisina who got to the ball ahead of two opponents and placed into the bottom corner. Swan custodian Daniel Agudelo prevented the gap from widening midway through the half by denying Whitehouse as Morley continued to dictate terms. Swan didn’t really threaten until just before the break when John Monterosso’s run down the flank saw him centre for Tom Shepheard who fired wide at close-range.
The second half was seven minutes old when Whitehouse’s through ball sent clear O’Neill who dinked the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to make it two-nil. Controversy erupted on 63 minutes when John Monterosso tucked into an empty net after his push on Walsh led to the defender colliding with Grant. Although both Morley players would take no further part in the game - Walsh needing eight stitches for a head wound while Grant was rushed to hospital with severe facial injuries - the referee allowed the goal to stand.
Swan were level within minutes, Shepheard taming the ball before setting up John Monterosso to fire past replacement ‘keeper Gary Mamone. Morley could have twice reclaimed the lead but substitute Adriano D’Adamo’s first shot was saved by Agudelo while his second a few minutes later was cleared off the line by Rory Hollingum. The game swung in Swans’ favour on 83 minutes when Colli finished into the net after receiving the ball from McStea. The points were wrapped up two minutes later when McStea brilliantly drove out of midfield before shooting truly from 18-metres.
ROCKINGHAM SET THE TONE
Rockingham City continued to climb the Division One standings by chalking up a 2-1 over Ashfield at Lark Hills Sportsplex. The home team was on the front foot from the outset, Darren Lawlor combining with Andrew Keary whose cross from the right was nodded back across goal for David Clark to volley into the top corner with just a couple of minutes gone. Ashfield, whose first touch of the ball was to restart the game, put themselves back on level terms in the 13th minute through Wayne Culverwell, who tucked in a low centre from the right.
Rockingham quickly resumed the attack and Bright’s shot was tipped around the post by goalkeeper Brad Eiffe. With 21 minutes gone the home side struck for a second time, Craig Tone skipping past three opponents to go inside the 18-yard box before smashing into the roof of the net. Through neat movement of the ball Rockingham continued to dictate play and a golden opportunity to extend their lead when Jamie Kidd scuffed wide. Ashfield pilled on the pressure in the second half but rare was it that they found a way past Rockingham’s disciplined defensive line.
LYONS BRUSHES OFF DIANELLA
Forrestfield United claimed a valuable 2-0 win away a Dianella White Eagles. Anthony Lyons was the star of the show, scoring twice in the space of a few minutes just before half-time to tilt the game in Forrestfield’s favour. An open second half produced some good openings at both ends of the park with Forrestfield always looking the more likely to score thanks to a majority share of play. The result elevates Forrestfield into sixth on a congested Division One table, whereas Dianella remain in tenth place and winless from their last eleven games.
GLORY HOPE TO BRING DAVIES HOME
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is determined to add to his new-look squad before the club embarks on a pre-season tour of South Africa at the end of the month. Ferguson has already brought in ten new players during a busy off-season and has expressed an interest in a loan move for National Training Centre graduate Julius Davies, who has been playing under-17’s for Bayern Munich. “We are trying to get another quality player here and Julius is one but we are still waiting on the agent getting back to us,” Ferguson told Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’. Glory have also been scouting South America for potential players, although with 21 players already on the books there is there is little room to move in the salary cap.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The business end of the Premier League season is fast drawing near and this pick of this weekend’s games has finals contenders Stirling Lions up against Sorrento at Macedonia Park. Home midfielder Jamie De Abreu is hopeful the return of Cory Hugo and Jason Gavin will give Stirling the decisive edge on the day. “A win will cement a spot in the top five and create a little bit of a buffer against teams around us, especially as we have got the bye coming up,” said De Abreu. “All the boys know the importance of this game and training has been at a really high intensity.”
Sorrento will be at full strength for the trip and although the Gulls pushed through to the State League Cup final last weekend by downing Armadale, Brodie Martin says there’s plenty of room for improvement. “We haven’t been too pleased with our recent performances, but our second half against Armadale (in the Cup) was encouraging and we want to build on that going into the pointy end of the season,” said the midfielder. “Stirling has a very strong side and we will be expecting a battle, and given their table position a win there will be a big step to securing a top five position.”
There’s a tough road trip for Balcatta who visit Inglewood United. With Rory Grant and Ryan Clarke in good form Inglewood have reason to fancy their chances of upsetting the league leaders, however, if they’re to do that then it will be without suspended defender Paul Dugdale. Balcatta, who sit eleven points clear at the top of the table, will be at full strength for the occasion and the forward momentum provided by Daniel Micevski and Mo Atak will be vital if Daniel Niederberger is to put a goal or two past his former club.
Perth SC heads to the northern suburbs for a showdown with ECU Joondalup. The corresponding fixture last season produced nine goals with Perth coming out on top and few will be surprised should that outcome be repeated on Saturday. Antonio Naglieri has been in sparkling form in the centre of the park for the Blues while Andreas Oliveira and Adam Bachiller are sure to cause the home side no end of trouble. Although Joondalup welcomes back captain Dale McCulloch and Ryan McDarby, however, they remain without Scott Blackmore, Mark Tebbutt and Luke Smith.
Bayswater City goes in search of a fourth straight win when they welcome Mandurah City to Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Marulanda has been scoring at will of late and his influence, along with that of Bryan McKeown and Cesar Gonzalez, will be crucial in Bayswater’s push to playing finals football. Mandurah have not won in over two months and need to start picking up points urgently if they are to stay in the Premier League next season. Aaron Dos Santos and Matt Stares have key roles to play for the Dolphins who’ll be without defender Tom Straker through suspension.
Bottom of the table Cockburn City have a difficult home game with Western Knights. Only a miracle is going to save Cockburn from relegation but neither coach Mick Lyons nor his players are about to give up that fight. Ian McMurray, Rory Feely and Paul Natale will be key figures for the home side on Saturday when Jason Godfrey misses out due to suspension. Knights boss Carl Medica will also be watching from the stands as club veterans David Annall and Stuart Montgomery attempt to lead their team to victory. All five Premier League games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Rockingham City are out to halt Ashfield’s climb up the Division One standings when they meet tomorrow at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Steve Robinson’s side have rarely been beaten on home soil this year and the Rockingham coach will be looking for big efforts from Craig Olejnik, veteran Jay Bonser and Josh Cartman to get them over the line. However, Ashfield have lost only once in ten games and if Brian Maybin, Alex Stamatiadis and Ibnen Charming get into rhythm then the visiting team will come out on top.
Its fourth verses sixth as Swan United come up against Morley Windmills at the Swan Italian Club. The home side are on a roll at the moment, losing just once in six games thanks in no small part to midfield workhorse Anthony McStea and John Monterosso, who has had little difficulty finding the net this year. Morley head into the game minus Luke O'Neill (knee), Lee Thomas (knee), Brian McDonald (work) and possibly Adrian D'Adamo (sick) but if Ryan Frisina, Simon Wilson and Andy O’Neill hit the ground running then the visitors stand a very good chance of claiming all three points.
New Dianella Whites Eagles coach Jamie Goodman says his team need to get a result at home against Forrestfield United. “We don’t want to get any further behind ninth spot, if we string a few wins together we can get ourselves back in mid-table,” Goodman said. “I’m getting more familiar with the players and the bye gave me the opportunity to work on how I want the team to play. We are starting to get players back from injury and have a couple of new signings … if we play with some confidence and belief we have a good chance of an upset.”
Canning City’s quest to end a twelve-game winless run has them on home soil to Wanneroo City. “It will be a tough game against a well-organized unit in Wanneroo, but you’re always a chance in a two horse race!” said Canning boss Richard Francisco. “Our position says it all - we need to start to win some games. We have been showing some signs but we need to put it altogether and get a result.” For their road trip Wanneroo will be minus Tom Omre (injured) and Jay McDonald (work) while Guy McDonald, Craig Bowman and Sahr Konomanyi will undergo late fitness tests.
Gosnells City will be giving their all to upset Bunbury Forum Force at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home side have shown some good form of late and if Andy Pomfret and Jamie Burns can assert themselves then Tony Maguire’s team may just take out the points against an opponent that has looked a little shaky of late. The odds are firmly stacked against Fremantle Spirit taking anything from their home game with Shamrock Rovers, who won 8-0 the last time these clubs met. All six Division One games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
CANIGLIA REFLECTS ON “PRICELESS EXPERIENCE”
Bayswater City starlet Alex Caniglia is still getting his head around what has been a remarkable week for the exciting midfielder. Last Monday Caniglia, who recently turned 20, was taken by surprise when invited to play for Perth Glory in the following evenings friendly with the West Australian State team. His performance impressed the A-League club’s coaching staff to the degree that they extended their invitation to include Saturday’s clash with Scottish giants Celtic. “Going from a local State League side to playing for Glory was such a privilege, and to then to play against an international team was a priceless experience,” said Caniglia.
Caniglia came off the bench at in both games and was happy with what he contributed. “I felt I played pretty well on the left wing against the State team, considering I hadn’t trained or played with any of the boys prior to the game,” he said. “Against Celtic nerves naturally played a part due to the reputation of the opposition and that did affect my performance. I thought that I could have played better, but I was ecstatic with the amount of game time I received and being able to experience such an intense, high pressure game of football.”
Caniglia’s recent call-up by Glory came on the back of a new role he’s taken on for Bayswater. “This year (coach) Mauro Marchione trialled a new 3-5-2 formation, pushing me up from right back into the right wing back position,” explained Caniglia, who helped Bayswater win the Division One championship last year. “That’s given me the freedom to attack down the right hand side of the field and assist the strikers by in holding the ball and creating chances to score. I’m still fairly young and every time I go on the pitch I learn something new about my game.”
Bayswater started this season strongly only to lose their way and tumble down the table following some mid-changes to the playing roster. But successive wins over Balcatta, ECU Joondalup and Stirling Lions in the past month have taken Bayswater from the brink of the drop zone to finals candidacy. “We are still to face some of the biggest games of the season so I am not quite sure if we will make it into the finals just yet,” said Caniglia. “But if you said we would be close to the top five in the middle of the season, I would have been quite surprised.”
Caniglia says Bayswater’s key strength is the guy calling the shots from the sidelines, coach Mauro Marchione. “Mauro has selected a group of players that play very similar possession style football,” explained Caniglia. “His tireless efforts in getting us to work together at training, along with pre-game encouragement have helped shape the team and build a positive attitude. This has enabled the team to hold together throughout the season and is the main reason we are sitting where we are on the ladder at the moment. Mauro keeps us focussed on the task at hand and we go into every game with the intention of winning.”
This weekend Bayswater has home ground advantage over a Mandurah City side that has not won in two months, and they is currently occupying one of the two relegation positions. “The game is very important for both teams. We will go out to win the game and let’s hope that on the day we are better than Mandurah,” commented Caniglia. “As a team we are working really hard to bring home the points every week, no matter who we play. Mandurah are a tough team. The game will be a very intense, high action game that both teams will want three points from!”
BOLTON UP ANTE IN PURSUIT OF WILLIAMS
Premier League club Bolton Wanderers are believed to have rekindled their interest in Socceroo Rhys Williams. Bolton manager Owen Coyle is a big fan of Williams, who played a number of roles for Middlesbrough last season, and made initial enquiries in May as to the 22-year olds availability but was told the defender was not for sale. However, an offer from Bolton to allow young prospect Mark Connolly to move to the Riverside on a season-long loan in order to secure Williams and his defensive partner Seb Hines could tempt Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray to change his mind. Williams made ten appearances for Middlesbrough at the end of the season after returning from a pelvic injury which ruled him out for almost a full year.
VELAPHI'S HEROICS CAN'T DENY CELTIC
A superb goalkeeping display by Tando Velaphi wasn’t enough to prevent Scottish club Celtic from chalking up a deserved 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory this evening at AAMI Park. The visitors only found a way through when Scott Brown’s 78th minute shot deflected off a defender on its way past Velaphi. “He was in a different class tonight, absolutely sensational,” Melbourne coach Mehmet Durakovic said. “I cannot praise him more than enough, his saves tonight were outstanding.” Prior to conceding Velaphi had kept the Scottish giants at bay, twice denying both Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras and pushing Thomas Mulgrew’s blistering free-kick over the crossbar.
Velaphi, who played juniors at Perth SC and spent four seasons with Perth Glory prior to joining Melbourne in February, credits goalkeeping coach Steve Mautone for his impressive start with the club. “We’ve only been back for a week, but I’ve been working hard with Mauts ... I'll be working hard the next ten weeks to try and cement that position,” Velaphi said. “There’s always some areas I can work on. It’s good to be up against top opposition and gauge where you are at. I’ll look at the video (of the Celtic game) with Mauts and the rest of the coaching staff and assess some things I can tweak to my game and go from there.”
Currently Velaphi is the only ‘keeper on Melbourne’s books and while he’s enjoying the one-on-one time with Mautone the 24-year old believes his best improvement will come with competition from another shot-stopper. “When you look at the whole squad there’s competition for all different spots, in the goalkeeping ranks it can only better you as a player,” he said. “You have to make sure you perform each week and prepare each week, it’s great having that competition. You always want to play, but at the end of the day only one can play, hopefully I can do that.”
BIRIGHITTI, SAINSBURY IN WORLD CUP SQUAD
Mark Birighitti and Trent Sainsbury are on their way to Colombia after gaining selection in Australia’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup. Birighitti, who keeps goal for Adelaide United, and Central Coast Mariners defender Sainsbury travel with the Young Socceroos to the United States of America this Saturday for friendlies late next week against Korea Republic and England in Denver. They then move to Manizales in Colombia for group stage games against Ecuador (31 July), Costa Rica (3 August) and Spain (6 August).
Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen is confident his squad will give a good account of themselves in Colombia. “I am very happy with the final selection and it is good to have the majority of the squad back together that did so well at the AFC Championships last year,” said Versleijen, who was disappointed Brent McGrath (Brondby IF) and Steven Lustica (Hajduk Split) declared themselves unavailable for selection. “It is very exciting that the tournament is so close and we will use our training camp in Denver, where we will play two friendly matches against quality opposition, to finalise our preparations.”
Australia’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup is Mark Birighitti (Adelaide United), Mathew Leckie (Borussia Monchengladbach), Matthew Acton, Kofi Danning (Brisbane Roar), Mustafa Amini, Sam Gallagher, Bernie Ibini-Isei, Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Jake Barker-Daish, Dylan McGowan (Gold Coast United), Brendan Hamill (Melbourne Heart), Petar Franjic (Melbourne Victory), Kerem Bulut (Mlada Boleslav), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets), Marc Warren (Sheffield United), Terry Antonis, Rhyan Grant, Dimitrios Petratos (Sydney FC), Tommy Oar (Utrecht) and uncontracted pair Matthew Fletcher and Lawrence Thomas.
PERTH ON RADAR TO HOST INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
A star-studded Socceroos line-up could play a World Cup qualifier in Perth next year under plans being hatched by Football West. Peter Hugg, the association’s chief executive, confirmed yesterday discussions had taken place with Football Federation Australia and the State Government regarding international football’s return to Perth. The Olyroos, Australia’s under-23 team, are could also be lured to Perth before the end of the year to play an Olympic qualifier. “It’s part of our strategic plan to bring major matches to Perth,” Hugg told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper.
The Socceroos have not played in Perth since a 2005 friendly against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval which attracted just 13,719 fans, despite the presence of some big-name players Stan Lazaridis, Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton. Since then, successive World Cup appearances in 2006 and 2010 have greatly increased the Socceroos profile and a much bigger turnout would be expected for an important qualifier. The inclusion of star players such as Neill, who is now Socceroos captain, Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, and Mark Schwarzer would guarantee a strong attendance.
Football West could learn as early as this week if their bid to bring the Olyroos to Perth has been successful. “It’s looking positive for an Olyroos match in the lead-up to London 2012,” Hugg said. “We’ve put in a request for significant Government funding and we hope to receive a positive answer shortly.” The State Government, through Eventscorp, joined the push to make Perth a regular host of high-profile football matches when it committed funds to the weekend friendly between Perth Glory and Celtic.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
A rich vein of form in front of goal has seen Bayswater City’s Gustavo Marulanda streak out in front in the race for the 2011 Golden Boot award. Marulanda, who was recently linked with a move to Argentina, has found the back of the net six times in his last four outings to move claim the leadership with 13 goals for the season. Dual Golden Boot recipient Phil O’Callaghan (Stirling Lions) sits in second place alongside Rory Grant (Inglewood United) and Balcatta pair Stephen Burton and Ashley Rosendale on 10 goals with just seven rounds left to play. Liam Boland (Floreat Athena) is a further strike off the pace.
Things are even tighter in Division One where eight players are separated by just a single strike. Leading the way with 8 goals each are John Monterosso (Swan United), Ross Cosgrove (Shamrock Rovers), Jamie Burns (Gosnells City) and Neil Chappell (Bunbury Forum Force). But hot on their heels are Bunbury trio Rory Binnie, Michael Marten and Jon Brooks plus Tom Shepheard (Swan). Shamrock team mates Ian Stack and Sean Brookes have netted six each to sit side by side with Jordan Hart (Forrestfield United) and Simon Wilson (Morley Windmills).
CELTIC GAME JUST WHAT GLORY NEEDED: BURNS
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns says Saturday’s clash with Scottish club Celtic provided his team exactly what they were after from the pre-season. Tough games such as that against Celtic, who won the encounter 2-0, are vital to Glory’s chances of starting the coming A-League campaign on the right foot according to Burns. “I thought they were absolute quality … They were well organised from back to front,” said Burns. “We took a lot of good stuff out of that game and it will stand us in good stead for the (pre-season) games to come and the season to come.”
Burns is not adverse to putting himself about and his late challenge on Celtic captain Scott Brown prompted an angry reaction from the visiting players. It came just minutes after Beram Kayal was forced out of the game with a broken nose following an accidental collision with Adam Hughes. “We had a few words and whatever happened has been left on the pitch. I’m pretty sure he’ll get a bit more than that up in Scotland this season,” Burns commented of the incident with Brown. Glory will have a week off before returning to training in preparation for a pre-season trip to South Africa.
MATILDAS BOW OUT TO SWEDEN
Australia exited the Women’s World Cup at the quarter-final stage when beaten 3-1 by Sweden in Augsburg. Therese Sjogran, Lisa Dahlkvist and Lotta Schelin send Sweden through to the last four, where they’ll meet Japan, with the Matildas only response being a stunning long-range striker by Ellyse Perry. Sweden deserved to progress after dominating the match for lengthy periods but were made to work hard for the victory by a young Australian side that showed huge commitment to get back into the game after conceding two early goals.
Sweden controlled the opening exchanges and on 11 minutes took a deserved lead when Schelin got past Perry and pulled the ball back for an unmarked Sjogran to fire under diving goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri at the near post. Sjogran was the architect of Sweden's second goal five minutes later when her inch-perfect cross was headed in by an unchallenged Dahlkvist. Collette McCallum almost reduced the deficit in the 38th minute when her drifted narrowly wide with Hedvig Lindahl caught off her line. Two minutes later McCallum played a corner short to Perry launched an unstoppable drive across the ‘keeper and into the top corner.
That good work was undone seven minutes into the second half when Kim Carroll’s casual back pass was intercepted by Schelin, who rounded Barbieri and slipped the ball into the back of the net. The Matildas refused to give up and Kyah Simon headed just wide from Tameka Butt’s cross, then Lisa De Vanna beat the ‘keeper to the ball but shot wide when the better option would have been to square for Simon. Australia’s final chance was a long-range drive by Butt that forced a fantastic diving save from Lindahl. De Vanna played a full game, McCallum was replaced after 79 minutes with Lydia Williams and Samantha Kerr unused substitutes.
FOSTER PUTS SORRENTO INTO FINAL (with James Wragg, Football West)
Sorrento hit a trio of second half goal to storm past Armadale 3-0 and into the final of the State League Cup this afternoon at Alfred Skeet Oval. Danny Cain got the show on the road for the Gulls before David Foster broke his goal drought with a match-deciding double. “It was a tough game today but I am really happy to be in the final,” said Foster, who scored when Swan IC lifted the trophy in 2005. “It was really good to get some goals today. It’s been quite a while since I have scored but I can hopefully keep that going so I‘m pretty happy about that.”
Armadale looked very threatening early on with some tidy movement in the middle of the park as Sorrento struggled to get out of first gear on a wintry day. The towering presence of Steve McDonald caused the visitors plenty of concern at set pieces but the Reds captain couldn’t get his header on target from Tom Robinson’s delivery. Paul Lloyd was flagged offside just as he tucked past Curtis Aspden, then a goal line clearance by Daryl Platten denied Matt Barlow the breakthrough after his shot beat the goalkeeper.
The visiting defence was doing all they could to repel an Armadale side determined to salvage something from what has been a disappointing season for the club. Robinson, who was prominent every time the Reds pushed into the final third, and Lloyd had chances to break the deadlock without success. Sorrento nearly pinched the lead five minutes from half-time, Jack Doyle running the ball two-thirds the length of the pitch before releasing Foster who poked wide under pressure from young ‘keeper Jack Adams.
The second half opened much like the first, McDonald putting a free header past the left post. Fired up by coach Paul Price, Sorrento responded by taking the lead on 51 minutes when Cain’s in-swinging corner to the near post sailed across Adams and was ruled to have crossed the line by assistant referee Mathew Cheeseman, despite Robinson’s desperate attempt to hook it away. Buoyed by the lead, Sorrento started to take control of the match and Doyle’s brilliant drive skimmed the top of the crossbar with Adam’s stranded.
An important goal line save by Aspden was followed moments later by high boot on Matt Barlow with referee Paul Anderson dismissing the penalty appeals which resulted. Todd Harwell then scurried the ball to the opposite end where his low centre was side-footed into the net by an unmarked Foster to double the margin. Armadale hopes of a fight back were ended on 70 minutes with a straight red card for Lloyd’s tackle on David Price. The result was put beyond doubt eight minutes later by Foster’s diving header from Jason Mirco’s brilliant cross.
SHAMROCK BOOK CUP FINAL DATE
Shamrock Rovers’ giant killing run has continued with a 2-1 defeat of Floreat in the State League Reserves Cup semi-final at Alfred Skeet Oval. The rewards for a dominant display by Shamrock didn’t arrive until the second half with Patrick Byrne and Michael Boland the scorers. “We’re thrilled to make the Cup final in our first year in the Saturday league,” said Shamrock’s Stephen Guest. “We got the ball on the floor in the second half and started playing better football. After scoring our second goal we could easily have had a few more if not for their ‘keeper, who made a few great saves.”
The bulk of first half possession was held by Shamrock but resilient defending saw the teams enter the break as they started. It wasn’t until seven minutes into the second half that the breakthrough arrived, Patrick Byrne lashing into the roof of the net from the penalty spot after Tiernan O’Driscoll dribbled past two opponents before being brought down by a third. Floreat replied not long after with S.Rosenheim turning the ball over in midfield and, after a neat one-two with Simon Versaico, releasing a low shot from 16-metres that squirmed past goalkeeper Jonathon Parker.
Buoyed by the goal, Floreat now enjoyed their best period of the afternoon but couldn’t conjure up a second goal before Shamrock resumed control. Guest was twice denied by the brilliance of ‘keeper Simon Madashi and sandwiched between these was a Will Pender header that came back off the crossbar. The pressure valve was released with just over ten minutes to play with defender Michael Boland heading in from a corner. Floreat tried everything to send the game to a penalty shoot-out but there’d be no late revival against a Shamrock side aiming to honour their State League debut with silverware.
FONDYKE CHASES HIS DREAM TO SCOTLAND
Former ECU Joondalup attacker Howard Fondyke is hopeful is putting pen to paper on a new contract that will see him play in Scotland’s top league. Fondyke left Perth Glory at the end of last season for Scotland where he spent over two months trialling with St Mirren before recently linking up with second tier club Ayr United. “It’s been going good. I’ve been over here for four months now. I was at St Mirren for ten weeks and hopefully I’ll get something there,” 21-year old Fondyke told au.fourfourtwo.com. “My agent is in talks with them now but I’m keeping my options open. I’m at Ayr United now, just having a look … I’m hoping within the next two weeks I’ll have something on the table.”
The Scottish Premier League kicks off in a little over a fortnight which means a decision is likely to come sooner rather than later. Fondyke said his focus is on finding a club where he could get regular game time in the first-team as there is no reserve league in Scotland. “I want to play first-team football, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “Maybe if I go to St Mirren, if I’m not in the team on the Saturday then I’d miss out on game time. If I go to a division one side I might have the chance to play week-in week-out First Division football which would benefit me more.”
CELTIC A CLASS ABOVE GLORY
Scottish giants Celtic have defeated Perth Glory 2-0 in this evening’s friendly at Perth Oval. Comfortable with the chilly conditions and on a slightly heavy pitch, Celtic showed their class in front of a 15,350 spectators with a high pressure approach highlighted by goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew. Although his team was outplayed across the 90 minutes, Glory coach Ian Ferguson said he was pleased with the hit-out. “We are still twelve weeks away from our season starting and Celtic are two to three weeks away, so you could see the difference in the fitness levels,” Ferguson said. “They’re a big, physical, strong side that play well. For them to come here was a great experience for us.”
Celtic showed their intent from the outset, applying some intense pressure on the Glory back four. Anthony Stokes swung an early free-kick over the crossbar before Hoops’ captain Scott Brown nodded a corner straight at Danny Vukovic. Mark Wilson was next to threaten with a powerful header that Vukovic did well to push over the top. The visitors finally got the result they were after when Glenn Loovens’ long ball allowed Gary Hooper to beat the offside trap and take advantage of some miscommunication between Bas Van Den Brink and Josh Mitchell to race through and slot past Vukovic with 16 minutes gone.
The visitors came close to extending their lead six minutes later with Kris Commons’ free-kick deflected wide of the upright. Glory hit back through Liam Miller, who curled a dead ball around the defensive wall for Shane Smeltz but he failed to control the ball at close-range. The game threatened to boil over after Adam Hughes’ challenge on Bayram Kayal saw the latter leave the field with a bloody nose, and soon after a late tackle by Jacob Burns on Brown led to a heated exchange of words. New Glory signing Liam Miller showed exceptional skill on 37 minutes by beating two defenders and unleashing an fierce shot that only just cleared the bar.
The second half had only just started when Hughes tested Celtic custodian Lucas Zaluska with a 25-metre effort. Celtic’s response was swift and clinical, substitute Ki Sung Yung whipping in a free-kick from wide on the left to which Charlie Mulgrew climbed highest and glanced into the top corner for a two-nil lead. Glory worked hard to get back into the contest and substitute Adam Taggart twice got into good positions but neither effort troubled Zaluska. Alex Caniglia went close to bagging late consolation, flashing an 87th minute drive narrowly wide and a few minutes later just failing to meet Todd Howarth’s corner after shrugging off the attentions of Loovens.
BACHILLER GIVES KNIGHTS THE BLUES
Perth SC midfielder Adam Bachiller struck twice to send his team into the 2011 State League Cup Final with a 2-1 defeat of Western Knights at Dorrien Gardens. Bachiller’s deflected shot three minutes from full-time booked Perth’s place in the finale after Callum Roberts cancelled out his opening goal only minutes earlier. “It’s great to score two today but the most important thing is the team,” said Bachiller. “We knew they would come out strong and they did. After the early onslaught we played well and could have scored a couple more but their ‘keeper made some good saves … we’re delighted to be in the final.”
The Knights opened the better and with 7 minutes gone Stuart Montgomery half-volleyed past goalkeeper Devon Spence only for the ball to crash back off the post. Two minutes later Montgomery turned provider by picking out Daniel Trim whose header was too close to Spence. Stuart Ferguson then had a shot deflected wide by Craig Simpson with Trim heading high the resulting corner. A shell-shocked Perth eventually found their feet and with their first meaningful attack Andreas Oliveira fired into the net only for a raised offside flag to disallow the effort.
The momentum was now with the host club and in quick succession Greg Sharland lifted high of the target and Matt Danskin’s rising effort was pushed away by ‘keeper Frazer Siddall. Perth looked like entering the break a goal up when Daniel Coletta and Sharland combined to release Danskin, however, an alert Siddall saved the day by courageously smothering at the midfielders’ feet. An even better opening came in stoppage time when Sharland’s curling free-kick was kept out by a stretched Siddall, the loose ball fell kindly for Oliviera but his header was cleared off the line by Duncan Hind.
The second half opened with a good chance for the Knights but Paul Cooke placed wide after good work by Montgomery. That miss was punished in the 58th minute when Antonio Naglieri played down the left for Bachiller who expertly cut inside Hind before lashing past Siddall from 7-metres. Montgomery led the Knights straight back into attack by crossing for Branimir Mikulic but his header was high. Perth continued to threaten and on 70 minutes Naglieri played in Sharland who got the better of David Annall only for Siddall to keep out his shot.
Roberts put the Knights back on level terms seven minutes later when Spence’s blocked clearance spilled to the attacker who fired into an empty net from distance. The closing stages were frantic as both sides pushed to find a winning goal. It was looking as though penalties would be required when, in the 87th minute, Sharland’s precise pass found Bachiller who cut in from the left before releasing a shot which struck Ryan Shackleton and deflected into the net. The Knights final role of the dice came via a Montgomery corner in stoppage time which Perth managed to scramble away to safety.
TEN-MAN JOONDALUP SPOT-ON
ECU Joondalup booked their place in the final of the State League Reserves Cup by downing Swan United 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out at Dorrien Gardens. Scott Bushby struck late in the first half to put the northern suburbs outfit in control, however, the dismissal of Luke Smith four minutes after the break allowed Swan back into the game with Sebastian De Cotter equalising five minutes from full-time. Brynn Hindley produced the heroics in the shoot-out by saving two spot kicks to send Joondalup into the final.
The game opened with good chances at both ends of the park, Jordan Withey flashed narrowly wide of the target before Robert Ftynogiannis headed straight at Hindley. Referee John Taran turned down Joondalup appeals for a penalty despite Withey’s centring ball striking the arm of Niall Murphy. Joondalup were dominating but Bushby shot high and Max Pope’s snap shot was saved low by Jordan Howell. They were finally rewarded on 35 minutes when Jake Benson-Cooper surged forward and passed to Bushby who, from the edge of the 18-yard box, beat the ‘keeper.
Joondalup went down to ten men in the 49th minute after Smith was shown a straight red card for his poor tackle on Ftynogiannis. Swan should have drawn level seven minutes later when Hindley’s attempted clearance struck Nattapong Narongphunt but, with an open goal begging, the attacker was unable to get to the ball before it passed out wide of the target. Swan had several chances to get back on level terms before, with only five minutes left, De Cotter got down the left and beat Ryan Lowry before shooting low into Hindley’s net.
With neither team able to find a second goal in the final few minutes, the game went to the penalty spot with Hindley keeping out attempts by Adam Pygrum and Narongphunt before Andy Brown converted to earn David Tough’s team victory. “I knew it was going to be hard game, in Cup games the form book goes out the window,” said Joondalup coach Tough. “The send-off changed the game, I believe we would have gone on and won it in normal time. But penalties were good enough, with Brynn making two good saves in the shoot-out.”
GOSNELLS START THEIR CLIMB
Gosnells City put some distance between themselves and the foot of the Division One table by dumping Fremantle Spirit 5-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Jamie Burns led the way with a double as Ravi Kuppasamy, Andy Pomfret and Adrian McBride scored against their former club to give Gosnells their second win in three weeks and move the club into ninth spot. The day could not have started better for the home club with Kuppasamy opening their account with only a minute on the clock. Fremantle made it clear they were not about to roll over and five minutes later Jacob Aquino put the sides back on level terms. Friday Zico edged the port side into the lead midway through the half but just a minute later Pomfret made it two-all. The outcome was determined before the hour was out with Jamie Burns scoring twice and McBride once in the space of six second half minutes.
JOEYS HANDED TOUGH OLYMPICS DRAW
Australia’s has been drawn alongside Iraq, Uzbekistan, and United Arab Emirate in Group B of the third round of the Asian qualifying series for next years’ Olympic Games in London. Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead with the bulk of his squad likely to be drawn from Australia’s domestic competition. “As the matches are not on FIFA dates, our team will be heavily weighted with A-League players, but we will try our hardest to get overseas-based players released to,” said Vidmar. The Australian Under-23 team will meet the Iraq, Uzbekistan, and United Arab Emirate twice each between September 2011 and March 2012 at venues yet to be confirmed.
CUP IN PREVIEW
The State League Cup steps into the spotlight this weekend with the semi-finals of the prestigious knockout competition. Dorrien Gardens hosts the Saturday fixture which brings together long-time rivals Perth SC and Western Knights (1.00pm). The teams have met than six times in the past eighteen months with Perth winning on five occasions, so it’s no surprise Ronnie Campbell’s team have been installed as pre-game favourites. That said, it’ll be a depleted Perth side which takes to the field with striker David Onoforo suspended, captain Robbie Puca under an injury cloud and Dean Apelgren ruled out by a season-ending knee injury.
The Knights edged out Balcatta in the last round and defender Stuart Ferguson knows his team are in for another tough game. “The Balcatta game was probably our best performance of the year so far but that counts for nothing this weekend,” said Ferguson. “A lot of ours boys know what it takes to win the Cup as there are a few of us left from 2008. And after we got belted 6-1 by Perth in the league I know our boys are looking forward to giving something back to our supporters … this has all the ingredients of another great Cup-tie.”
The excitement flows into Sunday with Armadale welcoming Sorrento to Alfred Skeet Oval (2.30pm). The Reds reached the last four twelve months ago and defender Matt Bennion is hoping his side can go at least one step further this time around. “It’ll be another tough game, Sorrento’s recent form has been quite good and they will be tough to break down,” said Bennion. “With a spot in the final up for grabs you can be assured we will be giving it everything.” Ross Diamond and Warren Beattie are back from suspension, however, James Robinson remains out for the same reason.
Sorrento veteran Jamie Harnwell acknowledges Armadale is not an easy place to come away from with a win. “Armadale away is like the banana skin of the draw - you know you’re going to be in for a hard game, especially with so much up for grabs,” said the big defender. “I don’t think form or past results will have anything to do with the game. Scotty Miller will have them right up for it and we are going to have to match that work rate and desire to win to get a result.”
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
This weekend’s lone Division One game brings Gosnells City and Fremantle Spirit together at Walter Padbury Reserve. The sides find themselves at the wrong end of the table leading into the second half of the season making this postponed Round Three meeting a real six-pointer. “Gosnells are a good side and have some decent players like Andy Pomfret and Adrian McBride, but we have the players to keep them quiet,” said Fremantle midfield Jason Pottier. “I’m confident we can get the win, we’re playing really good football at the moment and getting some quality players back.” The first team game starts at 12.00noon and is preceded by the reserves fixture from 10.00am.
CELTIC CLASH EXCITES MCGARRY
Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry is eagerly awaiting Saturday’s friendly meeting with Scottish club Celtic at Perth Oval. McGarry, who moved to Perth in January last year after falling out with Motherwell boss Jim Gannon, faced the Hoops on several occasions while playing for the Steelmen and, prior to that, St Mirren. Regardless of the result, McGarry always looked forward to playing Celtic, be it in the small surroundings of Fir Park, home to Motherwell, or in front of about 60,000 fans at Celtic Park.
McGarry is excited Glory and their supporters will get a chance to experience Celtic, a 42-time winner of the Scottish League Championship, up close. “It’s a great opportunity for the players and also the fans to see a club like Celtic coming across,” McGarry told Joe Sapienza from perthnow.com.au. “They’re a worldwide massive club with great history. They’re an exciting team for the Perth community (to watch) so it’s a fantastic coup to get Celtic across and play.”
Playing Celtic at home or away always guaranteed a full house and McGarry can still remember the electric atmosphere of playing against the Scottish giants “They were always big games, always sold out, the place was packed to the rafters when Celtic came to play at Fir Park or even when we played away at Parkhead,” said McGarry, who has fond memories of the day a ten-man Motherwell stunned Celtic 1-0 in 2007/08. “That was the year we were challenging for the UEFA Cup so it was a massive, massive game for Motherwell in that respect.”
McGarry cannot recall playing opposite to Celtic coach Neil Lennon but is well aware of the Northern Irishman’s winning mentality, which he still possesses to this day. “Neil was a fantastic player and he played that sort of sitting midfield role for Celtic,” McGarry said. “The Celtic fans loved him just through his hard work and was one of those players who kept Celtic ticking. He wasn’t known for his goalscoring exploits but he has a winning mentality and he’s trying to bring that back to Celtic.”
With the new Scottish season just around the corner Celtic want to make the most of their three-game Australian tour. “I know Neil Lennon, he will be fired up inside and I think he knows they need to win the title next year and I think he’s under pressure and that’s why these games over here in Australia are massively important,” said McGarry. “Friendly or no friendly, Neil will want to win this game on Saturday because he’ll want his players to go into their league season full of confidence.”
Celtic have plenty of players capable of influencing the games’ outcome with McGarry singling out Scottish international Kris Commons as a major threat, assuming he overcomes a hamstring injury. “If he plays, he is definitely one to watch,” McGarry said. “He’s got a tremendous left foot, he can take men on, he’s sharp and he can score goals.” Israeli midfielder Beram Kayal along with Shaun Maloney and Charlie Mulgrew are others Glory will need to keep close tabs on.
ROBSON PINS HOPES ON CUP GLORY
English import Craig Robson has an important role to play of Armadale are going to qualify for their first ever State League Cup final. Armadale have a round of four meeting with Sorrento this weekend when victory could just be the silver lining on a season full of grey clouds. “Sunday is a massive game for the club. We don’t have much to fight for in the league so our hopes on some silverware are the Cup,” commented Robson. “Getting to the final would be great but we need to play at our best.”
While league results this season have generally gone against Armadale, Robson is a firm believer that the Reds squad is a lot stronger that their lowly position on the table suggests. “To be honest, on what I have seen I think we should be in a better position than we are,” said Robson, whose team has suffered at the hands of injury and suspension. “I don’t think for one week we had a full team, so you are never going to be in the top five without having your strongest team week in week out.”
It has been a difficult year for Armadale Robson, 19, joined Armadale on the advice of his uncle at the beginning of the year. “I’m really enjoying playing football in Perth, at the moment I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “My move to Australia wasn’t planned. I was coming over for an experience in Oz to see if I like it enough to stay here. My uncle said there was a local team that I could be play for, it just happened to be Armadale and I’ve not looked back since.”
As a junior, Robson rubbed shoulders with some of England’s biggest names through spells at Southampton and Portsmouth. “The highlight of my career was playing and training with Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale at the Saints,” he said. “I played at Highbury against Arsenal in the Youth Cup in front of thousands of fans. Playing against Portsmouth - the team I supported as a kid - was great as was getting to the final of the Joma Cup with Havant and Waterlooville.”
It was to Havant and Waterlooville that Robson turned after things didn’t work out as he’d hoped with Portsmouth. “I went to college and played for the Havant and Waterlooville youth team, which was adjoined with the college,” he explained. “We won the Conference League twice in a row and that led to the first team manager signing me. I was on the bench and mostly used as a sub in my first year, but in my second year I became a regular starter and was used in midfield.”
Robson initially filled a role in the middle of the park for Armadale but more recently has been utilised as a centre back. “I have played at the back before so it’s nothing new to me, but I prefer midfield mainly because I love being on the ball,” said Robson. “I have settled in great at Armadale, the lads are a great bunch and have made me feel welcome. The banter that goes on in the changing rooms and on the pitch makes it feel like being at home, I’m sure other clubs do not have the team spirit that we have here.”
SHARLAND WON’T FORGET STATE DEBUT ANYTIME SOON
Western Australia debutant Greg Sharland says Tuesday’s thirteen-goal friendly with Perth Glory was a once in a lifetime experience. The game evenly poised at the break with the A-League side holding the upper hand three-one before a youthful Glory outfit powered up with six second half goals to win 9-4. “I have never experienced a game like that with so many goals scored,” said Sharland. “If we’d scored the chance we had right at the start of the half it might have been a bit closer, however, the young Glory team really had some pace about them, opened up a few gaps and took their opportunities well.”
The State team made a slow start to the game and it was only after Travis Dodd fired Glory into the lead that the Black Swans started to find their feet. “It took a while for us to settle and we only got it together once the first goal went in,” commented Sharland. “Our mistakes allowed them to score three first half goals and had we played together a bit more these might not have happened. It was great to play in a game like this as every player on the pitch has a bit of quality.”
Although the five-goal margin may suggest otherwise, Sharland says the State players gave a good account of themselves, more so when you consider the circumstances. “We’d never played as a team prior to Tuesday and only trained together for a total of three hours … I thought the boys did their best under the circumstances,” said Sharland, whose career has taken in spells with Glory, Wollongong Wolves and English club Charlton Athletic. “The feeling in the room afterwards was positive. We were all glad to be part of the spectacle in front of the big crowd that turned up.”
GLORY-CELTIC GAME STAYS AT PERTH OVAL
Saturday’s friendly between Perth Glory and Scottish club Celtic will go ahead as planned at Perth Oval after officials from both clubs inspected the playing surface this morning. Recent heavy rains have left parts of the playing surface flooded, throwing into doubt whether the venue was suitable to host the high-profile fixture. Stadium operator Allia Venue Management hired helicopters yesterday to act as giant fans and used a water extraction technique in a desperate bid to prepare the surface for Saturday’s match. Those moves have saved Glory from the embarrassing scenario of having to cancel the match after it became clear the game could not be switched to an alternative venue at such short notice.
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said it would have been logistically impossible to have moved the game to Subiaco Oval or the WACA Ground. “It’s still a bit soft but the thing is we’re going to have to play there. We’re going to play at the stadium. It will be a little soft underfoot but I have every faith that today and tomorrow it will harden up,” said Kelly, who said there would be no risk to the safety of players. “I’m quite happy, being there today, that the contours will be different given that 48 hours ago I looked at it and said this is unplayable. I have no choice at the moment. Simply we are going to have to play the game there. We’ve just got to get it to the best possible standard that we can get it to.”
MATILDAS INTO QUARTER-FINALS
Australia are through to the last eight of the Women's World Cup after Kyah Simon scored twice to see of Norway 2-1 in Leverkusen, Germany. The two teams exchanged goals early in the second half, Elise Thorsnes putting Norway ahead with Simon equalising a minutes later, before the Matildas striker settled the issue three minutes from full-time to set up a quarter-final showdown with Sweden. “We knew it was a crucial game, and although a draw was enough for us, we always go out to win,” said Simon. “Finishing the group stage with a victory will give us a real confidence boost ahead of the next round.”
The Matildas had the better of the early exchanges but it was Norway that came closest to grabbing a goal on the quarter hour when Cecilie Pedersen latched onto a loose ball but Melissa Barbieri parried over the crossbar. Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth twisted her ankle midway through the half but continued in the game after lengthy treatment. Thorsnes forced Barbieri into three saves in quick succession as Norway's direct style of play upset the Matildas game plan. Australia had to wait until five minutes from the break before getting a shot on target with Lisa De Vanna's powerful effort from outside the 18-yard box captured by a well-positioned Hjelmseth.
Norway made the breakthrough on 56 minutes as Thorsnes took advantage of hesitation between defence and goalkeeper to slot into an empty net. However, the Matildas responded immediately with De Vanna stealing the ball from a defender out wide and centring perfectly for Simon to side-foot past replacement 'keeper Erika Skarbo. The game now opened up with Simon dragging just wide of the target before a Trine Ronning free-kick smashed into the bar. Australia conjured an 87th minute winner with Simon heading in from Kim Carroll’s inch-perfect cross. De Vanna and Collette McCallum played full game, Samantha Kerr was replaced in the 80th minute with Lydia Williams an unused substitute.
TOP THREE IS THE SCHOOLBOYS TARGET
The State Schoolboys are a medal chance at this year’s School Sport Australia National Championships according to team manager Tony Campbell. The squad has been honing their skills under the watchful eyes of coach Alf Debono and Campbell for the past few months in preparation for the mid-August tournament in Adelaide. “It is a pretty strong squad, a lot stronger than last year,” commented Campbell. “The top four is achievable, and with a little luck we could be pushing South Australia and Queensland for the bronze medal.”
Trials for this years’ Schoolboys side were held in April with close to 100 players attending. “The quality was very high, almost to the level of two years ago when – according to the old-timers – we had one of the strongest teams to represent WA in a number of years,’ said Campbell. “The only area we struggled with numbers was up-front and the left wing, we had good players but for some reason very little depth. Good midfielders on the other hand was like shooting fish in a barrel!.”
The process of selecting a 16-player squad from trials was very difficult. “We had separate trials for north and south of the river and in the end needed eight weeks to get it down to our final 16 players,” commented Campbell. “In fact, when Alf sent me the final 16 the day after our last trial session he had made two changes to the squad he was thinking about the night before, it was that close. The four boys that missed out were extremely unlucky.”
Campbell has been pleased with how the squad has performed in friendlies against Shamrock Rovers, Ashfield, Belmont Villa and South Perth. “We struggled last year as the squad was very young, but this year we have a few older players who have taken more of a leadership role pushing a more intense and consistent attitude,” Campbell explained. “All the lads seem to get along really well and we hope this continues as that often has a huge impact on performance in the competition, especially as the week goes on.”
With the tournament just over a month away the Schoolboys have been focusing on the tactical side of their game. “We have two final trainings to work on some set plays and minor tactical aspects then we are away,” said Campbell. “Our preparation has been far better this year. A big ‘thank you’ to John Curtin and Lynwood SHS for the use of their facilities in trials, and Forrestfield United, Stirling Panthers and Ashfield have been brilliant with allowing us to use their facilities for training and games.”
The 2011 West Australian Schoolboys squad is Matthew Weyell (Ashfield), Charles Touah (Bayswater City), Jake Luik, Scott Witschge (Forrestfield United), Jarrod Belford (Floreat Athena), Matthew Buiners, Friday Zico (Fremantle Spirit), Dhurr Chol (Inglewood United), Liam Chapman (ECU Joondalup), Zachary Newton (Mandurah City), Jordan Candlish, Gene Magri, Luke Palmateer, Ioasa Saemo, Marco Santaluca (Perth SC) and Blair Govan (Sorrento). The team officials are Alf Debono (coach), Tony Campbell (manager) and Peter Rickers (tour leader).
EVANS EAGER FOR HONG KONG CHALLENGE
Stirling Lions midfielder Dean Evans is biding his time in Hong Kong as he awaits trials with Division One side Kitchee FC. The versatile 21-year old is hoping to land his first professional contract after being overlooked by Perth Glory, where he played two seasons in the youth team. “I’ve been here for a week and all is going well at the moment,” commented Evans. “The club are in pre-season and the coaches main aim is to have everyone very fit and used to the hot weather conditions, so slowly the sessions will become more and more intense.”
Evans, who collected back-to-back Most Glorious Youth Player awards while with Glory, said the opportunity to play in Hong Kong came completely out of the blue. “I’m here till the end of July, by then I will know whether they want me to stay,” he said. “My management team helped me setting up the trials. I had a phone call from Kitchee coach Josep Gombau last weekend asking me to come to Hong Kong asap so it happened very quickly. The club have five import spots, and all are Spanish players, and they are allowed one Asian spot as well so hopefully I will fill that.”
Evans had been in sparkling form for Stirling and, with or without his services, the midfielder has every confidence his club has the quality on board to make the end of season play-offs. “I’m sure the boys will make the top five, we have a great bunch of players,” Evans commented. “We’ve been paying some good football and if we keep playing like that then I’m sure we will make the end of season finals. After the Cup break this week they can get their season back on track against Sorrento at Macedonia Park.”
STATE’S BEST UP-STAGED BY GLORY YOUNGSTERS
Western Australia suffered their biggest loss in more than two decades when humiliated 9-4 by an experimental Perth Glory outfit this evening at Dorrien Gardens. The game was evenly poised at the break with Glory holding a three-two lead courtesy of a Travis Dodd double another by Steven McGarry. However, the State side capitulated after the break to what was effectively the Glory Youth team with Reece Vittiglia and Adam Taggart netting two apiece as Josh Risdon and Tommy Amphlett also got on the scoreboard.
A sensational long-range half-volley by Mark Pritchard was the pick of the State teams’ goals, the others coming via James Morgan, Matt Barlow and Trent Kay. “If you told me before the game that we would score four goals against the Glory, you’d think that would mean we won,” State coach Robbie Dunn said. “I’m really proud of the boys, they’ve trained together for two and a half hours so it was a lot of ask of them.” It was Western Australia’s heaviest defeat since being humbled 6-0 by the visiting Netherlands Amateurs in 1988.
A crowd of 1,589 were treated to a free flowing first half in which Glory opened their account after 19 minutes, Dodd strolling through to nonchalantly slot past a badly exposed goalkeeper. Five minutes later McGarry crashed in goal number two from 8-metres to punish more sloppy defending. Morgan pulled a goal back on the half hour with a crisp finish after Danny Vukovic spilled a bouncing shot by Greg Sharland. Half-time was knocking when Oliver Taseski got a glove on Mile Sterjovski’s angled strike but was helpless as Dodd knocked in the loose ball.
Ian Ferguson made nine changes to his line-up during the break and when Glory returned to the park only five members of the senior squad were present. It took the youngsters only eleven minutes to stamp their authority with Risdon’s swerving shot from 14-metres giving second half ‘keeper Andy Banks no chance. Only another minute had passed before Vittiglia showed great composure in turning Trent Kay and chipping delicately over Banks from the top of the 18-yard box.
Goals continued to flow for Glory with Taggart chesting down long a long ball and walking to the top of the box where his scuffed shot-wrong footed the ‘keeper. Pritchard returned fire in the 63rd minute with speculative half-volley from close to the halfway line that lobbed into the top corner of Neil Young’s net. Barlow further reduced the gap, and gave the State team hope of a late revival, by firing in from an acute angle after Young had come off his line and smothered at the feet of Matt Barlow.
Amphlett left two opponents in his wake before delivering a low ball which Vittiglia rammed in from a couple of metres after 79 minutes. Soon after Young completely miss-read the flight of a Jason Mirco free-kick that Kay stooped to head in. Amphlett was the provider of Glory’s eighth goal, centring from the right for Taggart to convert at close-range. The game was in stoppage time when Amphlett cleverly stepped over the ball and brilliantly clipping past the advancing ‘keeper to complete the route.
Western Australia: Oliver Taseski (Andy Banks 46), Michael Pugliese, Jarrad Smith (Trent Kay 46), David Annall (George Tchami 68), Bobby Wilson, James Morgan (Matt Barlow 59), Andy Brown (Jason Mirco 63), Jon Higgins (Cormac Dawson 54), Greg Sharland, Stephen Burton, Mark Pritchard
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic (Neil Young 46), Josh Mitchell (Alex Caniglia 46), Bas Van Den Brink (Evan Berger 46), Blamo Qua Qua, Shane Smeltz (Adam Taggart 46), Liam Miller (Reece Vittiglia 40), Scott Neville (Sam Mitchinson 46), Travis Dodd (Sam Fisk 46) Steven McGarry (Stephen Walmsley 46), Todd Howarth (Josh Risdon 46), Mile Sterjovski (Tommy Amphlett 46)
Bookings: Dawson (76), Annall (78)
Referee: David Costello
CACCAMO WINS ITALIAN CONTRACT
Balcatta teenager Daniel Caccamo will travel to Italy next month to take up a first team contract with Serie B side Vicenza Calcio. Caccamo, who spent two seasons training with Brazilian clubs Fluminense and America MG, was spotted by a scout from Vicenza while playing locally. “A professional contract is something I’ve dreamt of from a young age, but growing up in Perth it was hard to believe it would be possible,” the 19-year old defender told the ‘Stirling Times’. “Even though you put in all the hard work, you never expect it. Italy’s always been a dream, so it was pretty much indescribable how good I felt.”
SQUADS FINALISED FOR GIRLS NATIONALS
Thirty-two of the state’s best young footballers will wear the black and gold of Western Australia at next week's National Youth Championships for Girls in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The State Under-14's, who are coached by Jessine Bonzas, will come up against Queensland, New South Wales Country, Tasmania, Northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory at the week-long event which commences on Monday. Perth Glory captain Tanya Oxtoby is in charge of the State Under-16 side which is scheduled to play New South Wales Metro, Victoria, Capital Football, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
With the Women's World Cup in full swung at the moment in Germany, Football West's Andrew Bettell said the timing of this years' championship could not be better. "The girls can see the four West Australian players representing the Matildas – what better motivation can there be to perform on the big stage?," said Bettell. WA will also be represented by up and coming referees Jennifer Wood (18) and Opal Wright (17), who'll be out to impress in front of some of Australia's most respected referee coaches.
The West Australian Under-14 Girls squad is Courtney Hall (Bayswater), Mikayla Lyons (East Fremantle), Amy Le Roux (Fremantle), Steffi Nadilo (Cockburn City), Hope Shepherd (Joondalup City), Maddison Schofield (Kingsway), Danni Griffiths, Sarah Kenny, Bonnie Rostron (Melville), Angelique Stannett (Sutherland Park), Gabrielle Dal Busco, Monique Godding, Emily Henderson, Pippa King, Emma Leaning and Tiahna Scandrett (National Training Centre). Coach Jessine Bonzas is assisted by Shannon May and Marianna Tabain with Lisa Tana as manager.
The West Australian Under-15 Girls squad features Caitlyn Broomhead, Kimberley Cleggett (Collie), Emma Neville (East Fremantle), Laura Waltman (Melville City), Caitlin Doeglas (Stirling Lions), Laitysha Wyatt (Stirling Panthers), Mackenzie Bell, Lauren Blackledge, Leigha Bullock, Hope Compton, Zoe Covell, Jessica Darmago, Leniana Masibaka, Natika Millar, Sophia Stewart and Tia Stonehill (National Training Centre). Team officials are Tanya Oxtoby (coach), Elisa D'Ovidio (assistant coach) and Leanne Hill (manager).
CELTIC CLASH WILL TEST GLORY
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic says the upcoming friendly with Celtic will be a good indication of how a new-look Perth Glory is coming together. In an attempt to consign a tumultuous 2010/11 campaign to history, the A-League club have recruited heavily with Vukovic joining the likes of international signings Liam Miller and Bas Van Den Brink along with a host of other big name arrivals that include Shane Smeltz, Evan Berger and Neil Young. "Celtic are one of the most recognisable teams in the world and to be able to play against them is going to be a great thrill for everyone involved with the club," said Vukovic. "Everyone's very excited. It's a good test for us. We can pit against some of the best players in the world."
Although pre-season indications have been positive, 26-year old Vukovic is only too well aware that a team of champions doesn't equate to a champion team. "Obviously, more than half the team's new to this club, so we need to work on things and now play a lot of games to gel as well as possible," the goalkeeper added. "(But) we've been working hard the last nine weeks with our pre-season and it's all pretty much for this game, this game on Saturday night, so it will be a good test for us to see where we're at and hopefully we'll get a good result." Celtic arrived in Perth this afternoon and the Bhoys will be looking to fire up their pre-season somewhat after losing 1-0 to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
MATILDAS CLOSE IN ON QUARTER-FINALS
Australia took their first step towards the knock-out phase of the Women’s World Cup with a hard fought 3-2 win over Equatorial Guinea in Bochum, Germany. Leena Khamis, Emily Van Egmond and Lisa De Vanna were on target to move the Matildas to three points and level with Norway, who they need only draw with on Thursday to progress. “I was obviously very happy with the win; I was happy with a lot of things that happened today but there were some other aspects of the game where we need to improve upon in order to go further in this tournament,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “In the end it was a much more hard fought win than it probably should have been but three points in the bag and now we prepare for the Norway game.”
The Matildas’ early dominance paid off in the 8th minute when Heather Garriock’s shot was parried into the path of Leena Khamis who converted the simplest of chances. Australia should have been awarded a penalty seven minutes later when Khamis’ hit the post and defender Bruna caught the rebound, however, match officials unbelievably failed to spot the blatant handball. Against the run of play, Equatorial Guinea found themselves level in the 21st minute after Servet Uzunlar was robbed of possession by Anonman who went on to round goalkeeper Lydia Williams and slip the ball into the net. This prompted the Matildas to take their game up a notch or two and just before the break captain Colette McCallum rattled the crossbar with a free-kick.
The second half was three minutes old when Khamis’ cross evaded De Vanna but not Van Egmond who drilled in on the half volley. Australia’s lead was increased three minutes later, McCallum clipping a precision ball into the path of De Vanna who controlled with her chest before rolling it past ‘keeper Miriam. McCallum went close to sealing the game with another free-kick which was deflected just wide by a defender, and later the team playmaker clipped the bar with a speculative effort from wide on the left. A mistake by Uzunlar allowed Anonman to beat Williams for a second time on 83 minutes. Williams played a full game between the posts, Lisa De Vanna came on at half-time, Samantha Kerr was replaced in the 69th minute, and Collette McCallum in the 78th minute.
GLORY PUSH TO GRAB DAVIES (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory have approached Bayern Munich youth team attacker Julius Davies about joining the A-League club. Davies was a member of Football West's National Training Centre program prior to being snapped up on a five-year deal by the German giants in 2009. Glory coach Ian Ferguson hopes the prospect of playing first team football in Australia can bring the Sierra Leone-born midfielder to Glory on a one-year loan. "We're waiting on some answers," Ferguson said yesterday. "He's a player we'd love to have here ... a very exciting prospect."
Davies was called into the Joeys in 2008 but changes to FIFA's player registration rules ended his green and gold dreams. Football Federation Australia appealed against his omission from World Cup qualifiers but he has remained in the international wilderness. A return to Australia, where he lived in Perth with his sister Olive before signing for Bayern, could help satisfy FIFA that he should be eligible to play for his adopted country.
Ferguson, still hoping to add to his revamped squad, believed a move to Perth would be beneficial to Davies and Glory. "What excites me is that people tell you he was a great player when he was in the NTC," Ferguson said. "German football is very structured and the coaching is very good and he's a bit older, so he'll come back an even better player. For him to come here and play in the A-League would be great for him." Ferguson expected to find out over the weekend whether a deal could be done.
GRANT USES HIS HEAD TO GET INGLEWOOD HOME
Inglewood United re-asserted their championship credentials by defeating high-flying Perth SC 1-0 on a chilly afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. Rory Grant’s header in first half stoppage time was all that separated the sides and keep Inglewood fourth on the Premier League table. “It was a good team effort, we worked as a unit and defended well and could have scored a few more,” said Grant, who finished off a move started by Adrian Caceres. “Adrian is a quality player. I know if I get in the box he will set me up, and I was delighted to be in the right position to score. I think I owe the side that today as I missed a few chances last week against Sorrento.”
With rain clouds threatening overhead, the game opened at a frenetic pace with Oliver Taseski deflecting wide Josh Pereira’s shot after only couple of minutes. Greg Sharland curled just past the far post, then Grant’s close-range snap crashed down off the crossbar and bounced on the line before Devon Spence claimed the loose ball. Openings continued to present throughout the half as James Sammut flashed wide, Spence pushed over Ryan Clark’s attempt while Sharland was thwarted by Daniel Stoitis’ goalline clearance. Half-time was moments away when Sammut played down the left for Caceres whose inch-perfect cross was headed in by an unmarked Grant.
Sharland’s flashed a free-kick just wide eight minutes into the second half, and soon after the big attacker’s low cross deflected off David McNally before being taken by an alert Taseski. Inglewood had their chances to seal the win but Spence saved courageously at Caceres’ feet, Clark’s shot was tipped away by the Perth custodian, and Grant’s goal bound header was halted by Trent Kay. Entering the final ten minutes the momentum swung in Perth’s favour but David Onoforo was denied by Taseski after being played through by Andreas Oliveira. The hosts had a late penalty claim dismissed by referee Matthew Cheeseman despite Onoforo’s shot being blocked by the arm of a defender.
BAYSWATER STAY AFLOAT
Bayswater City booked their place in next seasons’ top flight by scoring their third win in as many weeks, this one 2-1 against Stirling Lions at Frank Drago Reserve. New signing Million Butshiire bagged the deciding goal midway through the second stanza after Cesar Gonzalez’s early opener was cancelled out before half-time by Phil O’Callaghan. The three points gained moves Bayswater, last years’ Division One champions, twelve points clear of the relegation zone with only six games to play.
Bayswater could not have wished for a better start as, with only 3 minutes played, Gonzalez expertly guided his near post header into the net from a John Kearney corner. The margin should have been doubled minutes later but Gustavo Marulanda scuffed weakly at debutant goalkeeper Connor Campbell. After this initial flourish the respective defences seized control and it wasn’t until the 31st minute that either was next breached with O’Callaghan placing into the top corner, well out of Gianni Papalia’s reach, after a determined down the centre of the park by Clayton Arnez.
Marulanda was presented another great chance to post Bayswater a second goal, the attacker getting the better of the defence but his hesitancy to shoot when faced by only Campbell eventually saw the chance go begging. A minute later Cisco Jorquera blasted high from a promising position after taking a layoff from John Kearney. Andy Brown did likewise at the other end after a tidy move involving Jamie Watt and O’Callaghan, who touched the ball back for his captain. The clock had just ticked over into stoppage time when Anthony Skorich’s powerful low strike has Papalia at full-length to push wide.
O’Callaghan was guilty of a glaring miss four minutes into the second half, the striker scooping over from 5-metres after meeting Jamie De Abreu’s low centre. Gavin Knight then tucked the ball past Campbell only to turn to see an offside flag disallow his finish. Campbell nervously plucked out of the air a long-range strike by Marulanda and Jorquera’s attempt also from distance wasn’t far past the target as Bayswater stepped up the pace. Papalia kept the sides on level terms with a superb fingertip save to keep out Skorich’s header from a Ludovic Boi corner.
Bayswater soon enough resumed the attack and Butshiire should have done much better than drag wide after going past the defence in the 66th minute. That miss was forgotten four minutes later when Butshiire angled a wonderful finish across the ‘keeper and inside the far post to put the home team back into the lead. Stirling prodded and probed at the home defence across the final twenty minutes but with Gonzalez on patrol there was simply no way they were going to get through. The closest they came to equalising was a speculative long-range attempt by Brown that cleared the crossbar by a considerable margin.
HARNWELL PLAYS THE CAPTAINS’ KNOCK
A goal from minutes from the end by Todd Harnwell allowed Sorrento to snatch a 2-1 win from Mandurah City on an eventful day at Percy Doyle Reserve. Aaron Dos Santos gave the Dolphins a surprise lead, however, Brodie Martin levelled soon after with Todd Harnwell sealing the win late on. “It was a very tough game in extremely difficult conditions,” said the Sorrento captain. “Their goal early in the second half gave us the wake-up we call needed and after Brodie got our equaliser I was confident we would pinch the victory.”
The first chance on goal came early via Ryan Pearson whose cross to the near post was headed onto the top netting by Todd Harnwell. Mandurah were handed a great opportunity to go ahead when Michael Grigo was bundled over inside the 18-yard box, Robbie Hamm stepped up confidently but Curtis Aspden guessed correctly to make the save. The visitors were determined to make amends for that miss but Garin Collins’ shot fizzled just wide. The windy conditions made the going tough for both teams who had to be content with a nil-all scoreline at the end of 45 minutes.
The deadlock was broken six minutes into the second half when Rafael Insaurralde lifted the ball through for new signing Dos Santos to poke over an advancing ‘keeper. Parity was restored twelve minutes later, Pearson’s long throw was poorly dealt with by the visiting defence allowing Martin lash in from the edge of the 18-yard box. It was a frustrating afternoon for fans and players alike as shot from distance flew wide of the target. A long kick by Aspden was the inspiration for the deciding goal, David Foster flicking the ball into the area where Todd Harnwell stuck out a leg to guide into the net.
NEIDERBERGER STARS IN BALCATTA WIN
Balcatta extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table following a 4-0 demolition of Armadale at Grindleford Reserve. Daniel Niederberger scored twice with Jovo Pavlovic and Daniel Micevski also on the scoresheet to open up a nine-point gap over Balcatta’s nearest rival Perth SC, who lost to Inglewood United. Armadale, who really didn’t get out of first gear, remain third from bottom but with a comfortable six-point buffer over those in the drop zone.
The game was only a few minutes old when Paul Lloyd’s free-kick beat the defensive wall but not home goalkeeper Lewis Italiano. Balcatta responded with venom, Mo Atak streaming away down the left before delivering an inch-perfect ball onto the head of Niederberger which the striker thundered into the net. Stephen Burton should have increased the difference but sprayed wide when presented with an open goal after Cyril Sharrock was caught off-guard from a back-pass.
That miss was forgotten in the 20th minute when Pavlovic forced the ball in at close-range after reacting quickest to David Micevski’s corner that went to feet. Armadale were struggling to make an impact in their attacking third of the park where the absence of import striker James Robinson was noticeable. Half-time was looming when Atak’s shot was blocked, the ball spilled to David Micevski but his follow-up skewed across for brother Daniel Micevski who made no mistake from a couple of metres.
Balcatta continued to dominate after the break with Burton and Neiderberger each guilty of not putting away good opportunities. Their fourth and final goal came in the 67th minute when David Micevski expertly made his way down the right before centring into the 18-yard box where Neiderberger rammed into the net from 7-metres. With the game now over as a contest, the urgency went out of Balcatta and Armadale were allowed to see more of the ball without ever really threatening their hosts’ goal.
KNIGHTS STAY ON COURSE (with James Wragg, Football West)
Western Knights remain third on the table after fending off a gallant ECU Joondalup 2-0 at Nash Field. Stuart Montgomery put the home side in the box seat after the quarter-hour with Ryan Shackleton sealing the result with a stunning finish in the closing stages. It was an engaging contest over the 90 minutes with the Knights making the most of their chances whilst Joondalup were unlucky not to come away something to show for the second half efforts.
The home team hit the ground running with Montgomery getting in behind the defence to volley wide of the target inside 5 minutes. The Knights loyal supporters were asked to wait just another ten minutes before being allowed to celebrate, Montgomery burying into the bottom corner after Mark Tebbutt’s push on Branimir Mikulic led referee Michael Jasinski to point to the penalty spot. Johnny Mirco was close to scoring the Knights a second goal but his vicious strike was pushed out for a corner by Andy Banks.
Marc Rodgers then kept Joondalup in the game when he cleared a goal bound effort by Mirco with Banks already beaten. A rare Joondalup chance on goal came the way of Tommy Jones who skied over the crossbar under pressure after Frazer Siddall fumbled a cross. With Montgomery dictating play for the home side it looked like only a matter of time before the Knights scored again. Mikulic was sent through with only the ‘keeper to beat but Banks was off his line quick to snuff out the danger.
Joondalup displayed a greater composure after the break and Charlie Comyn-Platt went close to bringing the teams level with a hard shot that rose over the crossbar. Stuart Ferguson’s latch ditch tackle prevented John Thornley getting off a shot, while Siddall breathed a sigh of relief when David Annall conceded a corner after his ‘keeper failed to hold a Jordan Withey shot. The visitors frustrations grew as the half progressed and their hopes of taking a point slowly dimmed. Shackleton made the game safe in the 89th minute, the Knights substitute letting free an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 27-metres.
Montgomery had no complaints about his teams’ performance, tipping his hat to youngster Ryan Shackleton. “It was a good game and we’re happy to get the win, especially with ‘Shacky’ getting his first goal for the club and it being a screamer - he didn’t know what to do when it went in,” said Montgomery. “We could have gone into the break more than one-up as we created many chances to score. Credit to Joondalup though, the battled half and made us work for the win after half-time. Hopefully this gives us confidence leading into the State League Cup semi next week against Perth SC.”
BUNBURY FORCE THEIR WAY PAST CANNING
Bunbury Forum Force continued their dominance of Division One by whipping Canning City 4-0 at Hay Park in Bunbury. Although languishing at the foot of the table, Canning would have taken plenty of positives from their first half against an opponent that was gunning for their seventh home win of the season. It was looking as though the teams would enter the break as they started when Ashley Young broke the deadlock on 38 minutes. The outcome was settled early in the second half when Bunbury netted three times in fifteen minutes. Oliver McGee doubled the hosts lead on 51 minutes, John Brooks then added a second before Rory Binnie completed the route.
RUNAWAY ROOS DOWN DIANELLA
An under-strength Wanneroo City moved into joint second spot with a 3-0 defeat of Dianella White Eagles at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The home side controlled the tempo of the first half but entered half-time only one goal up thanks to Brian Cairney, who on 21 minutes lashed into the net at close-range. The margin would have been greater had it not been for Dianella goalkeeper Matt Battigelli whose wonder save kept out a diving header by Cairney. Dianella created scattered half-chances to equalise but found the going tough against a well-organised defensive unit.
Wanneroo picked up where they left off and just before the hour Brad McDonald played through to Sahr Konomanyi who waltzed around two defenders then the ‘keeper before tucking into the net. Seven minutes Glen Moore was felled on the edge of the 18-yard box, the resultant free-kick was whipped into by Guy McDonald for an unmarked Ross Laing to head in his third goal in two appearances for Wanneroo. The three points gained puts Wanneroo on level points with Shamrock Rovers, who trail table topping Bunbury Forum Force by four points.
ONE EACH FOR SHAMROCK AND SWAN
Honours were shared at Harold Rossiter Reserve where Shamrock Rovers and Swan United played out an entertaining and at times controversial 1-1 draw. Shamrock started the game by applying some intense pressure on the visiting defence where Luke Martino’s reflexes ensured the game remained level. Swan slowly found their rhythm and three minutes from the break some decisive passes through midfield sent Damian Scali down the right before cutting the ball back for John Monterosso to fire into the bottom corner from just inside the 18-yard box.
Scali could have increased the black and whites lead early in the second period but placed wide of the target. Shamrock responded through Ross Cosgrove who used his pace to get past Adam Pygrum before angling his shot across Martino and inside the far post with 61 minutes on the clock. Swan had a legitimate penalty appeal dismissed by the referee after two defenders conspired to hold back Tommy Shephard inside the area, while Scali was denied what would have been a winning goal by home custodian Eamon Barnes.
FREMANTLE OVER-POWERED BY ASHFIELD
An energetic second half performance by Ashfield was rewarded with a 4-2 win over Fremantle Spirit at Ashfield Reserve. Alex Stamatiadis found the net twice with Karl O'Reilly and Brian Maybin also on the scoresheet as Ashfield overturned a half-time deficit to stay fifth in Division One. Fremantle enjoyed the better of the first half and on 13 minutes a lovely passing move down the left was centred for Jacob Aquino to place under a diving goalkeeper for a one-nil lead. This failed to wake up the home side and had it been for a little more sharpness in the final third then Fremantle could have held a handy buffer at the turnaround.
Matt Carruthers words were still ringing in Ashfield ears when an unmarked Stamatiadis tapped in the equaliser after meeting a low O’Reilly cross at the back post. Stamatiadis returned the favour on the hour by floating a pass over the Fremantle defence which released O’Reilly who came out trumps from the one-on-one with Lachlan McAlindon. Jason Pottier restored parity by slotting in from the penalty spot after Roberto Colalillo was bundled over by Mark Donnelly. O’Reilly squandered two guilt edged chances to put the hosts back in front, the striker blazing high from the penalty spot and later hit the post when faced by an open goal.
Just as it appeared Ashfield’s luck had run out Ibnen Charming played out of midfield for Stamatiadis who, rounded his marker and clipped goal number three over the ‘keeper after his initial shot came back off the post. This breathed new life into the home side who heaped pressure on Fremantle’s young defence over the closing stages as they sought to increase the difference. Victory was assured two minutes from the end when Maybin knocked the ball past one defender and rounded another before placing into the bottom corner.
WALSH GRABS MORLEY THE POINTS (courtesy Morley Windmills)
Morley Windmills collected maximum for the third week running by downing Gosnells City 2-1 at Wotton Reserve. The game looked set to finish level after Joe Woodin and Jamie Burns netted in the first half when Mark Walsh popped up to grab the late winner. “The team played well under the wet and slippery conditions,” said Morley coach Salv Todaro. “We were in control for the majority of the game (but) for a while it looked like we would be sharing the points, which would have been unfair on the boys. Then man-of-the-match Mark Walsh popped with the winner.”
The opening exchanges were hectic with goalkeeper Alan Dunlop and Steve Grant called upon to make early saves. Errors began to creep into the game as the wind picked up and a light drizzle made the surface greasy. Some sharp one-touch movement between Walsh, Simon Wilson, Andy O’Neill and Ryan Frisina allowed Woodin to run through and fired past a flat-footed ‘keeper after 29 minutes. Morley could have increased their lead but Wilson’s shot was expertly saved by Dunlop and an unmarked Lucas Whitehouse headed wide. Gosnells kept pushing an in the 44th minute Burns slotted in the equaliser after pouncing on a poor back-pass.
Gosnells continued their fight after the break when Burns outpaced the defence only to have Grant come out on top of the one-on-one. After weathering the storm, Morley hit back through an Andy O’Neill rocket destined for the bottom corner when a defender stuck out a boot to clear. A high tackle on Luke O’Neill saw him leave the game on a stretcher, and the resulting free-kick by Andy O’Neill deflected wide off the defensive wall. The game was settled in the 85th minute when Wilson’s corner was poorly defended and Frisina nodded the ball on for Walsh to head in at close-range. Gosnells were presented a golden opportunity to equalise but Adrian McBride’s low spot kick was kept out by Grant.
FORRESTFIELD SHOW PLENTY OF HART
Forrestfield United came from a goal down to register a 2-1 win over Rockingham City at Hartfield Park. The visiting side started at full pace and with only 5 minutes on the clock Josh Cartman fired them into a deserved lead. Forrestfield had their chances to draw level before the break but were unable to make the most of their opportunities, which included a missed penalty by Andy Harold. Anthony Lyons brought the teams level in the 51st minute with Andy Harold making amends for his earlier miss by netting just after the hour. There were chances for both teams to add their tally with Forrestfield holding firm to pick up the points.
FINALS FOOTBALL IS THE GOAL FOR FERGUSON)
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson feels his off-season recruiting spree has addressed the depth problems that plagued the club last season. And with Liam Miller, Shane Smeltz, Danny Vukovic, Dean Heffernan and Bas Van Den Brink on board the coach is confident Glory can reach the finals for just the second time in seven A-League seasons. "I'm delighted with the squad we're assembling at the moment because I feel as though the depth is a lot better," Ferguson said.
Ideally, Ferguson would like to have two quality players for each position. "We're headed towards that. We're still fourteen weeks away from the start of the season so that gives us plenty of time to try to gel and give the boys a bit of continuity," the coach added. "It's nice to get Liam on board, Van Den Brink as well, and we'll hopefully get another one or two on board before the season starts. We're looking at another centre-half and we're also looking for another midfielder."
Ferguson said the addition of Miller, a former Manchester United, Celtic and Sunderland players, was of particular importance. "I'm hoping he's going to be one of our playmakers. He's got a great engine, he's up and down the park, everybody I've spoken to has given him rave reports," Ferguson said. "You don't play for Man United if you're any kind of mug … We were lacking energy and mobility at times (last season) and we're trying to get that now. We've brought these players in who will hopefully give us that, from the full-backs to the midfield and even up front."
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
Dorrien Gardens is the place to be on Saturday when two of the State League's oldest clubs, Perth SC and Inglewood United, go head-to-head. Perth youngster Daniel Coletta can't wait to get back out on the park after a two-week break from competitive football. "The break gave the team a deserved rest after a busy month and puts us in a good position for the remainder of the season, with players returning from injury which only strengthens the squad," said Coletta. "Inglewood will be difficult, they will be looking to secure their place in the finals and we are keen to continue pressuring Balcatta. It should be an entertaining game, and hopefully we will go out and get the job done."
Inglewood midfielder James Sammut wants to see a big improvement from his team which is coming off a scoreless draw with a ten-man Sorrento. "When Sorrento went down to ten-men early many thought we would have run away with the game but that wasn't the case, it was two points dropped," commented Sammut. "We are in a good position to finish of the season positively and challenge for a finals birth. With the squad we have we can beat any team in the league and we need to start getting results against the likes of Balcatta and Perth. Unfortunately, last time we met Perth we lost but I'm hopefully this weekend will be a different result."
Bayswater City verses Stirling Lions at Frank Drago Reserve is another game which promises plenty. The home team are unbeaten in their last three games thanks to a large degree to the five goal put away by an in-form Gustavo Marulanda. With Gianni Papalia in charge of the defence and Bryan McKeown operating out of midfield Bayswater stand a very good chance of taking the points. However, Stirling are also full of confidence having won their last three games through strong performances by Bobby Wilson, Andy Brown and Dean Evans, who flies overseas for trials this weekend.
Top of the table Balcatta are expected to have too much class when Armadale visits Grindleford Reserve. Balcatta were pushed all the way last time out before claiming the points at Floreat Athena where goalkeeper Lewis Italiano, Adam Tong and Daniel Micevski were at the top of the their game. Armadale are fresh from collecting a vital win over Mandurah City but if they're to back that up with another three points it'll be done without suspended trio James Robinson, Ross Diamond and Warren Beattie.
Western Knights are on home turf for the second week in a row, this time against ECU Joondalup. Suspension will keep James Morgan out of the hosts' line-up but that could open the door on Luka Jukic's first start in five months. The absence of Dale McCulloch, Scott Bushby and Scott Blackmore through suspension has given Joondalup coach Steve Amphlett a few things to think about. Andy Banks and John Thornley have key roles to play for the visitors at opposite ends of the park.
Mandurah City drops in at Percy Doyle Reserve to play Sorrento. Although Danny Cain is suspended, the Gulls enter the afternoon as favourites with Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson providing good width and Jamie Harnwell and Daryl Platten solid at the back. Every game between here and September is a must-win if Mandurah are to play any role in next years' Premier League. Phil Straker, Graeme Matthews and new signing Aaron Dos Santos have key roles to play in a line-up minus Tom Straker (suspended). All five Premier League games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Promotion chasing Shamrock Rovers are on home turf to Swan United in the pick of this week’s Division One action. Both teams are coming off good results and are focused on building on those successes. "We want to win this one - if Bunbury do slip up again then we would go top," said Shamrock's Nick Carroll. "But it's going to be very difficult, Swan are such a strong team all over the pitch and last time we played them we found ourselves defending for a good stretch of the game ... if we turn up and play are own game then we should sneak the win again."
Hartfield Park hosts the important mid-table clash between Forrestfield United and Rockingham City, two clubs seemingly going in opposite directions. Caretaker coach Phil Butler has his work cut out leading Forrestfield to victory for the first time in a month, a run which has kept the eastern corridor club in the bottom half of the table. In contrast Rockingham has risen to fifth on the back of wins over Bunbury Forum Force and Wanneroo City, and Steve Robinson has plans for his team to continue their upward trajectory.
Gosnells City will attempt to halt Morley Windmills winning run when they meet at Wotton Reserve. "It's important for us to get the win because we have a tough run in the next four weeks," said Gosnells coach Tony Maguire. "Salv Todaro always has his sides well organised and they will be hard to beat, the last game with them was very tight so I can see this being the same. We are quietly confident of getting the right result, we enjoy playing at Morley and they are the sort of side that lets you play football."
Canning City has brought in Richard Francisco to end their eleven-game losing streak but it’s unlikely that will happen this weekend away at Bunbury Forum Force. The home side have strengthened their midfield with the recruitment of former Manchester City player Jamie Tandy who'll be pushing for first eleven inclusion along with Rory Binnie. Unfortunately the opposite applies to Canning with Gary Smith and Brad O'Brien unavailable while injury clouds over Josh Findlater and Dane Navarro.
Wanneroo City coach Gerry McEwan has a few unwanted selection headaches leading into the game with Dianella White Eagles at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Guy McDonald (injury) and Jay McDonald (work) are definitely out of contention with a strong likelihood they'll be joined by Darren Quinncroft, Craig Bowman and David Herety. Jamie Goodman is hopeful of having a few new faces on board for his first game in charge of Dianella, who have injury problems of their own.
Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers won't be underestimating Fremantle Spirit when they line-up at Ashfield Reserve. "Fremantle, despite their results, can be more then competitive on their day," said Carruthers. "We were all extremely disappointed with our performance against Swan last week but we know what is required to bounce back. With other teams set to take points off each other we'll hope to move back up the table." Fremantle, who have taken just two points from seven games, welcome Tyrone Fenwick back the line-up as Chris Holland goes in the other direction. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
ANNALL ‘STOKED’ BY STATE CALL-UP
David Annall will make a long overdue debut for Western Australia when he walks onto Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday evening to play Perth Glory. The Western Knights veteran was understandably over the moon last week after hearing he'd gained State selection for the first time. "I was stoked when I got the call, it's not as though I'm getting any younger so was a nice surprise to be included," said Annall, who turned 30 last month. "There are some very good players in the State squad and a lot of players that could quite easily make the step up into the A-League."
Speaking after Wednesday's training session in West Perth, Annall was upbeat about the State teams' chances against Glory. "The boys will definitely give Glory a tough game and I'm sure Glory's coaching staff will be keeping their eye on some of the our players," said the defender. "The standard at training has been quality and everything has been very sharp. The coaches want us playing a certain way, they've got some great knowledge about the game and I've enjoyed hearing their opinions. It's just a shame we've only had two sessions together really. It would be great if it was an ongoing thing."
The past couple of months have been full of ups and downs for the Knights, who now face a fight to stay in the finals race. "We seem to be playing well in patches, but then we switch off and change how we play. We've been trying to pinpoint what's been going wrong but just can't seem find the crux of the problem," commented Annall. "We need to get going soon though or we're in danger of being kicked out of the top five. At the end of the day, if you want to win things you need to be firing all the time."
Annall says last weekend's game with Stirling was a prime example of the problems that have been plaguing the Knights. "In the first half it was like we didn't even want to play, a lacklustre performance from everyone really. The second half we picked it up a bit, but in the end Stirling's desire to win out weighed ours," said the Knights captain. "It was quiet in the rooms after the game, everyone was reflecting on how poorly we played and where we went wrong. The club have very high expectations for the team and when you lose, especially at home, you know you're going to cop some heat from supporters and the committee."
This importance of a Knights win over ECU Joondalup on Saturday at Nash Field is certainly not lost on Annall. "There's only five points that separate the Knights (3rd) from Joondalup in ninth position - if that's not motivation enough then I don't know what is," commented Annall. "Joondalup is always a tough game and by all accounts they've got some good young lads coming through and proving their worth. They've got a solid backline as well, so our boys up front will have to buzzing to get a few past them and relieve some of the pressure on us ... if we don't pull our fingers out soon, it's going to a short season for us."
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This page was last updated on the 29th June, 2011