GOODMAN FOR THE DIANELLA JOB
Jamie Goodman has accepted the position of head coach at Division One strugglers Dianella White Eagles. A former Inglewood United and Kingsway Olympic player, Goodman takes over the reins from Mario Theodosiades, who moves into the assistant coach role. “Dianella has a lot of things going for it but has not achieved what it has wanted to of late,” commented Goodman. “The club is in a rebuilding stage and has some very promising young players at the moment … I think I can help rebuild the club and take them forward.”
Goodman was in charge of Swan United last season and this year took Floreat Athena’s second string to third on the table before being approached by Dianella early this week. “I received a call from the club president and he advised me that the coach had stepped down after the weekend loss to Morley Windmills. He thought I had turned around Floreat’s Under-23’s from last season and I could bring something to Dianella that was missing. The timing was good for me and after a few discussions I accepted the role.”
Goodman watched the first team train on Tuesday and was happy with what he saw. “The squad was a little light on numbers but first impressions was it is young and energetic and all of the players looked tidy on the ball,” he said. “The team has been unsettled due to a run of injuries and that has not enabled the best team to be on the park week in week out. The break next weekend should do us the world of good as I get a chance to work on a few things and for players to regroup.”
Dianella head to Wanneroo City on Saturday with Goodman out to end his teams nine-game losing streak. “We will be competing for 90 minutes, be disciplined and do the basics well. If we can do that, and take our chances, who knows what might happen,” commented Goodman. “I am hoping to get a positive response from the group as they all have a clean slate. I will have had only a short time to work with the guys but they will be out to show me that they want to be in the starting side every week.”
JUKIC OMITTED FROM STATE SQUAD
Coach Robbie Dunn has settled on the 17-players who will represent Western Australia in next Tuesday evenings friendly with Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens. The only omission from the original squad named last week is Western Knights midfielder Luka Jukic, who has spent much of the past five months sidelines by injury. "The coaching staff has reluctantly decided to leave Luka out and the reason was purely down to his lack of game time lately," said Dunn. "We are sticking with players who have performed regularly for their respective clubs, but rest assured Luka stays under notice for any upcoming State games that may eventuate."
The State squad trained together for only the second time last night with goalkeepers Andy Banks and Oliver Taseski getting a strong work-out under the watchful eye of former Socceroo Robbie Zabica. "The players have shown fantastic commitment at training and I know that they are really looking forward to having a hit out against the Glory," commented Dunn. "I am sure that the WA players will give a very good account of themselves and some of them may actually make the Glory sit up and take notice of just who they are and what they can do on the football pitch." The State team takes on Glory next Tuesday, 5 July, at Dorrien Gardens from 7.00pm.
NATIONAL SCHOOLBOYS POST FOR RICKERS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Almost three decades after Peter Rickers first took charge of the West Australian Schoolboys team, his dedication has been rewarded with his appointment as Australia coach for next year's trip to Britain and Ireland. The Perth teacher, who has been instrumental in the John Curtin College of the Arts soccer excellence program since 1990, was the national schoolboys' assistant coach earlier this year when the team travelled to Japan and China. That experience convinced him to put up his hand for the top job and he was confirmed in the position last week. "Being away with a really successful side fuelled my desire to get up there and get the top job," Rickers told Jonathon Cook.
It will be a sentimental trip for Rickers, who was born in England but immigrated to Australia with his family when he was just eight. "For me to be taking an Australian side, wearing the green and gold, back to the UK where my extended family still live is great," Rickers said. "I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. It's going to be such a buzz because the family will be watching the games." The itinerary has not been finalised but Rickers is hopeful matches will be played against England, Republic of Ireland, Wales and Welsh Colleges as well as three club games during the January tour.
Rickers said football's rising popularity had been reflected in an increase in trialists for the John Curtin program with around 100 players annually trying out for the 16 or 17 places. "What I've seen most of all is an increase in the depth of the ability of the players," Rickers said. "We've always had talented kids but (in the past) we might've had two or three outstanding kids in each group. Now they can all play and it's more difficult to pick them. Looking at some of the other specialist schools, they are experiencing the same thing. I'm also seeing a lot more kids from the country coming for trials."
UNLUCKY MATILDAS FALL TO BRAZIL
A lone second half strike from Rosana enabled Brazil to overcome an impressive Matilda’s side in their opening Women’s World Cup fixture at Borussia Park in Germany. Australian more than matched the world-ranked number three, getting off a dozen shots on goal and dominating possession, but were unable to find the net. “We wanted to take the game to Brazil, to attack them and show that we can compete with the best sides in the world,’’ said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni. “It was a great effort from the players and there are a lot of positives to take out of this match.” The Matildas next group game is against Equitorial Guinea on Sunday.
Collette McCallum delivered the first shot on goal when her free-kick went over the crossbar early on, and soon after a header by Rosana produced the same end result. The match then settled into a rhythm with Australia pushing forward at every opportunity with Brazil content to sit back when not in possession. Kyah Simon’s snap shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was spectacularly saved by Andreia. Again Brazil quickly replied but Rosana scooped high from 8-metres after being teed up by Marta. Lisa De Vanna had an excellent opportunity after a defensive error by Aline but snatched the chance wide.
Brazil made the perfect start to the second stanza with Rosana taking full advantage of a defensive lapse to smash a bouncing ball into the net from 16-metres. Rosana tried her luck after soon after but this time goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri moved well to take the ball at the near post. Australia didn’t regain their momentum until the closing stages when Heather Garriock narrowly failed to get on the end of Tameka Butt cross. De Vanna chased down Servet Uzunlar’s long ball but shot over the target, and in stoppage time McCallum’s corner caused havoc before eventually being hacked to safety. McCallum and De Vanna played full games, Samantha Kerr entered the action on 79 minutes while Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
UZBEKS THRASH NINE-MAN JOEYS
Australia crashed out of the Under-17 World Cup after being thrashed 4-0 by Uzebekistan at the Estadio Torreon in Mexico. The Joeys, playing just 24 hours after defeating Denmark in a rescheduled group game, were unable to find their footing after conceding an early goal. “When you go behind you need extra energy and extra forces to get back into the game and we couldn’t get that today,” said coach Jan Versleijen, who had Dylan Tombides and Teeboy Kamara sent off in the second half. “It’s difficult to say what part the lack of recovery had on the game, but it showed when you have to come from behind and then get a red card, it makes it very difficult.”
Uzbekistan captain Abbosbek Makhstaliev struck his teams opening goal after 11 minutes, with Timur Khakimov adding another five minutes from the break. Tombides was issued his marching orders for a studs-up tackle on Javlon Mirabdullaev just before the hour and eight minutes later Connor Chapman had the misfortune of deflecting Davlatbek Yarbekov’s cross into his own net. Uzbekistan’s final goal arrived on 89 minutes through Yarbekov. The game was in stoppage time when Kamara became the second Australian sent off having accumulated two bookings. Tom King played a full game, Riley Woodcock was replaced in the 55th minute, Tombides copped his red card after 58 minutes and Mitchell Oxborrow came off the bench in the 80th minutes.
CANNING HAND OVER TO FRANCISCO
Richard Francisco has been given the task of finding a tonic to revitalise an ailing Canning City. At the midpoint of the Division One season Canning stump up the table with eleven straight losses and facing the very real prospects of becoming the first team in almost two decades to finish a State League season without a point. “This is a massive challenge to get the club out of the situation we are in but I’m up for the challenge,” said Francisco. “We just need a win, once we get that then I’m sure we can get on a roll and stringing some games together.”
Francisco had been part of the coaching staff at Premier League Cockburn City prior to receiving an offer to join Canning. “I’d been with Cockburn since 2007 and wanted an opportunity to coach a first team,” he said. “I was starting to think no one would give the chance after my one-week stint in charge of Cockburn with Adrian Webster but then opportunity came up at Canning through someone I know at the club. They asked to meet with me after thinking it over for a couple of days I took the job.”
Francisco was taken by surprise at his first training session with Canning by just how young his players are. “There is no doubting we have some very talented kids in the squad but we need to develop them before we give them first team action … too much pressure has been put on to many young players at the club and that’s why we are in the position we in,” the coach said. “I have brought in some players who will add something to the squad - David Johnstone, Matt McDonald, Josh Findlater, Oscar Pitt and Sam Carello - and will look to add a few more.”
For his first game in charge Francisco came up against fellow strugglers Gosnells City, and although Canning went down 3-1 their new coach took some positives from the performance. “The positive to come out of the Gosnells game was that we created chances to score goals,” said Francisco. “They were chances that we really should have taken and, unfortunately, we then left ourselves open to concede. No disrespect to Gosnells, they took their chances well and came away with the win.”
The job gets no easier for Francisco who takes his young side south to play Bunbury Forum Force on Saturday. “We have the hardest road trip this weekend to Bunbury, who are top of the league and coming of a loss to Rockingham City. I’m sure they’ll still be annoyed with that performance and will come out with all guns blazing,” said Francisco, whose team succumbed 9-0 to Bunbury just three weeks ago. “I don’t think many people will give us any chance of getting anything out of game so we have absolutely nothing to lose.”
WILLIAMS GIVEN EXTENDED LEAVE BY BORO
Rhys Williams will miss the start of Middlesbrough’s pre-season after being given an extra week to recover from the exertions of summer international duty. Williams made his return to the Socceroos after a lengthy absence due to injury with appearances off the bench against New Zealand and Serbia earlier this month. “We are giving Rhys an extra week before he comes back because he has been training or playing all summer,” said Boro boss Tony Mowbray. “It’s important he take a break physically and mentally before he comes back for pre-season training.” Williams has been linked with a move to Bolton Wanderers but Mowbray has made it clear the versatile defender/midfielder is not for sale.
GOULD JOINS GLORY REVIVAL
Former Celtic player Jonathan Gould has been appointed goalkeeper coach at Perth Glory. Gould, who was part of Scotland’s 1998 World Cup squad, moves to Perth to oversee training Danny Vukovic and Neil Young as well as developing the next generation of ‘keepers through Glory’s expanding community program. As a player, Gould had a distinguished career in which he tallied up 321 appearances through spells with Celtic, Preston North End, Bradford City, Halifax Town, Hereford United and Coventry City between 1991 and 2005. In retirement he has worked as an assistant coach with the New Zealand youth teams and for the last two summers was goalkeeper coach at Wellington Phoenix.
MATILDAS WALTZ ON TO THE BIG STAGE (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
They live in the shadow of the Socceroos but the Matildas are ready to make the most of their time in the spotlight by leaving a lasting impression at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. The women's game has been booming and West Australian midfielder Collette McCallum says the Matildas can kick it along in Australia by shocking their more-fancied opponents, as they did at last year's Asian Cup. "There are big teams like America and Germany and there are going to be tough games," she told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. "But we did it in the Asian Cup. North Korea are one of the top teams in the world and we went out and got a result against them in the final."
Composure and quality will be needed in equal measure when Australia, ranked 11 in the world, start their World Cup campaign against third-ranked Brazil in Monchengladbach tonight. McCallum has witnessed first hand a dramatic transformation of the Matildas and Australian women's soccer since the national team's thrilling, but disappointing, 3-2 quarter-final loss to Brazil at the last World Cup. "I think we'll do better than we did last World Cup because we've got a belief in this team," McCallum said. "Mentally and physically I think we can match all these teams. And to be able to do well in this tournament and maybe get a bit of credit for it would be really good for the women's game."
JOEYS SNEAK INTO LAST SIXTEEN
Australia are through to the knock-out stage of the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico after grabbing a dramatic 1-1 draw with Denmark in their rescheduled Group F match. An 89th minute goal to Luke Remington ensured a ten-man Joeys finished third in the group and booked a last sixteen meeting with Uzbekistan on Thursday. Rochester Sorensen had earlier put the Danes ahead late in the first half of a game that was replayed after being called off after 25 minutes a day earlier due to heavy rain and lightning. Australia had Yianni Perkatis shown a red card for a reckless tackle just a minute after conceding the goal.
Denmark quickly asserted themselves at the Estadio Corregidora in Queretaro and on 35 minutes Jacob Barret out-paced the defence before crossing for Rochester to convert from close in. The game had barely restarted when Petrakis’ was red carded for a dreadful two-footed tackle. Goalkeeper Paul Izzo kept Australia in the game after the break with a succession of saves with the woodwork further frustrating Sorenson and Yurary Poulsen. With the clock close to full-time, Australia counter-attacked with Remington slotting in the equaliser after dribbling past a couple of defenders. Tom King and Riley Woodcock played full games, Dylan Tombides was replaced after 90 minutes, Jesse Makarounas came on in the 66th minute, and Mitchell Oxborrow was an unused substitute.
DUNN RECOGNISES THE CHALLENGES
Robbie Dunn has described the new-look Perth Glory squad as one of the best assembled in years as he prepares to lead the State team into battle with the A-League side. Glory boss Ian Ferguson is some way from having all his players available but expects to have new signings Liam Miller, Bas Van Den Brink, Shane Smeltz and Evan Berger available for next week’s friendly. “It’s one of the best squads they’ve had in a long, long time and hats off to Fergie because he’s done a great job,” said Dunn. “I think they (State players) would be lying if they said they didn’t want to prove something against Glory.” Western Australia takes on Glory under lights next Tuesday at Dorrien Gardens.
UNREPENTANT DE VANNA VOWS TO FIRE (courtesy the 'Sydney Morning Herald')
On a chilly Saturday night in Terrigal last month, Matildas coach Tom Sermanni pulled aside star striker Lisa De Vanna at the team hotel to discuss what he perceived to be a worrying trend in her behaviour. De Vanna, 26, readily admits she has never been easy to handle but although the Matildas coaching staff had developed a strategy to manage her, the striker was now repeatedly pushing the boundaries. Sermanni laid down the law – either De Vanna abided by team rules or she was out. De Vanna acknowledged some responsibility but took exception to her treatment.
What happened then isn't exactly clear. Sermanni says he told her to leave camp; De Vanna intimates it was her decision. Either way, De Vanna was dropped for the Matilda's friendly series with New Zealand and returned to her club in Florida, magicJack. ''There's always three sides to every story - Tommy's, mine, and the truth,'' De Vanna told 'Sydney Morning Herald' correspondent Sebastian Hassett. ''To say I was reinstated depends on what point of view you have but I think I made the right decision to come back. Now I'm just happy to be going to a World Cup.''
While De Vanna may be a hero for scoring four goals in the 2007 World Cup, she has her demons. ''There's always going to be issues off the field … It's just my management skills I need to work on,'' De Vanna said. '''The [current squad] is also kind of hard. I'm an older player and I'm with young kids … managing that has been hard. I miss Katie Gill, I'm really close to her, but she won't be playing [due to a knee injury]. Sarah Walsh isn't going either and Cheryl Salisbury has dropped out. I've always looked up to them. To be honest, lately, I've felt a bit alone.''
De Vanna and Sermanni have since patched up their difference and the 67-times Matilda is now preparing to lead the line when Australia meets Brazil in their opening game of the Women's World Cup later this week. Sermanni is pleased to have De Vanna back on board and hopes she will play a big role in the upcoming tournament. ''Lisa feels the pressure slightly differently and finds it difficult to keep under control,'' Sermanni said. ''Part of the pressure comes about because she actually loves playing for her country and sometimes that pressure makes her overreact.''
ITALIANO SAVES THE DAY FOR BALCATTA
Balcatta goalkeeper Lewis Italiano turned in a best on ground performance to lead his team to a 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Daniel Neiderberger may have grabbed the games’ only goal but it was rookie ‘keeper Italiano, who is currently training with Perth Glory, who earned his coaches praise. “Lewis had a first-class game in goals again for us today and pulled off a couple of magnificent saves,” Michael Roki commented. “We are really delighted he has got an opportunity (to train with Perth Glory) and hopefully he can step up.”
Balcatta wasted no time in making their intentions clear with Alex Dunn called into action in the opening minutes to keep out Adam Tong’s blistering free-kick. Italiano was called into action for the first time by tipping away Liam Boland’s powerful drive. The home visiting team were dealt a massive blow midway through the half when Ashley Rosindale rolled his ankle and was replaced by Niederberger. Daniel Micevski made his way past Dunn but was denied a goal by James Isaia’s desperate clearance from near the line. However, the relief was only temporary as Niederberger headed into the net from the resulting corner.
Floreat increased their share of possession after the turnaround but found it difficult to break down a resilient defence under the command of Tong. As a consequence they were forced into shots from distance with the best coming from isaia and Paul Van Dongen, neither of who called Italiano into action. Play was by no means one-way with David Micevski brilliantly releasing Stephen Burton but his attempt to chip the oncoming ‘keeper was wide of the mark. Neiderberger also had a late chance to seal the win but he too was unable to make the most of his chance.
MCBRIDE STARS IN GOSNELLS’ WIN
Adrian McBride scored all three goals in Gosnells City’s 3-1 defeat of Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. New Canning coach Richard Francisco made numerous changes to the first eleven but still it wasn’t enough to prevent the clubs’ eleventh straight loss as Gosnells edged a little further away from the foot of the table. “It was good to get back to winning ways and hopefully we can start moving up the ladder,” said Gosnells coach Tony Maguire.
Gosnells were given a dream start with McBride firing into the net from 16-metres after combining with Andy Pomfret and Ian Maguire in the 3rd minute. It looked as though the margin had been doubled a few minutes later when Maguire headed in only for an offside flag to disallow the effort. James Partridge found himself under siege as Aaron Coslani, Ciaran Allen and Jamie Burns rained shots down on his goal. However, the teams would enter the break on level terms after David Johnstone netted for the hosts on the stroke of half-time.
There were chances at both ends of the park early in the second period with Canning going close to taking the lead when Johnstone’s fierce shot was brilliantly saved by Alan Dunlop. McBride edged the visitors back in front on 67 minutes by striking past the ‘keeper from 22-metres. The game was made safe eight minutes later when McBride shot truly from the penalty spot after Coslani was brought down illegally. >From that point Gosnells pilled on the pressure and had it not been for Partridge the margin would have blown out to a few goals.
WOODCOCK’S RAPID RISE FROM THE ASHES (courtesy the 'West Australian')
Joeys defender Riley Woodcock's personal Australian football shirts were lost when the family home was destroyed in the bushfires that raged through Kelmscott and Roleystone in February. But the 16-year old, who was at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra when the blaze struck, is already on his way to building a bigger and better collection. "I lost all my qualifying shirts from the Asian Cup in the fires but FFA have replaced them," Woodcock told Jonathan Cook. "But I lost all my framed memories from State competitions and things like that. It all went."
But the former Forrestfield, Cockburn City and National Training Centre player has taken it all in his stride and is quickly accumulating a new batch of mementos in a blossoming career. Woodcock was one of five WA players who featured in Australia's 1-0 loss to Brazil at the FIFA under-17 World Cup yesterday, a result which has failed to dent the Joeys' spirit heading into a final group game against Denmark on Monday. The Danes have lost their two games and are bottom of a group topped by Brazil (six points). Ivory Coast who, on three points, are ahead of Australia on goal difference, take on Brazil in their final game.
Woodcock, who recovered from five days of sickness to play a role from the bench in a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast before returning to the starting line-up against Brazil, is confident Australia will extend their stay in Mexico. "It's always a shame to lose by a free-kick but we got a lot of positives out of the game," Woodcock said of the Brazil result, which was sealed by Adryan with a 76th-minute curler. "We'll take a lot of confidence into the Denmark game." The depth of WA soccer has been on display in Mexico with five of the State's Joeys - Woodcock, Jesse Makarounas, Dylan Tombides, Tom King and Mitchell Oxborrow - playing their part against Brazil.
DODD SCORES ON DEBUT
New recruit Travis Dodd has scored a stunning goal on debut in Perth Glory’s 3-1 defeat of a Bunbury Select XI in this afternoon’s pre-season friendly at Hay Park in Bunbury. Adam Taggart, Dodd and Tommy Amphlett found the back of the net for Glory with the hosts’ reply coming via Fontanille. “We got what we wanted out of the game and that was obviously fitness in our first hit-out,” Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. “I was happy with Bunbury, they gave us a very hard game which was good, so I was delighted with that.”
Taggart opened the scoring two minutes out from half time by neatly tucking away at close-range after meeting Dodd’s precise delivery. Two minutes later, Taggart was unlucky not to have a second goal when he again got himself onto the end of a Dodd cross only to see his header crash into the cross bar. Fontanille brought the teams level in the 48th minute, however, Dodd’s sweetly struck 22-metre drive saw the 1,500-strong crowd rise as one six minutes later. Amphlett sealed the win by coolly finishing into the net after being played through in the 90th minute.
STIRLING PUT KNIGHTS TO THE SWORD (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Stirling Lions continue their climb up the Premier League table by downing Western Knights 3-1 at Nash Field. Goals by Bobby Wilson, Jamie Watt and Anthony Skorich earned Stirling their third win in a row tp propel the club into the top five for the first time this year. “Our set pieces were obviously good - two of our goals scored were off corners,” commented Stirling coach Doug Hesketh, who was particularly pleased with the contribution of Dean Evans. “I always knew Dean was capable, but he really impressed me … overall, it was a fantastic performance from Stirling under pressure.”
The game started evenly with both teams having viable shots at goals in the opening minutes. Branimir Mikulic made a bee-line for goal by surging down the middle of the park on 7 minutes but his attempt was parried away by Cory Hugo. Four minutes later Watt lobbed a delightful ball to the back post where Wilson headed past Frazer Siddall for the games’ first goal. Jamie De Abreu’s intimidating run down the left laid clear the visitors desire for another goal. It arrived in the 21st minute when Skorich headed in from an Evans corner.
Stirling posted their third goal four minute after the interval, Watt taming the ball with the outside of his boot before burying past Siddall. The visitors looked set to make it four-nil a minute later but Phil O’Callaghan lost his footing at the crucial moment. The Knights were given a glimmer of hope when Stuart Ferguson tapped into the net after being teed up by Duncan Hind after 52 minutes. And although the home side took their game up a notch after this they were unable to break down a solid defensive line under the command of Wilson.
STUBBORN SORRENTO FRUSTRATE INGLEWOOD (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
A spirited ten-man Sorrento have taken home a point from 6PR Stadium by grinding out a 0-0 with Inglewood United. The Gulls enjoyed the better of play before defender Danny Cain received his marching orders for a second bookable offence just after the half hour. Post-game, Shane Pryce found it hard to hide his disappointment at Inglewood’s failure to break down an under-manned opponent. “It’s hard to play against ten men, but when you don’t put in the effort you’re not going to get a result and that’s what happened today,” Pryce said.
Although both teams came out in an attacking frame of mind, a combination of wasteful finishing and poor delivery into the final third meant neither goalkeeper was tested early. The first genuine chance came after 18 minutes when Pearson’s shot skimmed narrowly wide from a short corner play. As play streamed from one end to the other it was Sorrento that looked the more likely to score with Jason Mirco stinging the palms of Oliver Taseski. The momentum was taken out of the visitors’ game on 31 minutes when Danny Cain was issued his second yellow card after taking down Milan Bogunovic.
Inglewood started to make something of the extra man after the break. Adrian Caceres had the ball in the net only for his effort to be ruled out for offside and Rory Grant should have done much better than blaze high at close-range before Ndumba Makeche failed to hit the target with a back post header. Adam Luca featured prominently as the Gulls played mostly on the counterattack. Jamie Harnwell headed onto the top netting while Mirco’s cross almost drifted in at the back post. Inglewood could have snatched a dramatic final minute winner but Adrian Caceres’ shot was deflected just past the post.
MARULANDA STEERS BAYSWATER TO VICTORY (by Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Bayswater City appears to have all but secured top flight survival after dumping ECU Joondalup 2-0 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Colombian import Gustavo Marulanda netted twice inside three minutes, both from the penalty spot, to secure his team a second successive win which moves them nine points above the drop zone. Efforts from Joondalup to get back into the contest were spirited but their inability to convert chances into goals proved their undoing.
Joondalup made a positive enough start but John Thornley hit the side netting, then seven minutes later was denied by Gianni Papalia. A rare Bayswater attack on 16 minutes was halted by an illegal tackle on Gavin Knight, the referee pointing straight to the spot from where Marulanda lashed into the roof of the net. Marulanda strengthened the visitors hold three minutes later with an identical finish after goalkeeper Andy Banks brought down Bryan McKeown. Matt Italiano was presented a great opportunity to reduce the deficit but his back post header rattled the post after great work from Tom Jones.
Marulanda could have sealed the game and his hat-trick soon after the break but was foiled by Banks. Jon Higgins stung the ‘keeper’s gloves with a well-struck free-kick as Joondalup tried to find a way back into the game. Papalia found himself in the thick of the action, saving from Thornley then Scott Bushy in the same passage of play. Thornley’s unlucky day in front of goal was summed up with ten minutes to go when his toe poke at an open goal was somehow kept out by a desperate defence. John Kearney nearly put the gloss on a terrific performance for the visitors when his curling shot grazed the crossbar.
ARMADALE EASE RELEGATION FEARS
Armadale headed home from the Hyundai Stadium with all three points after a 2-1 win against Mandurah City. Import strikers James Robinson and Matt Barlow found the net in the first half to blow out the gap between Armadale and the relegation zone to six points. The result had the opposite effect for Mandurah who now have a mountain to climb if they’re to remain in the top flight next season, the Dolphins slipping down to second from bottom with Armadale directly above them on the table.
The game was just 7 minutes old when Armadale crept in front, Craig Young sending Tom Robinson clear and while his shot was blocked the rebound fell for James Robinson to lash in from the edge of the 18-yard box. The visitors could have had a second in the minutes that followed but Young fired wide and Ross Diamond’s snap shot was deflected past the post. Mandurah slowly got into gear and on 20 minutes Tom Straker brought the sides level by firing into Cyril Sharrock’s net at close-range following a poorly defended corner.
Armadale wanted a quick reply but Diamond’s shot from 9-metres was superbly blocked by Marcos Dos Santos. Their persistence was rewarded in the 35th minute when Tom Robinson whipped in a low cross for Barlow to fire in at the near post. The visitors pressed to increase their lead but James Robinson’s strike was disallowed for offside, while in stoppage time Phil Straker tipped over Ryan Townsend’s back header from a Tom Robinson cross.
The second half began with Armadale still dictating terms, James Robinson lifting high before Craig Robson had a shot deflected onto the bar. A back post header by Barlow was then cleared off the line by Townsend as Mandurah rode their luck. The hosts hit back on the hour when Danny Dyson got down the right but his cross was just out of reach for an unmarked Graeme Matthews. Armadale went close twice in quick succession, Phil Straker pushing wide Young’s shot with Diamond heading into the post from the resulting corner.
Mandurah countered through Matthews whose cross picking out Aaron Dos Santos but his strike on the turn was held by Sharrock. An in-swinging corner by Garin Collins caused problems before Sharrock palmed the ball away from the head of Townsend. The game exploded on 81 minutes, Tom Straker’s tackle on James Robinson produced an all-in melee after which referee Paul Anderson issued both the initiators red cards. Townsend had a couple of chance to salvage the game but headed wide, then close to the final whistle was thwarted by Sharrock after being sent clear by Billy Rickman.
Visiting coach Scott Miller paid tribute to his players after the final whistle. “We dominated but when Phil Straker is in goal he makes it hard, making three great saves to deny us,” said Miller. “I did think we were comfortable today, but we made it hard for ourselves with a mess up for their goal. But at the end of the day it’s a great win for the club. I’m bitterly disappointed with the send-off of Robbo, I thought a yellow card would have been sufficient for both players and it really took the gloss off the victory.”
APELGREN INJURY OVERSHADOWS PERTH WIN
Wonder strikes by David Onoforo and Greg Sharland gained Perth SC a 2-1 friendly win over the National Training Centre at Dorrien Gardens. However, a season-ending knee injury suffered by Dean Apelgren has brought into sharp focus the pointless nature of games against the NTC. “Dean has unfortunately torn his ACL and hamstring off the bone and will be out for the season, just like Jason Dos Santos,” commented Perth coach Ronnie Campbell. “The game itself wasn’t a classic but the goals from David Onoforo and Greg Sharland were absolutely brilliant.”
The NTC dominated the opening twenty minutes without seriously threatening their hosts’ goal. Perth captain Onoforo showed the youngsters how it’s done on 21 minutes when he skilfully flicked the ball up and from 27-metres lobbed over goalkeeper Tim Doyle for a one-nil lead. Apelgren’s day ended soon after when he landed awkwardly and was stretchered from the field. Half-time was on the horizon when Harry O’Brien’s centre from the right was converted by Slobodan Vulin.
The second half was five minutes old when Dom De Felice played into the path of Greg Sharland, who took a touch before curling over the outstretched gloves of Doyle. This seemed the break the spirit of the NTC who rarely looked like breaking down a resilient defence over the final forty minutes. That said, they did go close to salvaging the game in the final minute when Harry O’Brien’s free-kick beat the defensive wall but not the hands of replacement ‘keeper Jason Saldaris.
TONE STARS IN ROCKINGHAM WIN (courtesy Rockingham City)
Rockingham City has blown the Division One title race wide open by upsetting leaders Bunbury Form Force 4-2 last night at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Craig Tone scored a hat-trick with Tom Mills getting the remainder as Rockingham collected back-to-back wins. “That’s an outstanding result for us and one which we thoroughly deserved. It was based on honest hard work from all of my players along with the obvious quality we had in front of goal,” said winning coach Steve Robinson. “We’ve now deservedly beaten third and first in the league in consecutive weeks and are finally doing justice to the real quality we have in this squad.”
Rockingham attacked from the outset and that approach was rewarded in the 10th minute when Tone picked the pockets of a defender and raced clear before slotting past Ryan Montgomery. The lead lasted just two minutes before Ashley Young sent a brilliant free-kick into the top corner, giving Craig Olejnik no chance. The games’ decisive moment arrived ten minutes later when Bunbury were awarded a penalty which Neil Chappell sent high and wide. Rockingham punished that miss in the 28th minute, Lydon Hodgkiss’ diagonal cross-field ball found Andrew Keary who headed the ball across goal where Craig Tone nodded in his second.
The second half started at high intensity with Rockingham holding sway in midfield where Josh Cartman and David Clark were dominant. So it was against the run of play when Neil Chappell made up for his earlier penalty miss with a well worked goal to bring the sides level for a third time. Rockingham were undeterred and on 63 minutes Tone floated a delightful ball to the far post where strike partner Mills scored with a well-taken header. The game was made safe six minutes later when Cartman drove out of midfield before releasing Tone, who turned his marker and drilled into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick.
SHAMROCK BACK IN WINNERS CIRCLE
Shamrock Rovers rebounded from last week’s surprise defeat by posting a comfortable 3-1 win over Forrestfield United at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Forrestfield worked tirelessly early on only to concede after 8 minutes to Ian Stack. The visitors didn’t change tact and drew level on the quarter hour through Martin Barnes. However, Stack’s second for the period ensured Shamrock entered the break a goal the better. Ross Cosgrove sealed the win with his eighth goal of the season on the hour to close the gap to just two points on top-of-the-table Bunbury Forum Force.
WANNEROO FAR TOO CLASSY FOR FREMANTLE (courtesy Wanneroo City)
New singing Ross Laing scored twice to lay the foundation for Wanneroo City’s 5-1 drubbing of a hapless Fremantle Spirit at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Wanneroo were out of the blocks fast and should were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty after Dean Timmings was brought down inside the 18-yard box. As it was Laing needed just 7 minutes to make his mark, steering the ball through a crowded goal area and into the top corner from 18-metres. The margin was doubled on 19 minutes when Laing latched onto a superb pass through the defence and beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. A Guy McDonald free-kick provided Wanneroo’s third goal which Tom Orme headed in from 7-metres.
Fremantle looked the goods at the start of the second half, pilling plenty of pressure on their hosts before Roberto Colalillo knocked past an out of position ‘keeper after receiving Michael De Souza’s centre. Prodded back into life, Wanneroo restored their three-goal buffer in the 59th minute when Craig Bowman headed in at the back post from a corner. The score line was made complete twelve minutes later when substitute Sahr Konomanyi put away Wanneroo’s fifth goal of the afternoon. There was still plenty of time for the hosts to add a few more to their tally but with the result in the bag they understandably eased off the pace over the closing stages.
SWAN WINS BATTLE OF ATTRITION
Swan United consolidated their position amongst the Division One leaders by defeating Ashfield 2-0 in a largely dull encounter at the Swan Italian Club. The game was decided early in the second half when Damien Scali and Aaron Colli found the net in quick succession, however, the win came at a cost for the black and whites with veteran defender Rory Mouttet taken to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw. A pitch left waterlogged by heavy overnight rains produced a very disjointed game in which both teams were guilty of unnecessarily conceding possession.
The game had just begun when Mouttet collided with his goalkeeper Luke Martino and play was delayed for twenty minutes while officials waited on the arrival of an ambulance. When the game resumed Ashfield created a trio of chances but Karl O’Reilly and Alex Stamatidis placed high before Gareth Lloyd’s close-range effort was brilliantly blocked by Martino. Things then took a turn for the worse, neither team able to maintain possession for long as play raced from one end to the other with seemingly little purpose. It was late in the half when Swan created their best chances, Colli glancing just wide and a few minutes later Scali’s header lacked the power to trouble Brad Eiffe.
Ashfield threatened to break through at the start of the second half but Brian Maybin steered a header wide and O’Reilly drilled over from 18-metres. There was no such wastefulness from the home team and on 54 minutes Martino’s booming clearance had the Ashfield defence ball watching as Scali nipped in to open the scoring. It was a similar story two minutes later when Tom Shepheard’s shot was blocked by Eiffe and Colli swept into an empty net despite the presence of three defenders. The visitors toiled hard to find a way back into the game but when a handball by Rob Monterosso inside the area went unpunished by the referee it was clear they’d be going home empty handed.
SIX-STAR MORLEY HUMBLE DIANELLA (courtesy Morley Windmills)
Morley Windmills put away six unanswered second half goals to demolish Dianella White Eagles 6-0 at Dianella Reserve. Ryan Frisina played the starring role with a well-taken hat-trick with supporting roles from Simon Wilson and Leo Harman, scores of two and one goals respectively.
Dianella flexed their midfield muscle early and could have gone ahead on the quarter hour when Dimce Taneski broke through the visiting defence only to be denied by goalkeeper Steve Grant. With this Morley finally woke up and through Simon Wilson and Andy O’Neill took the game by the scruff of the neck. Lee Thomas’ dipping long-range thunderbolt crashed into the crossbar, while just before the half hour Frisina headed just high from a Wilson corner.
The breakthrough arrived nine minutes into the second half, a push on Andy O’Neill led the referee to award Morley a penalty which Wilson slammed past Matt Battigelli. The visitors increased their lead on 62 minutes when Leo Harman’s shot deflected off a defender to wrong-foot the ‘keeper. Some great movement of the ball five minutes later between Woodin, Andy O’Neill and Wilson saw the latters’ cross volleyed into the net by Frisina.
Dianella should have pulled a goal back but Dragan Milanovic was unable to capitalise when the opportunity presented at 8-metres. Substitute Luke O’Neill laid on Morley’s fourth goal with a tidy pass through the defence which Frisina netted after 80 minutes. Frisina completed his hat-trick five minutes later on the end of some great interplay between Lucas Whitehouse and Luke O’Neill. The icing was put on the cake by Wilson, who made no mistake after Woodin, Luke O’Neill and Frisina combined in the lead-up.
READING CALL FILLS DAD'S HEART WITH PRIDE (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Alistair Edwards could not be more proud of sons Ryan and Cameron, who have signed professional deals with English Championship club Reading. But the former Socceroos striker, who is now Australia's assistant technical director, is not entirely comfortable with the environment that led to his sons going overseas. Ryan, 17, has a four-year deal, and Cameron, 19, will have a year, at least, to make an impression. Edwards, whose job with Football Federation Australia is to help improve playing standards, is confident his boys can make it.
Edwards only disappointment is that the Australian youth internationals did not get a chance to kick-off their professional careers in the A-League. "We want to encourage our players to stay in the country," said Edwards. "My advice to them, and to all players, is to try and stay here in the A-League first and then if they got the opportunity to go overseas later, that's when they should look at it. It's heartbreaking, in a way. But it makes my resolve stronger. We need to create more opportunities for our players to be able to stay in Australia."
After being overlooked in Australia, the Edwards brothers reached a positive outcome just two weeks into a trial at Reading in March. "Our first game was against Fulham reserves and they had quite a lot of first-team players - Bobby Zamora, Zoltan Gera, (Philippe) Senderos, (Diomansy) Kamara, (Jonathan) Greening, (Simon) Davies .. it was a spin out," Cameron commented. Ryan said his dad's guidance had already been invaluable and would continue to be so, albeit from afar. "Dad is definitely a role model. We want to follow in his footsteps ... and go beyond it," he said.
INTRODUCING ... OUR MATILDAS!
‘Our Matildas’ celebrates those West Australian’s that have donned the green and gold shirt of Australia at the games highest level. Since the Matilda’s entered the international arena in the late 1970’s through to the Women’s World Cup about to kick-off in Germany, thirteen West Australians have been capped by Australia in 'A' competition. ‘Our Matildas’ commemorates and details the career highs and lows of this elite group of players.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
Mandurah City and Armadale can take a giant step towards Premier League survival by claiming the points from tomorrow’s meeting at Hyundai Stadium. The Dolphins currently sit in the drop zone and the importance of a home win is not lost on midfielder Jake Loreto. “It’s a massive game for us with both teams trying to get out of the relegation zone,” said Loreto. “We have been a bit hard done by the last few weeks, we have been playing decent football but haven’t been able to put our chances away. Our first win at home for the year is a must in … it should be a good contest.”
Armadale hover just three points above Mandurah and head out on the road minus captain Steve McDonald (overseas) and defender Warren Beattie (suspended). “I’m confident we can go there and get the three points and put some distance between us and them in the table,” said Reds midfielder Tom Robinson. “We have two very good strikers in Matt Barlow and my brother James, so we can score goals when we go forward. It should be entertaining game and one I'm looking forward too.”
Stirling Lions head out on the road to Western Knights. The pace of Johny Mirco and Simon Versaico will be vital to the home team’s chances of unlocking a visiting defence that features State pair Bobby Wilson and Michael Pugliese. It’s a similar story going in the other direction where David Annall and Cormac Dawson, who were also included in the State squad, come up against the trickery of Ludovic Boi and Phil O’Callaghan. With the Knights unbeaten in a month and Stirling banging on the door to top five entry, this game has all the hallmarks of a cracker.
Bayswater City’s quest for back-to-back wins takes them to the far north and ECU Joondalup. The home side remains without suspended pair Dale McCulloch and Charlie Comyn-Platt, however, strong recent performances by Luke Smith and Ryan Lowey has shown they have depth in talent as they push on towards the top five. Bayswater striker Gustavo Marulanda will want to score a few goals to prove a point to those selectors who left him out of the State squad. Gianni Papalia has been in good form between the posts while Thomas Gooding continues to impress in the middle of the park.
There are always plenty of goals scored when Inglewood United play Sorrento, and tomorrow’s meeting at 6PR Stadium. The home team return from their two-week break refreshed and determined to consolidate their place in the top five. Oliver Taseski and Daniel Stoitis run a tight defensive ship while going the other way its James Sammutt and Adrian Caceres that provide the impetus for goals. In David Price, Adam Luca and Brodie Martin the Gulls have a central unit capable of turning any game in the blink of an eye and their influence will go a long way to determining the outcome.
Floreat Athena are confident of extending their seven-game unbeaten streak when they host top of the table Floreat Athena in the Sunday game. Ante Kovacevic returns to the home line-up and his experience will be vital in where the points lie at the end of 90 minutes, while Mark Pritchard James Isaia will want to turn on the style and show just why they gained State selection this week. Balcatta are keen to move on from last week’s surprise loss and key to that will be the attacking drive from wide players Daniel Micevski and Mo Atak. All games – be they Saturday or Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The mid-point of the Division One season opens with tonight’s clash between Rockingham City and Bunbury Forum Force under lights at Lark Hill Sportsplex (8.00pm). Rockingham have good reason to be full of confidence after knocking over Wanneroo City and coach Steve Robinson has in his sights another big name scalp. “Their winning streak has to come to an end at some point, so let’s hope that it is us who stops them,” said Robinson. “We enter every game confidently. We have played well in the last two games and now I want a touch of consistency.”
The pick of Round Eleven is Saturday’s fourth-v-fifth showdown between Swan United and Ashfield at the Swan Italian Club. “It’s very important that we get the win and keep alive our slim title hopes,” said Swan veteran Rory Mouttet. “It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Ashfield are now unbeaten in seven games and after a big win against Shamrock (Rovers) they will be very confident. They have assembled a good side and have built some momentum coming into this game so we expect them to come out hard on the weekend.”
Ashfield really are one of Division One’s form sides with wins from their five most recent games. “I’m dead pleased by the work and commitment of our lads in the last few weeks and I know they are ready to step up another notch against a formidable Swan side,” Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers said. “Our aim is to be in the top four by the afternoons end.” The visitors stocks have been bolstered by this week’s return of attackers Mladen Kovacevic and Jason Feathers, however, where Carruthers fits either player into the line-up remains to be seen.
Dianella White Eagles will be out to end a five-game losing streak when Morley Windmills call in at Dianella Reserve. “We’re going through a very tough time with injuries and with no points on the board since Round Five so this is a must-win to get our season back on the right track,” said Dianella custodian Matt Battigelli. “Morley is always a difficult encounter, I’ve played with and against most of their players and I know just how good they are. It’ll be a big test for our younger lads but I’m confident we have the talent and ability to get a result.”
Shamrock Rovers should return to the winners circle after Forrestfield United’s visit to Harold Rossiter Reserve. Ian Stack and new signing Steve Cowbrough are pushing for inclusion in Shamrock’s eleven, however, Damien Smyth (injury) and Simon King (suspended) will miss the game. Wanneroo City have home ground advantage over a Fremantle Spirit outfit that has very little to show from five road trips. David Herety comes in for Wanneroo as Josh Booysen heads in the other direction due to injury.
The round concludes on Sunday with a clichéd six-pointer between cellar-dwellers Canning City and third-from-bottom Gosnells City at Burrendah Reserve. “We’re in a position we never thought we’d be in and want to start climbing the ladder,” said Gosnells’ Adrian McBride. “Although Canning have struggled I can’t see this being an easy game. We need a win to kick-start our season; it’s pretty tight in the middle of the league and a little run of wins should see us back in the middle of the pack.” This weekend’s Saturday and Sunday Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm.
JOEYS GO DOWN TO BRAZIL
Australia has lost their second game of the Under-17 World Cup, going down 1-0 to Brazil in their Group F clash in Guadalajara. The Joeys created several promising openings in a vibrant first half attack against their South Americans opponents, but a brilliant free-kick in the 76th minute by Adryan lifted A Selecao to victory. "We had a few chances in the first half but couldn’t finish them," said coach Jan Versleijen. "Overall, though, I was happy with the way the players executed our game plan. Brazil are a superb side and very difficult to beat." Brazil are through to the knock-out stages with two wins, while Australia can also advance by beating Denmark on Monday.
Australia settled the better of the sides and on 15 minutes fashioned the first chance on goal, a switch of play releasing Hernan Espindola who turned his man inside the 18-yard box only to drag wide of the near post. A speculative strike from distance by Espindola was comfortably taken by goalkeeper Charles, and later Tombides did well to hold off three defenders before getting off a shot that was straight at the 'keeper. Brazil's lack of creativity meant Australia goalkeeper Paul Izzo not tested throughout the first 45 minutes.
Brazil came to life after the break, substitutes Misael and Nathan swinging the momentum in the South Americas favour. After being held at bay for twenty minutes, Brazil finally broke through but Matheus' shot was parried by Izzo and Marlon Bica's close-range follow-up deflected wide off Tom King. It took a piece of individual genuis by Adryan in the 76th minute to decide the game, the midfielder curling a magnificent free-kick away from Izzo and into the top corner of the net. King, Tombides and Riley Woodcock played full games, Jesse Mararounas was replaced in the 83rd minute with Mitchell Oxborrow coming off the bench after 66 minutes.
MCCALLUM SINKS ENGLAND
Australia finished their preparations for the Women’s World Cup with a polished 2-0 win over world number 10 England in Wolfsburg, Germany. Two first half goals by vice captain Collette McCallum put the result out of reach of England with the Matilda's dominating for large portions of the match. "Another good result is really fantastic for the team before we start the group stage," said McCallum. "My second goal rolled out to me nicely and when I connected with it I knew it was going in. I was fairly happy with my game, I think I can still improve in areas but in general it was a good day at the office."
Australia showed plenty of promise in attack early with Heather Garriock, Lisa De Vanna, Kyah Simon and McCallum all linking well to put pressure on the England defence. A trademark driving run inside the 18-yard box by De Vanna in the 15th minute was illegally halted by a defender, and with the resulting penalty McCallum slotted Australia into the lead. England managed to only partially clear a 27th minute corner by Tameka Butt, the ball falling just outside the box where McCallum sweetly sent it into the top corner past a stranded goalkeeper.
England imposed themselves after the turnaround but rare was it that Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri was called into action. McCallum almost her hat-trick in the 62nd minute but Karen Bardsley tipped over her vicious shot from 18-metres. Australia continued to press with Caitlin Foord, Clare Polkinghorne, Samantha Kerr and Leena Khamis all having late chances to increase the score line only to be halted by some resilient defending from England. De Vanna made way for Kerr on 66 minutes and McCallum came off two minutes later, while Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
BUNBURY ONLY NOW COMING INTO FORM: YOUNG
Ashley Young has sounded an ominous warning to his club’s Division One rivals by saying Bunbury Forum Force are only just beginning to hit peak form. Bunbury moved five points clear at the top of the table last weekend and are on track to claim promotion to the top flight having lost just once in ten games. “The loss to Shamrock Rovers early in gave us the knock down we needed and kicked us into shape,” said Young. “From then on we have gone from strength to strength and are now hitting full steam coming into the second half of the season.”
Young was on the scoresheet in last weekend’s 4-2 home win over Dianella White Eagles, however, the midfielder wasn’t entirely happy with the teams’ performance. “Our first half was very poor, we were slow on the ball and created little with our attacks. Dianella scored a very lucky goal (to make it 1-1) and that gave them some confidence, they wanted the game more than us,” he said. “A few stern words were said at half time and our second half was better, but overall we were below average … the important thing is that we got the three points.”
Young arrived in Bunbury at the start of the season with a wealth of experience under his belt. Spells as a youth with Burnley and Bury preceded his move to Scotland for a season with Falkirk. A scholarship offer took him to Erie Admirals in Pennsylvania for a year before returning to the Conference North with Hyde FC. “The football in Perth is different than I am used to in England,” commented Young. The Conference game is very quick-paced and a lot more physical, here you can see the emphasis is to play a passing and technical game.”
Young, who joined Bunbury after making contact through the ozsoccerexperience.com website, can’t help but feel impress by the quality of his new clubs’ squad. “We have a strong and experienced core to the team with the right balance of players, the mix of youth and experience has paid off well for us,” the midfielder commented. “We are able to get the ball down and play which I think is when we are at our best, but we are still able to match the physical side of the game when times are tough.”
It’s the usual suspects that Young expects to keep pace with Bunbury over coming months. “Shamrock were definitely a tough team to play against; they are well organized, big, strong and will work for each other all day with some great individuals in the mix-up,” he commented. “Wanneroo City also took us all the way, they played some good football and caused us some problems. Again a well-organized side and were very hard to break down. Swan are right up there with us at the half way stage and will surely be looking to push on in the coming weeks.”
This Saturday Bunbury are on the road to Rockingham City, a team Young concedes he’s very much in the dark about. “I don’t really know too much about Rockingham. We played then in pre-season and got a win, but it’s been a long time since then,” he commented. “We approach every game in the same way and attitude that we have been. We have confidence in our ability as a team that we are good enough to beat Rockingham. The only incentive we need is staying clear of our rivals - that then puts the pressure on them to keep up.”
STATE SQUAD NAMED FOR GLORY
State coach Robbie Dunn has selected his 18-player squad to play Perth Glory under lights at Perth Oval next month. Dunn and his assistants Peter Murphy and Andy Thorburn scoured the local scene before coming up with their list for the game on Tuesday 5 July. “The coaching staff has been watching the games closely and we believe that between us we have come up with a crop of in-form players that can give a good account of themselves against the Glory,” Dunn said.
There are a number of surprises in Dunn’s squad, none more so than that of Western Knights midfielder Luka Jukic who has been sidelined for five months with a persistent groin injury. The selections of Matt Barlow and George Tchami have also raised a few eyebrows. Amongst those overlooked are Balcatta team mates Lewis Italiano and Adam Tong, Inglewood United attacker Adrian Caceres and in-form strikers Gustavo Maralunda and Ashley Rosindale.
Dunn concedes his team runs the risk of being a little underdone for the game with Glory. “Having only two sessions with the lads is not ideal, but their enthusiasm last night leads me to believe that they won't be pushovers and that the players will give a good account of themselves against the exciting new Glory squad,” added the coach. The State squad will assemble for their second training next Wednesday, 29 June, at Dorrien Gardens.
The West Australian squad to play Perth Glory on 5 July is Matt Barlow (Armadale), Stephen Burton, George Tchami (Bayswater City), Mark Pitchard, Jarrad Smith (Floreat Athena), Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Andy Banks, Jon Higgins (ECU Joondalup), Trent Kay, Greg Sharland (Perth SC), Jason Mirco (Sorrento), Andy Brown, Michael Pugliese, Bobby Wilson (Stirling Lions), David Annall, Cormac Dawson, Luka Jukic and James Morgan (Western Knights).
OLYROOS PROGRESS WITH EASE
Australia booked their place in the group qualification stage for the 2012 Olympic Games are cruising to a 4-0 win over Yemen in Newcastle. A hat-trick from Jason Hoffman and a fourth from Aaron Mooy secured the Olyroos a 7-0 win on aggregate. "From the beginning the objective was always to get through to the next round of qualifiers, and we achieved that," said coach Aurelio Vidmar. "It wasn't an easy game and there was certainly a lot of fatigue out there towards the end of the second half. We took our chances well, and we very easily could have scored a couple more, but we got sloppy at times."
Hoffman opened the scoring in front of his home crowd in the 18th minute by heading in a Rocco Visconte free-kick. The Joeys continued to press forward and just after the half hour Aaron Mooy provided a perfect ball from the left for Hoffman to again rise highest and notch his second goal of the evening. The gap was further increased seven minutes after the interval when Hoffman slid the ball in from 5-metres after meeting a Visconte centre. The scoring was completed in the 68th minute, Mooy capping an impressive performance with a powerful finish from close-in. Former Sorrento defender Scott Neville was an unused substitute.
‘GROWN UP’ JONES HEADS BACK TO JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup’s hopes of qualifying for the end of season play-offs have been strengthened with the signing of attacker Tommy Jones. The 25-year old started the year at Mandurah City but jumped at the chance to return to the club where first played State League football. “I’m delighted to be back at ECU again after a few seasons away,” commented Jones. “The travel was getting to me, going from Joondalup down to Mandurah then back again, and obviously losing more than we were winning wasn’t the best. I met some really nice people at Mandurah and I do wish them the best for the future, hopefully they won’t get relegated.”
Jones, who part ways with Joondalup in 2008 in from acrimonious circumstances, is glad to be back on home turf. “I never wanted to leave the club but had no choice, my attitude was the reason,” he explained. “I feel like I’ve grown up a bit now, and when I heard they were keen to get me back there was only one place I wanted to play. I spoke to Syd (Amphlett) and I’ve got a clean slate now and I won’t ruin my chance this time. I’m also coaching juniors at the club with John Brown and Willie Kelly, it’s good to put back into the club and I’m real enjoying helping the kids.”
Just days are returning to Joondalup, Jones was on the scoreboard in a 3-2 defeat of Armadale. “I was over the moon scoring on my debut, pity we lost the game though,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to start straight away but lucky for me I did. I hope to score plenty more and work hard to get us in that top five when the season is over. We have a very good squad when everyone is available for selection; the youngsters from the reserves have stepped up and performed when they have come in. We’re lucky at the club as we always have good youngsters coming through the ranks.”
Joondalup picked up a win last time out at Cockburn City and Jones has every confidence they can repeat that outcome at home to Bayswater City this weekend. “It’s another big game for us - Bayswater are a good team and play good football,” said Jones, who spent a brief period with this weekend’s opposition after splitting from Joondalup three years ago. “They are coming off a great win at Balcatta and we are going to have to be on top of our game to get a result.” Joondalup welcome Bayswater to the Edith Cowan University campus from 3.00pm on Saturday.
JOEYS HAVE NO FEAR OF BRAZIL (courtesy the 'West Australian')
Two goals made in Western Australia have sent confidence soaring ahead of Australia's Under-17 World Cup clash with Brazil on Friday. Dylan Tombides and Jesse Makarounas, who play for West Ham United and Perth Glory respectively, were the men of the moment as the Joeys kicked off their campaign with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Ivory Coast in Guadalajara yesterday. During the ecstatic celebrations that followed Tombides' winner, the 17-year old pulled off a shin pad and ran towards TV cameras to display a birthday message to his mum, Tracylee.
Makarounas told Jonathon Cook the thrill of beating Ivory Coast would resonate ahead of the Brazil confrontation. "The boys are buzzing now because we got the win and we did it the hard way," he said. "Everyone's now just looking forward to the game against Brazil." Before producing the goods against the Ivorians, the Joeys watched the first half of Brazil's 3-0 crushing of Denmark in their Group D encounter and Makarounas was stirred, but not shaken. "Brazil looked good, but nothing's impossible," he said.
Glory coach Ian Ferguson, who signed Makarounas from the Australian Institute of Sport on a two-year deal, said the teenager would be given opportunities to impress in his first A-League season. "He's a prospect who's doing very well and he'll be involved in the first team," Ferguson said. "I want two players for every position and he'll be up against (former Celtic midfielder) Liam Miller, it's as simple as that. Jess will get a fair crack of the whip. Names don't mean much to me. Players have got to come in and do the job."
Makarounas' strike has also alerted potential suitors to his talent at a tournament where scouts and agents from around the world are in attendance. Although he is yet to play a competitive game for Glory, club policy is not to stand in the way of players seeking overseas opportunities. "I'm concentrating on the tournament and if anything happens I will think about it later," he said. "For me now, it's just about playing football and showing what I have."
FORRESTFIELD’S HUNTER TAKES TIME OUT
John Hunter has stepped down as coach of Division One side Forrestfield United. Hunter, a former State team player and dual Golden Boot recipient, decided to bring forward plans to take time out from the game prior to heading to Scotland next month to visit his ill father. “I decided to step down earlier than planned as I wanted to have a break before I go over,” he explained. “I have been coaching at Forrestfield for eight seasons and I think I have left the club in a stronger position than when I arrived.” Hunter has overseen Forrestfield’s recent resurgence, guiding the club to fourth spot in Division One in each of the past two seasons.
SCALI BACK FROM SHORT-LIVED RETIREMENT
Damian Scali is champing at the bit to test himself against Ashfield. The Swan United veteran came out of retirement to lead his club to victory at Gosnells City last weekend and revitalise the black and whites slender title hopes. “We would probably need to win every game from here to win the league,” conceded Scali, who admits to knowing little about Ashfield. “I heard that they have signed some Inglewood United players but I really haven’t been following the league very much at all this year so I’m not up to date with their results.”
It was clear to see that Scali had lost none of his touch against Gosnells, the veteran scoring one and setting up a couple more goals in a 4-1 win. “Getting a goal was good, even though it was handed to me on a plate by the ‘keeper,” said Scali. “It was a good win for the club, especially after losing to Shamrock (Rovers) the week before, but it was not as convincing as the score line suggests. They gave us the first two goals then we were under pressure at 2-1, but I thought we took control of the second half.”
Scali thought he’d hung up his boots for the final time at the end of last season only to be lured out of retirement by John O’Reilly. “I went to training last week on John’s request and it seemed to go okay, then Tommy Shepheard got injured and I was in,” Scali explained. “It was a combination of John asking because the team is struggling with injuries and me seeing that I might be able to help with my experience … and I would do anything to get Swan back in the Premier League.”
MADASCHI UNDECIDED ON PLAYING FUTURE
Socceroo Adrian Madaschi is open to offers after his Italian club Portogruaro were relegated from Serie B at the end of last season. Out of contract with Portogruaro, Madaschi is not yet sure where he’ll play the coming summer. “Where to from here? I am not 100% sure right now but I’m looking into a few things here in Italy,” Madaschi told au.fourfourtwo.com. “Moving across the continent would be a good change and even towards Asia could be a possibility. Coming back to Australia is something I have thought about as well, and I would look into something seriously given the right offer and project.”
Madaschi, a Portogruaro regular across 2010/11 with 35 appearances, was unable to prevent his side suffering relegation as they lost seven of their last eight league matches. “It was disappointing to finish the way things did because we all believed that we could avoid relegation a month before the end of the season,” said Madaschi. “Obviously things went the way they went and I was unhappy I couldn’t give my bit for the last two games because I pulled my calf muscle against Pescara and that finished my season.”
WEST AUSTRALIAN BOYS FIRE JOEYS TO VICTORY
Local strikers Jesse Makarounas and Dylan Tombides were on target as Australia came from behind to make a winning start to the Under-17 World Cup by defeating Ivory Coast 2-1. The Joeys trailed to Souleymane Coulibaly's goal midway through the first half at Estadio Guadalajara in Mexico before Makarounas delivered a stunning equaliser six minutes after the interval. Tombides then sealed victory with a cool finish thirteen minutes from the end after cleverly creating space for himself inside the 18-yard box.
Australia struggled to find their feet in the first half and an error by defender Tom King in the 18th minute gifted possession to Coulibaly, who made no mistake place the ball in the corner of Paul Izzo’s net. Cote d'Ivoire continued to see the better of the ball and on several occasions went close to doubling their lead. The Joeys best chances came around the half hour but a Makarounas was unable to hit the target with a free header, then shortly after Tombides shot high after being through on goal.
The introduction of Riley Woodcock and some tactical changes at the break were exactly what the Joeys’ doctor ordered. In the 51st minute, Makarounas played a quick one-two with Hernan Espindola before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 23-metres that thundered into Yored Konate’s net. Tombides struck the winning goal on 77 minutes, burying a near post shot after pouncing on a loose ball following Teeboy Kamara’s penetrating run into the area. Tombides, Makarounas and King each played a full game, Woodcock entered the action at half-time while Mitchell Oxborrow was an unused substitute.
TOMBIDES THE ACE IN JOEYS PACK
Coach Jan Versleijen knew Dylan Tombides could provide the spark needed to inspire Australia to victory over Ivory Coast at the Under-17 World Cup yesterday. With the Joeys trailing one-nil at the end of 45 minutes, Versleijen urged his troops to up their service to Tombides, who responded by angling in the winning goal thirteen minutes from full-time. “Dylan has great skills - he is strong on the ball, is technically good with his left and right foot, also he has good pace,” said the Joeys coach. “We discussed at half-time, when we were struggling to get decent ball in to the midfield, we said, try to get more use of Dylan because he’s able to hold the ball and can also beat someone.”
MATILDAS WARM-UP BY BEATING MEXICO
Lauren Colthorpe, Sally Shipard and Kyah Simon chipped in with a goal each as Australia came from behind to beat Mexico 3-2 in a Women’s World Cup warm-up match in Germany. Strike partners Maribel Dominguez and Monica Ocampo put the Mexicans two-goals up in the space of three minutes before the Matildas played themselves back into the contest with goals by Colthorpe and Shipard before Simon sealed victory in the 63rd minute.
Mexico got the breakthrough on 32 minutes when Dominguez’ precision pass released Ocampo who calmly slotted past an exposed Lydia Williams. Dominguez then increased their lead by converting from the penalty spot following an infringement at a corner. On 37 minutes Australia pulled a goal back with Collette McCallum’s perfectly flighted free-kick headed in by Colthorpe. Shipard levelled the game on the stroke of half-time by putting away a cross from Elise Kellond-Knight.
The second half saw Australia dominate large portions of possession before finally capitalising in the 63rd minute when Simon netted at the second attempt following a McCallum cross. Williams produced an excellent save on ten minutes later, tipping over Dominguez’ shot from the edge of the 18-yeard box to retain Australia’s advantage. Dinora Graza almost grabbed a last minute equaliser but her shot from 13-metres smashed into the crossbar. Williams and McCallum played full games, while Lisa De Vanna came on at half-time and Samantha Kerr after 66 minutes.
GLORY OUTLINE LOCAL FOCUS
Perth Glory chief executive Paul Kelly has vowed to give local players a greater opportunity to play national league football. Speaking recently at a gathering of State League representatives, Kelly said the A-League club had learnt from their mistakes of the past and were working towards re-engaging with the local football community through a number of initiatives. “Glory is committed to develop and provide opportunities for State League players to step up into our A-League squad,” Kelly said in a written communication to the clubs following the meeting.
In moving in this direction the club have invited Floreat Athena pair Liam Boland and James Isaia, goalkeeper Lewis Italiano (Balcatta), Sam Mitchinson (National Training Centre) and import defender Charlie Coymn-Platt (ECU Joondalup) along to pre-season training. Glory’s new recruitment manager, Graham Normanton is responsible spotting potential A-League players on the local scene. “Graham’s brief is to identify two or three players every year that can be part of our squad,” explained Kelly.
In addition to scouring the State League, Glory reaffirmed their commitment to providing career pathways for young players. “This is done through our support of the NTC program and our own National Youth League team,” noted Kelly. “We also spend significant time and resources tracking and evaluating West Australian players that currently play over east and those in the AIS programs. This is under the guidance of Gareth Naven (whose) brief is to identify two or three players every year that can be a part of our squad.”
Kelly added that Glory will investigate any initiative that could benefit the clubs’ long-term success. “(This includes) setting up our own academies, seeking to participate in the State League or creating a shadow squad to complement the A-League squad,” said Kelly. “These initiatives should assist with the development of players in bridging the gap between Youth/State League and increasing the quality of the pool available. We believe that the future of the club and its long-term survival relies on producing and developing our own players.”
The club has also established networks outside Western Australia to help identify recruits. “Our head coach spent some time in Melbourne recently and Graham Normanton (has been) looking at prospects in Brisbane. These opportunities came through our network of scouts and trusted advisors on the eastern seaboard,” added Kelly. “Additionally the club has had recent visits to Europe checking on Australian players and looking at visa player options, South America in setting up networks, and Asia, meeting with player and match agents in identifying Asian players.”
Kelly ready admits that, for the first time in Glory’s A-League history, the club now has in place a long-term recruitment strategy which includes extensive identification and evaluation of potential signings. “With approximately eleven players coming off contract at the end of this season we are well on the way in identifying potential replacements should that be the case,” wrote Kelly. “This will have a strong emphasis on home grown talent, AIS and West Australians plying their trade nationally and internationally.”
OLYROOS SEE OF YEMEN
Australia’s Under-23 team have taken their first steps towards the 2012 Olympic Games by defeating Yemen 3-0 in yesterday’s qualifier at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. A double from Jason Hoffman and another by Mitch Nichols gives the Olyroos a comfortable lead going into the second leg of the tie on Thursday. “I am very happy with a 3-0 result, it could have been more,” said coach Aurelio Vidmar. “We missed some really easy chances and their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves as well.” The Olyroos need to win the two-game series with Yemen to progress to the next round of qualification.
It took Australia 15 minutes to open their account, Sebastian Ryall returning a clearance back into the 18-yard box to present Hoffman with an easy header a metre from the goal line. Oliver Bozanic and Aaron Mooy each hit the frame of the goal as Australia pressed for a second goal. It finally arrived on 67 minutes when Hoffman squared for Nichols to tap past the ‘keeper. The game was in stoppage time when Aziz Behich drove down the left and provided a through ball which Hoffman tucked into the net after his initial shot hit the post. Perth Glory defender Scott Neville was an unused substitute.
GLORY GIVE JELIC EARLY RELEASE
Perth Glory have released Serbian striker Branko Jelic from the final year of his contract. Jelic, who signed a three-year deal with Glory in May 2009, was plagued by an ankle injury for much of his time with the club. The 34-year old arrived in Perth with a strong pedigree which included spells at Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), Energie Cottbus (Germany) and Beijing Guoan, where he was the top goal scorer in China’s Super League. But he failed to hit those heights with Glory, scoring just seven times in 33 appearances across two seasons.
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said Jelic’s release had been in the offing for some time but admitted it doesn’t mean the club now has the funds available for another big name signing. “This is something we’ve been working on with him (Jelic) for some time,” commented Kelly. “To be honest, it doesn’t free up that much salary cap space for us at all. We’ve got 21 players now and two spots free. What we do with that will just depend on what can be done with the funds we’ve got available.”
SAGE KEEPS HOPE IN LIVERPOOL
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage is hanging on to a sliver of hope that English Premier League giants Liverpool will accept a renewed offer to play at Perth Oval next month. Glory had been in talks with to play Liverpool at Subiaco Oval on 19 July, however, the English club rejected the offer because of the additional travel demands on players. "They said yesterday that they weren't going to come but we've gone back to them and we've upped the ante," Sage said. "They did say they had some concerns about the travel … If they have a change of heart it would be fantastic." Liverpool are scheduled to play Chinese club Guangdong Sunray Cave (13 July) and a Malaysian select side (16 July) as part of their pre-season preparations.
BAYSWATER BRING DOWN THE LEADERS (with James Wragg, Football West)
It has been a long time coming but Bayswater City have finally broken their drought with a deserved 3-2 victory over top of the table Balcatta in a pulsating contest at Grindleford Reserve. Gustavo Marulanda was the visitors’ hero for the second week running, the striker scoring his second and the games deciding goal deep into stoppage time. “The problem up to today has been every time we miss we get punished,” victorious coach Mauro Marchione said. “We miss a couple of chances and they score but (today) we kept playing and created chances and this time we won."
The early exchanges gave up little in the way of chances but there was a great energy about the game as both sides confidently stroked the ball around the park. Daniel Micevski stole the early headlines by tapping in Balcatta’s first goal after 24 minutes after holding off his marker and rounding goalkeeper Gianni Papalia to net from the angle. That lead barely lasted two minutes before Gavin Knight chipped over the defence and into the path of Marulanda, who nicked the ball past Lewis Italiano while fending off Chris Thackray.
Adam Tong then tested Papalia with a free-kick but the Bayswater custodian was up to the task, diving right to keep the ball out of his net. Defender Cesar Gonzalez then headed high of the crossbar when left all alone near the penalty spot at a corner. Bayswater kept on coming and three minutes from the break snuck in front, Thomas Gooding running at the defence before laying the ball off for Gavin Knight who cut inside one opponent and drilled into the bottom of the net.
TOMBIDES’ BRAZIL GOAL
Dylan Tombides is relishing the opportunity of testing himself against the might of Brazil at the Under-17 World Cup, which kicked off overnight in Mexico. The West Ham United striker warmed-up for the tournament in fine style, scoring the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Canada before netting twice to lead the Joeys to victory against Uruguay by the same scoreline. “It’s been a long hard season but I’m looking forward to it very much,” Tombides told whufc.com. “We’ve got a very tough group with Brazil, Denmark and Ivory Coast, so it’s going to be a real challenge to make it through the group stages. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge, though.”
While the matches against Cote d’Ivoire (20 June) and Denmark (26 June) will be difficult assignments, it’s the game in between against Brazil (23 June) that Tombides is particularly looking forward to. “Brazil are going to be great to play against and I’m just hoping they play like the senior side, popping the ball about. They’ve got a lot of players with individual flair so I’m sure they’ll be a great team to watch and it’ll be a great match to be a part of,” he said. “I’d love to score a couple of goals against them but it may be that their Under-17s can defend but they can’t attack! Speaking seriously, we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
MCCALLUM UPBEAT ABOUT MATILDAS PREPARATION
The Matildas are looking forward to testing themselves against two other Women's World Cup finalists after blowing out their jet-lag cobwebs with a convincing win in an exhibition game. Collette McCallum, a star of Australia's 2007 campaign in which the Matilda's made the quarter-finals, feels the current team is much better prepared than the one that went to China four years ago. "It's good that we've come here early and we get two international games under our belts, and we're also getting used to the time difference, so the preparation for this has been really, really good," McCallum said.
Coach Tom Sermanni gave most of his players a run in Friday's 6-1 win over a local Gottingen select side in an exhibition game. A few players sat out the game due to minor issues like sore limbs and slight strains but it was a welcome hit-out for the Matildas. "We were out there to keep the ball moving, and just to get a bit of fitness going just to get our legs going," Matildas' midfield stalwart Collette McCallum told AAP. "Since we've been here, we've done a bit of training, but nothing full on, so that was really good for us to do that."
With several place in the line-up up for grabs, Sermanni will use this week's friendlies with Mexico and England to finalise his starting eleven. "It's important for us to do well in these games," McCallum said. "We've had a lot of preparation and we haven't played a lot but I think because of the camps and being together for a long time, I think we should be able to do well. Going into the Mexico and England games, we want to go out firing and ready for the Brazil game, so it is really important to have our heads on and be mentally ready."
At 25, McCallum is one of the veterans of a Matilda's squad that contains eleven players aged 21 or under. "Obviously, the little tiny girls stick together, but they are quite good. They get along with the older ones, so it's not as if there's little cliquey groups in the team," McCallum said. Australia's pre-tournament schedule has them against Mexico on Tuesday and England three days later. Their Women's World Cup campaign opens on 30 June against Brazil before meetings with Equatorial Guinea (3 July) and Norway (6 July).
MIRCO AT THE DOUBLE FOR KNIGHTS (with Karl Travaglini, Football West)
New signing Johny Mirco scored twice to steer Western Knights to a 2-0 win over Mandurah City at Hyundai Stadium. Mirco, in his second Knights appearance since moving across from Cockburn City, struck midway through the first half before sealing the win with a late penalty. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the away team, who had to work hard over the 90 minutes against a Mandurah side that is fighting for Premier League survival.
Mandurah saw a lot of first half possession, however, their only decent opening was Graeme Matthews’ poke at goal that Frazer Siddall tipped away. Poor defending in the 25th minute allowed Mirco to edge his team in front, the striker volleying into the net from a throw-in as Mandurah were caught ball watching. Daniel Trim ensured the visitors entered the break in front by clearing off the line after Garin Collins drove out of midfield and chipped over Siddall.
The second half started much the like the first as Mandurah toiled away furiously in an attempt to level the game. Traffic was by no means one-way, the Knights looking dangerous every time they approached the final third. It took until the final minute of regulation time for the result to be put beyond doubt, Mirco sending Phil Straker the wrong way from the penalty spot following a clumsy challenge inside the 18-yard box.
HARNWELL GIVES SORRENTO A SHARE (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Sorrento salvaged 1-1 draw from their home encounter with Floreat Athena thanks to Jamie Harnwell’s late equaliser. A wet and blustery afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve made the going tough for both teams and, as expected, a scrappy 90 minutes entailed. Liam Boland’s strike just after half-time looked like being enough to give the visitors victory before Harnwell showed his experience to put away a valuable equaliser twelve minutes from the end.
Mark Pritchard typified Floreat’s confidence with an early long-range drive, and a little later James Isaia’s free-kick from distance was just high of the crossbar. A greasy surface kept genuine chances in open play to a minimum as players in both camps struggled with their delivery into the final third. Sorrento’s first opening came the way of Jack Doyle but having creating space inside the 18-yard box his shot was tipped onto the post by Alex Dunn.
The Floreat goalkeeper was called into action again soon after, taking cleanly a shot by Brodie Martin before again denying Doyle. Down the other end Curtis Aspden made sure the teams remained on level terms with a fine double save, the ‘keeper blocking Boland’s back post header as well as his follow-up strike from an acute angle. The Gulls should have led at the interval when Darryl Platten somehow headed high from 5-metres after being found unmarked at an Adam Luca corner.
Floreat got the go-ahead goal on 58 minutes, Paul Van Dongen nodding down for Boland to slam past the advancing ‘keeper. This prompted a flurry of attacks from the home side, however, Dunn remained untroubled between the posts for Floreat. Sorrento finally found a way through on 78 minutes when Danny Cain’s ball into the area was stabbed in by Jamie Harnwell from 6-metres after the visitors failed to deal with the danger. Dunn ensured his team wouldn’t go home empty handed by denying Doyle close to the final whistle.
MIDFIELD MAESTRO’S GET STIRLING HOME (courtesy Stirling Lions)
Stirling Lions picked up their second win in eight days by out-shooting Armadale 3-1 on a wet afternoon at Alfred Skeet Reserve. The visitors’ central core of Andy Brown, Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi found the back of the net in response to James Robinson’s early opener for Armadale. “I was proud of our efforts today, in particular the hard running off the ball by our forwards which opened the path for three of our midfielders to score,” said new Stirling coach Doug Hesketh.
Brothers Tom and James Robinson orchestrated a series of early attacking raids as Armadale came out swinging. Their reward came after just 6 minutes when Tom Robinson pounced on a defensive mix-up and delivered a pinpoint cross which James Robinson headed in at close-range. Stirling worked their way back into the game and on 25 minutes were back on level terms, Evans and Boi combining with Phil O’Callaghan whose superb pass allowed Brown to calmly chip the advancing goalkeeper.
Stirling continued to pile pressure on the home defence and an O’Callaghan shot whistled past the post after the striker beat two opponents to get deep inside the 18-yard box. Armadale countered with Craig Young playing the ball out wide to James Robinson but his cross into the danger zone evaded team mate Matt Barlow by the narrowest of margins. Roberto Lujan wasted a golden opportunity to put Stirling in front by blasting wide after stealing the ball from Cyril Sharrock’s feet just before half time.
A quick exchange between Evans and Brown three minutes into the second half released Boi whose vicious low shot from 20-metres flew into Sharrock’s net. The action soon swung to the opposite end where Barlow’s long-range attempt was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Corey Hugo. The remainder if the half followed in similar fashion as the two teams traded attacks in search of further goals. The points were made safe in the 85th minute when Evans took on the home defence before unleashing a powerful low shot that skidded into the net for a three-one final scoreline.
JOONDALUP PUNISH WASTEFUL COCKBURN (with James Wragg, Football West)
ECU Joondalup have put themselves back in the frame for a top five placing by trouncing Cockburn City 3-1 at Dalmatinac Park. Cockburn dominated a scrappy first half but it was the visitors that entered the break a goal the better after Jon Higgins converted from a dead ball. Scott Bushby and John Thornley extended the gap to three goals in the opening minutes of the second period and although Cockburn remained in the game it wasn’t until late that Rory Feely nabbed a controversial consolation.
Cockburn hit the ground running and Million Butshiire should have had them in front after a minute but the unmarked striker’s shot was too close to goalkeeper Andy Banks, who pushed it wide for a corner. Butshiire then turned provider with a defence-splitting pass through to Ian McMurray who shot past Banks but also the target. With rain clouds hovering overhead, a needless foul by Jason Godfrey gave Joondalup a free-kick on top of the 18-yard box which Higgins swung over the defensive wall and into the net for a one-nil lead.
The second half was six minutes old when Scott Bushby’s dipping long-range strike was fumbled by home custodian Alex Pearson, who could only watch on as the ball entered his net to double Joondalup’s lead. McMurray was presented a golden opportunity to pull a goal back but hesitated long enough to allow Banks time to come off his line and block the shot. There was no such wastefulness by the visitors and on 58 minutes Luke Smith pumped a long ball into the area where Thornley rose highest to steer it past Pearson for a three-nil lead.
The heavens opened up soon after, making life difficult for both teams for the remainder of the afternoon. Butshiire and Feely each had good chances to peg a goal back for the home team while going the other way Thornley had his goal bound shot battered away by Pearson. Feely made amends in the 85th minute with a perfectly timed run to nod in an Ivan Skorich cross, referee Hugh Best allowing the goal to stand despite Banks being clattered into by McMurray in the lead up.
Coach Syd Amphlett was ecstatic after the final whistle with the way his young responded well after a run of poor results. “I would have been happier with no goals against (but) overall I’m delighted with the win,” said Amphlett, whose team are now placed just a couple of points outside the top five. “It puts us back in it after a couple of bad results and with the injuries we’ve had the boys have stepped up. Lately the training has been good the attitude has been good and everybody’s pulled together.”
GRANT SNARES INGLEWOOD THE WIN (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
An experimental Inglewood United ground out a 1-0 win over the National Training Centre on home soil. Rory Grant, one of only four first team regulars in Inglewood’s starting line-up, struck a lucky goal midway through the first half to give the hosts victory. The outcome could have been much different had the NTC been able to make more of their numerous chances in front of goal on a wet and windy day at 6PR Stadium.
Inglewood goalkeeper Oliver Taseski was called into action after 2 minutes to save from Harry O’Brien, while the home defence halted a promising run by Sebit Oyet soon after. Brandon O’Neill was the architect of the NTC’s first half attacks and on 13 minutes the midfielder’s free-kick beat the defensive wall but not Taseski. Viktor Atanasovski made sure the teams stayed level with a superb tackle which ended Reece Vittiglia’s run towards goal.
Inglewood slowly began to impose themselves and on 32 minutes Paul Dugdale’s high ball was tamed by Grant, who tapped over goalkeeper Tim Doyle and into the net for a one-nil lead. Sam Mitchinson’s defensive error soon after almost resulted in Inglewood finding the net for a second time as Jason Colli swooped in to take possession only for his shot to drift wide of the target.
Grant should have doubled the hosts lead after the break but failed to respond when Doyle spilled his initial shot. A mid-half downpour did no favours to either team as players regularly lost their footing on a slippery surface, resulting in a steady deterioration of the on-field action. The game was in stoppage time when Harry O’Brien was given a chance to equalise but Taseski paddled over his shot intended for the top corner.
LATE STRIKE GIVES ASHFIELD THE POINTS
Ashfield extended their winning run to five games by toppling second from top Shamrock Rovers 3-2 at Ashfield Reserve. Ross Cosgrave early opener for Shamrock was soon enough negated by Alex Stamatiadis before Brian Maybin fired the home team into a half time lead. David Murphy restored parity minutes onto the second period, and it looked as though that’s how the game would end when Bobby Irving settled the affair just minutes from the final whistle.
The ball had been in motion 7 minutes when Cosgrove coolly finished into the bottom corner after Ashfield failed to respond to a corner. Shamrock’s day took a turn for the worse not long after with defender Simon King issued his marching order for lashing out to a challenge by Stamatiadis. The teams were brought level on 12 minutes when Karl O’Reilly weaved his way between a trio of opponents before chipping to the back post where an unmarked Stamatiadis headed in. Ashfield took control on the half hour when Brad Smith’s corner was nodded powerfully past the goalkeeper by Maybin.
The ten men of Shamrock came out firing for the second period which was only four minutes old when Murphy’s brilliantly free-kick from 22-metres curled around the defensive wall and into the top corner. This breathed new life into the visiting side, who maintained the pressure through a series of long balls that had the home defence working overtime. Ashfield worked their way back into the game before finding an 89th minute winner, Irving timing his run to perfection to nod Stamatiadis’ free-kick into the bottom corner.
BUNBURY MAKE IT EIGHT IN A ROW (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force tightened their hold over Division One by seeing off Dianella White Eagles 4-2 at Hay Park. Corey Cullen found the net early in each half with imports Ashley Young and Michael Marten also on the scoreboard to led Bunbury to their eight successive win, and move the leaders five points clear of their nearest rival. “This win was huge for us, especially with the surrounding teams losing,” said Young post-game. “We’ve now got a little cushion over our rivals and hopefully that will take a bit of pressure off us. Everything is in our own hands now, we have to keep pushing forward and make sure that we perform week in, week out.”
It took only 3 minutes for Bunbury to assert their authority, Cullen stabbing the ball in at close-range after Jon Brooks far post corner was nodded down by Jordan Rispon. With this both teams settled and the remainder of the half was relatively even as both teams created strong together some promising moves. Dianella were rewarded for their persistence on the half hour when Jimmy Taneski’s free-kick was caught by the wind and deceived goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery before coming to rest in his net.
Bunbury stepped up the pace for the second half which was three minutes old when another corner by Brooks found Oliver McGee, who headed back across goal for Cullen to bag his second of the day. The balance of power was put firmly in the hosts favour when Young’s fierce free-kick flew over the defensive wall on its way into the roof of the net. A lovely display of one-touch passing produced Bunbury’s fourth goal in the 67th minute, the ball moving between Rory Binnie, Young, Brooks, Risdon, Cullen and Prosser whose centred was headed into an empty net by Marten. Dianella’s only consolation came on 82 minutes when a Bunbury defender turned a long throw into his own net.
ROCKINGHAM UPSET WANNEROO (courtesy Rockingham City)
Rockingham City halted their slide down the Division One table with a surprise 2-1 defeat of Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. First half goal by Josh Cartman and Tom Mills put the visiting side in control before Josh Booysen pegged a goal back for Wanneroo in the second half. “I asked my players for heart, desire and commitment today and I am delighted with the response,” said winning coach Steve Robinson. “All the boys worked very hard yet also applied quality and composure to the style of play, it was a very enjoyable win.”
The early pressure came from Rockingham who were unlucky not to have the lead through Craig Tone whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box kissed the outside of the post. That was forgotten in the 7th minute when Darren Lawler’s pass was relayed by Tone into the path of Cartman who made no mistake slotting into the net. Wanneroo slowly got into gear but Brian Cairney was denied in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and Brad McDonald smashed the follow-up high.
It seemed as though Wanneroo had left their goal scoring boots in the change rooms after Craig Bowman was played through but the attacker was unable to capitalise with only the ‘keeper to beat. There was no such wastefulness from the visiting team who doubled their lead in the 34 minute through a lovely move that featured Lydon Hodgkiss, David Clark, Cartman and Andrew Keary with caught Wanneroo square at the back as Mills delicately touched the ball past goalkeeper Clint Davies.
SWAN SOAR AT GOSNELLS
Swan United bounced back into the winners circle by coming from behind to defeat Gosnells City 4-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve. First half goals to club veteran Damian Scali and on-loan goalkeeper Luke Martino gave the black and whites the lead after 45 minutes with Trent Wood and Aaron Colli sealing the win after the turnaround. The win takes Swan to within a point of third place, however, the pictures not quite so rosy for Gosnells who remain firmly rooted in the bottom three.
The game started promisingly enough for Gosnells with Ravi Kuppasamy’s brilliant strike firing them into a 20th minute lead. But that lasted all of four minutes before Scali knocked the ball in after goalkeeper Alan Dunlop spilled a John Monterosso cross. Half-time was on the horizon when visiting ‘keeper Martino released a booming clearance that travelled the length of the pitch and bounced over an unprepared Dunlop to give Swan the lead.
Gosnells looked to hit back after the break but Darren Francis was denied in a one-on-one with Martino, who not long after was at full stretch to tip away a Kuppasamy header. Wood got Swan back on course by volleying in at the back post after Scali flicked on a 66th minute cross by Adam Pygrum. Seven minutes later the margin blew out to three goals as Scali received then returned the ball to Colli, who beat his marker and finished low into the net.
FREMANTLE HOLD FORRESTFIELD
Fremantle Spirit secured a rare point by nabbing a scrappy 2-2 draw from Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. The early exchanges were dominated by Forrestfield but luck was clearly against the hosts who had three separate attempts on goal hit the woodwork. Those misses were punished on 24 minutes when Caleb Aquino lashed a crisp first time shot from 20-metres into the net. Forrestfield continued to attack without success, however, the same could be said for the visitors who found the net via Chris Holland only for it to be disallowed for offside against Jason Pottier.
The home side finally found the goal they’d been searching for ten minutes into the second half when Simon El Chami scrambled the ball in at close-range. Fremantle returned fire just after the hour when an unmarked Cameron Hayes restored their lead by heading in from Aquino’s corner. Anthony Cunningham celebrated his promotion to Forrestfield’s first eleven by tucking into the net on 68 minutes after the goalkeeper failed to take cleanly an initial shot. There were chances for both to grab a late winner but some desperate defending ensured the points were shared.
MORLEY HUMBLE HAPLESS CANNING (courtesy Morley Windmills)
A rampant Morley Windmills slammed in six second half goals to demolish Canning City 7-0 at Wotton Reserve. Lee Thomas, Ryan Frisina and Simon Wilson netted two apiece before substitute Lucas Whitehouse completed the route close to the final whistle. The first half gave little indication what was to come, in fact Canning could have posted at least one goal had it not been for some wayward finishing. Those early misses were punished just after the half hour when Lee Thomas lashed past the goalkeeper after Andy O’Neill played a superb ball into the 18-yard box.
A heavy downpour at the start of the second half didn’t damp Morley’s spirit and seven minutes in goalkeeper Steve Grant pumped a long ball forward which Frisina skilfully lobbed over the ‘keeper. Three minutes later Wilson met Mitch Castrilli’s cross to the far post with a sweet half volley that took the margin to three goals. Wilson doubled his tally on the 72nd minute by converting from the penalty spot, and only a couple more minutes passed before Frisina slammed in after meeting a Kris Dennis through ball.
The Canning backline were doing all they could to repel their hosts, however, there was no way to stem the flow of goals. Morley’s sixth arrived in the 81st minute, Thomas doubling his personal tally after being found unmarked at the far post by Luke O’Neill. There were only three minutes left when Castrilli sent the ball out wide on the left to an unmarked Frisina whose centring pass was slid into the net by Whitehouse. “You’re never going to win if you don’t take your chances and finally today we did,” said home captain Ian McKean post-game.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
Finals contenders Sorrento and Floreat Athena meet in the footballwa.net match of the week for Round Seventeen at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento sit just a point outside the top five finals and although it’s been a fortnight since their last competitive outing midfielder Adam Luca says the home team will be switched on from the get-go. “Our next few matches may well decide our season so it’s important we return from our break with a win,” said Luca. “Floreat are a good side in good form so it won’t be easy to take the points, but we believe we are good enough to win and look forward to Saturday.”
Floreat are unbeaten in a month and defender Calum O’Connell says they plan on pushing higher up the table than the fifth spot they currently occupy. “A win on Saturday can send us into the top three if other results go our way,” commented O’Connell, who expects a scrappy game against his former club. “Getting the result we want is going to be difficult. As much as we want to play good football the main goal is to get the result, so if it’s not pretty then so be it. We want to be playing finals football at the end of the season.”
Cockburn City can take another step towards avoiding relegation when they face an under-strength ECU Joondalup at Dalmatinac Park (3.00pm). An injection of new faces has increased competition for spots at Cockburn where coach Mike Lyons has a near full squad at his disposal, the only absence being defender Jon Davite. By contrast Joondalup are minus Dale McCulloch, Charlie Comyn-Platt, Scott Blackmore, Ross Anderson and Ross Laing for the trip south, but on the flip side Chris Wylie, Matt Italiano and new singing Marc Rodgers have their hands up for selection.
Doug Hesketh’s first game in charge of Stirling Lions is on the road to Armadale (3.00pm). Stirling jumped into top five contention with last weeks’ upset win over Perth SC but Hesketh, who has taken over from Paul Lincoln, has a few selection dilemmas this time out. Brent Griffiths and Michael Pugliese are unavailable while Anthony Skorich and Jason Gavin need to prove their fitness before being considered. Armadale attacker Tom Kennedy is in line for a recall against his former club while Warren Beattie misses out due to suspension.
The final Saturday fixture has Mandurah City at home under lights to Western Knights (6.00pm). It’s been a long time since either team picked up maximum points so this game has the potential to kick start the victors’ season. Paperwork delays continue to frustrate new Mandurah imports Adam Clough and Mark Osmond, however, it appears Jake Loretto has recovered from injury. The Knights hopes have been boosted by the return of captain David Annall and midfield maestro Luka Jukic.
Grindleford Reserve is the place to be on Sunday for the traditional derby between Balcatta and Bayswater City (3.00pm). Stephen Burton will come back into the Balcatta line-up but playmaker Jason Barrera (knee) and Jovo Pavlovic (suspension) will watch from the sidelines. One win in ten games has slipped Bayswater down the table, however, there have been some promising signs of late for the club. Striker John Kearney could make his after moving over from Shamrock Rovers, but suspension rules out defender George Tchami.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Promotion chasing Shamrock Rovers journeys to Ashfield in the pick of this week’s Division One action. Shamrock sit second on the table and are coming off six straight wins but club veteran Paudie O’Connor is well aware of the consequences of taking Ashfield lightly. “It’s important for us to keep the pressure on Bunbury and hope that they slip up,” said O’Connor. “It won’t be an easy game this weekend, Ashfield have put together a good run after a slow start to the season.”
Ashfield are unbeaten in six games and goalkeeper Brad Eiffe plans to extend that run on the weekend. “We’ve got ourselves into a great position on the table but we need to carry on if we are to push for top spot,” said Eiffe. “Shamrock have shown they can score a lot of goals but at the same time they have been really solid at the back and don’t give too many goals away … but I’m confident that with the squad we have we can really take it to them.”
Gosnells City are coming off some strong performances and will hope to catch Swan United on an off day when they visit Walter Padbury Reserve (3.00pm). Bunbury Forum Force goes in search of an eighth successive win against fourth-from-bottom Dianella White Eagles at Hay Park (3.00pm). Wanneroo City should take the points on home soil over Rockingham City (3.00pm), likewise Morley Windmills who host Canning City (3.00pm). The round concludes with a twilight fixture between Forrestfield United and Fremantle Spirit at Hartfield Park (5.00pm).
WILLIAMS KEEPS HOPE OF WORLD CUP START
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has arguably one of the toughest, and certainly the most frustrating jobs in the Matildas squad. As back-up to team captain Melissa Barbieri she has to patiently bide her time while remaining ready to take over between the posts should coach Tom Sermanni call on her. "I've just been that used to it that I'm always ready and I just really want to be playing at a World Cup," said Williams, who has no complaints about playing second fiddle to Barbieri. "It just makes me that much hungrier to perform at the best I can and prove myself."
Williams, who was born in the south-west town of Katanning, joined her team mates in Sydney yesterday for a Matildas farewell function ahead of the upcoming Women's World Cup in Germany. Fate has dealt Australia a tough hand in the form of an opening round clash with Brazil where a Matilda's win will boost confidence as they attempt to improve on the last eight appearance achieved four years ago. "We've had some mixed results against Brazil a win and also a loss so it's going to be a tough game but definitely very entertaining," Williams said.
The Canberra United has been keeping herself in shape and form through a series of national team training camps since the W-League season ended in February. "At the moment I think I've been performing pretty consistently and definitely been doing pretty well between the sticks," she said. "That's an extra added pressure for Tom to pick me or pick Melissa." Australia's Women's World Cup campaign has them against Brazil (29 June), Equatorial Guinea (3 July) and Norway (6 July) in the initial stage of the tournament.
WIN IS VITAL TO FLOREAT: ISAIA
James Isaia is under no illusions as to the importance of Floreat Athena’s trip to Sorrento this weekend. The clubs occupy fifth and sixth on the table with just a single point between them, meaning whoever gets the win on Saturday will not only increase that gap but also be one step closer to finals football. “This is a real six-pointer for both teams,” said Isaia. “Sorrento have a great blend of youth and experience, and always provide a physical contest … getting anything against them will be vital for us to stay in the top five.”
It’s all a far cry from the situation Floreat found themselves in earlier this year when it took seven games to post their first win. They’ve since hit something of a purple patch with six wins and a draw from their last eight outings jumping the club into the top five. “We have managed to pull away from the foot of the table and now are pushing for a finals berth,” commented Isaia. “There’s a bit more energy in the team and increased competition for starting spots.”
It would be easy to attributed Floreat’s resurgence to some astute mid-season recruitment, however, Isaia says it’s been a couple of the existing players who’ve been vital in the clubs winning run. “Mark Pritchard has boosted our team immensely, his composure on the ball, vision, passing and finishing has helped us climb the ladder,” said the midfielder. “And our captain, Julian Madaschi, has stepped up his game in the last couple of months and his leadership qualities have shone through.”
Floreat twice came from behind to grab a draw at home with Western Knights last time out. “The boys played well and showed a lot of character to come back into the game after being down at half-time,” commented Isaia. “At times we let ourselves down by trying to over-play and that was evident in the Knights first goal. We didn’t create as many chances as we have in previous weeks but that is a credit to the Knights defence.”
It was a busy afternoon for Isaia, whose attempted clearance ricocheted off a team mate for the Knights second goal before the midfielder redeemed himself with a stunning late equaliser. “It was nice to score after having a bit of a howler in the first half,” he said. “The wind was blowing perfectly for a right footer, I simply aimed for the heads of the guys in the wall and thankfully it cleared them and snuck into the bottom corner to give us a share of the spoils.”
Isaia knows his team needs to be on top of their game to take anything home from Sorrento, who will no doubt be well-rested having not played competitively in a fortnight. “We know all too well what Dave Foster can do up-front and we will be watching him very closely,” commented Isaia. “The midfield of David Price, Adam Luca and Brodie Martin are very mobile and comfortable on the ball - shutting them down will be the key to us getting points on the weekend.”
TOMBIDES STARS IN JOEYS WIN
Striker Dylan Tombides struck twice in the second half to lead the Australian Under-17 team to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Uruguay in a training game at the Pachuca Club De Futbol complex in Mexico. The win was the perfect tonic for the Joeys who commence their Under-17 World Cup campaign on Monday against Cote d’Ivoire in Guadalajara. “The second half was quite promising, we created quite a lot of chances, scored two very good goals and it was another experience to add to the team,” coach Jan Versleijen said. “Confidence does not fall out of the sky. To get confidence you have to work, and they worked today.”
One-nil down at the break, the Joeys came out firing in the second period to dominate possession and starting picking holes in a tiring Uruguayan defence. Their deserved equaliser arrived them Tombides toyed with two defenders on the left before sending a precision shot past the goalkeeper. The final whistle wasn’t far away when Tombides snatched the winning goal by tucking into the net on the end of a string of top notch passes. West Australians Jesse Makarounas, Tom King, Mitchell Oxborrow, Riley Woodock and Tombides all featured.
WANNEROO DRIVE BY COMMON GOAL: MOORE
A strong sense of camaraderie has been at the heart of Wanneroo City’s superb start to the Division One season according to Glen Moore. The northern suburbs outfit are riding high in third place and as everyone pulls in the same direction the defender is confident his team can close the four point gap to top spot. “The boys know what’s expected to do well in this league, we have a group of around eighteen guys who are all dedicated and driven towards the same goal,” said Moore, who has been a mainstay of the defence over the opening months of the campaign.
The season is only nine games old but already it’s developing into the three-horse race for promotion with Bunbury Forum Force out in front with Shamrock Rovers and Wanneroo keeping pace. “It’s vital that we keep the momentum going as we’ve seen in previous years that the league can throw a few surprises over the winter months,” commented Moore. “In all honesty, this is one of the tightest competitions in the past few years with all teams on their day capable of taking points of each other … there is a lot of football to be played before the title is won.”
Wanneroo’s key strength has arguably been a watertight defence that has conceded just four times in nine league outings. “Having such as good record has installed a firm belief within the squad if we get our noses in front we can become very hard to break down,” commented Moore. “The defence hasn’t changed much this season with Clint Davies in goals and Joe Stocker, Jay MacDonald, myself and Nick Timmins all playing regularly with Tom Orme coming in when needed. But our defence starts from the front man and goes right down to the goalkeeper with everybody putting a shift in all over the pitch.”
It’s a good thing Wanneroo have been preventing teams from scoring as they are the competitions’ fourth lowing scoring side. “That’s not something that really concerns us as we are creating chances and winning games,” commented Moore. “To be fair to our strikers, they have probably hit the woodwork the most times out of all teams throughout the state and the ‘keepers have made some great saves against them. As long as we keep collecting three points I'll be happy with one-nil wins from now until the end of the season.”
With the Division One season nearing the halfway stage, Moore says there are a few teams that have stood head and shoulders above the rest. “Bunbury are top of the ladder for a reason, they are well organised, very good going forward and have made some very good additions to the squad,” said the defender. “Shamrock have taken to the competition very well, and Swan United work to their strengths. Ashfield have been the surprise for me, they have put together a bit of a run lately and will be a tough game for anyone in the league.”
Wanneroo kept a third straight clean sheet last weekend in defeating Dianella White Eagles 2-0 on their own turf. “We were happy enough with the performance. Dianella could always become a banana skin for any side that goes there so we were pleased to come away with the points, another clean sheet and another solid team performance,” commented Moore. “It started very scrappy but we got a grip on the game towards the end of the first half and scored a penalty right on half time. Dianella then came at us a bit, which was to be expected, and we exploited them until scoring our second.”
It’s widely expected Wanneroo will collect another win this weekend when they face a Rockingham City side that’s won once in five weeks, however, Moore knows the outcome will be decider over 90 minutes on the park. “It would be suicidal for us to underestimate any team coming off the sort of run Rockingham are,” said Moore. “The three points are a must to ensure we remain in touch with the leading pack. It’s going to be a tough game but we are playing well and not conceding goals which always leaves you with a chance of getting the result we need.”
GROUND VISITS SCHEDULED FOR STATE LEAGUE EXPANSION
Football West are making steady progress towards expanding the State League for season 2012. The association called for expressions of interest to join a new third tier competition earlier in the year with ten clubs submitting applications. Those clubs were advised late last week that the process of evaluating their facilities is about to commence. "The next step is for us to visit the venues and have a look to see if they're suitable for State League football," said Keith Wood, competitions manager at Football West.
Officials from Football West plan to visit the home grounds of Balga, Ballajura, Fremantle United, Joondalup City (formerly Heathridge), Melville City, Olympic Kingsway, Queens Park, Quinns, Subiaco, UWA-Nedlands over coming weeks. “Essentially, I’ll be doing the assessments with help from other Football West officers,” commented Wood. “Evaluations will be done in conjunction with a number of senior people in the office, including the CEO. We hope to be able to let the clubs know if they've been successful in joining the State League before the end of August.”
The ground requirements for entry into the third tier of State League football for 2012 include a playing surface with a minimum width of 60-metres; a barrier surrounding the entire field of play; entry onto the field of play for players, coaches and match officials that is separated from spectators; lockable dressing rooms with hot and cold water showers and toilets for home and away players as well as match officials; male and female public toilets; and a canteen/kiosk area. Football West will consider temporary solutions to any deficiencies on the condition that more permanent solutions are pursued with local councils.
DE VANNA READY TO START
Lisa De Vanna's days of starting on the bench are over with coach Tom Sermanni tipping big things from the striker at next month's Women's World Cup. De Vanna had a major impact on the 2007 Women’s World Cup, scoring four times primarily off the bench, but is likely to in Germany. "Until probably about a year ago, De Vanna preferred starting off the bench," Sermanni said. "Sometimes she would actually be honest and say 'I'm not ready to start today but I'll be ready by half-time. She's such a game breaker that you would listen to her and do that but I think she's reached the stage now where we will probably need her to start in these games."
CHINA CALLS BALCATTA TEENAGERS
Balcatta's next generation of State League footballers square-off with teams from across the globe at next months' Great Wall Cup of Beijing in China. The State League clubs' youth teams will be amongst those that line-up at the second edition of the international tournament which kicks off on 22 July. "The core ambition of our club is to assist young Western Australians from all backgrounds to realise their football potential and exhibit it throughout Asia and, ultimately, the world," said Balcatta coach Goran Stajic. "Now, they are heading towards fulfilling this goal in Beijing!"
The Great Wall Cup is an annual youth tournament organised by the Beijing Football Association and played at the Beijing Olympic Sports Centre. Last year's event attracted teams from Australia, Italy, North Korea, South Korea, the United States of America as well as host nation China. The tournament also provides participants an opportunity to experience China beyond the football field through a variety of cultural events that include tours of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
Balcatta will field teams in the under-16 and under-18 categories of the Great Wall Cup. "For the club to be participating in an international youth tournament of this calibre can only reinvigorate the commitment that Balcatta is displaying to the sport in WA and the Asian Football Confederation," commented Stajic. "Not only is it endorsing the Great Wall Cup in Beijing, it is signalling its support by sending two teams to represent the club and Football West ... Balcatta will be showcasing the clubs pool of talent to China, Asia and ultimately the world."
PERTH BOYS LEAD JOEYS TO VICTORY
Local products Jesse Makarounas and Dylan Tombides were on target to claim Australia’s Under-17 team a 2-1 win over Canada in a training match at the Pachuca Club De Futbol complex in Mexico. Played at altitude in extremely blustery conditions, the 3x30 minute game was the Joeys’ first hit out since arriving in Mexico ahead of the Under-17 World Cup which commences this weekend. The Joeys were in control for the majority the contest, although Canada managed to sneak a late consolation goal.
The Joeys enjoyed large periods of possession before breaking through on 29 minutes via Makarounas, who converted from the penalty spot after being taken down by the Canadian goalkeeper. The margin was doubled in the 50th minute when Tombides forced a turnover and nonchalantly chipped over the ‘keeper after getting on the end of a perfectly weighted Makarounas ball over the defence. Makarounas, Tombides and Tom King were replaced on the hour when Mitchell Oxborrow and Riley Woodock entered the game.
LINCOLN STEPS ASIDE AT STIRLING
Stirling Lions have accepted coach Paul Lincoln's request for compassionate leave as his father, Robert, battles cancer. "It has been a trying time for Paul, the weight of football has compounded on Linc's whose gravely ill dad has been in need of total family support whilst bravely fighting a cancer battle," commented Stirling president Don Evans. "The club accepted his request to step down to devote the remaining time to support his mum and dad in their time of need."
Evans tipped his hat to Lincoln's commitment during his eighteen month tneure. "Paul has been tremendous in the year and a half he has been with our club and will continue to be a respected and honoured champion of our club," said the Stirling president. "Last year's effort in putting the Lions back on the football map with a historic Solo Cup win against Floreat Athena and runners-up in the league topped off a fantastic year for the club, and for Paul personally as he took out Coach of the Year."
Doug Hesketh, who has been in charge of Stirling's youth team, will step into the senior coaching role alongside Gary Williams as Lincoln watches from the sidelines. "Linc's will be a valuable part of the club going forward and he has indicated a willingness to still help out and coming down on match days supporting the Lions with the rest of us," added Evans. "Everyone at The Den wishes Paul and his family well through this difficult time."
OLYROOS SLING SIX PAST SINGAPORE
Australia’s Under-23 team have slammed their Singapore counterparts 6-0 in a training match held in wet and windy conditions at Blacktown Olympic Park this afternoon. The Olyroos got off to a flying start with Kofi Danning driving in from an acute angle after 6 minutes and just before the quarter hour Aaron Mooy slotted in goal number two from close-range. Australia dominated the remainder of the half but were unable to add to their tally, while Singapore didn’t threaten until late when captain Hariss Harun forced a good save from Dean Bouzanis.
The second half was seven minutes old when Rocco Visconte set-up Jason Hoffman to side-foot in from inside the 6-yard box. Three minutes later Marko Jesic added his name to the score sheet by lashing into the top corner from 23-metres. Substitute Mustafa Amini fired in from long-range after 69 minutes with the scoring made complete by Aziz Behich’s superb solo goal shortly before the final whistle. Scott Neville came on after 61 minutes while Mark Birighitti was an unused substitute.
LOCAL GIANTS BOOK SEMI-FINAL DATE
A new chapter in the long-running rivalry between Perth SC and Western Knights will be written when the clubs meet in next month’s semi-finals of the 2011 State League Cup. Dorrien Gardens is the place to be on Saturday 9 July when eleven-time Cup winners Perth cross swords with the Knights for a place in the decider of the prestigious knock-out competition. The following afternoon Armadale and Sorrento, neither of whom has lifted the Cup, meet at Alfred Skeet Oval in the other round of four game. The 2011 State League Cup final will be played on Saturday 20 August.
GLORY ANNOUNCE PRE-CELTIC FRIENDLIES
Perth Glory steps up preparations for next month’s glamour friendly with Scottish giants Celtic with a trio of friendlies against local opposition. A new-look Glory have booked in a visit to Bunbury where they’ll meet a South West Select XI at Hay Park on Saturday 25 June, and four days later are due to play Premier League leaders Balcatta at a venue to be confirmed. Next on the agenda is a showdown with the Western Australia State team on Tuesday 5 July, the venue for which is to be confirmed. Glory, who’ve signed no less than ten players since last season came to an end, play Celtic at Perth Oval on Saturday 9 July.
BURNLEY PEAK IN ON LOCAL TALENT
English Championship club Burnley are pleased with the results of their first residential football camp in Perth. The camp, conducted by Paul Wozny, the Clarets’ Head of Youth (Australasia), saw 190 players aged between ten and sixteen immerse themselves a three-day training programme of technical work combined with classroom theory. Wozny, who linked up with Burnley just over twelve months ago, is also developing links in Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand for the English club.
Plans are in underway to establish a training centre in Perth similar to the Centre of Excellence at Turf Moor. “The aim is to give players an experience and a complete understanding of what it takes to make the grade in professional football and will hopefully produce talent for the future,” Wozny told burnleyfootballclub.com. “The interest in the camp was huge and it confirms that there is a considerable untapped ‘raw potential’ to be unearthed outside the UK.”
ISAIA WONDER STRIKE RESCUES FLOREAT A POINT
Floreat Athena twice came from behind to earn a valuable 2-2 draw from a scrappy encounter with Western Knights at Litis Stadium. James Isaia scored one of the goals of the season to bring the teams level late in the second half, adding to Victor Sikora's first half strike and cancelling out Johny Mirco's early finish and an own goal. "There was a little bit of sloppy defending for both goals (we conceded) but it was good that the boys did dig in and got the two goals back," said Floreat assistant coach Taki Nicolaidis, who heaped praised on Isaia. "(James is a) fantastic player, very underrated, left-foot (or) right-foot. He's got great vision in the air - all class for mine."
The Knights were quick out of the blocks and with 5 minutes gone Mirco stole possession from Ante Kovacevic and from 9-metres stabbing low and hard between Alex Dunn and his near post. Not content with a one-goal lead the visitors pushed forward again soon after, Glen Thomas playing out wide to Stuart Montgomery whose cross into the 18-yard box was nodded by an unmarked Mirco. That miss was compounded in the 28th minute when Julian Madaschi's long ball found Victor Sikora, who got around Stuart Ferguson then Daniel Trim before chipping over an on-coming Frazer Siddall. The Knights reclaimed the lead seven minutes later when Isaia's goal line clearance cannoned off Madaschi and crept into the net.
Paul Van Dongen and Jarrad Smith each had chances to restore parity as Floreat started the second period under full steam. With their focus on defensive duties, the Knights counter attacked on the hour but Dunn stood tall to brilliantly deny Mirco. Ryan Shackleton's foul on Mark Pritchard in teh 75th minute paved the way for Floreat's equaliser, Isaia giving the home supporters reasons to celebrate when his crisp free-kick from 22-metres came to rest in the back of the net. Things went from bad to worse for the Knights when Shackleton was shown a harsh second yellow card with five minutes remaining.
Either team would have finished with three points had they been able to capitalise on late openings. Mirco did well to get the better of Kovacevic and go one-on-one with Dunn but placed wide of the target. Paul Van Dongen tried his luck on a couple of occasions from distance, neither of which required a response from Siddall. The final play had Dunn at full-stretch after Kyle Moran's attempted clearance was blocked by Callum Roberts and ricocheted just past the top corner. Despite sharing the points the Knights and Floreat stay in the top five but facing a fight in coming weeks with Sorrento breathing down their necks.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? (by Ashley Morrison, Green and Gold Army)
The biggest mistake that Perth Glory made was keeping the name and carrying it over from the old National Soccer League to the A-League. For the past six seasons they have been paying the price for that decision and will unfortunately continue to do so until they win a title. As the NSL was being delivered the last rites, Glory were one of the few clubs not in need of life support. They were the new kids on the block with plenty of life in them.
Initially Glory rode in on the back of a footballing public starved of football higher than the State League. Then they evolved into a well-managed and well run club with Roger Lefort as chief executive and Jeff Dennis and Justin Everley in the marketing department. In those days the clubs were responsible for their own marketing and could put on their own pre-match entertainment. Bernd Stange arrived as coach and at the same time money was made available to make Glory the best club in the land.
Then Stange split the club in two. Having been employed on a two-year deal to raise the profile of the club so that co-owner Nick Tana could sell his shares to David Rodwell, he was supposed to leave once his contract expired. Rodwell would be the major shareholder and Mich D’Avray would take over as head coach. But Stange decided not to go and used the power of public opinion to obtain a contract extension.
Co-owner Paul Afkos backed Stange as did Lefort, and the club became factionalized. This fictionalization also went further with some fans backing the Afkos view that Stange was the man to lead the club into the future, vowing to never support the club after that day. D’Avray did eventually take over and Glory did win the league, but one with no salary cap where they bought most of the best players, and a league in which only four teams realistically stood a chance of winning the title.
The A-League was born and along with it came the salary cap, which prevented Glory attracting the cream of the country’s footballers as they now could get good salaries in their home towns. The salary cap meant that often Glory could only sign those players who could not get a club on the east coast. Glory was the only team to take into the new competition a history.
Keeping the ‘Perth Glory’ name came expectation based on previous successes, based on the calibre of players the fans were used to seeing. Also came some negativity from some of the public that lingered from the Stange fall out - no other club had that baggage. Nick Tana erred when he appointed Englishman Steve McMahon as coach, but the fodder that he had to work with that first season was well below the standard Perth fans were used to seeing wearing their colours.
The club has now witnessed five coaches in six seasons. In three seasons the club went from being owned by Nick Tana, to being owned by the FFA (who did not use the full quota of the salary cap on players - and it showed) to being owned by three men which in another season came down to one, Tony Sage. The result of all these changes is a very unstable club with no clear long term direction on or off the pitch.
It appeared that (coach) Dave Mitchell and Sage were building a club that could once again see Glory compete with the other clubs around the country. But when Mitchell moved upstairs it was back to ground zero. Ian Ferguson now has the reins and again the club is a work in progress, and a little patience is required. However a failure to make the finals this season will be unacceptable, when you look at the players on the clubs books.
The ‘Perth Glory’ name, however, continues to carry with it great expectation. One one has to wonder whether it was wise to let the club keep the name as it entered a new era in Australian football. It has weighed the club down over the past four years and could end up suffocating it. No other club suffers the comparisons to former years as does Perth Glory, from fans and media alike.
BALCATTA TOO STRONG FOR MANDURAH (with Michael Barr, Football West)
Balcatta ground out a solid two-nil victory against All Flags State Premier League strugglers Mandurah City. Chris Thackray got the show on the road for the visitors midway through the first half but it wasn’t until the closing stages that the game was sealed by Geneveo Human. “We had more than enough chances to put the game away in the first half and became a little frustrated trying to ‘put the nail in the coffin’ in the second period,” said Michael Roki. “Adam Tong was very good for us at the back again and Chris Thackray, Paul Vatistas and Spencer Harris were the engine that saw us dominate.”
It didn’t take long for Balcatta to start opening holes in the home defence with Paul Vatistas and Daniel Micevski the catalysts. The first strike on goal came via Daniel Niederberger but his volley was straight at goalkeeper Phil Straker. Mo Atak forced a low save from the ‘keeper as the pressure started to mount on the home side. The inevitable breakthrough arrived after 23 minutes, Spencer Harris’s long-range attempt crashing into the crossbar and rebounding down for Thackray to ram into the net.
Balcatta wanted another and a few minutes later Niederberger worked himself into space on the left before pulling the ball back for Harris but his long-range shot this time flashed just wide of the upright. The onslaught continued with a curling Adam Tong free-kick from 27-metres which shaved the junction of bar and post. Mandurah’s day took a turn for the worse in the 39th when a rash tackle by Hamm earned the defender a straight red card.
Mandurah began to claw their way back into the game after the break, Garin Collins centring pass found Rafael Insaurralde who called Lewis Italiano into action for the first time. However, the game soon enough settled into a lull with both sides struggling to create any sort of goal scoring chances. It didn’t game back to life until the closing stages when Atak volleyed wide and Human hit the post within minutes of each other. Human got his reward in the 93rd minute when he dinked past one defender before blasting Balcatta’s second goal into the top corner.
O'CALLAGHAN PLOTS PERTH’S DOWNFALL (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Stirling Lions pulled off one of the upsets of 2011 by toppling Perth SC 3-1 at Macedonia Park. Phil O’Callaghan was the architect of the win, scoring all three goals for the home team who surge to within three points of top five. Greg Sharland continued his fine form in front of goal for Perth whose misery was added to by the 77th minute red carding of Matt Danskin.
A high intensity opening 45 minutes was relatively even, both teams working the ball into their attacking third on numerous occasion only to be repelled by a couple of well-organised defences. The periods solitary goal arrived in the 41st minute, O’Callaghan’s goalbound shot from 14-metres was blocked by Devon Spence but the striker make amends by ramming the rebound past the Perth custodian to send Stirling into the break one-nil up.
Perth asserted themselves early in the second half, Vlad Naumovski thwarted twice in seconds by Cory Hugo. The visitors were rewarded in the 57th minute when Sharland, who was played in by Danskin, tucked away the loose ball after his initial shot wasn’t taken cleanly by Hugo. A controversial offside call by referee Michael Tolmie in the 62nd minute robbed Stirling of the lead after Shaun Kilkelly turned the ball into his own net.
Stirling moved on quickly and nine minutes later Kilkelly’s sliding tackle on Roberto Lujan produced the hosts a penalty kick which O’Callaghan placed into the bottom corner. Tempers on the Perth bench flared during the 77th minute when Danskin, who had been substituted ten minutes earlier, was dealt a red card for swearing at the referee. O’Callaghan sealed victory five minutes into stoppage time with his and the teams third goal, the striker tapping over an advancing Spence.
Paul Lincoln said he was pleased with Stirling’s performance which came just a week after a surprise loss to Cockburn City. “I thought we controlled the game from the outset and should have been three-nil up at half-time. Devon Spence made an outstanding save onto the post and we have hit the post again,” commented the Stirling coach. “The win should give us some confidence and we look to get our season back on track.”
THREE OFF AS ARMADALE PREVAIL OVER JOONDALUP (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Armadale eased their relegation fears with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus. Substitute Ross Diamond grabbed the deciding goal late on to add to Matt Barlow’s brace, and cancel out finishes by Tom Jones and John Thornley. But the match will be remembered for an all-in melee that resulted in 78th minute red cards to Dale McCulloch, Warren Beattie and Charlie Comyn-Platt.
James Robinson put Armadale on the front foot early with an acrobatic effort that forced a great save from Andy Banks. Chances flowed for both team throughout the opening half. Thornley stung the gloves of Cyril Sharrock, and later Barlow flashed a free-kick just wide of the target. Joondalup utilised route one to take a 24th minute lead, Banks long ball was flicked on by Thornley to give Jones the simple job of sliding it past the on-coming goalkeeper.
Tom Robinson should have equalised almost immediately but he somehow missed from point blank range after good work by Barlow on the right. However, Armadale need wait only until the 36th minute to draw level with Matt Bennion pushing forward to deliver an inviting cross which Barlow duly headed into the net. Both teams created half-chances as the half came to a close but with neither able to convert it remained one-all.
Armadale started the second half positively, James Robinson gliding down the left only to lift high of the crossbar. Joondalup reclaimed the lead on 55 minutes when a Ryan McDarby cross wasn’t dealt with by the visitors defence, allowing Thornley to crash in from 5-metres. However, three minutes later James Robinson’s centring ball found its way in to Barlow who made no mistake scoring his and Armadale’s second goal of the afternoon.
Thornley had a chance to score to put the hosts back into the lead when he neatly turned his marker inside out but struck into the side netting. That miss was to prove costly as with fifteen minutes to go Diamond was afforded time and space to unleashing a swinging shot from 23-metres that Banks had no chance of reaching. Minutes later McCulloch’s two-footed lunge sparked some heated scenes that finished with Comyn-Platt and Beattie red carded along with the Joondalup captain.
MARALUNDA SALVAGES BAYSWATER A POINT (with James Wragg, Football West)
A superb last minute free-kick by Gustavo Maralunda pinched Bayswater City a 3-3 draw from a pulsating afternoon against Cockburn City at Frank Drago Reserve. Ian McMurray scored the opening goal of a seesawing encounter only for Maralunda to send the teams into the break on level terms. Gavin Knight posted the hosts second goal soon after the restart but it looked as though the points would go to Cockburn after Scott McCulloch and Million Butshiire found the net. The dismissal of George Tchami left Bayswater with ten men before Maralunda had the final say.'
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm throughout the first half, which was halfway over when goalkeeper Alex Pearson tipped over the first shot in anger from Maralunda. Cockburn edged in from on the half hour when Marc Anthony sent Million Butshiire away on the right, the attacker using his pace to get free and play a low cross into the 18-yard box where McMurray slid in front of a napping defence to open the scoring. Bayswater hit back in the shadows of half time when Jason Godfrey’s poorly timed tackle gave the hosts a penalty, Maralunda tucking into the net after dusting himself off.
The second half had been in motion 30 seconds when Jon Davite carelessly gave the ball away to Josh Tumoe who neatly fed Knight with the striker making no mistake putting Bayswater in front. The game was level again on 58 minutes, new Scottish import McCulloch lashing through a crowded 18-yard box, albeit with a deflection or two, after Bayswater failed to properly deal with a corner. Cockburn were having a torrid time containing Maralunda, who on 63 minutes shot wide after being set free by Abdul Sesay’s defence splitting pass.
Cockburn thought they’d found a winning in the 80th minute after Butshiire converted from the penalty spot after Rory Feely’s shot was blocked by Gianni Papalia and Ian McMurray was felled by Tchami as he attempted to net the rebound. A needless foul by Tchami with nine minutes left referee Josh Mihevc little choice but to issue the defender his second yellow card. The game had ticked into stoppage time when Maralunda unleashed a brilliant free-kick that flew past the defensive wall and beyond the glove of a diving ‘keeper to rescue a dramatic point.
MUSA GRABS VICTORY FOR NTC (with Karl Travaglini, Football West)
A resurgent The National Training Centre emerged 1-0 victors from a sluggish affair with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sahr Musa’s strike midway through the first half was enough to get the NTC their third successive win. Much of the early play took place in midfield with the respective defences denying their opponents entry into the final third. A lapse in the NTC defence presented an opening for David Foster but his 10th minute was brilliantly turned wide by goalkeeper Tim Doyle at close-range.
The NTC’s fashioned a chance of their own five minutes later, Brandon O’Neill pouncing on a loose ball in the centre of the park and advancing on goal but his shot was too close to Todd Ross, who saved comfortably. What would be the games’ deciding goal arrived in the 34th minute, a lobbed pass by Josh Risdon caught the Gulls back four napping as winger Musa raced clear and stroked low past the ‘keeper in a one-on-one.
Second half possession was evenly distributed with the two defensive units continuing to dominate proceedings. Jason Mirco went close to equalising in the 70th minute but his free-kick was pushed wide of the near post by Doyle. The resulting corner found Wesley Padley whose header flashed over the crossbar from near the penalty spot. Chances the flowed freely for Sorrento and it seemed increasingly likely a draw would result, however, the NTC held firm right up until referee David Scragg blew his whistle for the last time.
BROOKS NETS FOUR AS BUNBURY THRASH CANNING (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force continued their march towards promotion with a massive 9-0 win over Division One cellar dwellers Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. In-form attacker Jon Brooks hit the back of the net four times to spearhead Bunbury to the biggest win of the State League season. Jordan Rispin and Michael Marten also chimed in with doubles with the remainder an own goal to consolidated top spot in Division One for the club from the south west.
It was clear Bunbury had a landslide margin in their sights when Rispin hammered in at close-range from a Brooks corner to the far post with 2 minutes gone. The margin was doubled six minutes later, this time through a diving header by Marten resulting from Neil Chappell’s cross into the danger zone. Although Bunbury remained firmly on control, the visitors eased off the pace somewhat and it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that goal number three arrived courtesy Jayden Prosser’s delivery which Brooks tucked in.
Any hopes Canning may have held of clawing their way back into the game was snuffed out within minutes of the second half starting. A delightful exchange of one-touch passing between Marten, Rory Binnie and Prosser set up Brooks for his second goal on 47 minutes. Canning were still reeling when Brooks completed his hat-trick with a lovely shot into the top corner from 20-metres. Adding to the hosts woes was an unfortunate own goal in the 72nd minute which blew the gap out to six goals.
The final minutes saw Bunbury pile on three further goals against a by now truly demoralised opponent. Brooks whipped in a corner with eleven minutes left which fell invitingly for Marten to head into the net. Brooks then grabbed himself a fourth goal, waltzing through the defence and around the goalkeeper after getting on the end of Keiran Quinn’s through ball. In the final minutes of regulation time Rispin rose high at the back post to nod in his second, and Bunbury’s ninth goal of the afternoon.
SHAMROCK TOO GOOD FOR SWAN
Shamrock Rovers ended Swan United's unbeaten home run with a sensational 2-0 win at the Swan Italian Club. The impetus for Shamrock’s opening goal came from Ian Stack’s cross field pass into the path of Nick Carroll, who had little trouble beating the home goalkeeper. Swan thought they were back on level terms when Tom Shepheard pushed the ball into the net, however, a handball decision spotted by the assistant referee in the lead-up disallowed the strike.
The second half was ten minutes old when Carroll, John Kearney and Sean Brooks combined well to send clear Ross Gosgrave, who cut past the last defender before unleashing a fierce shot from 16-metres that beat the ‘keeper. Carroll had a great chance to make it three-nil but after getting around the ‘keeper his shot crashed into the upright. Swan pressed late to salvage the afternoon but would very few holes in a tight Shamrock defence.
WANNEROO CONTINUE ON THEIR MERRY WAY
Wanneroo City kept pace with the leader by grinding out a 2-0 win over Dianella White Eagles at Dianella Reserve. Both sides had their chances in a tight first half as Dianella desperately attempted to end a poor run of results. The deadlock was broken a minute into the second half when Brian Cairney successfully converted from the penalty spot following a foul by Bojan Radinovic on Craig Bowman. Dianella hopes of getting something from the afternoon were crushed when Josh Booysen’s header was cleared off the line by Jimmy Taneski, the ball ricocheting off goalkeeper Matt Battigelli before entering the net with 63 minutes played.
ASHFIELD OVERPOWER FREMANTLE
Ashfield stretched their unbeaten run to six with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Fremantle Spirit at Wauhop Park. Fremantle took a shock in the 13th minute through a Luke Doyle header after the visitors failed to clear their lines at a corner. Martin Sherwin brought the sides level five minutes before the break with a fierce low drive that gave the goalkeeper no chance. Ashfield’s second goal arrived seven minutes into the second half when some tidy lead-up work put the ball with an unmarked Farrell Hedges who coolly struck into the net from inside the 18-yard box.
ONE EACH FOR ROCKINGHAM AND FORRESTFIELD
The points were shared at Lark Hills Sportsplex where Rockingham City and Forrestfield United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw. Andrew Keary's goal after 37 minutes was cancelled out by Lewis Costley’s strike with quarter of an hour to go. After a slow start to the season, Forrestfield have been the big improvers with three wins and a draw from their last five outings to move into sixth spot.
BURNS GETS GOSNELLS A SHARE
Gosnells City salvaged a valuable point from a seesawing 2-2 draw with Morley Windmills at Walter Padbury Reserve. Jamie Burns opened and closed the scoring either side of late finishes by Andy O’Neill and Balcatta captain Ian McKean. “We played well today but some errant finishing potentially cost us two points,” said Morley coach Salv Todaro post-game. The first half was a tight affair with neither team giving an inch and genuine goal scoring chances few and far between.
The deadlock was eventually broken until midway through the second half when Burns beat his marker to fire low into Steve Grant’s net. Morley hit back with venom and in the 84th minute Andy O’Neill tapped into the net his fourth goal of the campaign. Two minutes later the visitors thought they’d found a winner after McKean headed in powerfully from an Andy O’Neill corner. With time fast running out Burns headed in Gosnells’ second goal after meeting Andy Pomfret’s free-kick into the 18-yard box.
The drama was far from over as three minutes into stoppage time an off the ball incident between Burns and Grant led the referee to awarded Gosnells a penalty. Pomfret stepped up to confidently stroke past the ‘keeper, however, the referee ordered the spot kick by retaken with Grant this time guessing correctly to make the save. Although the final whistle sounded moments later, there was still time for Leo Harman to be issued his second yellow card for the afternoon.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
Frank Drago Reserve is the place to be on Saturday when Premier League strugglers Bayswater City and Cockburn City face-off in a game that is likely to have a huge bearing on whether these clubs are in the top flight next year. It’s been a long time between drinks for Bayswater, who are winless in the past two months and hover just above the relegation zone. A spate of new recruits inspired Cockburn to victory last weekend for just the second time this season and coach Mike Lyons would like to see a similar performances from his troops tomorrow.
Home coach Syd Amphlett has a good idea of what to expect when he leads ECU Joondalup into battle with Armadale. “We watched Armadale at Stirling in the Cup and Scott Miller had a very young side out who are trying to play football. Everyone knows about James Robinson, but I was impressed with their front three as a unit,” said the Joondalup boss. “Our preparation for Armadale will be no different than for any other game. We have a target of five wins out of our next nine games to ensure top five qualification, and that starts with Armadale at home on Saturday.”
You can count on Mandurah City fighting right up to the final whistle when Premier League leaders Balcatta travel to Hyundai Stadium. Mandurah are hopeful new arrivals Adam Clough (ex-Middlesbrough) and Mark Osmond will be granted clearance in time to take to the park, however, injury prevents any participation for Ivan Zuvela and Christian Pascherwitz. It’ll be a significantly weakened Balcatta that travels south, coach Michael Roki without the services of striker Steve Burton (suspension) as well as ball playing midfielders Spencer Harris (foot) and Jason Barrera (knee).
Perth SC should stretch their winning run to five games by visiting Stirling Lions, whose season took a turn for the worse when battered twice over the long weekend. Stirling’s resources look like being stretched to the limit with Ludovic Boi, Bobby Wilson and Roberto Lujan under injury clouds while suspension rules out Michael Pugliese and David Hunt. It’s a similar story at Perth where Adam Bachiller, Andreas Oliviera (injury), Daniel Coletta (exams), Dom De Felice (work) are amongst the absentees, however, the Blues welcome Shaun Kilkelly and David Onoforo back to the line-up.
The round concludes at Litis Stadium on Sunday with form team Floreat Athena up against Western Knights. It’s been a remarkable couple of months for Floreat who have very clear plans to rise higher than the fifth position they currently occupy. “Seven weeks of hard work has got us back in the top five and we can’t afford to let that all go in one game,” said striker Liam Boland. “The Knights will be no push over, they’re always a hard team to beat … if we can get a win it will keep our run going.”
Knights captain Dave Annall is suspended for the game but has faith his team mates can do the job without him. “The lads at the back will have to be at their best but we’re more than capable of containing the likes of Boland and (Paul) Van Dongen, who’ve definitely been hitting their straps of late,” said Annall. “Callum Roberts has been buzzing for us, causing havoc with his pace and getting in and around defenders. I’m tipping a couple from Cal going back to his old club, and Monty (Stuart Montgomery) for a cheeky chip somewhere in there as well!” All six Premier League games – be they Saturday or Sunday – kick off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Swan United’s unbeaten home record comes under threat when Shamrock Rovers venture into the Swan Valley on Saturday afternoon. Shamrock really are the form team in Division One, bagging in 24 goals over the past month while conceding just once to move into second spot. “We have been on a good run, and we know how important this game will be,” commented Shamrock’s Gavin Mooney. “We will try to get the three points at Swan but everyone at the club knows that is not going to be easy.”
There have been some encouraging signs from Gosnells City since chalking up win number one a few weeks back but they’ll need to be at their best to take anything from the home game with Morley Windmills. “We are playing some quality football but can’t seem to get the results and a win against Morley could be the start of a nice little run,” said new Gosnells signing Jamie Burns. ”It’ll be a difficult game, Morley are a decent unit and Salv (Todaro) has them playing well … I think we’ll see a few goals scored.”
Bunbury Forum Force are expected to tally up a big win from their trip to Canning City. Wanneroo City makes the short journey down to Dianella White Eagles, who must be wondering how they will halt what has been a slow slide down the table. Three wins from four outings has jumped Forrestfield United into the top five and provides them plenty of confidence ahead of a meeting at Rockingham City. Another long afternoon looms for Fremantle Spirit when they welcome to Wauhop Park an Ashfield side that is unbeaten in five weeks. All six Division One games kick off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
NO NEED TO PANIC SAYS MANDURAH’S STRAKER
Mandurah City defender Tom Straker says his clubs position towards the bottom of the Premier League table is by no means a reflection of the calibre of players at the club. The Dolphins showed what they are capable of with early wins over Perth SC and Balcatta before their season fell in a hole, the southerners collecting just five points from their last eleven league encounters. “We have quality in the squad to achieve much more and I think we’ll continue to improve and get the results we need,” said Straker, who joined Mandurah over the summer..
No one would disagree that Mandurah face a massive task if they're to stay in the Premier League next season but Straker is confident that they can do just that. “We aren’t pressing the panic button but at the same time we can’t be complacent,” said the defender. “Phil has come back into the team and with Darren Broxton, Ivan Zuvela and two lads from the UK (Adam Clough and Mark Osmond) we’ll have a bit more strength and experience in the squad. You have to believe you can go out and win every week, I’ve never been any different and I think we’ll pick up points.”
Straker feels there are some aspects of Mandurah’s game that could do with some dramatic improvement. “Concentration has been a major weakness in the last couple of weeks and we have faltered a little bit when it comes to goals, we’re not killing teams off and then gifting them silly goals,” he said. “Nobody has given us a hiding though, we’ve been the architects of our own demise in a way. If we were just getting hidings every week then you’d be worrying but that’s not the case. The coaching staff have been superb - and that will be another telling factor as the weeks go on.”
Mandurah have a good account of themselves over the weekend with a strong second half at Inglewood United and solid all-round performance at home to Perth SC in the Cup. “I think we lacked a little bit of fight and enthusiasm against Inglewood and gave away two schoolboy goals. We missed a lot of chances but the fact is we created them,” Straker commented. “Perth was a major improvement but, again, we missed chances and weren’t happy with the way we gave away the second goal. If we can take the Cup performance and replicate that over the next few weeks we’ll pick up points.”
The next fortnight promises to be a very testing time with Mandurah pitted against Balcatta and Western Knights. “Nobody in our camp will be walking out thinking about scraping a point - we’ll be playing to win. Both teams are fast, have a good dynamic and have individuals that need to be watched, we're under no illusions of the task in front of us,” said Straker, before taking a lighter look at the coming fortnight. “My tip is two easy wins for Mandurah, I’ll probably weigh in with another couple of goals - one of which will be goal of the season – after which I’ll be knighted by the Queen.”
MATILDAS BETTER THAN 2007: MCCALLUM
The Matildas squad heading to the Women’s World Cup in Germany this month is faster, more mobile and has more depth than the quarterfinalists of four years ago. That is the view of Perth Glory midfielder Collette McCallum as she prepares to grace the World Cup stage for a second. “This team is so mobile now and when we go forward it’s so quick,” McCallum told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “We have more technical players, so we can play one-touch stuff. But the game is much faster now.”
The quickening nature of the game has coincided with the rapid rise of Samantha Kerr, who is expected to play a key role in Australia’s attack. Kerr’s goal in a 2-1 loss to European heavyweight Germany in October showed she is not intimated by the big teams. “We’ve got four young players in Caitlin Foord (16), Teigen Allen (17), Emily Van Egmond (17) and Sam Kerr and because of their age they are fearless,” 25-year old McCallum commented.
McCallum was on the scoresheet at the 2007 Women’s World Cup where Australia bowed out in the quarter-finals to Brazil, who they meet in the opening group game. “Brazil are one of the top teams in the world and we know what they are capable of,” said McCallum. “But we played them in the Peace Cup (in 2008) when they didn’t have a couple of key players and we beat them 1-0. So we think we can get a result in that game first off and that’s going to be very important for us.”
SHARLAND BACK WITH A BANG
Greg Sharland is back doing what he does best – tormenting defences and scoring goals. The 28-year old is pleased to be playing a role for Perth SC after missing the early stages of the season through injury. “Just playing 90 minutes again is something that has been a long time coming so I’m really happy about that. And scoring goals is a bonus, as long as the team is winning I’m happy,” said Sharland. “I tore the hamstring tendon that joins to the knee against Cockburn in the Night Series … tendons take forever to heal.”
Last weekend was a busy time for Perth who backed up Saturday’s league win over Bayswater City with Cup victory at Mandurah City three days later. “The game against Bayswater was a tough one,” commented Sharland. “We had a few players away and the younger guys stepped in and will now give Ronnie (Campbell) a real headache come selection time this week. It was great to see these boys playing well and Vlad (Naumovski) getting on the scoresheet once again.”
Sharland, 28, scored a long-range stunner when Perth faced off with Mandurah on Monday. “It’s always tough to back up two days later and produce a solid performance, especially against a tough Mandurah side,” he said. Dom De Felice sent Perth through to the next stage of the Cup after Sharland had cancelled out Jeff Bright’s opener. “The game was frustrating at times, however, to come out with the win in extra-time was a great feeling,” Sharland added
Perth will be without several regulars for this weekend’s trip to Stirling Lions, who are still licking their wounds from losses to Cockburn City and Armadale over the long weekend. “Stirling are always a dangerous side. They are very tough to play at their ground and given the circumstances they will be very fired up,” said Sharland. “We have great depth in the squad this year so we can afford for a few players to be injured, suspended or away … it’s always a great spectacle when Perth and Stirling meet. Plenty of goals have flowed in recent games between the clubs and Saturday should be no different.”
MATILDAS COACH BACKS DE VANNA
Tom Sermanni believes the inclusion of controversial striker Lisa De Vanna in Australia's Women's World Cup squad is the right call for the team. De Vanna, capped 65 times by Australia, was ejected from last month's training camp on the Gold Coast but Sermanni says the Matilda's really can't do without her big game experience. "When I make decisions, ultimately I try to go back to the premise that I make decisions that I think are in the best interests of the team," Sermanni said.
De Vanna, 26, was given a chance to impress at another training camp on the Gold Coast last week and Sermanni believed her attitude had improved enough to warrant selection. "Lisa, from time-to-time we've had some management issues, there's no point denying that. But overall she's a valuable player and a valuable person in our squad. She's a player that can make a significant difference on the field to the team and the players understand and realise that. When you put those factors together, in this situation we feel the pros have outweighed some of the cons from what happened three weeks ago."
CANNING IMPROVING WITH EACH WEEK: READWIN
Canning City’s failure to chalk up so much as a point from their first eight games has taken Blake Readwin by surprise. Not a great deal has gone right so far for Canning who are rooted to last place and facing the very real prospect of relegation come September. “It goes without saying that we haven’t had the start we had hoped,” commented 18-year old Readwin. “We knew that we would be in the bottom half of the ladder this season but I don’t think anyone thought that we’d be pointless by this stage of the season.”
Readwin says there are several contributing factors for his teams’ flat start to the new season. “The heavy loss of players from last season definitely played a part,” he commented, referring to the summer departure of almost all Canning’s 2010 senior list. “The new inexperienced players that came in to take their places weren’t immediately up to the task at hand … it was always going to take time for these players to become more experienced and accustomed to first team football.”
Canning came within a few minutes of victory recently only for Forrestfield to snatch the points with a trio of late goals. “The team was just gutted, we let a 2-0 lead slip through our fingers in the dying minutes,” commented Readwin, who said there were some positives from that afternoon. “We definitely showed improvement. We played the ball around a lot better and were creating more chances then we have had in previous games, plus we finally found the formation that works for us.”
With that in mind, Readwin is confident Canning can turn their season around. “Each week we are improving and the younger players are developing,” he said. “It was always going to take time to bring the team up to a competitive level and I believe we are just around the corner from our first few wins. Over the last two months we have been making steady progress as shown against Forrestfield and Rockingham, and it’s only a matter of time for things to start happening for Canning.”
Although Canning are doing it tough at the moment, the experience gained by the clubs many youngsters will be put to good use in the years to come. “The youth at Canning are definitely our major strength,” commented Readwin. “After a few seasons those players will be the core of the Canning first team and we will be a contender for the league again. All the youngsters need are a few dedicated coaches which I believe we have in Mark Woods and Simon Harrison, who are both tremendous assets to the club.”
There’s no let up for Canning who this Saturday have a home date with Division One leaders Bunbury Forum and seven days later travel to Morley Windmills. “If we can at least be competitive and perhaps grab a couple of points we will be happy with the outcome (of our coming two games),” said Readwin. “An important goal for us will be to restrict the amount of goals being conceded. If we can do this against the top teams then we will have a greater chance against the bottom half of the ladder teams.”
KERR EXCITED BY WORLD CUP SELECTION
Perth Glory striker Samantha Kerr is over the moon with her selection in Australia’s squad for this month’s Women’s World Cup. Western Australia will be well represented at the tournament in Germany with Kerr, Collette McCallum, Lydia Williams and Lisa De Vanna named in coach Tom Sermanni’s 21-player squad. “I’m pretty excited to be selected, it’s so close now,” 17-year old Kerr said. “You’re never too confident of being selected, but I thought I did well in the training camps and with a bit of luck, I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The Matilda’s depart for Germany next week with pre-World Cup friendlies scheduled against Mexico and England. For the tournament itself, Australia have been grouped alongside Brazil (29 June), Equatorial Guinea (3 July) and Norway (6 July) in the initial stage of the tournament. “Hopefully we can do better than the quarter-finals stage like last time, which has to be the aim for us,” commented Kerr. “It’s a bit nerve-racking playing Brazil first up, but we have to go in with a bit of confidence and play well.”
Australia’s squad for the up-coming Women’s World Cup is Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Lauren Colthorpe, Casey Dumont, Elise Kellond-Knight, Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Ellyse Perry, Sally Shipard, Emily van Egmond, Lydia Williams (Canberra United), Lisa De Vanna (magicJack), Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne Victory), Heather Garriock (LdB Malmo), Samantha Kerr, Collette McCallum (Perth Glory), Teigen Allen, Caitlin Foord, Leena Khamis, Kyah Simon, and Servet Uzunlar (Sydney FC).
GLORY CONFIRM VAN DEN BRINK
Dutch defender Bas Van Den Brink has been unveiled as the tenth addition to a new-look Perth Glory squad. Van Den Brink, who played for FC Utrecht, FC Emmen and Almere City in the Netherlands, has signed on for two seasons with Glory following a similar length stay at Gold Coast United. “I have been very impressed with the squad coach Ian Ferguson has assembled,” said Van Den Brink, who recently played in South Korean for Busan I’Park. “I’m delighted to be heading to Perth and helping the club achieve success this season.”
Glory now has 22 players on its roster for the upcoming season which begins at home to Adelaide United on 9 October. “It’s great to have Bas on board. He’s another new face into the squad and a quality signing,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “Compared to last season I’m really pleased with the squad. I feel that we have more depth now.” Van Den Brink is one of five foreign players on the books at Glory, joining Victor Sikora (Netherlands), Steven McGarry (Scotland), Liam Miller (Ireland) and Branko Jelic (Serbia).
WILLIAMS TO WALTZ MATILDAS
Former State team defender Nicola Williams has been appointed coach of Australia's under-20 womens team, the Young Matildas. Williams, 28, is widely regarded as one of the nations' best up-and-coming young coaches having guided Perth Glory Women through the inaugural W-League season and been part of Australia's youth development set-up for the past few years. First port of call for Williams will be the AFC Under-19 Women's Championship in October where a place at next years' Under-20 World Cup is up for offer. "The Young Matildas have not qualified in a World Cup since Russia in 2004, so I am determined to get them there," Williams said. The holder of an AFC 'A' Coaching Certificate, Williams played with considerable success with Northern Redbacks and Western Waves before turning her hand to coaching.
SOCCEROOS SHARE THE SPOILS WITH SERBIA
Australia and Serbia have played out to a high quality scoreless 0-0 draw in front of 28, 149 spectators at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Socceroos coach Holger Osieck admitted to some disappointment at the looseness of the Socceroos' passing at times but said he was pleased with the depth uncovered in this game and the friendly with New Zealand two days earlier. “We are enlarging our squad. We have definitely already a couple more players who can really play for the Socceroos and that is really very positive,” the coach said.
Either team would have been a goal up by the break had they made better use of first half chances. Mile Jedinak tested Serbian goalkeeper Damir Kahriman with a free-kick on the half hour. Seven minutes later Archie Thompson’s clever flick sent Brett Holman down the right, his cross found Jedinak whose shot was deflected out for a corner. Adam Ljajic missed a golden opportunity to put Serbia one-nil up by blasting high when presented with an open goal.
Adam Federici was called into action twice early in the second half, diving bravely at the feet of Zoran Tosic before saving a long-range attempt by Ljajic. Both coaches went to the bench in search for the winner with Holman sending James Troisi through one-on-one with Kahriman but the young Socceroos shot was straight the ‘keeper. In the end, the draw was a fair result for both teams. West Australian defender Williams entered the game on 57 minutes.
CELTIC FRIENDLY NOT AN OPTION: COYNE
Chris Coyne will not be pushing for selection when Perth Glory face Scottish Cup winners Celtic in next month’s friendly at Perth Oval. The Glory defender is being nursed through the final stages of rehabilitation from an Achilles injury and has no intention of risking a setback by taking part against Celtic. “If it was a three pointer I’d try to get myself fit for it,” Coyne told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “But when you are not playing for points it’s more important that the fittest players are out there to put on a spectacle for the fans.”
Of greater importance to Coyne is his fight to make an impact in the A-League. Glory kick off their season at home to Adelaide United on 9 October and Coyne, who did not play a game for Perth last season because of injury and a loan spell in China, is thankful Football Federation Australia opted to start the new campaign later than usual. “The FFA pushing the start of the season back is a blessing in disguise for me because it means I’ve got the extra time to be 100 per cent,” he said.
TOMBIDES LOOMS AS JOEYS WORLD CUP STAR
Joeys’ coach Jan Versleijen is tipping Dylan Tombides to be the headline act for Australia at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. Tombides, a former Stirling Lions junior, has already earned a spot on the bench in the English Premier League at West Ham United and could be Australia’s surprise weapon at the upcoming tournament. “We had him last year in a tournament when we played with the Joeys in England, against Turkey, Portugal and England, and he made quite a good impression,” Versleijen said. “It seems that after that tournament, he developed even more. At his age, already playing in the (EPL) reserves and even in one or two games on the bench for the first team, he's quite a promising striker and I expect a lot of him.” Tombides sat on the bench in the Hammers final Premier League game of the season having made a dozen appearances in the Reserves.
KNIGHTS STORM INTO CUP SEMIS (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Western Knights scored twice in extra-time to advance to the State League Cup semi-finals with a pulsating 3-2 win over Balcatta at Nash Field. An uneventful first half gave little indication of the thrilling ride that was to follow as Simon Versaico and Spencer Harris scored within minutes of each other late in the second period. Chris Thackaray put Balcatta in front during extra-time only for the Knights to claim victory through Stuart Montgomery and captain David Annall.
The first chance of the game was a Callum Roberts snapshot which forced Lewis Italiano to dive low to his right. Roberts tried his luck again from distance soon after but again the Balcatta goalkeeper wasn't seriously tested, while Stuart Ferguson should have done better when presented with a free header. Balcatta sparked into life late in the half when Adam Tong blasted just over with a free-kick. Stephen Burton and Ashley Rosindale then combined for the first time with the latter dragging his shot just wide of the post.
Daniel Micevski surged down the right early in the second half but his shot was acrobatically saved by Frazer Siddall. A Mo Atak free-kick in the 70th minute found Ton but his header was off-target. Five minutes later the Knights hit the front, Simon Versaico heading in from Montgomery's near post cross. The lead lasted all of three minutes before Harris controlled the ball and from some 25-metres out thundered into the net. Daniel Trim and Tong each had late chances to snatch a regulation time winner but with neither able to convert the game were to extra-time.
Thackaray poked Balcatta into the net on 98 minutes by pushing the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble from Burton's free-kick. Once again though there was to be a quick response, Montgomery converting from the penalty spot to make it two-all. With 105 minutes played Annall knocked in the rebound from Branimir Mikulic's angled strike to swung the game back in the home teams favour. Atak fired wide from distance as Balcatta attempted to draw, while Montgomery also missed the target late on. But it mattered little as the Knights scored a memorable win to progress to the Cup semi-finals.
GULLS RIDE THEIR LUCK TO SEE OFF SHAMROCK (with James Wragg, Football West)
Sorrento scaped from Harold Rossiter Reserve with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Division One outfit Shamrock Rovers it the quarter-finals of the State League Cup. Brodie Martin and substitute Joe Allanson booked the Gulls an appearance in the last four of the competition before Alan O'Mahoney earned Shamrock a late consolation. "I wasn't particularly pleased with our performance," Sorrento coach Paul Price said. "We didn't play particularly well in the first half, our 'keeper kept us in it ... second half we played a bit better and our goals definitely came at the right time and fortunately we held them off at the end."
Shamrock entered the game full of confidence and, perhaps not surprisingly, would dominate first half possession. Only 3 minutes had passed when Ross Cosgrave unleashed their first shot which flashed across the face of Curtis Aspden's goal. John Kearney was particularly impressive in the middle of the park where his high intensity approach forced Sorrento to concede possession on numerous occasions. The visitors' main threat was via set pieces but Jamie Harnwell's header to an Adam Luca corner was straight into the arms of Eamonn Barnes.
A desperate save by Aspden kept the teams level when Kearney's cross to the far post was met by an unmarked Damien Smyth, who really should have opened the scoring. Shamrock resumed the attack through O'Mahoney whose header came back off the post, much to the frustration of the home supporters. An error by O'Mahoney then let in David Foster but he was thwarted by a sliding tackle. The breakthrough came in the 42nd minute when Luca's free-kick fell invitingly for Brodie Martin to volley into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Shamrock had a confident penalty appeal dismissed on the hour by referee Michal Jasinski despite Cosgrove's cross appearing to have been tamed by Danny Cain's arm. Sorrento looked to make the most of their fortune and were unlucky not to double the lead when Harnwell's close-range effort was courageously saved by Barnes. Nick Carroll was increasingly asserting himself on the game and with fifteen minutes to go the midfielder sent a superb cross to the back post where Cosgrave headed over the crossbar.
Allanson had been on the park just two minutes when he netted would be the deciding goal with his first touch, the young striker bundling in the rebound after Barnes had acrobatically saved a shot from Foster. Although two-down and with time running out, Shamrock refused to give up hope to a late comeback. The game was in stoppage time when O'Mahoney volleyed over Aspden after seizing upon a poor goal kick by the Gulls custodian. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be Shamrock's day with Sorrento progressing to the semi-finals.
SPIRITED MANDURAH UNDONE BY DE FELICE (with Chris Correia, Football West)
Midfielder Dom De Felice sent Perth SC into the last four of the State League Cup with a goal in extra-time to knock-out Mandurah City 2-1 on a chilly afternoon at Hyundai Stadium. The scores were locked at one-each after regulation time after Jeff Bright's penalty conversion was cancelled out minutes by a stunning long-range strike from Greg Sharland.
Mandurah striker Rafael Insaurralde was in the thick of the early action, his shot on the turn forcing a good save from Devon Spence. Insaurralde then turned provider for Garin Collins, who hurried his shot under and scuffed wide of the target. At the other end it was young Josh Pereira who was lively for Perth and his dangerous cross found Sharland, but his glancing header was just past the post.
The hosts side were looking strong in defence and no doubt bolstered by the return of experienced campaigner Phil Straker between the posts. A shirt pull by Trent Kay inside the 18-yard box was spotted by referee David Scragg, who didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot from where Bright sent Spence the wrong way to give Mandurah a deserved lead. However, celebrations were cut short when Sharland unleashed a 35-metre grass-cutter that hit the back of the net before Straker had time to respond.
The half-time introduction of Matt Danskin was a major turning point in the game, as his speed, skill and drive forward swinging play in Perth's favour. The Dolphins twice went close to regaining the lead but Insaurralde's shot from 7-metres failed to find the back of the net and Bright's vicious strike from outside the area was matched by an equally-impressive fingertip save from Spence.
Perth then squandered a couple of chances of their own, Vlad Naumovski failing to make contact from a couple of metres before Kay's strong header went the wrong side of the post. Mandurah substitute Sean Dash nearly sent the Dolphins through but having driven inside the box he hit the post with Spence well beaten. The game was decided in the 93rd minute when De Felice's quick-thinking led him to shoot through a sea of players after a goalmouth scramble and secure victory.
ARMADALE PUSH INTO LAST FOUR (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Armadale booked themselves a second successive State League Cup semi-final appearance by humbling trophy holders Stirling Lions 4-1 at Macedonia Park. Stirling's Cup defence looked to be on safe ground after Jamie De Abreu fired them into a first half lead. However, Armadale surged back after the turnaround with Craig Young equalising before the game was swung well and truly in their favour by Tom Robinson and Matt Barlow. Stirling were down to ten men when Barlow added his second, and the teams' fourth, late on.
The first opening of an action-packed first half had Barlow skim the outside of the post. Stirling countered two minutes later with Anthony Skorich's attempted lob of J.Adams drifting off-target. Jamie De Abreu opened up a passage to goal in the 20th minute by getting past Matt Bennion and slotting into the bottom corner, much to the joy of the home supporters. With half time on the approach Armadale upped the ante, Tom Robinson finding the feet of Craig Young who was denied an equalising goal by Cory Hugo's diving save.
Armadale kicked off the second period with a spell of sustained pressure. James Robinson's ambitious long-range attempt hit the post with Barlow sending the rebound wide. Three minutes later James Robinson got his shot from the top of the 18-yard box on target only for Hugo to save. This attacking approach was rewarded in the 54th minute when a James Robinson corner picked out Young, who drove into the back of the net with a crisp finish.
Now back on level terms, Armadale wanted the lead. And they had it on 67 minutes when Tom Robinson was sent one-on-one with Hugo, who blocked his opponents initial shot but was helpless as the rebound was sent into the net. Barlow got himself on the scoresheet after 80 minutes by volleying in after being teed-up by Tom Robinson. Stirling's misery continued six minutes later with substitute David Hunt shown a straight red card. The icing was put on Armadale's cake three minutes from the end when Barlow rifled into the net with a free-kick.
CUP QUARTER-FINALS PREVIEW
The passion and drama of knock-out football takes centre stage on Monday in the form of the State League Cup semi-finals. Shamrock Rovers gave started the Division One season strongly and their home date with Sorrento has all the hallmarks of a classic Cup tie. “Sorrento have a lot of experience playing at the top level and we are really looking forward to welcoming them to Harold Rossiter for a solid game of football,” he said. “It’s a big test for us but at the end of the day its’ still eleven verses eleven and our boys won’t let this opportunity go by without giving it 100%.”
Sorrento defender Cameron Yorke is adamant the Gulls won’t be taking things lightly for the visit to Harold Rossiter Park. “We’ll be treating it like any other game and trying not to underestimate them, but at the same time we go in knowing that if we all do our jobs we will get the result,” commented Yorke, whose team aren’t in action on Saturday. “We’ve been on a good run lately which has seen us go to fourth spot (in the Premier League) so we are playing with confidence, and will be looking to continue our recent form against Shamrock.”
Stirling Lions’ quest for back-to-back State League Cups has them up against Armadale at Macedonia Park. “We will look to continue our good Cup form,” said home coach Paul Lincoln, who is well aware of where the Reds’ main threat comes from. “James Robinson can be instrumental and win games off his own boot, we need to ensure we keep him quiet and restrict him from having an influence.” Stirling will be without Andy Brown, who is Cup-tied, while absent for the visiting side are suspended pair Ross Diamond and Tom Kennedy.
Balcatta’s dream of ending 2011 with a historic League and Cup double will be put to the test when they visit Western Knights. The sides met only a few weeks back with Balcatta winning 2-1 on that occasion, however, the Knights have lost just five times at home in three and a half years and have no intention of ending their Cup campaign without first lifting the trophy. “Hopefully the tightness of the pitch can help us close them down and restrict the likes of Jason Barrera and Spencer Harris getting on the ball, and that will give our midfielders a chance to do what they’re good at,” said Knights striker Stuart Montgomery.
Mandurah City have been installed as underdogs for their home date with Perth SC, a ten-time Cup winner. It’s be the second meeting between the clubs in just over a week and Dolphins midfielder Jeff Bright says his team will battle it out to the end after going losing the league encounter 2-0. “The big positive from that game for us is how we took the game to Perth in the second half,” Bright said. “We created a few good chances, but saying that Perth defended really well so we’ll be looking at other ways of trying to break down their defence.” All four State league Cup quarter-finals kick-off at 2.30pm.
KENNEDY DOUBLE SINKS KIWIS
An under-strength Socceroos cruised to a 3-0 win over New Zealand at Adelaide Oval. Josh Kennedy marked his return to the nation team with a double before young gun James Troisi completed the rout with a late penalty to send home happy the 21,281 fans who braved torrential rains. With several regulars absent, coach Holger Osieck used the game to test out a host of squad players and was satisfied with the outcome. “I was looking for depth and it was important for me that I had a couple of players here in the group that I didn’t know that well,” Osieck said. “Now I’m convinced that we definitely have new additions to the squad.”
A rasping volley from Troisi barely missed the post in the 2nd minute with Socceroo captain Brett Emerton also flashing wide from 20-metres early on. The Kiwis, who endured a 30-hour trip from Denver to Adelaide in the days leading into the friendly, fell behind in the 10th minute when Jeremy Brockie’s back pass was fumbled by goalkeeper Glen Moss, allowing Kennedy to tuck the ball into a vacant net. Troisi could have had his first international goal in the 39th minute but his shot lacked the power to beat Moss. New Zealand’s first chance came just before the break when Shane Smeltz met a cross from Kosta Barbarouses but his shot trickled harmlessly into the arms of Nathan Coe.
Osieck withdrew big guns Emerton, Brett Holman and Luke Wilkshire for the second half in favour of Rhys Williams, Dario Vidosic and Robbie Kruse. Vidosic’s first touch was a pinpoint cross that found Kennedy right in front of goal but the towering striker inexplicably sent the ball over the crossbar when it seemed far easier to score. Kennedy made amends in the 59th minute when he leapt above a flat-footed defence to nod in from a Vidosic corner. The game was in stoppage time when Ben Sigmund’s foul on Robbie Kruse led to a Socceroos penalty and from the spot Troisi made no mistake in front of his hometown crowd.
IRISH INTERNATIONAL MILLER JOINS GLORY
Perth Glory have confirmed the signing of Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller on a two-year contract. Miller, a former Manchester United and Celtic, player, will link up with Glory in time for their glamour pre-season friendly with Celtic in early July. "I'm thrilled to be heading to Perth," said 30-year old Miller. "I have heard a lot of wonderful things about the city of Perth but football is the most important thing. Perth Glory is a proud club with a great history and I’m looking forward to the new challenge when I join Ian Ferguson and my new team mates."
Capped 21 times by the Republic of Ireland, Miller has made almost 300 senior appearances through spells at Manchester United, Celtic, Aarhus, Leeds United, Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers and Hibernian. "I'm delighted to have Liam on board," Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. "He is a quality player. Liam brings a lot of experience to the club and he's played at a number of top clubs. It's great to have a player of Liam's calibre at Perth Glory. Liam is a midfielder who gets forward and he'll help us become a more attacking team than last season."
BURTON INSPIRES BALCATTA TO VICTORY (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
A strong second half performance helped Balcatta to a 3-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Grindleford Reserve. Stephen Burton scored twice and Ashley Rosindale once to register Balcatta’s eleventh win of the season and keep them on top of the Premier League table. Although Joondalup held their own in the first half, their defence was overwhelmed after the break by a Balcatta side who continue to set the benchmark this season.
It was a slow start to the match with neither side able to sustain a regular period of possession. Mo Atak had the first real effort which was well saved by Andy Banks. Joondalup conjured up a half chance when an excellent turn from John Thornley put him through on goal but a heavy touch allowed Lewis Italiano to rescue the situation. Thornley was in the thick of the action moments later when his mazy run inside the 18-yard box ended with a deflected shot that was saved by Italiano. Rosindale weaved his way in the penalty area but his shot skewed wide of the target.
Rosindale broke the deadlock with a wonderful strike in the 48th minute, lashing a superb half volley into the net from just outside the 18-yard box after Joondalup only partially cleared at a set piece. It could have been two-nil shortly after when Daniel Micevski whipped in a lovely deep cross from the right but Stephen Burton blazed over from 5-metres. Burton's first goal arrive though some lovely interplay with Roseindale led to the striker curling neatly over Banks in the 68th minute.
Joondalup needed a goal to get back into the match and, after a double substitution from Syd Amphlett, Jon Higgins’ corner from the left nearly found its way straight into the back of the net. Spencer Harris should have added Balcatta a third goal towards the end but his attempted volley dribbled wide. Instead, it was Burton who added the finishing touch as he broke the offside trap and slotted under an advancing ‘keeper in the final minute.
PERTH KEEP PACE WITH LEADERS (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Perth SC kept pace with Balcatta at the top of the Premier League table by defeating Bayswater City 2-0 at Dorrien Gardens. Robbie Sciascia found the net midway through the first half with Vlad Naumovski adding the hosts a second goal twelve minutes later. Post-game, Naumovski said his teams’ overall performance was pleasing. “We didn’t rely on individual players, we all worked together really well and took our chances,” the young striker said.
Bayswater threatened on numerous occasions throughout the opening twenty minutes but failed to capitalise. Their best chance arrived on the quarter-hour when Cisco Jorquera skimmed the bottom of the post in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Devon Spence. Perth eventually settled and in the 22 minute hit the front through Sciascia, who found the back of the net in a crowded encounter inside the 6-yard box.
Perth were now in control and Sciascia looked set to double their lead with a powerful strike that skimmed the top of the crossbar. Bayswater were clearly rattled with players questioning each other at length after Perth’s attacks broke down. The home teams’ patience was rewarded with a second goal in the 34th minute, Naumovski slotting into the net after being found inside the 18-yard box by a quickly taken free-kick.
Bayswater put everything into finding a goal of their own after the break but were continually thwarted by Perth’s well-executed offside trap. Perth were by no means finished as Josh Periera, Antonio Naglieri and Sciascia provided the drive in their search for a third goal. The visitors were given a glimmer of hope when the ball made its way to Mladen Kovacevic but his header lacked the accuracy required to call Spence into action.
CACERES PUNISHES WASTEFUL MANDURAH (with Michael Barr, Football West)
Adrian Caceres scored twice to orchestrate Inglewood United a 3-1 defeat of struggling Mandurah City on a chilly afternoon at 6PR Stadium. Inglewood controlled the first half but entered the break only one-nil up courtesy of a stunning free-kick by Caceres. Mandurah clawed their way back into the game after the break but were exposed on the counterattack when Caceres struck for a second time. Tom Straker pulled one back for the visiting team whose hopes of a late comeback were snuffed out by James Sammut.
Inglewood dominated from the outset, piling on mountains of pressure on cellar-dwellers Mandurah. The hosts reward came in the 14th minute when, from close to the bye-line, Caceres curled a free-kick brilliantly across the goalkeeper and inside the far post for a one-nil lead. Mandurah were struggling to get out of their defensive half and Rory Grant almost increased the hosts lead when he broke into space and forced a crucial save Tim Smith.
Caceres featured prominently as Inglewood continued to wreak havoc. Paul Dugdale volleyed over the crossbar, then Caceres slid a shot just wide as Robbie Hamm applied the pressure. Jason Colli tapped the ball past the advancing ‘keeper only to have Ryan Townsend prevent it from crossing the line. Sammut wasted a great chance by blazing high and wide after getting on the end of Caceres’ terrific pass out of midfield. In the shadows of half-time Caceres carved open the defence before hitting a blistering drive that smashed into the crossbar.
Mandurah came out for the second half determined to score. Their first shot on goal arrived in the 52nd minute when Jeff bright burst through the middle and laid the ball into the path of Garin Collins whose low drive was taken by Oliver Taseski. Disaster almost struck for Mandurah three minutes later when Bright’s clearance struck team mate Graham Matthews with the ricochet luckily going to Smith. An in-swinging corner by Collins evaded all inside a crowded goalmouth before Daniel Stoitis hooked it to safety a metre from the goal line.
Caceres underlined his class with a second goal in the 63rd minute, the midfielder’s shot from 18-metres deceiving ‘keeper Smith and rolling into the corner of the net. Mandurah grabbed a goal of their own ten minutes later when Marco Dos Santos’ cross into the box flicked the head of Tom Straker, whose touch was enough to send the ball into the bottom corner. Straker had a chance to bring the teams level in the 76th minute but headed the wrong side of the post from a deep Seb Bell cross.
Mandurah kept on coming and Darren Broxton’s centring pass was at the feet of Collins but his crisp first time strike from 5-metres flashed high. Collins was provider a few minutes later with a high ball to the top of the box which Taseski raced out to capture. Inglewood made the game safe with seven minutes to go, substitute Jake Geddes charging inside the area and drawing Smith off his line before squaring for Sammut to tuck into an empty net.
Inglewood coach Shane Pryce was pleased with his sides' performance, but wary that they took the foot off the pedal. “We let them get back in the game, coming off two losses it was important we didn’t cop a third one, it’s good to get the three points,“ said the winning coach. “Obviously it was good to have Adrian there, he could have had a hat-trick, a player of his class is handy especially with some players out.” The win pushes Inglewood back into the top four, whilst Mandurah drift further towards the relegation zone.
BOLAND AND VAN DONGEN AMONGST THE GOALS (with Jordan McArdle, Football West)
Floreat Athena sent out a stern warning to its Premier League rivals with a clinical 4-0 win over Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Doubles to strike partners Liam Boland and Paul Van Dongen sealed the blue and whites' fourth consecutive win, which sees them jump to fifth spot. The result leaves Armadale with some soul searching to do after slipping to eleventh place, just four points above cellar dwellers Cockburn City.
Floreat took just 9 minutes to open their account when Paul Van Dongen was brought down inside the 18-yard box Steven McDonald, and from the penalty spot Boland sent visiting goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock the wrong way. An unmarked Paul Van Dongen doubled the home teams lead midway through the first period by heading in a brilliant cross from midfielder Mark Pritchard. The outcome was put beyond doubt when Boland seized upon a poor clearance by Sharrock and coolly slotted in his second goal for a three-nil half-time lead.
The home side attacked early in the second half but it was Floreat who were denied a goal when Kyle Moran was deemed offside after looking to have netted his sides fourth. Moran played a key role when Floreat’s fourth goal arrived on 68 minutes, the attacker playing into the area where Boland flicked the ball to Paul Van Dongen who netted at the second attempt after Sharrock blocked his initial shot. Things went from bad to worse for the home side when McDonald was given his marching orders in the 82nd minute for descent, as Floreat ran out comfortable victors.
BUTSHIIRE GIVES LYONS A MILLION REASONS TO SMILE (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Cockburn City have been given renewed hope for salvaging their season after defeating Stirling Lions 3-2 at Dalmatinac Park. Million Butshiire scored twice on debut for the Cockerels, whose coach Mick Lyons was up against his former club for the first time, to orchestrate the south of the rivers clubs second win of the season. Lyons, who joined Cockburn only a few weeks back, brought Butshiire, Ivan Skorich and Ian McMurray straight into his eleven while former Socceroos Michael Petkovic was on the bench.
Butshiire needed only a couple of minutes to make his mark, the striker poking in the opening goal past Cory Hugo after ducking in behind a napping defence. The visitors hit back in the 10th minute when Phil O’Callaghan’s vicious low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box flashed past Dejan Aleksic. Stirling nearly had another but Anthony Skorich’s header was cut out by the ‘keeper. At the other end it was Ivan Skorich who was causing problems, the youngster heading into the path of Feely whose spectacular attempt at an over the shoulder volley travelled the wrong side of the post.
It was drama aplenty when play resumed for the second half. A crunching challenge on Jon Davite earned a booking for Michael Pugliese who, moments later, was issued his marching orders by referee Michal Jasinski for dissent. Cockburn capitalised in the 51st minute when pressure on Brent Griffiths led the defender to errantly turn the ball into his own net, completing a nightmare few minutes for Stirling. Cockburn captain Paul Natale allowed the visitors back into the game on 73 minutes when his attempted back pass was intercepted by Jamie Watt, who made no mistake from 6-metres.
Knowing anything less than victory would only worsen their position at the foot of the table, Cockburn pushed relentlessly for a third goal. Their call was answered in the 74th minute when Butshiire’s superb shot from a narrow angle curled it into the top of Hugo’s net, sending the home supporters into raptures. Stirling replied with sustained pressure, however, this was one game Cockburn were not about to let slip and through some solid defensive work they collected all three points on offer. Although Cockburn remain in last place, they are now only four points behind fellow strugglers Armadale and Mandurah City.
NTC GO BACK-TO-BACK (with James Wragg, Football West)
The National Training Centre picked up their second win from as many starts by battering an experimental Western Knights 4-1 in freezing conditions at Nash Field. A first half strike by Reece Vittiglia was complemented after the break Sebit Oyet and Sahr Musa goals. Stuart Montgomery pulled one back for the home side midway through the second half but it wasn’t to be their day with Brandon O’Neill netting his second close to the final whistle. It was truly a fantastic performance by the NTC youngsters whose attacking approach caused plenty of problems for their more-fancied opponent.
The was only a minute old when Reece Vittiglia poked the ball the wrong side of the post after being sent through one-on-one with goalkeeper Tom Dixon. That play was repeated soon after with Dixon getting down well to smother Vittiglia’s attempt. Oyet picked out Musa in the middle of the 18-yard box and although his shot beat Dixon it was cleared off the line by a defender. The NTC’s dominance produced another chance for Vittiglia but he couldn’t get enough power in a shot which was prevented from creeping into the net by a defender.
It wasn’t until the 18th minute that the Knights finally got a shot on target but speculative efforts by James Morgan and Anthony Fearon were comfortable taken by Tim Doyle. The NTC responded through Blamo Qua Qua but his shot was too close to Dixon, who was keeping the host club in the game. The pressure valve was finally relieved in the 40th minute when Vittiglia posted the games’ first goal after being played through one-on-one with the ‘keeper for a third time.
The NTC continued their onslaught after the break and on 58 minutes Oyet made no mistake when left free inside the 18-yard box, converting comfortably from Vittiglia’s assist. Jamie Grego hit the crossbar with a wonderful header which was scrambled away by Doyle as the ball bounced down onto the line. Sam Mitchinson’s ferocious free kick was tipped over the crossbar by Dixon as the NTC threatened to add a third to their tally. And that is exactly what they did on 68 minutes, Musa heading into empty net after Josh Wade’s sliced attempt to clear left Dixon exposed.
Montgomery had only been on the pitch only a few minutes when his hopeful shot from 18-metres sailed over Doyle and into the net for arguably the best goal of the game. As the Knights pressed forward in hope of salvaging the afternoon, they were increasingly left stretched at the back. Dixon saved their blushed by twice coming off his line foil one-on-one chances for Moses Kalua and Nick Ambrogio. The sealing goal arrived in the 87th minute, O’Neill capping a fine performance off with a spectacular free-kick into the bottom corner.
THERE’S NO STOPPING RAMPANT BUNBURY
Bunbury Forum Force continued their dominance of Division One by smacking Gosnells City 4-1 at the Soccerdrome. Jon Brooks slammed in the opening goal at the far post after meeting Jayden Prosser’s low cross in the 10 minute. Gosnells’ reply was instant, Andy Pomfret firing in from the penalty spot following a foul on Jamie Burns. Both sides had their chances to add a second but the closest either came was when Neil Chappell hit the post after a great move down the right.
Gosnells were left stunned as Bunbury rammed in three goals in the space of eleven second half minutes. The landslide commence in the 54th minute when Ashley Young and Prosser combined for Chappell to send a low shot past the goalkeeper. Nine minutes later Prosser’s precision cross saw Rory Binnie rise highest to head powerfully into the back of the net. The scoring was completed on 65 minutes when Prosser crashed his shot past the ‘keeper following a tidy lead-up that featured Young and Binnie.
SHAMROCK THUMP FREMANTLE
Shamrock Rovers stretched their winning streak to five games with an 8-0 demolition of Fremantle Spirit at Harold Rossiter Reserve. The home side hit the ground running and with less than a minute on the clock John Kearney posted their first goal. Daniel McCurdy, Ross Cosgrove and Sean Brooks followed suit to blow the margin out to four-goals by the interval. The one-way nature of the game continued over into the second half when Brooks put away his second of the afternoon on 65 minutes. Nick Carroll put away the hosts sixth goal with Simon King and Patrick Byrne also netting in the closing stages.
SECOND HALF REVIVAL GETS WANNEROO THE POINTS
Wanneroo City remain in third place, just four points off top spot, courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom of the table Canning City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Canning were competitive throughout the first half but just minutes out from the break they went a goal down when, during a goalmouth scramble, Guy McDonald cushioned the ball back for Brad McDonald to thump into the net from the top of the 18-yard box.
Wanneroo continued on with the job four minutes after the turnaround with Brian Cairney volleying in from 9-metres after Jay Macdonald’s long ball was headed down by David Herety. The home side pilled on the pressure and would have tallied up a sizeable lead if not for some sloppy finishing. The game was made safe midway through the half when the Canning goalkeeper spilled a cross to the feet of Craig Bowman, who stabbed into the net from close-range.
SWAN GRIND OUT CONTROVERSIAL WIN
Swan United consolidated their place among the Division One leaders by dumping Morley Windmills 3-0 at Wotton Reserve. Tom Shepeard scored twice with Nattapong Narongphunt sealing the win after Morley had Adrian D’Adamo and coach Salv Todaro farcically sent off. The black and whites were out of the blocks fast but could find no way past Morley goalkeeper Steve Grant, who made an important early save to deny Rob Monterosso. Morley eventually found their feet and settled and play became evenly shared between two sides playing some attractive football. The deadlock was broke in the 29th minute when Shepheard punished an error by Brian McDonald by lashing into the net.
Poor defending by the home side eight minutes into the second half presented Shepheard a free header which the tall attacker nodded into the net at the back post. Morley’s day went from bad to worse when Adrian D’Adamo was issued his marching orders for swearing, and Salv Todaro was also banished after the referee incorrectly attributed comments from the crowd to the Morley coach. Even so, the hosts continued to fight and Damian Houston put a shot narrowly wide of the target. But reeling in a two-goal deficit proved too great for Morley and close to the final whistle Narongphunt put the game out of their reach.
FORRESTFIELD ON THE RISE
Forrestfield United recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Dianella White Eagles at Hartfield Park. Jordan Hart scored after just 6 minutes with Lewis Costley adding his name to the scoresheet soon after to give Forrestfield a two-goal buffer at the break. Dianella had their chances to reduce the deficit in the second period but their failure to capitalise would prove their undoing. The result was put beyond doubt in the 89th minute when Hart netted his second of the day. Forrestfield’s third win in four weeks moves them up into fifth place as Dianella, who’ve now gone six weeks without a win, drop to ninth.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The footballwa.net match of the week for Round Fifteen takes us to Dalmatinac Park where bottom of the table Cockburn City take on Stirling Lions. This is a game the Cockerels must win if they are to stand any chance of playing top flight football next season. "Given the situation that we are in, every game's going to be so important for us," commented midfielder Marc Anthony, whose coach Mick Lyons faces the club he steered to back-to-back Cups for the first time. "Mickey will be relishing the chance to come up against Maccies, he was instrumental in bringing on so many of the kids there and in my opinion was harshly done by when he was sacked there."
Stirling have run hot and cold this season but gave a very good account of themselves last time out against Premier League leaders Balcatta. Midfielder Dean Evans says it's time his club got their stakes on if they're serious about being a finals contender. "We really need the three points to keep pace with the top five and I believe if we show the same heart and determination against Balcatta we will come away with the win," he commented. "We won't take Cockburn lightly, we know they have had some bad results as far but Micky will have them up for the game so we know we will be in for a tough contest."
Balcatta are on home soil for the second week running when they take on ECU Joondalup. Lewis Italiano has shown himself to be a 'keeper of great quality in his breakthrough season as Stephen Burton and Ashley Rosindale toy with opposing defences at the other end of the park. Joondalup were very convincing in seeing off Inglewood United last week and are full of confidence of registering their third straight win. The contributions of John Thornley, Matt Italiano and Andy Banks will be vital as the visitors attempt to further narrow the gap on the top five.
Dorrien Gardens has the traditional derby between Perth SC and Bayswater City. Rising stars Daniel Coletta and Josh Pereira were impressive last week for Perth where coach Ronnie Campbell has some selection dilemmas as Matt Danskin, Robbie Puca, Andreas Oliviera and Adam Bachiller push for inclusion in the eleven. Bayswater snatched a late point last time out against Armadale and Gavin Knight, Joseph Tumoe and Cisco Jorquera will need to be in peak form if there's to be a repeat performance.
Inglewood United will be out to end a three-game winless streak when they host an out-of-form Mandurah City. Shane Pryce's team have gone off the boil of late and need Rory Grant, James Sammut and David McNally to be in tip-top condition to steady the ship. The situation for Mandurah is dire with one win from the last ten games taking the club to second-from bottom. Coach Mike Brazil will look closely to see where Jeff Bright, Rafael Insurralde and new imports Adam Clough and Mark Osmond can slot into the line-up.
It'll be a depleted Armadale side that welcomes Floreat Athena to Alfred Skeet Oval. Reds coach Scott Miller will watch from the stands along with James Robinson, Tom Kennedy and Ross Diamond after all four were issued their marching orders at Bayswater. Floreat stretched their winning run to three games thanks to in part to a Liam Boland double last time out and with James Isaia and captain Julian Madaschi firing on all cylinders it's the visiting side that enters the afternoon as favourites. All six Premier League games start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Promotion hopefuls Morley Windmills and Swan United go head-to-head at Wotton Reserve in the pick of this week’s Division One fixtures. A gap is slowly opening up at the top of the table and anything less than a win from this game has the potential to de-rail either clubs season. “Morley are a good side all over the park with a never-say-die attitude,” said in-form Swan striker John Monterosso. “Having said that, we have started playing the brand of football that John O’Reilly has been trying to implement … it’s going to be a tight, exciting game of football to say the least.”
Forrestfield United, who scored three late goals to take out the points last weekend, are on home turf to an injury-ravaged Dianella White Eagles. “We showed a lot of character to haul it back (against Canning City), hopefully it's the wake-up call we need to kick on,” said Forrestfield goalkeeper Stewart Delgarno. “We’ll need to start a lot better on Saturday to beat Dianella, for us to maintain any real challenge on the top four another three points is vital. A clean sheet would also let the Forrie boys know what a happy Scotsman looked like, but I’'ll take three points and a bit of moaning if I have to!”
Ashfield have been playing some very tidy football of late and fancy themselves to take the points over Rockingham City, who are coming off a six-goal hiding from Shamrock Rovers. “We will look to stay unbeaten in five with a win at home against Rockingham, who will also be out for retribution after last week’s loss to Shamrock,” said home coach Matt Carruthers, who will be without influential midfielder Alex Stamatiadis due to suspension. “Stama will be missed but we have good replacements in Wayne Culverwell, Gareth Lloyd and Ian Griffiths.”
Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force are expected to win by a comfortable margin when they host Gosnells City, whose goal scoring stocks have been bolstered by the recruitment of Jamie Burns. Another big win is tipped for Shamrock Rovers, who’ve now gone in excess of 300 minutes without conceding a goal, when they welcome Fremantle Spirit to Harold Rossiter Reserve. Wanneroo City should have little difficult in taking the three points over an as yet pointless Canning City when they meet at Kingsway Sporting Complex. All six Division One games kick off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
FIVE LOCAL BOYS SELECTED FOR WORLD CUP
Western Australia will be well represented at this month's Under-17 World Cup with five locals gaining selection in coach Jan Versleijen's final squad. Dylan Tombides, Jesse Makarounas and Mitchell Oxborrow will spearhead the attack as Tom King and Riley Woodcock standing shoulder-to-shoulder in defence when the Joeys take on Côte d'Ivoire, Brazil and Denmark in the group stage of the tournament which starts on 18 June in Mexico.
The bulk of Versleijen's 21-player squad is based at the Australian Institute of Sport. "The major benefit of having the majority of players based at the AIS and playing in the National Youth League is that the players are very familiar with the style of play and also their team-mates," he said. "We didn't close our eyes to players outside the program ... we scouted eligible players from around the world and brought many of them to Canberra to see if they could strengthen the quality of the squad."
The Joeys are currently in camp in Canberra where they are being put their their paces by Gary van Egmond and Alistair Edwards. The squad travels to Mexico next Wednesday for a pre-tournament camp which includes friendlies with Canada (13 June) and Uruguay (15 June). They then move to the city of Guadalajara for group stage fixtures with Côte d'Ivoire (20 June), Brazil (23 June) and Denmark (26 June).
Australia's squad for the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico is Corey Brown, Connor Chapman, Milos Degenek, Hernan Espindola, Paul Izzo, Teeboy Kamara, Jesse Makarounas, Stefan Mauk, Jacob Melling, Jake Monaco, Mitchell Oxborrow, Yianni Perkatis, Anthony Proia, Lachlan Tibbles, Riley Woodcock (Australian Institute of Sport), Mitch Cooper (Gold Coast United), Tom King (Liverpool), Nicholas Ansell (Melbourne Victory), Luke Remington (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Daniel Sadaka (Sutherland Sharks) and Dylan Tombides (West Ham United).
HESKETH MAKING HIS MARK IN INDONESIA
Playing in the new Indonesian Super League has given Steve Hesketh a new lease of life. Hesketh, 22, made the move to Deltras Putra Sidorajio late last year and has been a rarely been out of the starting line-up at the club who, although second from bottom, are just eight points away from seventh spot. “It’s going great in Indonesia,”” said Hesketh, a former captain of Perth Glory Youth. “It’s a little bit different to Australia but I’m really enjoying the experience and, of course, the football.”
Hesketh, a junior with Stirling Lions, has worked hard to establish himself in his debut IPL season. “I’ve been fortunate to have played over 20 games and only missed a few through suspensions, and the last couple of weeks with an injury,” he said. “I picked up a knock on my knee in the last match, nothing to serious but it came at a good time with us having a few weeks between games and I was able to come home and catch up with family and friends which was fantastic.”
Released by Glory at the end of 2009/10, Hesketh initially tried his luck in England and the United States. “I went to Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Bury and Accrington Stanley in the UK and played a number of reserve games,” he commented. “It was a great experience and a great opportunity to test myself even though I just lucked out, but that’s how trials go. It’s always hard to show everything you’ve got in a short period of time, and I’ve definitely not ruling out going back.”
Hesketh was offered a deal in the United States but turned it down when former Perth SC midfielder Robbie Gasper invited him to Indonesia. “I was with Portland Timbers and played against Mexican champions Deportivo Atlas and was on the bench against Manchester City, who were on their pre-season tour, in two exhibition games,” he explained. “They invited me back in January but after Robbie Gasper, who is playing in the ISL, contacted me I headed over to Indonesia and the rest is history.”
The ISL played under the supervision of the Football Association of Indonesia, unlike the new breakaway Indonesian Premier League. “The standard in the league is excellent, many of the Indonesian national team play in it and there are a number of quality imports from Brazil, Argentina, Korea and Malaysia,” said Hesketh. “I’ve just begun to establish myself in Asia and I’m looking forward to playing here next season. I’ve been contacted by a few clubs regarding next season, which is great, so we will see what happens.”
FOWLER KNOCKS BACK GLORY
Perth Glory have failed in their bid to re-sign Robbie Fowler for another season after the former Liverpool striker decided against returning to the A-League. 36-year old Fowler scored nine goals last season for Glory but feels the time is right to put family first. “I have a wonderful and loving family to consider and with the children in school, it’s best to keep them settled. I also need to stay in the UK to complete my coaching badges,” he commented in a statement released by the club. “I thank everyone at Perth Glory and in Western Australia for making me feel so welcome and I wish Ian Ferguson and the players all the best for the coming season.”
Glory chairman Tony Sage, who made no secret of his desire to see Fowler back in Perth, thanked Fowler for his contribution to the club. “Robbie has put Perth Glory on the world map and while I would’ve loved to have him here for a second season, as a husband and father I understand that his family comes first,” sage said. “I also appreciate the fact that Robbie called me personally to tell me of his decision. Robbie will always be welcomed into the Perth Glory family and I can’t thank him enough for his contribution to the football club.”
LIVERPOOL DREAM IS ALIVE FOR KING (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
When Liverpool came knocking for Tom King twelve months ago he had no hesitation signing for the club he has supported all his life. The 16-year old, who has been holidaying at home before hopefully joining Australia's Joeys squad for this month's Under-17 World Cup, is halfway through a two-year scholarship with the English Premier League giants and has loved every minute. "You miss your parents and family and friends but never to the point of wanting to come back because of what you're doing over there and what you're aiming for," he said. "I want to make a career out of the game and, ultimately, I want to play for Liverpool - and I'd love to play for the Socceroos."
King was just eleven when Manchester United scouts identified his potential and invited him to a series of trials in their youth ranks. He returned to England several times and last year had fruitful trials with the Red Devils, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool. The Merseyside club was most impressed and offered a scholarship that King was delighted to accept. His father, Robin, is from the area, and passed on to his son a deep affection for the club. "I grew up as a massive Liverpool fan, so it worked out perfectly. It was really a dream," said King, who was a member of the National Training Centre program before heading overseas.
While he would have liked to have played more games during his first year at the club, King was involved with the reserve team on a number of occasions including against Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa. His next target is to impress enough to win a professional contract with Liverpool and strong performances for Australia in Mexico will strengthen his case. "When I got the call and they said they wanted me in the (Joeys) squad I was really excited about it because every player wants to play for their country," he said. Australia take on Ivory Coast, Brazil and Denmark in the group stage of the Under-17 World Cup, which begins on 18 June.
GARCIA IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
Hull City forward Richard Garcia is in discussions with his club over a new contract despite being ruled out for up to nine months. But the 29-year old winger admits his future at the KC Stadium remains unclear given the uncertainty over his fitness. "Off the crutches at last! Three weeks of pure frustration," Garcia said on social network site twitter. And when asked by one of his followers whether they could expect to see him in a City shirt next season, Garcia responded: "Not sure yet, still trying to sort it. Can't say more than I've said about contract issues. Hope you all understand." Garcia underwent cruciate ligament surgery earlier this month and needs to convince the club of his progress before the end of July.
COACH BRINGS DE VANNA IN FROM THE COLD
Lisa De Vanna has been thrown a Women’s World Cup lifeline with Matildas coach Tom Sermanni including the striker in his squad for Australia’s final training camp leading into the tournament. De Vanna has expelled from the Matildas camp last month for a code of conduct breach hours out from a friendly with New Zealand. “Lisa has been allowed to return to the squad and will re-join the team on the Gold Coast later this week,” said Sermanni. “There are some basic obligations Lisa has to perform to remain in the team and given she performs these to our satisfaction she has every chance of making the final squad to Germany.” Sermanni will name his final 21-player squad for the Women’s World Cup on 8 June.
I’M NOT OVER WORLD CUP: WILLIAMS
Socceroos defender Rhys Williams says he's still haunted by the injury which crushed his World Cup dream. Williams has returned to the Australian outfit after an injury-cursed eleven months but admits he has not recovered from the mental scar of missing last year's tournament with a groin injury. "I am still not over it, to be honest," Williams said. "To miss such a big competition, when I feel like I could have been included, is something that is really hard to take … If I am good enough and if I'm playing regular to get to the next one, maybe that will erase the memories. It is hard for a young lad to get over it and now I'm just happy to be back playing and looking forward to putting on the green and gold again."
Williams returns to the Socceroos squad for Sunday's friendly against New Zealand in Adelaide and Tuesday's match against Serbia in Melbourne. The former Welsh Under-21 representative said while his groin had healed, the injury remained on his mind. "I have always got the thought in the back of my head that the injury will come back," he said. "So it's something I have got to work on and I do get nervous sometimes when I feel a pinch here and there. But at the end of the day, I just want to play football and be happy. I feel like this is the best I have ever felt. I had an eleven-month break and I have come back and I feel ready mentally and physically."
WEBB LOOKS FORWARD TO NEXT SEASON
Teenage defender Shane Webb has written off this season and is working towards making a big impact in 2012 with Sorrento. Webb damaged his knee in the opening game of the winter and is well down the road to recovery following surgery. “I started physio a couple of weeks ago, six weeks after the operation, and it’s going well so far,” said Webb. “I’ve been told to take it slowly but I just want to get back on the pitch. I’ve mainly been riding exercise bikes, swimming and strengthening exercises. Hopefully I will be able to start jogging soon.”
Webb joined Sorrento in April of last year from Swan United and had just cemented his place in the Gulls first eleven when he tore the ligaments in his knee while playing Western Knights. “It was a huge blow for me. I was just running down the pitch towards goal and changed direction slightly and it just went on me,” explained the 19-year old. “I had a good pre-season and Night Series and was looking forward to the season. I’ve got to knuckle down and be patient.”
The expertise of Trevor Morgan and Paul Price, who played professionally in England for Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, has helped Webb to refine his technique. “Trevor was the coach at the time and I enjoyed working with him and I learnt a great deal about the game that made me a better player,” he said. “Paul’s style is rather different, he has a different view of the game. It’s always good to experience different coaching styles and Paul gave me lots of encouragement early in the season.”
Things are coming together nicely for Sorrento on the park and Webb tips his club to finish among the top five play-off spots. “Things are going well at the club at the moment. Confidence is high and we are sitting fourth on the table,” he commented. “Paul was hoping to win the league with the squad we had which I thought was a fair assumption, and I think we can still do it. We were unlucky to lose against Perth and have shown we can be one of the top sides after beating Balcatta in Round 12.”
JAPAN SEE OFF OLYROOS
The Australian Under-23 side have gone down 3-1 to their Japanese counterparts in this afternoon's friendly at Tohoku Denryoku Bigswan Stadium in Japan. The Olyroos scored in just 4th minute through a quick counter attack that Mitch Nichols placed beyond the reach of goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. The Olyroos went on to control the midfield but despite creating numerous opportunities they were unable to find a second goal. That dominance countered for little when Kensuke Nagai equalised at the stroke of half-time.
Japan began the second-half strongly, Hiroshi Kiyotake hitting the post with goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis rooted to the spot. On 63 minutes Ryan McGowan's back header to his 'keeper was intercepted by Nagai, who flicked over the onrushing Bouzanis to make it two-one. Nagai then turned goal provider with five minutes to go when his inch perfect cross found an unmarked Yuya Osako who, from the edge of the 18-yard box, volleyed in the final goal of the night. Perth Glory defender Scott Neville was an unused substitute.
DODD EXCITED BY PROSPECT OF MEETING FORMER CLUB
Perth Glory defender Travis Dodd acknowledges there will be "extra motivation" when he begins life with his new club against Adelaide United on the opening day of the next season. Glory will kick-off their 2010/11 campaign at home to Adelaide on 9 October and Dodd, who played six seasons for the Reds, is looking forward to the occasion. "I'm happy that we are playing them first game," Dodd said. "I want to beat them as much as any other team in the league. Of course there's going to be a bit of extra motivation for this game, having played there for six years. I'm certainly going to give my all, now that I'm with Glory, and make sure we get the three points first game." Visit the Perth Glory website for their complete 2011/12 schedule.
Michael Petkovic, one of Western Australia’s most decorated goalkeepers, has announced his retirement from professional football. Petkovic, 34, played 424 national league games in Australia and Turkey during a glittering career that spanned 16 seasons and included six appearances for Australia. The veteran shot-stopper was first choice at Melbourne Victory in his final season but was prompted to hang up his gloves after being deposed by fellow Tando Velaphi during the clubs recent Asian Champions League campaign.
A junior with Spearwood Dalmatinac, Petkovic first played national league at South Melbourne in 1996 and over six seasons won two National Soccer League Championships and was named the competitions Goalkeeper of the Year on three occasions. A lengthy stay in Turkey took in three successful seasons at Trabzonspor, where Petkovic collected two Turkish Cup winners’ medals, and a further four campaigns with Sivasspor. He returned to Australia to join Melbourne Victory last June.
VALE LUKE BEYER
The football community is in mourning following the death of young Balcatta player Luke Beyer. The 17-year old tragically died after the vehicle he was travelling in collided with that of an alleged drink-driver on Friday night. Beyer was critically injured in the crash and passed away soon afterwards at Royal Perth Hospital. footballwa.net send their deepest condolences to the Beyer family and everyone at the Balcatta club. A memorial service will be held for Luke at Ballajura Community College this Sunday from 11.30am.
BALCATTA REASSERT CONTROL ON DAY OF MOURNING
Balcatta propelled themselves back to the Premier League summit with today’s hard fought 2-0 win over Stirling Lions at Grindleford Reserve. Goals by Daniel Niederberger and Ashley Rosindale were overshadowed by the death of Balcatta youngster Luke Beyer, who was killed in a car accident on Friday night. “It has been a hard few days for the club with the loss of Luke, and I’ve been through the same at Floreat with Troy Bernard a few years ago,” said home coach Michael Roki. “It’s was an emotional day for the club but the players were great. Adam Tong passed a late fitness and was excellent and Lewis Italiano was outstanding, making a couple of critical saves.”
The games first opening arrived with only 4 minutes on the clock, Dean Evans curling free-kick beating home goalkeeper Italiano only to hit the outside of the post. A few minutes later Anthony Skorich put the ball with Jamie Watt but his first time attempt from the edge of the 18-yard box was deflected wide by Tong. Balcatta settled and on 10 minutes Mo Atak played through Niederberger whose low strike was well saved by Cory Hugo. The crowd were enjoying the quick tempo and Rosindale’s corner from the right caused problems in the Stirling defence but Jovo Pavlovic’s shot on the turn was cleared off the line by Roberto Lujan.
Possession was being dominated by Stirling and on 22 minutes Evans sent another free-kick to the back post where Andy Brown’s first time shot was brilliantly taken by Italiano. The Balcatta ‘keeper came to the rescue again five minutes later, saving well from Lujan after the speedy winger was sent clear by Skorich, although the flag was raised for offside. Play flowed from end to end as the team sought the important go-ahead goal. John Migas laid the ball back to an unmarked Niederberger who blazed high from 16-metres. The final play of the half had Watt set-up Phil O’Callaghan whose shot was saved by Italiano.
Stirling continued to attack after the interval, O’Callaghan curling just high after neat lead-up work by Jamie De Abreu and Watt. 57 minutes had elapsed when the deadlock was broken, Niederberger firing in from the edge of the area after Rosindale quickly moved on a pass from Migas. The visitors went looking for an immediate reply and in quick succession De Abreu and O’Callaghan flashed wide of the target. With Stirling committed to pushing players forward, Balcatta began to open up holes in their defence and on 77 minutes Rosindale wriggled free but his low shot was blocked by Hugo with Jason Barrera’s follow-up deflected wide by Michael Pugliese.
Rosindale the turned supplier by picking out Barrera whose low shot beat Hugo only to go the wrong side of the post. Stirling were throwing everything into conjuring an equalising goal but O’Callaghan’s low strike was saved by Italiano, who three minutes later produced another stunning save to deny Watt at close-range. The outcome was settled in the final minutes of regulation time when Stephen Burton won possession in the middle of the park and played in Rosindale, who found the net at the second attempt after Hugo had blocked his initial shot.
GLORY TARGET BARCELONA
European Champions League winners Barcelona are on a hit list of teams Perth Glory want to entice to Western Australia for a blockbuster exhibition match. Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said several big-name sides were in his clubs’ sights and, although an appearance in Perth by Barcelona would come at significant cost, the giants may not be out of Glory’s reach. “We’ve started discussions on bringing significant clubs, such as Barcelona, to Perth,” Kelly told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “We’ve started talking to people through match agents and direct to some clubs.”
Kelly said a strong attendance at the friendly with Celtic in July will go a long way to convince the club to step up plans to host annual matches in Perth. “The Celtic game is a test case,” Kelly added. “You’ve got to plan these things 12 months in advance if you want to catch the teams like Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. A lot of these clubs go to Asia (during pre-season) anyway and we'd like to get them here for an exclusive one-off game.” Glory’s plans also could be boosted by government support after recent positive discussions regarding the Celtic match and future projects.
PERTH (TEMPORARILY?) GO TOP
Perth SC moved to the top of Premier League table by downing Mandurah City 2-0 at Hyundai Stadium. Josh Pereira scored early with Craig Simpson doubling the Blues advantage midway through the first half to jump Perth to the top of the table, although that may change when Balcatta host Stirling Lions tomorrow. “They played quite high up the park and we managed to get behind them a lot, I think we could have added a few more before half-time,” said home coach Ronnie Campbell. “I was delighted the way Daniel Coletta played today, and it was good to see young Josh Pereira on the score sheet again.”
Pereira gave the hosts a dream start by tucking in at close-range in the 3rd minute after Vlad Naumovski’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Phil Straker and rebounded out to the Perth youngster. Straker made sure the margin didn’t increased five minutes later by saving Naumovski’s low strike from 16-metres. David Onoforo was unlucky not to score in the 18th minute when, having chasing down a poor clearance by Straker, his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was cleared off the line by Robbie Hamm. That miss was forgotten two minutes later when Onoforo played down the right for Simpson who out-paced the defence before arrowing an explosive shot into the bottom corner.
Perth were running riot and moments later Naumovski’s perfectly weighted pass allowed Greg Sharland to get off a shot which Phil Straker saved at his near post. Mandurah didn’t threaten until the 25th minute when Matt Stares picked out Robbie Hamm but his first time shot was wide of the far post. An even better chance came five minutes later, Tommy Jones getting down the right before centring to Jake Loretto whose poor first touch gave Devon Spence time to narrow the angle and make the save. Mandurah were enjoying their best period of the game and Spence had to be alert to tip Seb Bell’s volley over the bar.
The introduction of Jeff Bright for the second half had an immediate impact for Mandurah, the midfielder sending clear Stares whose cross struck the far post and rebounded to Jones but he somehow lifted over the bar from a few metres. Mandurah were now playing with greater purpose and in the 65 minute Graeme Matthews sent through Jones but Spence stood tall to come out on top of the one-on-one. Perth’s defence was under increasing pressure, Garin Collins’ corner laid off by Rafael Insuralde to Loretto whose shot from 14-metres flashed wide.
Sharland almost added Perth a third goal with ten minutes remaining but his free-kick from 18-metres was captured by Straker. Moments later Mandurah thought they had a penalty when Bright was bundled over inside the area by Trent Kay, however, referee Mathew Cheeseman waved away all appeals. With time running out Mandurah continued to push forward and in stoppage time substitute Cameron Lomax found Hamm whose low shot was saved by Spence. Mandurah’s seventh loss of the season leaves them second from bottom and set for a relegation dogfight with Armadale and Bayswater City in the second half of the season.
KNIGHTS DRAW WITH SORRENTO HELPS NEITHER (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
The Premier League game at Nash Field finished with a point going to each Western Knights and Sorrento from a 1-1 draw. David Foster put Sorrento into a first half lead but that was cancelled out after the break by Stuart Ferguson’s opportunistic strike. Although the Knights stay third and Sorrento fourth, the shared point helped neither team narrow the gap on Premier League pacesetters Balcatta and Perth SC.
The home side hit the ground running with a string of early chances. Stuart Montgomery played in Callum Roberts but his touch took him wide, allowing man-of-the-match Curtis Aspden to save at the near post. Roberts was proving to be a real problem for the visiting team and once again got free of the defence only for Aspden to turn his shot wide. Ferguson rose well to meet the resulting corner but his header lacked the power to beat Aspden.
Sorrento punished those misses by taking the lead with their first real opportunity on 37 minutes, Adam Luca sending in a free-kick from the left which an unchallenged David Foster nodded past Fraser Siddall in the Knights goal. With this the momentum swung in the Gulls favour and they were unlucky not to double their lead within minutes but Jason Mirco dragged just wide following a tidy one-two with Brodie Martin.
The visiting team picked up the second half where they’d left off, substitute Jack Doyle’s swerving strike from outside the 18-yard box going wide of the target. However, it would be the Knights that found the net on 51 minutes when a set piece went to feet and Ferguson poked into the net from 5-metres. The Knights now sparked back into the life and Roberts lifted narrowly high on the end of some fine build-up play in midfield before Simon Versaico was foiled by the outstretched arms of Aspden.
Foster was felled inside the box by David Annall but then squandered a golden opportunity to put the Gulls back in front when his weak penalty kick was taken low by Siddall. Roberts had two chances to post the Knights second goal but Aspden saved his near post blast and a few minutes later the striker pulled a low effort beyond the post from a tight angle. Both sides pushed hard to claim a winning goal but it didn’t arrive and the points were shared.
BOLAND PUTS FLOREAT ON CUSP OF TOP FIVE
Floreat Athena’s surge up the Premier League standings continued with a 4-2 defeat of Cockburn City at Litis Stadium. Two goals from Liam Boland and another by Miki Vujacic in quick succession saw the home team open up a handy three-goal buffer by the interval. James Isaia grabbed Floreat a fourth late on to secure victory with Rory Feely’s double all Cockburn could muster in response. “It’d be great to go home with a trophy again this year,” said Boland, whose goals push Floreat to within touching distance of the top five. “We may have started out slow this season but we’re chasing the top positions.”
Floreat’s early dominance reaped tremendous rewards midway through the first half. The game was 21 minutes old when a pass out of midfield was run on to by Boland who drilled low past goalkeeper Alex Pearson in a one-on-one. Six minutes later Vujacic lashed into the bottom corner after Pearson punched a dangerous cross to his feet. The result was effectively put beyond doubt on the half hour when Paul Natale’s attempted clearance was blocked by Boland, who pounced on the loose ball which he dinked over advancing the ‘keeper.
Cockburn emerged for the second period determined to get back in the game. Within minutes of the restart Feely weaved past a couple of defender to go inside the area where goalkeeper Alex Dunn courageously saved at his feet. Boland showed his class with a quality through ball in the 55th minute that released Victor Sikora but the former Dutch international was unable to finish past Pearson. Floreat created another chance to seal the win soon after with Boland through on goal only to send his shot the wrong side of the upright.
Feely finally got the goal he sought in the 76th minute by tapping in from 7-metres after Jon Davite made his way past a trio of opponents but had his shot blocked by Dunn. Eight minutes later Mark Pritchard curled a delightful ball from the right to the back post where Isaia headed in Floreat’s fourth goal from close-range. Cockburn refused the surrender and with three minutes left on the clock Feely stuck for a second time, seizing on a pass out of midfield which he sent into the net on the volley from 18-metres.
THORNLEY STRIKES EARLY
A goal in the opening minutes by John Thornley was all ECU Joondalup needed to see off Inglewood United 1-0 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Thornley stuck the ball in the back of the net with the first meaningful attack of the afternoon to put some space between the northern suburbs outfit and the bottom four. “I’m delighted with the win, and the bonus was a clean sheet,” said coach Steve Amphlett, who was pleased with his players performance after coming off the bye. “We could have been sluggish but the lads came out straight from the kick off and allowed Inglewood no time to settle.”
Joondalup attacked from the get-go and with 3 minutes on the clock Jordan Withey delivered a pinpoint cross onto the head of John Thornley who made no mistake from 3-metres. The home team could have had another when Matt Italiano volleyed in on target only for goalkeeper Oliver Taseski to push his shot over the crossbar. Inglewood got more involved in the game as the half wore on and Andy Banks’s reflex save denied Rory Grant what appeared a certain equaliser. However, the bulk of first play was in Joondalup’s favour with Italiano and Sebastian Franssan orchestrating many of their attacks.
Inglewood flexed their midfield muscle after the turnaround with Sammut, Dannie Richman and Karl O’Reilly continually driving the visiting side into attack. However, Andy Banks remained unbeaten and as the minutes ticked by Joondalup increasingly looked like pinching a second goal. Italiano was again denied by another fine save from Taseski, who also kept out shots from Thornley and Jon Higgins as Joondalup sought to seal victory. Joondalup’s day was marred only by the late sending off of Chris Wylie who, moments after being booked, was issued his marching orders for dissent. The visitors pushed hard to get back on level terms in the closing minutes but couldn’t conjure up the goal they wanted.
ARMADALE SEE RED AS BAYSWATER DRAW LEVEL (with Michael Bate, Football West)
Armadale had three players sent off in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Defender Nathan Diaz popped up in stoppage time to earn the home team a valuable point, adding to earlier goals by Gustavo Marulanda and Josh Tumoe and cancelling out those of Steve McDonald, Matt Barlow and James Robinson for the Reds. Armadale’s misery didn’t end there with Ross Diamond, Tom Kennedy and James Robinson issued their marching order by referee Michael Tolmie in the final twenty minutes.
Armadale were out of the blocks quickly and hit the back of the net in just the 6th minute, club captain McDonald heading powerfully past Gianni Papalia after meeting James Robinson’s back post corner. Marulanda went close to bringing the sides level when his free-kick from 22-metres squirmed underneath goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock but went out for a corner. Half time was five minutes away when McDonald failed to intercept a pass by Tumoe, presenting Marulanda with a simple opportunity to slide the equaliser past Sharrock.
Warren Beattie came to Armadale’s rescue three minutes into the second half when his last ditch tackle prevented Cisco Jorquera from tapping in at close-range. Armadale reclaim the lead on 52 minutes when Barlow was left with a simple finish after Tom Robinson cut the ball back from the right. Marulanda should have had his second three minutes later but fired straight at Sharrock, then an incorrect linesman's decision halted the big striker as he went one-on-one with the ‘keeper.
A collision between Sharrock and one of his defenders in the 59th minute saw the ball spill to Marulanda who in no time squared for Tumoe to side-footed into an empty net. As the game progressed the two relegation threatened teams became increasingly desperate to score the next goal. Diamond volleyed against the crossbar but on 73 minutes was issued a second yellow card for dissent, referee Tolmie also banishing Armadale coach Scott Miller to the stands as he reacted angrily to the decision.
Alex Caniglia and substitute George Nelson then wasted good chances to put Bayswater in front for the first time. Appeals for an Armadale penalty were dismissed despite the ball appearing to strike Thomas Gooding on the arm. Bayswater were creating the better chance and in the 83rd minute Gavin Knight hit the bar with a clever free-kick that caught out Sharrock, who was expecting a cross rather than a shot at goal. It looked as though James Robinson had snatched victory when he latched onto a ball over the defence before firing past Papalia on the turn after 88 minutes.
However, Bayswater were by no means finished and three minutes into stoppage time Diaz lashed into the net after Beattie blocked an initial shot by Nelson on the line. There was still time for one final raid on goal, Jorquera playing a neat one-two with Tumoe but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Sharrock. The drama continued with Armadale substitute Tom Kennedy showed a straight red card for violent conduct after which James Robinson was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione was critical of his players’ inability to make more of the extra player during the closing stages. “Today - like always - we lacked spirit,” commented Marchione. “We had one extra man on the field and we conceded on a counter attack. We can’t manage to match the pressure when we’re under pressure. We play fairly good football but it’s not really productive at the moment.” The shared points keeps both Bayswater and Armadale in the bottom four and facing an uphill battle to climb away from the relegation zone over coming months.
BUNBURY SHOW FORCE AT MORLEY
Bunbury Forum Force continued their march towards promotion by thrashing a depleted Morley Windmills side 4-1 at Wotton Reserve. Neil Chappell gave the visitors a deserved half-time lead before Michael Marten struck twice and Jon Brooks once in the space of ten minutes to put the result beyond doubt. The pace was quick from the opening whistle with both teams displaying some lovely one and two touch passing that took them deep into their opponents half.
A tight first half was punctuated in the 33rd minute when Ashley Young’s surge inside the 18-yard box was illegally halted by Brian Robertson, and from the spot Chappell sent goalkeeper Steve Grant the wrong way to make to one-nil to the visitors. The margin was doubled on the stroke of half time when Young’s defence splitting pass out of midfield put Chappell in the clear, however, Grant was alert to the danger and smothered courageously at his opponents’ feet in a one-on-one situation.
Bunbury opened the second period with a flurry of goals to which Morley had no response. In the 47th minute Grant’s attempt to punch clear a dangerous cross by Young landed at the feet of Marten who made no mistake bulging the back of the net. Four minutes later Brooks lashed into the top corner after receiving a pass across the box from Jayden Prosser to make it three-nil. The points were safe in the 57th minute when Jordan Rispin’s header came back off the crossbar and as Morley stood watching Marten netted at close-range.
To their credit, Morley refused to give up hope and in the 67th minute David Houston turned onto a partially clearance and from the top of the box lashed into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Ryan Montgomery. Houston almost added another twelve minutes later when his flick flashed past the upright with the ‘keeper caught flat-footed. The win maintains Bunbury’s position at the top of Division One, while Morley stay in fifth place but a massive nine points behind the leaders.
SHAMROCK CRUSH ROCKINGHAM
Shamrock Rovers have given their season scorecard a massive boost by thrashing Rockingham City 6-0 at Lark Hill Sportsplex. It was the third week in a row that Shamrock has piled on five or more goals to keep the pressure on Division One pacesetters Bunbury Forum Force. The visitors were out of the blocks early with Sean Brooks and Nick Carroll scoring inside the opening minutes before Ross Cosgrove took the margin to three goals in the 16th minute with a stunning finish from the edge of the 18-yard box. The flow of goals continued after the interval with Mark Sheehan, Alan O’Mahoney and David Murphy each finding a way past the goalkeeper.
SWAN FLY HIGH OVER FREMANTLE
Swan United got back in the winners’ circle by trouncing Fremantle Spirit 4-0 at Francis Street. John Monterosso struck twice with Tom Shepheard and Brendan Knox also on the scoresheet to move the black and whites into fourth on the table. The game was 6 minutes old when Michael de Souza’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was tipped over the crossbar by Swan custodian Daniel Agudelo. Swan settled and Aaron Colli was denied by goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon, who was well positioned later in the half to capture Knox’s attempt. The hosts’ were finally rewarded in the 35th minute when John Monterosso he cut past a couple of opponents and fired into the net.
After the break Swan stepped up the pace and dictated play. Shepheard headed a little too close to the ‘keeper after meeting an Adam Pygrum free-kick just a couple of minutes in. The black and whites second goal arrived in the 56th minute, a great run down the flank by Trent Wood took him clear of the defence before cutting the ball back for John Monterosso to convert from close-range. The points were made safe in the 72nd minute when Colli’s pinpoint cross was headed back by John Monterosso and Shepheard netted from a few metres. Knox put the icing on the cake in the 88th minute by tucking in a low cross from Rory Hollingum.
WANNEROO LEAVE IT LATE
Chris Pugh scored just minutes from full-time to steal Wanneroo City a 1-0 win over Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. Play travelled swiftly from one end of the park to the other for much of the afternoon with both defences working hard, and although Wanneroo had the better of play it looked as though the game would end without score. However, an 88th minute foul on Darren Quinncroft changed that when Pugh’s quickly taken free-kick caught the home defence off-guard with the ball coming to nestle in the back of the net. The win keeps Wanneroo in third place, four points behind leaders Bunbury, whereas Gosnells drop down to second from bottom.
TEN-MAN ASHFIELD GET THE JUMP ON DIANELLA
Ashfield jumped up the table into eighth position after defeating Dianella White Eagles 2-0 at Dianella Reserve. It took the visitors only 8 minutes to post the opening goal, defender Matt Wardle starting a move which saw the ball channelled through Alex Stamatiadis and Henry Chikombe whose low cross to turned into the net by Craig Hollingsworth at the far post. Ashfield went on to dominate the remainder of the first half but despite good chances falling to Karl O’Reilly, Hollingsworth and Stamatiadis there’d be no addition to the score line before half time.
Dianella were thrown a way back into the game five minutes after the break when a soft second yellow card to Stamatiadis left Ashfield with ten men on the park. However, the home side were unable to make much of their extra player against a resolute Ashfield. The game was eventually put beyond them in the 73rd minute when Brian Maybin won possession in the middle of the park and threaded the ball through the defence to release O’Reilly and Ian Griffiths with the latter taking the ball from his team mates’ feet to calmly slot into the net from 16-metres.
FORRESTFIELD SNATCH VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT
Forrestfield United scored three times in the final six minutes to come from behind and topple bottom-of-the-table Canning City 3-2 at Burrendah Reserve. The game was only 6 minutes old when Sam Ainscough’s free-kick found the back of the net to give Canning a surprise lead. The home team maintained the pressure across the remainder of the half and were unlucky not to extend their lead on several occasions. Forrestfield weren’t without their chances to draw level but, like their opponents, failed to capitalise.
Dane Navarro posted Canning a second goal six minutes into the second period when he beat the offside trap and came out trumps in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Stuart Delgarno. Jordan Hart started Forrestfield’s revival in the 84th minute by getting behind the defence and slotting past ‘keeper Dave Cameron. The teams were brought level three minutes later when a deep cross into the area was brilliantly headed into the net by Hart. The game was in stoppage time when Andy Harold snatched a last gasp winner after Canning failed to properly deal with a corner.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS DEFEAT GERMANY
The Young Socceroos have begun their European tour with a hard fought 1-0 victory against the German Under-19 national team overnight in Kamen-Kaiserau, Germany. The first half was dominated by the host nation, however, Australia entered the break in front thanks to Kofi Danning's superb 44th minute volley from a Rhyan Grant cross. Both teams shared possession throughout the second half but with neither team able to capitalise the Young Socceroos scored a morale boosting victory. Mark Birighitti played a full game in goal, likewise Trent Sainsbury in the centre of defence.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
All eyes will be on Frank Drago Reserve tomorrow where Bayswater City and Armadale lock horns in a vital game at the wrong end of the table. It’s been a barren month for both and with two teams relegated come seasons’ end the points gained here may just save them come September. “We know Saturday’s game will be tight,” said Armadale coach Scott Miller, whose team picked up their first win in seven games last week. “Bayswater won well against us in the first round so we will really look forward to putting on a good performance and trying to get three points back off them.”
Bayswater go looking for their first win in over a month on returning from the bye. “It’s a big game for both sides, if we win we make the gap between us five points,” said Mauro Marchione, coach of Bayswater. “It will be a different Armadale team than the one we played at the start of the season, with James Robinson and Matt Barlow in their side and Scott Miller as coach we know it will be a tough game. We’ve had an unsettled side in recent weeks but we will keep our positive mentality to work week-by-week and get the points we need to stay up.”
Perth SC can keep the pressure on top of the table Balcatta by bringing home all three points from Mandurah City. Vlad Naumovski struck late to bring down Sorrento last week and it’ll be interesting to see whether coach Ronnie Campbell sticks with his young match winner or brings David Onoforo straight back into the line-up. Mandurah’s hopes of chalking up their first home win of the campaign rests with attack-minded pair Jeff Bright and Rafael Insauralde along with experienced defender Ryan Townsend. The Dolphins only absence is Alex Darby through suspension.
Its third verses fifth at Nash Field with Western Knights up against Sorrento. The Knights went down to Balcatta last time out and their chances of rebounding from that loss hinge on former Sorrento players James Morgan and Glen Thomas along with Simon Versaico. Paul Price would like to teach his former club a lesson or two and for that to happen the Sorrento coach will need Jamie Harnwell and Curtis Aspden to hold firm at the back and Brodie Martin and David Foster to ignite in the final third.
Inglewood United will be confident of getting back in the winner’s circle after visiting ECU Joondalup. Shane Pryce’s team suffered their first loss in six games last time out and the Inglewood coach needs Rory Grant to put away a few of the chances crated by Dannie Richman and Ryan Clarke, who have big roles to play down the flanks. Joondalup, who haven’t played competitively in a month, will need Charlie Comyn-Platt and Andy Banks to be at their best if the northern suburbs outfit are to make it back-to-back home wins.
Floreat Athena are tipped to take the points when bottom of the table Cockburn City drops in at Litis Stadium. Liam Boland and new signing Kyle Moran were on the scoresheet when Floreat won at Inglewood last week so coach Ante Kovacevic will have to think long and hard before deciding whether to bring Perth Glory striker Victor Sikora into the eleven. Johny Mirco and Paul Natale will be vital if the Cockerels are to begin climbing away from the relegation zone, while coach Mick Lyons has his fingers cross Marc Anthony recovers from injury in time to make the line-up.
The round concludes on Sunday afternoon when near neighbours Balcatta and Stirling Lions meet at Grindleford Reserve. Home coach Michael Roki has to decide whether he changes a winning line-up by bringing in Jovo Pavlovic and Chris Thackray, who are available again having served suspension. Balcatta’s strengths are many, from young goalkeeper Lewis Italiano through Daniel Micevski and Mo Atak to striker Steven Burton. A knee injury will prevent Bobby Wilson from turning out for Stirling, however, fellow defenders Michael Pugliese and Brent Griffith should be available after missing last week. All games – be they Saturday or Sunday fixtures – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Morley Windmills second home game of the campaign has them up against promotion chasing Bunbury Forum Force in the pick of Saturday’s Division One action. “We haven’t won since Round Three, but our general play lately hasn’t received the rewards that we have deserved,” Morley boss Salv Todaro explained. “Bunbury have made their intentions well-known and have brought in a number of imports from England, which makes for a very exciting encounter on Saturday afternoon.” Lucas Whitehouse (Morley) and Jarred Mort (Bunbury) were sent off last week so miss this game.
Rockingham City’s mettle will be put to the test when they host a Shamrock Rovers side that’s amassed 14 goals in three weeks. “Shammies are a good quality side who are well organised, they scored five last week so they will be full of confidence,” commented Rockingham coach Steve Robinson. “However, we are not here to make numbers up – we are here to give the league a good go and for that to happen we must be competitive against the top teams. We playing well and are getting better … it should be a high quality game.”
Gosnells City coach Tony Maguire is confident his players can produce the good against fourth-placed Wanneroo City at Walter Padbury Reserve. “Wanneroo are a very good side and Gerry McEwan always has them well organised,” Maguire said. “But we are starting to put it together and as it is our first home game of the season I am very confident of getting the result our players and fans have been waiting for. Both teams will have a go at each other, I think it’ll be a very open game with plenty of goals … it promises to be a cracker.”
Ashfield can build on their recent successes by claiming victory at Dianella White Eagles, who could have as many as six first team regulars out injured. “We're unbeaten in three games and the team is starting to believe in each other,” said Ashfield midfielder Alex Stamatiadis. “Everyone is working harder and its’ paying off on the pitch - Ashfield are not pushovers anymore.” Gareth Lloyd has served suspension so come back in for the visitors, however, Brian Robertson struggling with a hamstring problem and Wayne Culverwell remains sidelined with broken rib cartilage.
Fremantle Spirit and Swan United have injury concerns leading their Swan Italian Club meeting. The home side are likely to be without veteran defender Rory Mouttet due to a niggling ankle problem, while Connor Shaw, Inno Zico and Tyson Thornton remain out of the running for Fremantle, who may also miss Chris Holland through work commitments. Forrestfield United should chalk up win number three after visiting Canning City, who must be wondering where their first points of the season will come from. All six Division One games kick off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
LYONS LOOKS TO RECRUIT FROM LIVERPOOL
Mike Lyons has cast his recruitment net all the way to the other side of the world as he attempts to resurrect Cockburn City's season. Appointed coach of Cockburn a fortnight ago, Lyons has endured losses from his first two games in charge of the Premier League strugglers and in a bid to bolster his playing options has turned to his home city of Liverpool, where he played over 450 games for Everton.
Last week Lyons put an appeal in the 'Liverpool Echo' inviting players to join Cockburn during England's off-season. "I need to bring players in and I'll look anywhere and everywhere. Our situation is bad at the moment, so I've got to try everything," Lyons told thewest.com.au. "It's early days but I need to resurrect matters. I still have a lot of contacts in the non-league scene in Liverpool and hopefully they'll give me a few pointers."
Lyons knows exactly what sort of players he needs to turn Cockburn's season around and feels those from Liverpool will fit the bill. "I'm looking for players with character and because I know Liverpool, I'm confident we can get a couple in who are of the right character," said Lyons. "Obviously we'd be looking in WA first to see what's about, but the problem is most of the players who are suitable are already fixed up."
Cockburn have backed Lyons' initiative which has already seen "six or seven" players email the former Everton legend expressing an interest to play in Perth. "I'm going to go through the applications and see if we can sort out a couple of good lads," Lyons said. "Who knows, nothing may come of it. But I'm willing to try anything." Lyons said Stirling would look to arrange short-term work for any players that do come over, while they would also look to come to an arrangement on paying for flights.
TOMBIDES REFLECTS ON STELLAR YEAR AT WEST HAM
Young striker Dylan Tombides could not have wished for more from the first year of his scholarship with West Ham United. Ten-months ago Tombides, who turned 17 in March, was playing Youth team football but inside the space of a few months had been promoted to the Reserves. Rated highly by the Hammers coaching staff, Tombides continued his rise and on the final day of the Premier League season appeared on the bench for the first team game with Sunderland. And there'll be little time for rest during the off-season with the Hammers’ Academy Player of the Year due to represent Australia at the Under-17 World Cup.
Tombides, a former Stirling Lions junior, is pleased to be reaping the rewards of his hard work. "It's been a great season. I'm very happy with my development so far. It's all about getting a chance and taking it and I think I've done that well this season," he said reflecting on a stellar twelve months. "A lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes. I spend a lot of time in the gym and when I get home I'm really tired. It's all about going to bed and getting some good sleep and coming back the next morning ready to go. It does make a big difference. I might stay around and do a little extra that could make me a bit quicker or a bit stronger. That's what gets you a little bit further in your life."
Some of the recent seasons' games stand out a little more than others for Tombides. "It was nice to walk out at Upton Park in the FA Youth Cup against Manchester United," he commented. "Every game I play is always a highlight, but the one I'd probably take is scoring two against Arsenal reserves. A lot of first team players played so it was another good experience for me. Being in the squad against Burnley was a very big thing for me ... Being considered for that event was a proud moment for me."
Tombides' other big highlight has been training with the senior set-up. "Training for the first team was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Once you get into it, you're up and running but at first you're just hoping you can get through the session without making yourself look like a bit of a mug!," he said. "The coaching staff and players are very nice and kind to you, so it was good to train with them. I just went out there and did the best I could. If I fitted in then great, but I know I still have things to work on."
Tombides was quick to praise the influence on his career made by Academy director Tony Carr and his parents, Jim and Tracylee. "Tony has been a very good coach for me - you've only got to see the players who have come through the Academy. I've only played under him for a season so far, but you can see I have come a long way under his eye, which is a testament to him," the striker commented. "My family and friends have always been encouraging me, too. I'm very thankful to them because they're always around to help me out and without them I wouldn't be where I am today."
The icing on the cake will come next month when Tombides lines up for Australia at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. "It's a big tournament and I'm really looking forward to it," said Tombides, who made his Joeys debut last August against Portugal. "No matter how far we go, it'll be a great event and a good experience for us. We have got a lot of things to work on, but I'm confident we'll do all right. We won't be rolled over. Australians don't lie down. We'll always fight to the end and that might get us the last-minute goal that could take us through."
Tombides, who netted nine goals in 32 appearances at West Ham this season, is eager to continue making his mark for both club and country. "I'm very happy with what I've been gifted, but it's up to me what I do with it. I can't just think 'I've made it'. I've still got a long way to go and to work very hard," he commented. "I'll obviously start with the youth team next season, but as soon as I progress I'll be very happy. At the same time, my progression means younger players will get a chance in the youth team, which will be very good for them and will help the club as a whole."
SORRENTO PREPARE TO SPREAD THEIR WINGS
Sorrento midfielder Brodie Martin feels his team are yet to really hit their straps. The Gulls soared into fifth on the Premier League on the back of four straight wins before going down last weekend to Perth SC. Martin says that loss was only a glitch and that an imminent return to winning ways will send them further up the table. “We have hit some form lately and are looking at carrying that through to the end of the season,” Martin said. “But we certainly have room for improvement … if we can play as we know we can for 90 minutes we can climb the ladder.”
At the halfway stage of the season Sorrento are placed comfortably inside the top five but still some way behind pacesetters Balcatta and Perth SC. “Ideally we would like to be challenging at the pointy end of the table but our poor start has made it difficult. We’re still capable on going on a run and cementing our place towards the top of the table,” Martin said. “There are certainly no easy games in the league this year. It is fairly congested and if any team can put together a few wins they will find themselves in the top five.”
A slow start to the home and away series meant Sorrento didn’t register their first win until seeing off Mandurah City in Round Six. “A couple of bad results coupled with the bye and NTC game certainly wasn’t an ideal start to the season for us. It was difficult to pinpoint where we were going wrong but some of the boys had lengthy injuries and it took a while for them to get going,” theorised Martin, who feels the Gulls backline played a big part in their revival. “We are certainly conceding fewer goals lately and that’s a credit to Curtis (Aspden) and the boys down back.”
Sorrento had gone four games without loss prior to last weekend’s visit to Perth SC. It was looking as though that run would continue after David Foster converted a penalty late in the second half to put the Gulls one-nil up, however, the points were surrendered to second half goals from Andreas Oliveira and Vlad Naumovski. “We played well in patches but could not put together a 90 minute performance,” said Martin. “Both teams had their fair share of chances and it could have gone either way … a draw would have been a fairer reflection.”
Friendships will be tested this weekend when Sorrento venture to Western Knights, who have in their ranks one-time Gulls Stuart Montgomery, Glen Thomas and James Morgan. “Games between the Knights and us are always tight and exciting, and given the recent history between the two clubs this week will be no different,” said Martin, whose team is coached by ex-Knights boss Paul Price and includes former players David Price and Jack Doyle. “It is an important game and one we are looking forward to.” Sorrento crosses swords with the Knights from 3.00pm on Saturday at Nash Field.
STIRLING BRING HUGO BACK FROM THE BRINK
Cory Hugo’s career has been given a new lease of life by Paul Lincoln. It appeared Hugo’s would ease into retirement when he was shown the door by Stirling Lions in pre-season, however, a word in the ear from Lincoln was all that was needed to get the one-time State custodian to pull on his gloves once again. “I thought the time had come. I did the pre-season and was keen to get a kick but they (Stirling) decided to go with youth, which was fair enough,” explained Hugo. “A few weeks later James Turvill got injured and Linc’s called me to help out … I made it clear I was keen to play the whole year and they were happy with that.”
Hugo feels Stirling are trophy material based upon the calibre of players currently at Macedonia Park. “I came here to end my career with some more trophies and I’m confident with the squad we have that we can turn our season around and finish in the top five, where anything can happen,” said Hugo. “We have had some injuries and playing staff leave, which doesn’t help, but we’re getting to the point where there is competition for places and that means we all have to perform to keep our spot. That can only mean that we play better football and get the results we need to move up the ladder.”
Prior to being recalled by Stirling Hugo had been planning to help the next generation of goalkeepers at Swan United, amongst them his understudy for the past few seasons Daniel Agudelo. “Aggers is an excellent ‘keeper who deserves to be playing first team football. He has been very loyal to the Swans and I wanted to make sure that when I left Francis Street they had a readymade replacement that would be good for them,” explained Hugo. “I loved my time at Swans and will be at many of their games when I finally hang up the boots … the people there were great to me and I really appreciated their support.”
Stirling picked up three much-needed points last weekend thanks to an Anthony Skorich double and singles from Bobby Wilson and Ludovic Boi in a 4-1 defeat of Mandurah City. That result pushes Stirling into a congested mid-table and re-ignites them chances of making the end of season finals. “It was a very important win for the club,” Hugo commented. “We know need to take that momentum with us and continue to get results. We all know one game doesn’t make a year and we have to be more consistent for the whole 90 minutes to finish where we think we should be in the top five.”
On Saturday afternoon Stirling make the short trip up the road to face Balcatta, who sit top of the Premier League with nine wins from their first eleven games. “They are the benchmark this season, but they have had some stumbles recently,” said the Stirling ‘keeper. “If we play our own game and work hard for each other we certainly have the team to beat them. We have quality players all over the park and on the bench and I’m sure that if we approach the game with the right mind set we will get the result we want on the weekend.”
WILLIAMS RECOVERY ALMOST COMPLETE
Almost a year after suffering World Cup heartbreak, Rhys Williams is preparing to meet new Australia coach Holger Osiek for the first time. Williams was yesterday called up to the Socceroos squad for friendlies against New Zealand and Serbia next month having emerged from a horror injury spell that dashed his hopes of playing in South Africa. “I’m ready mentally and physically and I’m ready to show the manager I want a place in the team. I don’t just want to be a bit-part player,” Williams told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper.
Williams last involvement with the Socceroos was in June last year when a groin injury forced him out of Australia’s World Cup camp just days prior to the tournament kick off. The Middlesbrough utility didn’t return to action until March but once back on the park he played a vital role in his club’s recovery from the threat of relegation to finish mid-table in England’s Championship. Williams late season revival led to speculation Premier League club Bolton Wanderers were interested in him.
ARNOLD ON THE MEND
Phil Arnold has turned to the latest in knee reconstruction surgery in an attempt to re-enter the fray with Floreat Athena before the winter is out. The 22-year old striker underwent a knee reconstruction last Friday after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in training three weeks earlier and, should everything go to plan, Arnold expects to re-join his team mates inside two months. “I got the new LARS artificial ligament,” he explained. “The recovery process is usually around three months although I should be running within six to eight weeks.” LARS – Ligament Augmentation and Reconstruction System to give it its full name – is a system of synthetic fibres designed to mimic normal anatomic ligament fibres.
OLYROOS CALL-UP FOR GLORY’S NEVILLE
Perth Glory defender Scott Neville has been selected in the Olyroos squad for next week's friendly with Japan. National coach Aurelio Vidmar selected an almost entirely Australia-based 23-player squad for the game in Niigata on Wednesday 1 June. "This match against the Japanese, who are a quality team, will show us where we are at and what we need to work on," said Vidmar. "Following this tour we will make the necessary adjustments in time for our Olympic qualification matches against Yemen."
The Australia Under-23 squad to play Japan on 1st June is Matthew Jurman, Mitch Nichols, Andrew Redmayne, Rocco Visconte (Brisbane Roar), Oliver Bozanic (Central Coast Mariners), Jack Hingert (Dandenong Thunder), Golgol Mebrahtu, Tahj Minniecon (Gold Coast United), Ryan McGowan (Hearts), Aziz Behich, Jason Hoffman (Melbourne Heart), Isaka Cernak, Diogo Ferreira, Matthew Foschini (Melbourne Victory), Marko Jesic (Newcastle Jets), Scott Neville (Perth Glory), Sebastian Ryall (Sydney FC), Mirjan Pavlovic (Wellington Phoenix) and uncontracted goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Things are certainly heating up the race for the 2011 Golden Boot. Leading the way at the Premier League’s mid-point is Inglewood United marksman Rory Grant who has nine goals after eleven games. Grant is being hotly pursued by team mate Ndumba Makeche and Balcatta pair Steve Burton and Ashley Rosendale with eight goals. Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) scored on the weekend to move to seven goals, one more than Gustavo Marulanda (Bayswater) and David Onoforo (Perth SC). Grouped together with five goals each are Johny Mirco (Cockburn City), Jason Dos Santos (Perth), David Foster (Sorrento), Scott Muirhead and Phil O’Callaghan (Stirling Lions).
The Division One field is even tighter with eight players separated by just a single strike. Neil Chappell (Bunbury Forum Force), Jamie Kidd (Rockingham City) and John Monterosso (Swan United) each netted twice last weekend to Rory Binnie (Bunbury) on five goals. Sitting close behind with four goals are Sotiris Theodosiades (Dianella White Eagles), Tom Shepheard (Swan) and Shamrock Rovers team mates Damien Smyth and Ian Stack. A further goal off the pace are Michael Marten (Bunbury), Jamie Burns (Forrestfield United), new Gosnells City recruit Ross Harvey, Andy O'Neill (Morley Windmills), Sean Brookes (Shamrock), Aaron Colli (Swan) and Craig Bowman (Wanneroo City).
MCCALLUM UPBEAT ABOUT MATILDAS WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN
Australia vice-captain Collette McCallum has spoken optimistically about the Matilda’s hopes at the upcoming Women’s World Cup. An integral cog in the Matildas engine room for the past seven years, McCallum says she is in peak condition for the tournament which begins in late June. "For me individually it's about being fit and healthy and having that confidence in myself and the team," she said. "I have great belief in the team that we're going to do well. I just want to do the best I can. I hope I do go on and make a difference for the team. It's exciting but nervous at the same time, but this is what you live for so I can't wait until we're over there."
Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis and Catherine Cannulli each found the net in the Matildas recent friendly series with New Zealand as coach Tom Sermanni considers how best to fill the void left by Lisa De Vanna's absence and injuries to Kate Gill and Sarah Walsh. "It was so unfortunate for Kate who was at the peak of her career," McCallum said of Gill's knee injury. "Kyah has definitely stepped up. She's working really hard at training, her touch and her being very creative is amazing. She's definitely going to make an impact in this World Cup. A lot of countries don't know about her and they're definitely going to get a wake-up call."
WILLIAMS BACK IN SOCCEROOS CONTENTION
Middlesbrough utility Rhys Williams has been called up by Australian for the first time since being ruled out of last year’s World Cup finals with a pelvic injury. Williams, whose career started at ECU Joondalup, is amongst 23-players selected by national coach Holger Osieck for upcoming friendlies with New Zealand (5th June) and Serbia (7th June) at Adelaide Oval and Etihad Stadium respectively. "He has a good presence on the pitch," Osieck said of 23-year old Williams. "He has decent ball technique, good control, good passing. He is pretty fast, he's good in the air, has good height … I think there's a lot of positive attributes."
The Australia squad to face New Zealand and Serbia is Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Dario Vidosic (Arminia Bielefeld), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi), Mark Milligan (JEF United), James Troisi (Kayserispor Kulubu), Neil Kilkenny (Leeds United), Robbie Kruse, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Jonathan McKain (Al Nassr), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongham Ilwha Chunma), Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse), Nathan Coe (Sonderjysk Elitesport), Michael Zullo (Utrecht) and Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds).
Injury has forced Hertha Berlin attacker Nikita Rukavytsya out of the Socceroos upcoming friendlies with New Zealand and Serbia. Rukavytsya, who faces surgery during the off-season, was omitted by coach Holger Osieck for next months' games after battling through the final rounds of the German season with a groin complaint. "I had the opportunity to see him play and to talk to him and he told me about the problem with his groin," Osieck said today. "You could see it from the final part of the season, he was in and out. He never played 90 minutes and he definitely will have to have some kind of surgery." Rukavytsya is one of several players left out to allow them to recovery from minor injuries.
SKY BLUES KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON DURR
ECU Joondalup teenager Henry Durr has captured the attention of FA Cup winners Manchester City. The 18-year old midfielder recently returned from trials with the English Premier League club where the coaching staff was impressed by his talents. “The coach from Manchester City is coming out to Australia to see me and tell me when he next wants me to go back,” said Durr, who also tried out for Blackburn Rovers and Hull City. “I enjoyed every little bit of it. The level was very good, the game’s speed was very fast and it was a bit more physical than in Australia. But I don’t think the level I play here is that far behind what it is in England.”
TOMBIDES GETS HIS FOOT IN THE DOOR
Dylan Tombides got his first taste of the English Premier League when named on the bench for West Ham United’s final round clash with Sunderland on the weekend. However, the exciting 17-year old striker will have to wait before turning out in England’s top flight with his club relegated to the Championship next season. Even so, the signs remain positive that Tombides will break into senior football sooner rather than later with Hammers interim manager Kevin Keen a big fan of the youngster who was only last week named the clubs’ Academy Player of the Year.
HARNWELL TO COACH NTC
One-time captain of Perth Glory, Jamie Harnwell, has been appointed coach of the Women’s National Training Centre team for the remainder of the 2011 season. Harnwell, a veteran of 256 national leagues games, is looking forward to imparting his knowledge and experience to the many youngsters playing the game. “I’m very proud to be appointed as coach and it is a massive opportunity to put my thoughts and philosophies of the game into practice,” said Harnwell. “It is also a great responsibility to continue producing great female footballers for this State and hopefully Australia.”
The Women’s NTC team play in the Under-14 Boys Premier League and last year took out the Top Four Final by defeating Forrestfield United. “The aim for the remainder of this year is to continue the player’s development and give them the best possible chance of representing Perth Glory in season four of the W-League, and hopefully representing Australia in future Matilda’s squads,” commented Harnwell, who is playing for Sorrento this winter. The Women’s NTC currently sits fourth on the Under-14’s table.
BIRIGHITTI HAS HIS EYES ON THE WORLD CUP
Mark Birighitti will stake his claim to a place in Australia’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup over the next fortnight. The 20-year old goalkeeper headed to the Netherlands over the weekend for a 15-day training camp with the Young Socceroos as coach Jan Versleijen considers who he’ll take to the tournament in July. While in camp the Young Socceroos will play the German Under-19 team before lining up at the Terborg Tournament, where they’ll meet Atlas Guadalajara (Mexico), Botafogo (Brazil) and Dutch sides Ajax and FC Twente.
Birighitti, who played juniors with Perth SC, is looking forward to playing in the Terborg Tournament and the establishing himself as Australia’s number one. “I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got some games in Holland against some quality opposition,” the ’keeper said. “At the end of the day it’s always good to know you can represent your country at any kind of level and I’m really looking forward to going overseas, performing well and hopefully getting picked in the World Cup squad.”
Although he played a significant role in the Young Socceroos’ qualification for the World Cup, Birighitti knows he is by no means certain to make the final cut. “Having been vice captain of the squad I might have a foot in the door but at the end of the day I can’t take that into consideration,” commented Birighitti, who has made over 30 appearances for Australia at youth level. “I still have to go over to Europe, work hard, train well and try and impress the coaches. I still have to prove myself in everything I do, in training and in games.”
Adelaide’s season closed out two months but Birighitti has been working hard to stay match fit. “I knew if I didn’t do any training after the season finished that my body would have got out of hand and I would have been unfit, and I knew deep down that if I didn’t train then I’d be out of form and not have a chance of being at my best,” he said. “I’ve been able to have extra sessions with Peter Blazincic (Adelaide United goalkeeper coach), and even when I went back to Perth to visit my family for a week I trained over there with the local club I used to play.”
SKORICH DOUBLE SEES OFF MANDURAH (with by Jordan McArdle, Football West)
Stirling Lions moved to joint sixth on the Premier League ladder with a come-from-behind 4-2 win over Mandurah City at Macedonia Park. A sensational double by Anthony Skorich laid the foundations for Stirling’s fourth win of the season with Bobby Wilson and Ludo Boi also on the scoresheet. Where Stirling move up the standings, Mandurah slip down a few rungs to tenth and look set to play the remainder of the season in a relegation dogfight with Armadale and Bayswater City.
Stirling attacked from early on with Skorich having their best chance on the quarter hour when he found space on the right only to shoot into the side netting. The visitors took a shock lead in the 26th minute when Rafael Insuralde smartly chipped goalkeeper Cory Hugo from 14-metres. Skorich was rewarded for his hard work minutes later after getting on the end of a sensationally timed free-kick by Dean Evans to square the game up at one-each.
Evans was also the provider of Stirling’s second goal in the 36th minute, the midfielder delivering a superb corner onto the head of Wilson who obligingly nodded into the net. Mandurah had a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Hugo gifted them with a penalty, and while Insuralde hit the back of the net referee Paul Andersen had the spot kick re-taken with the Dolphins’ striker sending the second attempt high. Skorich completed his haul with a powerful 45th minute strike that gave Kenny Fytnogiannis no chance.
Garin Collins gave Mandurah a glimmer of hope minutes into the second half when he coolly slotted past Hugo, bringing the gap back to a single finish. Visiting coach Mike Brazil injected some much-needed energy into his side just after the hour with attack-minded Billy Rickman and Tommy Jones entering the fray. Boi put the final nail in the Mandurah coffin with twenty minutes remaining, netting a brilliant strike on the counter-attack. Mandurah tried desperately hard to salvage a draw but it was too little too late as Stirling gained three valuable points.
DE VANNA RETURN “CONDITIONAL” SAYS MATILDAS COACH
Lisa De Vanna's World Cup fate hinges on her willingness to accept a set of conditions that will open the door for a return to the Matildas. The striker’s appearance at next month's Women's World Cup in Germany was thrown into doubt following her expulsion from the Matildas camp last week in the build-up to a friendly against New Zealand. 26-year old De Vanna's departure was due to a culmination of indiscretions, including her refusing to undertake media commitments, walking out of the team photograph and failing to fulfil training requirements.
De Vanna has returned to the United States of America to join her Florida-based club, majicJack, and Matildas coach Tom Sermanni said officials were trying to contact her and seek guarantees of her commitment to team duties before she could come back into contention. "If she wants to come back in again, there's certain sort of commitments that she needs to make to do that," Sermanni told AAP. "Our team doctor is going to get in touch with her and we're looking at laying down some conditions if she wants to accept them and come back in the team. They haven't been able to make contact yet but I would hope this situation would be sorted out by the beginning of next week."
De Vanna is a proven match winner for Australia, who go into the Women’s World Cup without Kate Gill due to injury and with Sarah Walsh facing a battle to prove her fitness. But Sermanni said that would have no bearing on any decisions made regarding De Vanna. "You have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of having a player in the environment that has a negative impact on that environment," he said. "Potentially we're looking at missing several key experienced players, but in saying that we've got the depth in the team now to be able to cope with that." Sermanni will likely decide on his squad in early next month, ahead of their tournament opener against Brazil on 29 June.
ROBINSON STRIKES UP FOR ARMADALE
Armadale took a giant step towards avoiding relegation by thrashing bottom of the table Cockburn City 4-0 at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Matt Barlow had the home side in front by the break before James Robinson struck twice between Ross Edwards’ own goal to bring a smile to the face of Reds coach Scott Miller. ”We’ve done what other clubs have done to us in recent weeks. In the first twenty minutes Cockburn dominated the game but we nicked one and from then on I thought we dominated,” said Miller. “Macca (Steve McDonald) and Warren Beattie were outstanding at the back - in fact the back five played well with Cyril (Sharrock) making a few critical saves early."
Cockburn twice went close to taking the lead inside ten minutes but Rory Feely’s powerful shot from 9-metres was well saved by Sharrock and Paul Natale’s effort drifted past the far post. Michael Grigo’s pace took him past Matt Bennion to cross to the back post where Jason Godfrey’s header brought a superb save from the ‘keeper. Moment later Natale’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box was high. Armadale didn’t muster their first serious chance until the 18th minute when a close-range attempt by English import Craig Robson was blocked by Dejan Aleksic.
Three minutes later the Reds hit paydirt, Barlow finding the back of the net with an acrobatic overhead kick after successive headers by Barlow and Tom Robinson were blocked by a frantic defence. Cockburn worked tirelessly to get back on level terms but could find no way past Sharrock, who denied Godfrey after meeting a Johny Mirco cross and later saved bravely at the feet of Rory Feely. As half time approached Armadale took their game up a notch. Barlow’s flick released James Robinson but Jon Davite got across to prevent a shot, and from the resulting corner McDonald headed straight at Aleksic.
James Robinson gave the home side a dream start to the second period, the striker firing goal number two in the net after Barlow’s shot was blocked by Aleksic and the loose ball was only partially cleared by Davite. McDonald should have posted Armadale’s next in the 69th minute but his penalty kick was pushed away by Aleksic following a foul on Aaron Beattie. Cockburn were struggling to find ways past the home defence but on 78 minutes they did exactly that, Feely playing Pavle Biserko down the right with the defender cutting inside Sean Nicholls before curling the ball narrowly high with Sharrock beaten.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 82nd minute when James Robinson swung in a corner which Cockburn defender Edwards had the misfortune of deflecting into his own net. Armadale boosted their goal difference in stoppage time, James Robinson rounding Aleksic to put away goal number four after latching onto Robson’s ball over the defence. The game ended on a sour note for the Reds with State League debutant Robson dismissed by referee Hugh Best for a second yellow card offence. The result cuts Cockburn six points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League at the seasons’ midpoint.
BALCATTA’S DEADLY DUO STRIKE AGAIN (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)
Balcatta steadied their ship by downing a stubborn Western Knights outfit 2-1 at Grindleford Reserve. Strike partners Ashley Rosindale and Stephen Burton were on the score sheet in the space of a few second half minutes to put the home side in control. However, the Knights were in no mood to surrender with Stuart Montgomery cutting the difference but their hopes of finding a late equaliser were ruined by the final whistle.
It was a good start from the away team with the first real effort on goal being Simon Versaico’s long-range attempt which didn't trouble Lewis Italiano. Balcatta returned fire when Rosindale’s corner went to feet and in the scramble that followed Daniel Micevski lifted over the crossbar. Another opportunity presented moments later for Micevski but again he placed high, this time with a header from Burton’s delivery.
Play soon swung to the other end where the Knights gained a corner which was sent in by Montgomery and touched on by Dawson Cormac to Duncan Hind but he couldn’t quite get the final touch he was after. Balcatta were by this stage seeing the better of possession and Burton put a free-kick over the bar. Rosindale then tested Frazer Siddall with a curling effort and another goalmouth melee could have gone anywhere before the Knights custodian stepped in.
Branimir Mikulic should have opened the Knight account after the break but drove against the post after rounding Italiano. A terrific double save by Siddall kept the game goalless, the ‘keeper blocking a low strike from Jason Barrera before using his feet to keep out Rosindale’s follow-up. The deadlock was finally broken in the 66th minute when Burton streamed through the defence but had his shot blocked by Siddall, who could do little as Rosindale tucked the loose ball into an empty net at the back post.
Balcatta’s second goal arrived eleven minutes from full time when Spencer Harris’ low drive was pushed onto the post by Siddall and Burton jumped over the Knights ‘keeper to tap in from a couple of metres. Burton could have had another soon after couldn’t get his angles right after rounding the ‘keeper. With the clock ticking down Montgomery cut the deficit and ensured a nervous final few minutes for the home team, who clung on for victory.
PERTH PULL OFF THE GREAT ESCAPE (with Michael Bate, Football West)
An under-strength Perth SC overturned a half-time deficit to record a 2-1 win over Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens. The Gulls held a one goal advantage at the break courtesy of David Foster, but Andreas Oliviera put the teams on level terms early in the second period with Vlad Naumovski grabbing a dramatic late winner. “Today was a great result considering the players we were missing - we had six first eleven players missing today so we brought in six young players, pretty much all of them 19-year olds,” said Perth boss Ronnie Campbell. “The first half was a bit cat and mouse but in the second half I thought we dominated. Our experienced players certainly stepped up and the young boys did really well also.”
Perth nearly got off to a dream start when Oliviera’s clever through ball released Naumovski but the youngsters finish lacked accuracy. Genuine chances were few and far between in a tentative opening 45 minutes. Sorrento were lucky not to go a goal down when Jamie Harnwell’s ill-conceived back pass caught out goalkeeper Curtis Aspden with the ball rolling inches wide of the far post. A 42nd minute collision between Brodie Martin and goalkeeper Devon Spence led referee Joe Fusari to award the visitors a penalty which Foster coolly struck down the middle as the ‘keeper dived left.
The second period began with Perth on the offensive, Rhys Loxley driving down the left before cutting the ball back to Naumovski whose shot beat Aspden but also the post. At the other end Spence produced a wonderful one-handed save to deny Foster’s powerful effort. Sorrento were seemingly content to sit on their lead until Antonio Naglieri sliced open their defence with a superb through ball that sent clear Oliviera, who bright the teams level by sliding the ball past an exposed ‘keeper.
Perth squandered a great opportunity to secure victory in the 86th minute when Naglieri released substitute Robbie Sciascia who directed his effort straight at Aspden. That miss was forgotten a minute later when Naumovski latched onto a long ball over the top and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner as Sorrento appealed vigorously for offside. Sorrento mounted a desperate late charge to get something from the game but the closest they came was Adam Luca’s free-kick from 18-metres which cleared the bar in the 89th minute.
BOLAND ENDS INGLEWOOD’S RUN
Inglewood United’s six-game unbeaten streak was brought to a halt when defeated 3-2 by Floreat Athena this afternoon at 6PR Stadium. Kyle Moran and Michael Van Dongen found the net before Liam Boland secured a victory and jumped Floreat into sixth spot on the table. “We’re really pleased with the teams effort and discipline,” said Taki Nicolaidis, assistant coach at Floreat. “After being one-nil down and then getting back to one-all for once we had some luck go our way with an Alex Dunn penalty save which turned the game. It was also good to see Liam Boland rewarded for his efforts with a well taken goal.”
The game was given a crackerjack start with Ryan Clarke posting the first goal after 8 minutes, the midfielder nipping in ahead of Ante Kovacevic and slotting into the bottom corner past Alex Dunn in a one-on-one. Four minutes later Vujacic, Mark Pritchard and Moran combined with the latters’ lob from just outside the 18-yard box levelling the game. Paul Van Dongen got on the end of a Callum Franz cross but was unable to keep his header down as the visitors pressed to go ahead.
A poorly defended corner put the ball at the feet of Darko Ilmanoski but the veteran defender couldn’t get enough purchase on the close-range effort. Ilmanoski could have made amends in the 36th minute when Moran’s handball led to a penalty kick, however, Dunn guessed correctly to keep out his shot and Clarke put the follow up wide. The sides proceeded to trade attacks for the remainder of the half, which closed out with a dubious tackle and a heated exchange of words between David Perich and Moran.
The second stanza opened Inglewood on the attack and James Sammut finding the gloves of Dunn. In the 62nd minute Floreat edged ahead, Jared Smith playing neatly into the path of Liam Boland whose cut back from the bye line was directed into the net by Michael Van Dongen. Vujacic’s ambitious shot from 30-metres line drifted the wrong side of the post as Floreat attempted to seal the win. The hosts countered through a Paul Dugdale free kick into the 18-yard box which was eventually cleared.
Boland made the game safe in the 81st minute when he met a Victor Sikora cross from the right with a flying header that flashed past Oliver Taseski. There was still plenty of life in the game and seven minutes later substitute Jake Geddes reeled in the difference by side-footing in Inglewood’s second goal after meeting a cut back by Clarke. The closing stages were frantic as Inglewood sought to salvage the day, only to be thwarted by the final whistle.
NTC GET THE BETTER OF JOONDALUP (with Val Mac, Football West)
The National Training Centre chalked up their first win of the season with a thrilling 2-1 victory at ECU Joondalup. Hanafi Ghazali struck the decisive goal two minutes into stoppage time after Reece Vittiglia cancelled out a first half penalty conversion by Ian McMurray. Bizarrely, NTC coach Kenny Lowe was less than glowing about his teams’ performance, especially in the second stanza as they pushed to win the game. “Instead of playing the right way, the way we want to play, we normally try to control tempo and dictate across the game but we went over long and the things that we actually work on which are more development orientated went out the window,” Lowe said.
Joondalup kicked off but were very quickly on the back foot to a fluent NTC side. 16-year old debutant Scott Galloway showed he has a big future in the game with some darting runs forward and fancy footwork. Such was the youngsters dominance that it wasn’t until the 19th minute that Joondalup fashioned their first shot on goal. So it was against the run if play the home side took a 30th minute lead through McMurray, who had little trouble converting from the penalty following a handball decision. With this Joondalup sparked into life and Scott Blackmore’s sizzling long-range effort looked set to double their lead only to glance off the post. A Vittiglia shot was blocked by goalkeeper Brynn Hindley and Sebit Oyet lift the rebound high as the NTC attempted to level the game.
Parity was restored twelve minutes into the second period when substitute Moses Kalau cut the ball back for Vittiglia to send a precision shot into the back of the net. Chances presented at both ends of the park as the teams pushed to take the lead. Vittiglia was denied by Hindley’s diving save, Scott Bushby squandered a golden opportunity for the hosts by volleying high, then an unmarked Sahr Musa hesitated long enough for the defence to steal the ball away. Moses Kalau was through one-on-one with Hindley who brilliantly smothered his opponents shot. The final whistle was moments away when Ghazali blasted into the bottom corner from 16-metres to earn the NTC a long awaited first ever State League win.
BUNBURY MARCH ON (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
A couple of second half goals by Neill Chappell secured Bunbury Forum Force a hard-fought 2-0 win over Swan United at the Soccerdrome. The result keeps Bunbury two points clear at the top of Division One after six games. “The first half could have gone either way. We had a chat at half time, worked hard for each other and got our rewards in the second half,” commented Chappell. “We’ve got a very good squad now with more depth and have got players playing in the correct positions. It was well fought game, three big points, the Force go marching on!”
Swan settled well and soon began to dictate terms, however, with the defences on top both sets of supporters were on their edge of their seats. The first real chance of the afternoon fell to Swan debutant Nattapong Narongphunt whose shot was headed towards the top corner before being superbly tipped over by Ryan Montgomery. Moments later John Monterosso’s cross into the box found Aaron Colli but his shot flashed wide. Bunbury pressed late in the half but Chappell was denied by Daniel Agudelo in a one-one-one.
Swan twice went close at the start of the second half. John Monterosso pounced on a defensive mistake only to be denied by Montgomery, who moments later was relieved to see Trent Wood’s deflected shot land on the top netting after looping over him. The deadlock was broke on 63 minutes when Chappell lashed into the top corner first time after receiving a pass from Ashley Young. The points were made safe in the 83rd minute, Michael Marten releasing Chappell whose shot from 6-metres gave Agudelo no chance. Bunbury’s win was soured by the late sending off of Jared Mort for a second yellow card.
SHAMROCK STEAMROLL DIANELLA
Shamrock Rovers moved into second spot on the table after thrashing Dianella White Eagles 5-0 at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Ian Stack gave the home side a perfect start scoring after 10 minutes, John Kearney made it two-nil on 28 minutes with Stack adding another for the hosts’ four minutes later. Shamrock continued to press in the second half and in 72 minutes Sean Brooks netted. Substitute Damian Smyth completed the route with another goal in the 85 minute.
KIDD DOUBLE GIVES ROCKINGHAM VICTORY (courtesy Rockingham City)
Rockingham City consolidated their place amongst the Division One leaders by defeating Fremantle Spirit 3-0 at Wauhop Park. Jamie Kidd scored twice before Jay Bonser added a third to move Rockingham into third place, four points off top spot. “I’m pleased with the response I got from the players today,” said winning coach Steve Robinson. “We started the game really well, passed the ball around nicely and scored some good goals. After that I always thought we looked in control of the game and that should give us plenty of confidence going into a big game next weekend (against Shamrock Rovers).”
Rockingham hit the ground running and not surprisingly took a 14th minute lead when Craig Kelly’s first time cross in behind the defence was met by Kidd, who confidently headed into the far corner as goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon grasped at thin air. The home side continued to dominate with long spells of pressure before doubling their lead in the 37th minute, Kidd side-footing into an empty net after Craig Tone’s volley was blocked by the ‘keeper.
Second half possession was a little more evenly shared as Fremantle toiled away in search of a goal of their own. However, ‘keeper Craig Olejnik remained untested as Fremantle struggled to break down a well-organised visiting defence. With Andrew Keary running the show out of midfield, Rockingham always looked the more likely to score. Rockingham captain Jay Bonser sealed the win in stoppage time by converting a penalty awarded for handball.
TEN-MAN MORLEY HOLD OUT WANNEROO (courtesy Morley Windmills)
Morley Windmills had a man sent off but still took a point home after draw 1-1 with Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. “I was actually disappointed with the result,” said Morley coach Salv Todaro. “We played with ten men for over half an hour but still created enough opportunities to win it. We played some really good football and thought we were worth the win.” The result drops Morley down to sixth spot with Wanneroo holding on to fourth.
Wanneroo opened positively by retaining possession for lengthy periods and stringing together some good moves. An early Craig Bowman shot didn’t trouble goalkeeper Steve Grant, who later did well to deny David Herety after he’d created a chance out of nothing. Morley kicked into gear after Brian McDonald unleashed a vicious shot which Clint Davies pushed wide. Either team could have entered the break in front but Adriano D’Adamo’s shot was blocked by the defence, and Bowman’s effort saved by Grant.
The second period opened with a neat move between D’Adamo and Andy O’Neill whose long-range attempt was comfortably held by Davies. Morley went down a man on the hour when Lucas Whitehouse was issued his marching orders for a mistimed tackle. This didn’t stop the visitors from attacking and after a couple of half chances D’Adamo’s looping header from a Joe Woodin free-kick gave them a deserved with 71 minutes played.
With this Wanneroo burst into life and Brian Cairney’s sizzling shot from distance was touched away by Grant. The home team were back on level terms in the 81st minute when Bowman volleyed in from 9-metres after Herety’s shot came back into play off the cross bar. Both sides had chances to take all the points in the closing stages, the best of which had Ryan Frisina steal possession from a defender on for his shot to be blocked by the legs of Davies.
ASHFIELD FINALLY OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT
Ashfield won for the first time this season by knocking over cellar-dwellers Canning City 2-1 at Ashfield Reserve. The two teams entered the half time break as they’d began after a tight 45minute battle in which neither side was able to made anything of their chances. All that changed six minutes after the turnaround when Karl O’Reilly’s cross was headed back across goal by Alex Stamatiadis with Craig Hollingsworth firing on at close-range
The home side thought they had the points in the bag when their lead was doubled with twelve minutes remaining, Matt Wardle playing the ball out to Stamatiadis who turned his marker before playing into the path of Ibnen Charming who duly converted. Canning gave themselves a glimmer of hope two minutes when midfielder Mark Trevisiol headed in at the back post. However, it was too little too late for the visiting team who remain on the bottom of the league and still to register their first point of the season.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
Dorrien Gardens is the place to tomorrow for the Premier League clash of perennial powerhouse Perth SC and an in-form Sorrento. The Gulls knocked over top of the table Balcatta last time out to chalk up a fourth straight win and consolidate their place in the top five. “It doesn’t get any easier,” said goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. “We’ve played the leaders and this week Perth and have the Knights next week. It’s a tough schedule but with the run we are on we fancy our chances against anybody – and a win at Perth could make us top three.”
A couple of late goals earned Perth three very hard fought points last week at Cockburn City, a result which Devon Spence feels prepares them well for Saturday’s game. “Sorrento will be a tough game. They’re coming off a good win against Balcatta and their confidence will be sky high,” the Perth custodian said. “But as always we will be looking to play our own game and were confident we can get the three points.” In team news, Matt Danskin remains sidelined through injury while Robbie Sciascia and Craig Simpson face late fitness tests.
Western Knights are determined to leave Balcatta with the points. “We can consolidate our position in the five and move closer to Balcatta with a win,” said Knights attacker Stuart Montgomery. “But if we lose we are seven points behind and that is a massive gap in such a tight league.” Home coach Michael Roki has a few unwanted selection headaches with Jovo Pavlovic and Chris Thackery out suspended and injury clouds over John Migas and Paul Vatistas, however, it’s not all doom and gloom with striker Ashley Rosindale expected to come straight back into the eleven.
Inglewood United go in search of a sixth straight win when they host Floreat Athena, who are coming off a confidence boosting defat of Stirling Lions. “Inglewood have been in great form this year and have been scoring goals for fun,” commented Floreat’s Alex Dunn. “They have a lot of dangerous players that we will have to watch, and we’ll need to put in another performance like last Sunday if we are to collect the points.” Both teams have key players absent, Floreat are without Callum O’Connell (suspended) and Phil Arnold (knee) while for the hosts its striker Ndumba Makeche (ankle).
Bottom team Cockburn City can make up ground on second-from-bottom Armadale when they meet at Alfred Skeet Oval. “It’s a real six pointer for both sides, Armadale need the win as much as we do,” said Cockburn striker Rory Feely. “It’s a game we cannot afford to lose - if we don't start putting points on the board then we will be in a very difficult situation.” Unfortunately, the Cockerels remain without midfield lynchpin Adrian Webster (knee) with Marc Anthony (hamstring) also in doubt. Steve McDonald and Ross Diamond come back in for the home team, however, Parys Okai is suspended.
Closing out on Sunday is Stirling Lions verses Mandurah City at Macedonia Park. “The Lions wouldn’t be happy with where they are sitting on the table (third from bottom), but I’m pretty confident of getting something out of the game,” said Mandurah’s Jeff Bright. “As a playing group we are starting to really find some form, our defence has been strong all season and our strikers are starting to score the goals which we have been lacking.” Jamie Watt is back from injury for Stirling but the same can’t be said for Brent Griffiths, who faces a late fitness test. All games – be they Saturday or Sunday fixtures – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
All eyes will be Westrac Stadium this weekend for the blockbuster fixture between Bunbury Forum Force and Swan United. It’s the second top of the table game in eight days for Bunbury, who claimed outright leadership of Division One by downing Wanneroo City last weekend. Rory Binnie will have a big say in the outcome, likewise Ryan Montgomery and Ashley Young. Swan fended off Rockingham City with only ten men last time out to stay two points behind Bunbury. Tom Shepheard misses the game through suspension meaning the efforts of Aaron Colli and Daniel Agudelo will be vital to the visitors chances.
A big win last time out moved Shamrock Rovers into joint second spot, a position they intending retaining following Dianella White Eagles visit to Harold Rossiter Park (3.00pm). “We have to keep winning games early on in the season to stand any chance of winning the league come September,” said Shamrock midfielder Alan O’Mahoney. “The last time we played them in the Cup we made it difficult for ourselves by not performing to our standards, but if we play as we have for the last few weeks then we should win this comfortably.”
There’ll be no room for complacency when Canning City’s youngsters welcome Ashfield at Burrendah Reserve in the battle of the cellar dwellers. “A win here will be a massive boost for us,” said Canning’s Blake Readwin. “We have a lot of young lads with a lot of talent but are down on confidence at the moment. If we can get a win under our belts it will lift a few heads and the team will grow as a unit. But it will be a difficult encounter as Ashfield have had some close results and are also eager to get their first win on the board.”
Its fourth verses fifth at Kingsway Sporting Complex as Wanneroo City and Morley Windmills (3.00pm) look to move on from last week’s disappointments and stay amongst the leading pack. Fremantle Spirit have picked up some valuable points in the last fortnight and are full of confidence for the south of the river showdown with Rockingham City at Wauhop Park (3.00pm). Round Six concludes with the eastern corridor derby between Forrestfield United and Gosnells City, which will be played under lights at Hartfield Park (7.00pm).
INJURY LEAVES MAKECHE WATCHING FROM THE SIDELINES
Inglewood United will be without Ndumba Makeche for up to a month after the livewire striker sustained an ankle injury in last weekend’s encounter with Bayswater City. Makeche, the Premier League’s second top goal scorer, was on the receiving end of several heavy challenges before being forced out of the game before the quarter hour mark. “I rolled my ankle twice in the space of three minutes, thankfully it’s only a bad sprain so I’m looking at being out for three or four weeks,” said Makeche, who wasn’t surprised by the physical nature of Bayswater’s game. “I have watched them play before and there definitely a physical team.”
Makeche has had a massive impact on Inglewood’s strong start to the new season. After netting three goals in Inglewood’s opening four games the 19-year old served up a match-winning double against his former club Stirling Lions before hitting a hat-trick against Western Knights. “The chemistry we have at the ‘wood has been the major factor to my success so far,” said Makeche, who has shared 17 goals with team mate Rory Grant. “While all the credit is aimed towards Rory and me, it has been the service from James Sammut, Dannie Richman and Ryan Clarke that is the main reason for the number of goals we’ve scored.”
Inglewood have won each of the past six outings and Makeche expects that to continue on Saturday when they host a Floreat Athena outfit which appears to be have awoken from their early season slumber. “Liam Boland is their key player, he has the ability to win games and having played with him I know he needs to be closely marked,” commented Makeche. “We’ve got an experienced backline, led by captain Daniel Stoitis, which knows how to do their job. Inglewood has been playing some good football and have a lot of confidence, which is why we will get the win this weekend.”
WEST AUSTRALIA PAIR OFF TO EUROPE
Mark Birighitti and Trent Sainsbury have been called up for next weeks’ Young Socceroos training camp in the Netherlands. National youth coach Jan Versleijen included the West Australia pair in his 23-player squad that brings together Australian and overseas-based players for a 15-day camp which begins on Monday, 23 May. It’ll be the last chance for Birighitti and Sainsbury to stake a claim to a place in Australia’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup being staged in Colombia this July/August. The Young Socceroos play a friendly with the German Under-19 team and will compete at the Terborg Tournament, where they play Atlas Guadalajara (Mexico), Botafogo (Brazil) and Dutch sides Ajax and FC Twente in the initial stage, while in camp.
The Australian Under-23 squad to tour Europe features Mark Birighitti (Adelaide United), Matthew Acton, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), George Lambadaridis (Club Brugge), Mustafa Amini, Sam Gallagher, Bernie Ibini-Isei, Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Josip Konyit (Dinamo Zagreb), Corey Gameiro (Fulham), Jake Barker-Daish (Gold Coast United), Steven Lustica (Hajduk Split), Dylan McGowan (Hearts), Kearyn Baccus (Le Mans), Brendan Hamill (Melbourne Heart), Petar Franjic (Melbourne Victory), Marc Warren (Sheffield United), Jason Davidson (Sporting Covilha), Matthew Fletcher (Sunderland), Terry Antonis, Kofi Danning, Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC) and Massimo Luongo (Tottenham Hotspur).
TOMBIDES’ STAR CONTINUES ITS RISE
Australia youth international Dylan Tombides has picked up the Academy Player of the Year award at English club West Ham United. A junior with Stirling Lions, the 17-year striker is rated highly by the Hammers coaching staff and being named their young player of the year compliment a breakthrough twelve months. Tombides made 20 appearances and scored six goals last season for the Hammers Youth team which finished fourth in their Premier Academy League group. Towards the end of the season he pushed into the Reserves, playing 11 times and scoring on three occasions, with coach Kevin Keen rating him a future West Ham star. Tombides got his first taste of international football last August with the Joeys, who he is expected to represent at next month’s Under-17 World Cup.
CELTIC CONFIRM AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Scottish giants Celtic have announced they will play Perth Glory as part of a three-game pre-season tour of Australia in July. Celtic, a 42 time winner of the Scottish League Championship, will face Glory on 9 July between fixtures with Central Coast Mariners (2 July) and Melbourne Victory (13 July). It will be the second visit in two years for Neil Lennon's team, having played a friendly against Brisbane in front of 30,000 fans in 2009. "The players who went to Brisbane raved about the backing they received from the fans," he said. "I'm really excited as the cities we are visiting are full of Celtic fans … A tour like this gives us the opportunity to go and meet those fans and thank them for their support."
JOEYS COACH UPBEAT AFTER CHALLENGING WORLD CUP DRAW
Australia have been pitted against Brazil, Denmark and Côte d'Ivoire at the upcoming Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. Following today’s group draw, national youth coach Jan Versleijen admitted his team has a challenging but not impossible task in progressing beyond the group stage. “The advantage that we have going into the tournament is that the majority of our squad is based at the Australian Institute of Sport and the players are very familiar with each other, so it is easier to work on the details,” said Versleijen. Australia’s first game of the tournament is against Côte d'Ivoire (19 June) before they face Brazil (22 June) and Denmark (25 June).
COCKBURN HANDS REINS TO LYONS
Mick Lyons has taken on the challenge of resurrecting Cockburn City’s season. The Cockerels are slumped at the foot of the table with just a single win as the home and away series reaches its mid-point but club president Heidi Lazzaro feels confident Lyons can turn things around following the resignation of Tony Castillo. “The committee and management are extremely pleased to appoint such a high profile and dedicated coach,” commented Lazzaro. “Mick Lyons reputation is truly evident, he has high expectations for himself, the players and club.”
Lazzaro said it was vital Cockburn get the right man for the job. “The club were looking to replace Tony with a coach who could resurrect our poor start to the season,” explained Lazzaro. “We needed someone who could manage the squad, after eight straight losses it’s a difficult situation to walk into. Mick was up for the challenge. He was positive but gave no preconceived notion that this would be a walk in the park … we believe Mike will be able to turn the second half of the season around.”
As a player Lyons made over 650 senior appearances at the highest levels of English football. He joined Everton straight from school in 1968 and went on to play 462 games for his hometown side, scoring 59 goals and captaining the team for eight years. Lyons played two and a half seasons with Sheffield Wednesday before taking on a player/manager role with Grimsby Town. Spells in charge of Brunei (Malaysia) and Canberra Cosmos (Australia) preceded a youth development role with ECU Joondalup and successful five-year stint at the helm of Stirling Lions.
UPGRADE IT, BUT WILL THEY COME? (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
News in February that Perth Glory were considering leaving their long-time home at Perth Oval for the hockey stadium at Curtin University had many football fans in shock. The Perth Hockey Stadium is not well placed in terms of public transport, meaning parking is a massive problem even for games which attract crowds of around 4,000 people. The stadium is not well placed in terms of bars and spectators being able to walk to the ground, something that football fans the world over enjoy before or after the game. However, what the fans feel may have very little to do with the final decision.
It is understood Glory are extremely keen to plough ahead with this plan. The club are prepared to pay for the main stand to be extended to offer seating for 2,000 corporate members. The current scoreboard end of the stadium will be terraced and a roof put over the top to house the fans that normally frequent the Shed. The area opposite the main stand will see a temporary stand erected to lift the capacity of the stadium to 10,000. Glory are banking their average crowd of around 7,000 to follow the team, therefore making the stadium close to full every home game.
Glory are expected to foot the bill for these alterations to the current set-up, and will then pay a rental fee of close to $300,000 a season. What may concern Glory fans is it’s understood they are looking to sign a five-year deal to stay at the ground. This would appear extremely risky as if the fans do stay away due to the location, public transport issues, parking or the whole game experience, the club will be locked into a stadium that has turned their consumers away for a long period of time.
The biggest stumbling block currently is the artificial surface which, as it’s used for hockey, has very little give making it totally unsuitable for football. Currently, the artificial surface for hockey is a 19mm pile whereas football requires 65mm. There is talk that Glory may opt for a drop-in synthetic pitch, however, this is dependent on FFA approving the club to play A League fixtures on a synthetic surface. Many fans will recall Luton Town and Queens Park Rangers as just two of the clubs in England that experimented with artificial surfaces before they were banned.
One has to wonder if these recommendations were made in the review carried out by David Hatt and Rick Charlesworth, two men with strong ties to hockey. It is also worth remembering that this same review supposedly recommended the club look at a permanent base at Curtin University, even though the University of WA - where the club trains - offered to build the club a home at McGillivray Oval over two years ago. Before such a move is considered Glory would be wise to canvas the opinion of its fans and its members as a casual poll by ‘Not the Footy Show’ showed many fans would opt to stay home.
ST JOHNSTONE RELEASE CLISBY
Teenage midfielder Jack Clisby is a free agent after being released by Scottish club St Johnstone. Clisby was a regular feature of the Under-19's first eleven, playing a key role in the youth team finishing the season in sixth place, only to be shown the door this week along with three team mates. A State youth representative, Clisby played locally with Sorrento and the National Training Centre before two seasons in the National Youth League with Perth Glory. He turned out for Balcatta prior to joining St Johnstone late last year.
DE VANNA IN DOUBT FOR WORLD CUP
Matilda's striker Lisa De Vanna dream of playing at next month's Women's World Cup is in doubt after she was expelled from the squad which met New Zealand yesterday for a breach of conduct. De Vanna, 26, was asked to leave the team hotel on Saturday following a meeting with coach Tom Sermanni after refusing to undertake various media commitments, walking out of the team photograph, and then failing to fulfil training requirements. It is understood the striker has returned to the United States where she plays for Florida-based magicJack.
Sermanni will take stock of the situation over coming days before deciding what role - if any - De Vanna has in Australia's World Cup plans. "We have the chance now to assess in a logical and less emotional light," Sermanni said. "The key factor in making a decision will be what is ultimately in the best interests of the team, and to a degree the team may influence that decision. Right at this moment I'm not quite sure what the future is." De Vanna is no stranger to controversy, having already drawn attention for leaving sexually suggestive photos on her Facebook page last year.
ADELAIDE MOVE TO KEEP BIRIGHITTI
Adelaide United has opened discussions on a contract extension with highly rated goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. A former Perth SC junior, Birighitti joined Adelaide in 2008 but has played much of the past three years as second fiddle to Eugene Galekovic, who has attracted the interest of several European clubs. “Mark’s in a difficult position because he would walk into most other teams,” said Adelaide director Michael Petrillo. “But we want to keep him here and expect those discussions to develop over the course of the next few months.” Although he’s made only a handful of first team appearances Birighitti has turned out 30 times for Australia at youth level.
TEN-MAN FLOREAT ON HOLD FOR VICTORY (with Jordan McArdle, Football West)
Floreat Athena continued their midseason revival with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium. Paul Van Dongen’s strike on the half hour was all that separated the teams at the end of 90 minutes, and pushed Floreat a little further up the table. Assistant coach Taki Nicolaidis praised his side’s fighting qualities in what was a difficult second half. “It was tough, both teams haven’t had the best start to the season,” said Nicoladis. “Once we got one-nil up we did want to protect the lead. Credit to the (desperation of the) ten guys who had to finish the game off.”
Stirling had the bulk of the early attacking early but on the quarter hour were dealt a blow with midfielder Brent Griffiths exiting the game with a groin injury. Michael Pugliese was agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when his shot beat diving goalkeeper Alex Dunn only to slam into the upright. Against the run of play Floreat took a 30th minute lead through Paul Van Dongen, who caught Stirling ‘keeper Cory Hugo off his line and coolly slotted into the back of the net. This turned the game on its head and the home side lifted their intensity heading into half-time.
Floreat should have doubled their advantage early in the second period but Mark Pritchard sprayed his shot well wide. The visitors were reduced to ten men in the 61st minute with defender Calum O’Connell issued his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on substitute Shintaro Ito. Alex Dunn was outstanding between the posts with a number of sensational saves to keep Floreat’s nose in front. Stirling had their chances to salvage a point late in the match but time-after-time wasted their opportunities and finish the day empty handed.
MCCALLUM WINS IT FOR AUSTRALIA
The Matildas have claimed a 2-1 victory over New Zealand from today’s international friendly at Bluetongue Stadium. Australia took the early advantage through Catherine Cannuli, however, that lead was short-lived with Hannah Wilkinson levelling things. The game was settled just after half-time by Collette McCallum’s trademark free-kick from the edge of the 18-yard box. It was the Matildas final hit-out on home soul before departing for next month’s Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Australia needed only 9 minutes to assert their authority with Cannuli heading in a curling cross from the right by Samantha Kerr. Ria Percival looked to restore parity but her audacious 27-metre lob was tipped over by goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. There was nothing Barbieri could do in the 26th minute, though, as Wilkinson finished off a strong run and low cross from the right flank by Ali Riley. Tameka Butt and Kyah Simon whizzed shots over the crossbar as Australia attempted to reclaim the lead before half-time.
The deciding goal arrived ten minutes into the second half when McCallum curled a sweet left-footed strike inside Jenny Bindon’s near post. Coach Tom Sermanni then brought on Ellyse Perry and Emily Van Egmond as Australia pushed for further goals. But despite efforts from Butt and Kerr late on, the physical encounter would finish 2-1 in favour of Australia, who extend their winning run over New Zealand to 21 games. Kerr played a full game, McCallum came off after 83 minutes and Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
GARCIA MAY MISS REST OF THIS YEAR
Hull City winger Richard Garcia is facing an uncertain future after the full extent of his knee injury revealed he could miss the rest of 2011. The 29-year old Socceroo underwent surgery on his cruciate ligament in London late last week and now faces up to nine months on the sidelines. Out of contract at the end of July, Garcia chose to delay signing an extended deal with the Tigers back in February. That decision now appears to have backfired, and Garcia is looking towards a state of limbo when his deal runs out in less than three months.
Hull have promised to give Garcia their full support as his rehabilitation begins in the coming weeks, but are no longer able to offer any long-term guarantees. “Richard’s had an operation on his knee and unfortunately it’s his cruciate ligament,” said Adam Pearson, Hull’s head of football operations. “Obviously, this football club has a duty of care up to the end of his contract and from that period onwards we’ll just review it on a month by month basis … We’ve got a responsibility and we’ll be looking after him through the period until his contract ends on July 30 and review it then.”
Garcia has a history of knee injuries dating back to a cruciate ligament operation as a teenager with West Ham United. More recent problems limited him to just seven appearances this year before breaking down in Hull’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace two weeks ago. The prospect of Garcia missing up to nine months leaves the Tigers with a difficult dilemma. The club are not bound to fund his recovery beyond 30 July, however, given the length of Garcia’s service and his popularity among the coaching staff it appears a nominal pay deal could be in the offing until the winger returns to fitness.
SORRENTO SWOOP TO BEAT LEADERS
Sorrento consolidated their place in the top five by defeating Premier League leaders Balcatta 2-1 on a windy afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. Todd Harnwell and Daryl Platten gave the hosts a handy two-goal lead by the break, after which Balcatta went down a man with the sending off of defender Chris Thackray. Balcatta reduced the deficit through Daniel Niederberger but it wasn’t enough to deny Sorrento a fourth straight win. “We were delighted with the first half performance and to go in two-nil up was great,” home coach Paul Price said. “Credit to Balcatta, when they were reduced to ten men the game changed and we were hanging on in the end.”
It looked as though Steven Burton had given Balcatta a dream started when he headed in after 6 minutes, however, goal celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Sorrento threatened for the first time around the quarter hour but David Foster’s 15-metre shot was well saved by Lewis Italiano. The home teams’ pressure paid off three minutes later when Timmins cross from the left deflected off Thackray to Todd Harnwell, who duly volleyed into the net. Platten increased his teams’ lead in the 19th minute by heading in from the top of the 6-yard box after meeting Adam Luca’s curling corner.
Although shell shocked, Balcatta almost created for themselves an instant reply as Italiano’s long clearance was flicked on by Burton to Spencer Harris who should have done better than fire wide. Chances presented at either end of the park leading into the break. Luca put the ball out wide on the right with Todd Harnwell whose cross picked out an unmarked Foster but he blazed high from close-range. Thackeray’s powerful shot flashed past Curtis Aspden only to slam into the base of the upright after he’d been played in by Daniel Micevski.
The second half could not have started more disastrously for the visitors as, with 51 minutes gone, Thackeray was issued a second yellow card by referee Michael Tolme. Sensing the game was now theirs for the taking, Sorrento pushed forward in search of a third goal but Jamie Harnwell’s low shot was held by Italiano. Balcatta soon enough showed the game was anything but over, Burton allowed far too much room on the right to cross for Niederberger whose shot flashed past Aspden on its way into the bottom corner.
As Balcatta took control but opened up very few holes in the hosts back four in which Danny Cain and Jamie Harnwell were superb. On 71 minutes Balcatta were denied a penalty after Mo Atak’s flick on struck Cameron Yorke on the arm, referee Tolmie waving away all subsequent claims for a spot kick. Sorrento almost nicked a third goal on the counter attack but Brodie Martin’s back post header was saved by Italiano. The game was well into stoppage time when Balcatta mounted their final attack, Burton laying the ball off for Harris whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box whistled just wide.
PERTH COMES OUT TRUMPS (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)
Perth SC gave a lesson in clinical finishing in defeating Cockburn City 3-1 at Dalmatinac Park. Greg Sharland struck early for the visitors with Marc Anthony bringing the teams level not long after the break. It was looking as though the points would be shared when Trent Kay put Perth back in front before Josh Pereira knocked in the visitors third in stoppage time. The result allowed Perth to cut Balcatta’s lead at the top of the table to two points, however, things aren’t anywhere near as bright for Cockburn who remain in last place and winless in almost two months.
Devon Spence ensured Perth survived an early scare by blocking successive shots by Rory Feely and Anthony during a frantic 10th minute scramble deep inside the 18-yard box. Three minutes later Sharland left the home defence in his wake as he surged straight down the centre of the park to go one-one-one with Dejan Aleksic, who was helpless as his opponent drilled the games’ first goal into the bottom corner. Although Cockburn remained very much in the game the closest they came to equalising was when Michael Grigo’s lob into the area found Feely but the young striker was unable to finish.
The second half was five minutes old when Anthony punished a defensive error by blasting into the top left corner to level the game. It looked as though Cockburn would go on with the job as Grigo weaved effortlessly past a couple of defenders before unleashing a powerful shot which went the wrong side of the post. Perth returned fire and in the 77th minute Kay stuck the ball in the net during another scramble inside the box. The game was made safe two minutes into stoppage time with substitute Pereira being the third player to send the ball past Aleksic.
MIKULIC GETS THE KNIGHTS OVER THE LINE (with Michael Barr, Football West)
Western Knights have come out on top in a high scoring affair with Armadale 3-2 at Nash Field. Branimir Mikulic deflected in the winning goal on an afternoon both teams finished with ten men. Matt Barlow and Stuart Montgomery made it one-each before Parys Okai was given his marching orders. Mikulic struck midway through the second half, Callum Roberts was sent off then James Robinson brought the teams level with only two minutes left. Full-time was looming when Mikulic netted his second of the day give the hosts a hard-fought victory.
The game began with fierce intensity and Armadale the more aggressive of the sides. However, the first chance came via Montgomery’s clever back heel to Simon Versaico but his angled shot was into the hands of Cyril Sharrock. On the quarter hour Armadale took a surprise lead through Barlow, who headed neatly past Fraser Siddall from an Okai cross. The visitors twice went close to adding a second goal but Warren Beattie’s shot on the counterattack was held by Siddall, and Paul Lloyd’s powerful strike was cleared from the mouth of goal by David Annall.
Parity was restored in the 20th minute when Montgomery coolly slid past a stationary goalkeeper after being played into space by Mikulic on the counterattack. Sharrock made amends twelve minutes later by brilliantly pushing Versaico’s determined header away from the top corner of his net. A speedy exchange of passes took the ball straight to the opposite end before Barlow’s low drive from 15-metres brought a vital save from Siddall. Versaico delivered a gorgeous cross onto the head of Montgomery but he couldn’t capitalise, heading high of the target.
Armadale almost scored a minute after the interval when Tom Robinson chased down a long ball only to be denied by Siddall. Tempers started to fray as the intensity grew and on 61 minutes Okai received his second yellow card after disobeying referee Michal Jasinski’s orders. Ten minutes later Montgomery rattled the frame of the goal with a vicious first time strike from 23-metres, the rebound falling into the path of Mikulic, who headed into an empty net to send the home crowd into raptures.
Jasinski threw the game into turmoil again on 82 minutes by issuing Roberts his second yellow card for an accidental handball, leaving both teams with ten men. This allowed Armadale to challenge their hosts slender lead and on 88 minutes James Robinson was deemed to have got the important touch from an aerial duel with Siddall which the ‘keeper spilled into an open net. The final drama unfolded a couple of minutes later when Mikulic deflected a ball driven into the area past Sharrock with his thigh.
INGLEWOOD TURN TO RICHMAN (with Tim Lefort, Football West)
Two goals in quick succession by Dannie Richman earned Inglewood United a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. The hosts looked to be heading towards a comfortable victory after goals from Gustavo Marulanda and Cisco Jorquera had given them a two-goal lead before Richman turned the game on its head. “It was a first half to forget but again we’ve come back as in many games which just shows the character we’ve got,” Inglewood boss Shane Pryce said. “We changed a few things out there and it worked and we still had a couple of chances to win the game, mind you, they did as well.”
Home custodian Gianni Papalia was called into action as early as the 7th minute to deny Ndumba Makeche before Bayswater responded through David Sesay, who placed wide with only Oliver Taseski to beat. Makeche had two further chances to posts Inglewood’s first goal before he was forced out of the game with a foot injury. Bayswater opened the scoring after 29 minutes when Marulanda’s free-kick from 18-metres found the bottom corner of Taseski’s net. Each team had created chances as play flowed from one end to the other before, six minutes from the interval Jorquera finished clinically from 11-metres after being put through by Marulanda.
Inglewood emerged for the second half fired up and, after a couple of half chances, pulled a goal back when Richman poked in from point-blank range in the 59th minute. Richman struck for a second time five minutes later by racing onto Clarke’s clever ball and getting just enough on his low shot to beat Papalia. The Inglewood midfielder could have had his hat-trick moments later but fired over from 14-metres. Substitute Josh Tumoe was left kicking himself after shooting straight at Taseski from a promising position as the home team sought to regain the upper hand.
Papalia came to Bayswater’s rescue with a fine low save that denied Richman, who soon after was frustrated by Luka Njegich’s stunning goal line clearance. Clarke was next to be denied by the Bayswater ‘keeper, who made a brilliant double save before Njegich again cleared from close to his line. Richman looked destined to find the net after meeting a cross from Clarke, however, the midfielder’s flying header was kept out by Papalia. Bayswater could have pinched victory in the dying moments but Jorquera somehow knocked a cross wide from just a couple of metres.
NTC GIVE MANDURAH A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY (with Michael Bate, Football West)
Mandurah City chalked up an entertaining 3-1 victory over the National Training Centre at Hyundai Stadium. Seb Bell, Garin Collins and a stunning effort from Rafael Insaurralde put the hosts on their way to victory before Blamo Quaqua grabbed a consolation goal for Kenny Lowe's young charges. "Today was a good opportunity for some of the young boys to show what they can do," said Mandurah coach Mike Brazil, who used the game to try out some of his younger players. "We've got some serious injuries but as one door closes another opens. We've got a good group here - there's no stars, they all work hard for one another which is all you can ask."
17-year old Bell made the most of his opportunity by getting forward as often as possible and in the 11th minute became the games’ first goal scorer when he slotted past goalkeeper Tom Doyle following some sloppy defensive work by the NTC. To their credit, the youngsters didn’t drop their heads were unlucky not to find themselves level when Sahr Musa’s chip was tip onto the crossbar by a back-tracking Phil Straker. Musa then send a free header against the frame of the goal before Reece Vittiglia lifted high with an open goal at his mercy. Mandurah struck for a second time on 38 minutes, Collins firing in on end the of a lovely flowing move which featured Bell, Robbie Hamm, Billy Rickman and Insaurralde.
Play was relatively evenly shared after the turnaround as both teams probed for openings. Insaurralde added his name to the scorers in the 64th minute, the attacker unleashing a fierce first time shot on the turn that dipped into the net from 27-metres as ‘keeper Doyle grasped at thin air. The NTC finally made a breakthrough three minutes later when Vittiglia set up Quaqua who lashed in on the volley from 23-metres. Despite dominating possessing across the final twenty minutes the visitors failed to build on that goal, allowing Mandurah to see out the game comfortably.
BINNIE SENDS BUNBURY TO THE TOP
Bunbury Forum Force leapt to the top of Division One thanks to a 2-1 defeat of previous leaders Wanneroo City at Westrac Stadium in Bunbury. In a very tight contest it was the home side that grabbed the go-ahead goal after 20 minutes when Neill Chappell punished a momentary lapse in the Wanneroo defence by heading in from a cross by Jayden Prosser. The away team countered through Josh Booysen whose shot was turned wide by Ryan Montgomery, the resultant corner producing a frantic scramble inside the area that saw no fewer than four shots on goals blocked by a desperate defence.
Wanneroo got the goal they were seeking after 39 minutes when the breeze held up a David Herety cross which dropped behind the defence for Brian Cairney, who volleyed in the equaliser from a narrow angle. However, Bunbury would enter the break in front thanks to Rory Binnie, who complemented last week’s two-goal effort by heading from John Brooks’ fine delivery. The second half followed much the same pattern with Bunbury dominating possession and Wanneroo threatening on the counterattack. Both had chances to add to their tallies but with neither able to do so Bunbury claimed full points and outright leadership of the competition.
MONTEROSSO INSPIRES SWAN TO VICTORY
Swan United bounced back to winning ways by downing Rockingham City 2-1 at the Swan Italian Club. It took the black and whites only 4 minutes to post their first goal as Trent Wood sent clear John Monterosso whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Craig Olejnik with Tom Shepheard firing in the rebound. The gap was increased two minutes later when Olejnik’s attempted clearance struck the back of Shepheard and fell to John Monterosso, who clipped over the ‘keeper from 15-metres. The drama continued in the 19th minute with Shepheard issued his marching orders by referee Kevin Taylor after receiving two quick yellow cards.
Rockingham began the second half strongly and on 56 minutes were rewarded when David Clarke’s cross to the far post was headed in by Jamie Kidd. The visitors had several opportunities to equalise but Andrew Keary’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was saved by Daniel Agudelo, and Kidd just failed to connect with a cross into the area by Daniel Macklin. In the 67th minute Swan struck a decisive blow very much against the run of play, Wood’s centring ball being fired into the net by John Monterosso. Both teams had chances to score again but John Monterosso striker wide and Darren Lawyer headed into the crossbar.
SHAMROCK SLAM IN FIVE
Canning City’s miserable start to the season continued with a 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Shamrock Rovers at Burrendah Reserve. The opening exchanges gave little indication of the landslide that was about to engulf Canning, who quickly had their more fancied opponent on the back foot with several pacey attacks. Shamrock eventually settled and on 21 minutes Alan O'Mahoney struck a decisive blow by tapping in a corner sent to the back post. A handball on the line shortly before the break presented Ian Stack an opportunity to double Shamrock's advantage, which the midfielder duly did from the penalty spot.
The game was made safe mid-way through the second period by a couple of goals in quick succession. On 66 minutes Stack played a tidy one-two with John Kearney, who continued his run by skipping past a couple of defenders before beating the goalkeeper. Three minutes later Kearney's pass through the defence released substitute Nick Carroll who coolly chipped the oncoming 'keeper. Canning responded with a flurry of attacks in which they twice hit the crossbar before Dane Navarro pulled a goal back from the spot on 83 minutes. However, Damien Smyth had the final say three minutes later with a lovely curling shot into the top corner after meeting Sean Brookes lay-off.
FORRESTFIELD POST WIN NUMBER TWO
Forrestfield United earned themselves three vital points by upsetting Morley Windmills 2-1 on a windy afternoon at Wotton Reserve. The ball was turned over with alarming regularity in a scrappy opening to the game in which neither team held sway. The deadlock was broken on 22 minutes by Lucas Whitehouse, who tucked in from the penalty spot following a foul on Fraser Maguire. Forrestfield hit back just two minutes later with Jordan Hart’s shot on the turn deflecting off a defender to wrong foot goalkeeper Steve Grant.
The second half opened with Whitehouse heading past the post from a Maguire cross. Forrestfield hit the front after 53 minutes when Simon El Chami fired into the net after meeting a fine cross on the counterattack. Grant denied the visitors a third goal by saving from Hart as Morley rode their luck. The hosts took their game up a notch as the final whistle approached, Whitehouse stretching Stuart Delgarno with a strike that looked destined for the net. A succession of corners almost produced Morley an equaliser with Delgarno scrambling across his line to prevent Jason Trpcevski from scoring late on.
DIANELLA HELD BY FREMANTLE
Fremantle Spirit produced a solid performance to take a point home after claiming a 2-2 draw with home team Dianella White Eagles. The port side drew first blood after 13 minutes with Luke Doyle’s long ball over the defence releasing Roberto Colalillo, who cut inside his marker and from the edge of the 18-yard box half-volley into the top corner. However, the lead lasted just a few minutes before Josh Marocchi lobbed a partially cleared corner over out of position goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon. Tyrone Fenwick hit the post with an angled header and Sotris Theodosiades was denied by McAlindon as the teams wrestled to take the lead before half-time.
Darren Monaghan was credited as Fremantle’s second scorer after touching Michael De Souza’s sizzling half-volley into the bottom corner of the net three minutes after the restart. Dianella hit back in the 57th minute when Dhamon Kalamaras fired in from an acute angle after his initial shot was parried by McAlindon. A little more sharpness in the finishing department could have seen either side take maximum points. Ognjen Radonic lifted high from close-range while down the other end Emit Quaqua’s hesitancy allowed Dianella time to get into position and snuff out the chance.
GOSNELLS COME BACK FROM THE DEAD
Ashfield threw away their first win of the season by letting slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Gosnells City in an entertaining clash at Ashfield Reserve. The home side were out of the block quickly with Wayne Culverwell tapping in after 13 minutes, and soon after doubling the lead with both goals the result of good lead-up work by Karl O’Reilly and Alex Stamatiadis. Ibnen Charming made it three-nil after 25 minutes as Ashfield threatened to run away with the game.
Darren Francis pulled a goal back nine minutes from half-time to give Gosnells a glimmer of hope. Things got even brighter for the visitors after Ross Harvey punished some poor defending and brought the gap back to a single goal with less than twenty minutes remaining. The game was a couple of minutes into stoppage time when Gosnells completed a remarkable comeback, Francis grabbing his second and the teams third of the afternoon.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The Premier League hits the halfway point this weekend and the pick of the action is the Sunday game between Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium. Floreat have pulled away from the foot of the table with a couple of wins on their last three games and another three points will edge them a little further of the standings. “Sunday’s game is vital, a win could move us into seventh spot,” said Floreat midfielder Jarrad Smith. “Points aside, these encounters always tend to be an intense and colourful battle with the clubs having a rich history and rivalry … this one will be no different.”
It’s been a fortnight since Stirling’s last competitive outings but James Davies feels confident his team can reignite their season with victory at Floreat. “The break was definitely a help for us, it gave everyone time to catch up and recover from injuries and any soreness,” said the defender. “Floreat are a good side but struggled early in the season, so Sunday’s game is massive for both of us. We go there full of confidence and have a full squad to choose from. We’ve trained well this week and had extra sessions, as we look to kick start our season.”
Top of the table Balcatta heads north on Saturday to play Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Goalkeeper Curtis Aspden, Jamie Harnwell and Danny Cain will need to be at their best if the Gulls are to get anything out of the afternoon. David Price returns from suspension for the home side, however, they lose Ryan Pearson for the same reason. The fact Balcatta have had no trouble finding the net this season is attributable to a hard-working midfield in which Jason Barrera, Mo Atak and Daniel Micevski have starred. The absence of Jovo Pavlovic (suspension) means a line-up reshuffle for coach Michael Roki.
Inglewood United will be confident of collecting a fifth straight win when they take on Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Dannie Richman and Ryan Clarke have been in terrific touch for an Inglewood side that’s been scoring at will of late, and has been bolstered by the return of former national league player Adrian Caceres. By contrast, Bayswater are struggling and the departure of captain Damien Catalano and vice-captain Anthony McStea has only compounded their plight. Cisco Jorquera , Cesar Gonzalez and Gianni Papalia have big roles to play as they go seeking a second home win of the season.
It’s going to be another long afternoon for Cockburn City who have home ground advantage against Perth SC. Not much has gone right of late for the Cockerels who, in the space of a couple of weeks, slipped to last on the table, had coach Tony Castiello resign and been thumped by four-goals at Inglewood where goalkeeper Alex Pearson was sent off. >From Shaun Kilkelly through Antonio Naglieri to David Onoforo, Perth has quality the full length and width of the park and it’s hard not seeing them come away with the points from this meeting.
Western Knights are on home soil for the fifth time this year to square off with Armadale. The home club returned to the winners’ circle last week courtesy of Stuart Montgomery’s late finish at Bayswater, however, they look like being missing James Morgan, Glen Thomas and Callum Roberts through injury. Armadale have not won in over a month and if they’re to end that run this weekend it’ll be achieved without captain Steven McDonald and Ross Diamond, who are both serving suspension. All games – be they Saturday or Sunday fixtures – start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
It’s difficult to go past the top of the table clash between Bunbury Forum Force and Wanneroo City in the fifth round of Division One. The game pits the leagues tightest defence, Wanneroo, against the free-scoring side, Bunbury, in a winner-take-all encounter. “Our defence has been rock solid by conceding one goal in four matches and our strikers are hitting some form, both Brian Cairney and David Herety scored last week,” said Wanneroo’s Craig Bowman. “Bunbury are always up there at the top of the league and on their day they can play some good football, as they showed in beating Forrestfield last week.”
There’s a big game at taking place at the other end of the table with Ashfield on home turf to Gosnells City. Both are winless after a month of competition and know equally the importance of changing that sooner rather than later. “We feel we are good enough to be in the top four but really need to start getting some points on the board, hopefully starting this week,” Gosnells midfielder Adrian McBride said. “Ashfield want to be up there challenging also so you’ll have two teams fighting to kick start their seasons, which should make for a tough contest.”
Rockingham City is unbeaten after four games and have every intention of extending their fine start to the year at Swan United. “It’s extremely important we get some kind of positive result against Swan as it will keep us in touch with the top teams in the league,” Rockingham coach Steve Robinson said. “Swan can be a difficult ground to go and get points but we are prepared and will try extremely hard to get something out of it. Hopefully we’ll have some of our injured players back to full fitness, which would strengthen our squad.”
Morley Windmills’ depth will be tested when they welcome Forrestfield United to Wotton Reserve. In doubt for the home team are Simon Wilson (ankle), Steve Cowbrough (back), Ryna Frisina (calf) and Adriano D’Adamo (stomach bug). Shamrock Rovers should come away with the win from their derby with Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. Fremantle Spirit came from behind to win last time out and are confident of a similar outcome when they visit Dianella White Eagles, who have one point from their last two games. All six Division One games kick off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
AGUDELO STEPS OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Daniel Agudelo is thrilled to have finally landed the number one spot at Swan United. After serving a lengthy apprenticeship under one-time State custodian Cory Hugo, 23-year old Agudelo has stepped out of his mentors shadow with a string of fine performances over the opening rounds of the new season. With plans to get Swan back into the top flight, Agudelo ensured his club started to the home and away series without loss, keeping two clean sheets in the first three rounds before going down first the first time last weekend at Wanneroo City.
Agudelo has absolutely no complaints about his lack of regular first team football prior to this season. "Cory has probably had the biggest impact in my goalkeeping, he has been my mentor for the last ten years," commented Agudelo, himself a former State Schoolboys representative. "I always knew my chances of taking Cory's spot were far and few between ... he is a quality 'keeper! The key was to see him as a teacher, and all I had to do was listen, learn and ask questions, and ultimately wait for my turn.
New coach John O'Reilly is making great strides with his team which, after four games, are positioned fifth and only a few points off top spot. "Credit to John, he has made a huge impact at the club and its culture both on the and off the park," commented Agudelo, who played regularly under O'Reilly when he was reserve team coach at Swan. "His drive, enthusiasm, and passion is infectious. The lads are responding well. Everyone shares the same belief and excitement for this season."
The off-season saw a lot of change to the Swan squad and Agudelo feels strongly that the team is yet to fully hit their straps. "The boys just keep improving and understanding each other more with each training session and game," the 'keeper said. "I’ve definitely been impressed with Aaron Colli's impact to our squad and Adam Pygrum and John Monterosso have been very consistent ... in fairness all the boys have really stepped up." Swan's next game has them on home soil this Saturday to an as yet unbeaten Rockingham City, kick off is 3.00pm.
KARP TO LEAD AUSTRALIA AT PAN AM GAMES
Australia’s preparations for December's Pan America Games in Sao Paolo have begun in earnest with former Matildas midfielder Tal Karp named the teams player-coach. Karp, who represented Australia at the 2003 women’s World Cup and 2004 Athens Olympics, enjoyed a distinguished career at the top level, and has now turned her attention to inspiring the next generation of young Jewish footballers. "It feels fitting," Karp said. "Maccabi was the first club I ever played for as a 7-year old in Perth. Now that I no longer have the pressures of training and competing for the Matildas or at W-League level, being involved again with Maccabi feels right."
Karp says her new coaching role will allow her to play a hands-on part in the growth of Jewish women's football in Australia. "I think we can build a strong new generation of creative, talented, athletic Jewish soccer players," Karp added. "Maccabi clubs are doing a great job locally. Its now really important for us to boost the number of girls in the game and help build the players coming through so that we can make more of an impression on the international stage. I'm very excited to be a part of that building process."
Holder of an Asian Football Confederation C-level coaching license, Karp is planning a professional and high quality preparation for the upcoming tournament, starting with trials in July. "In Brazil, I really want us to be able to present a competitive, fighting force, while keeping our development goals in mind," she said. "It's very exciting to be competing in a country that I consider to be the home of football, and to get the chance to play against some of the best female footballing countries in the world."
MATILDAS CRUISE IN OVER KIWIS
Australia commenced its final preparations for next month's Women's World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over New Zealand this afternoon at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. Tom Sermanni’s experimental line-up struck early through Caitlin Foord with Kyah Simon and Leena Khamis adding to the Matildas tally I the closing stages of the game, which was played behind closed doors. “I was really pleased with the performance, doubly so given it is our first hit-out of the year and it was effectively a new team we fielded” said the Matildas Sermanni. “You can’t really pick fault with the performance today, the team worked exceptionally well and the three goals were very well taken.”
The ball had been in motion 10 minutes when 16-year old Foord scored herself a well-crafted individual goal from 9-metres. The game then developed into something of a tug-of-war between the two sides and it was only after the introduction of Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr in the second half that Australia regained control. Soon after coming off the bench Simon scored with an unstoppable 27-metre strike to double the Matildas' advantage in the 79th minute. Khamis capped a hard-working performance with a goal six minutes from full-time after latching onto an Emily Van Egmond pass. Lydia Williams played a full game in goal, Kerr came on in the 79 minute while Collette McCallum was an unused substitute.
DAVIES REMAINS IN LIMBO
The international future of midfield talent Julius Davies remains shrouded by mystery, despite the best efforts of Football Federation Australia. Davies, 16, fled war-torn Sierra Leone as a refugee with his sister to settle in Perth. Although he carries an only Australian passport, the midfielder remains ineligible for Australia as he lived in Perth one year shy of the five required by FIFA to play for a new country. "We will keep trying but it just seems that every avenue brings a negative answer," said FFA's John Boultbee.
Davies is highly rated by the coaching staff at German club Bayern Munich, where he is a regular feature of the Under-17 side. After playing locally for Dianella White Eagles he entered the National Training Centre program and, in 2008, was called up for the Australian Under-17 side. However, international rules designed to stop the exploitation of young players, particularly from Africa, denied him the chance to represent Australia. An extra layer of complexity was added in 2009 when, after four years in Perth, Davies joined Bayern.
ALL ABOVE BOARD (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
If you have managed to sit through the Football West Board update videos you will have heard mention of the Strategic Plan that is being worked on. Very little has been forthcoming on this issue with the exception Football West are at phase three, and that an outside body has been assisting with its development. This lack of information has led to accusations of ‘jobs for the boys’ in terms of the company compiling the Strategic Plan with questions being raised as to why the board did not have the expertise to complete one of their own.
The good news is Football West is not paying for the Strategic Plan. Chief executive Peter Hugg applied for and won a one-off grant from the Department of Sport and Recreation for this process to be carried out. Having an independent person come in and view what needs to be done is probably the best option for the game. Simon Bowen, of Rosscrae International, is the gentleman facilitating the process. Bowen is not actually writing the plan - the Board will, we believe, be responsible for that.
When the facts are out in the open it is clear that from Peter Hugg obtaining the grant to the way the Strategic Plan is being put together Football West are acting professionally and prudently. What is a shame is that no one actually thought to advise the stakeholders what was going on - not even in the wonderful resource of the FootballWestTV Board updates! Hopefully ‘Communication’ is a subheading in the Strategic Plan.
CELTIC TO PLAY IN PERTH
Perth Glory will play Scottish giants Celtic in a pre-season friendly at Perth Oval in early July, pending approval by Football Federation Australia. Celtic, a 42-time winner of the Scottish Premier League, will bring their strongest squad to Perth for the glamour friendly which has been set down for Saturday 9 July. “Perth Glory is delighted to play Celtic in a friendly later this year,” said chief executive Paul Kelly. “This is a great time for the club following several key player signings headlined by Shane Smeltz. We are sure our fans share our excitement as the game will showcase some of the best footballers in the world.”
The match offers great intrigue for Glory coach Ian Ferguson, who will renew his acquaintance with Celtic having made 336 appearances for arch rivals Rangers. “Celtic is a European powerhouse, regularly playing the best footballing teams in the world through the UEFA Champions League competition,” commented Ferguson. “They have massive international support and play a very attractive brand of football that I’m sure will excite the people of Perth. This is an exciting opportunity for Perth Glory … the fixture is about exposing our football club against one of the best and most professionally run clubs in the world.”
SYDNEY FINALLY CONFIRM COYNE’S CAPTURE
Sydney FC has signed former Perth Glory captain Jamie Coyne to a two-year deal. Coyne, who has been training with the Sky Blues for the last few weeks, finally put pen to paper today with the two-time A-League champions for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons. The acquisition of Coyne, who shot to prominence with Perth SC, bolsters Sydney's defensive options after the club recruited Socceroo Michael Beauchamp last month. Sydney's hope of having the 30-year old on board for their Asian Champions League campaign was scuppered by his contractual dispute with Glory.
With that issue now resolved, Coyne jumped at the chance to join the Sky Blues and feels he has plenty to offer the club. "I have played against Sydney FC many times and all I wanted to do was beat them and they were games where you needed no motivation to rip in," he said. "Now I will be on the other side and I will be giving it my all. I am naturally competitive and I will bring that to Sydney FC. I will play hard and give everything I've got. It is an exciting time for me."
Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said Coyne's versatility would be a bonus for next season. "He can play in many positions which will give us options across the pitch," Lavicka said. "He is much taller and bigger than people realise. I saw in the way he played in our friendly last week that he will be a good addition to the team. His positional play, ability in the air and his talking during the game was excellent. He did everything we asked of him and showed good character which is important to us here."
RUKAVYTSYA GOES UP WITH HERTHA
Socceroos attacker Nikita Rukavytsya will play in Germany’s top flight, the Bundesliga, next season after Hertha Berlin sealed promotion on the weekend. 23-year old Rukavytsya played the opening 67 minutes of his club’s 2-0 away win over FC Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday to clinch the 2.Bundesliga title. Rukavytsya, who starred on the local scene in 2007 with Perth SC, joined Hertha last July and made 29 league appearances, and scored four goals, in his debut season with the club.
NO MOVE FOR WILLIAMS
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray has put to bed speculation linking Rhys Williams with an off-season move to Bolton Wanderers, stating he won't sell the promising Socceroo. With Middlesbrough wanting to cut their £20m wage bill, Williams has been linked to Bolton whose manager Owen Coyle is a fan of the 22-year old defender/midfielder. However, Mowbray made it clear on his clubs' website that Williams is a required player for next season. “There's no urgency to sell him, so we can put that one to bed,” Mowbray said. “We don't have to sell any of our young, talented footballers whose salaries aren't hurting this football club financially.”
Middlesbrough has a lot of young talent on their books and Williams is one of the select few Mowbray has big plans for. "We keep the ones we think it's right to keep, the ones we want to build a team round. Some players' salary levels dictate that we have to listen to offers and others don't," he commented. "Rhys comes into that (latter) category and he's shown versatility and great quality in every position we've asked him to play since he came back from injury. I'm pretty sure that next season he'll be here."
Williams missed most of this Championship campaign due to a long-term pelvis injury but since his return to the Boro side in March the team's results improved. Mowbray was full of praise for the three-time Socceroo who played another full game in the centre of defence in Saturday's 3-0 win over Doncaster which saw Boro finish the season in 12th. "Rhys is like a Rolls Royce, he can do anything. For a boy who's had the injuries he has he has amazing agility and athleticism,” Mowbray said. "He's a talented boy. What Rhys Williams needs to do is play 40 football matches for us next season. He needs to get a season under his belt and hopefully we'll see that next year."
GARCIA A WANTED MAN
Hull City boss Nigel Pearson has offered Socceroos attacker Richard Garcia a new contract as he begins planning for the 2011/12 season. Garcia, who underwent knee surgery on Friday, is yet to inform Pearson of his intentions with the manager hopeful of getting an answer in coming days. "He's had an operation and he's had a contract offer that he's not signed," said Pearson. "Obviously now he's had an operation it may alter the situation, we'll have to have a look at it. I've not had chance to speak with Richard or in great depth with the medical department about the severity of the injury so we'll see how it pans out this week."
MATILDA’S WITH DEPTH TO COVER: KERR
Striker Samantha Kerr is confident the Matilda's have the depth to overcome the loss of star Kate Gill at next month's Women's World Cup in Germany. Gill was last week ruled out of the tournament, which begins on 26 June, following surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Kerr, who scored in Australia's Asian Cup final win last year, is convinced the Matildas have enough attacking options to make up for Gill's absence. "I think we've got a lot of depth to our strikers with (Lisa) Di Vanna and (Sarah) Walsh so, she will be missed but hopefully we can replace her or change something in the line-up that people won't expect," Kerr told AAP.
The Matildas are preparing for this week’s two-game friendly series with New Zealand in Gosford. Kerr is all too well aware of the importance of these games with coach Tom Sermanni set to cut five players from his training squad to for the World Cup. "I think for me playing well in these two games is very important because the final cut is not too far away," she said. "Hopefully I can play well and Tommy picks me in the next cut. For the team, I guess it's just good to use the two games to play, get a win hopefully and start really gelling as a team."
17-year old Kerr is hopeful her selection can result in another positive international tournament to go with the Matildas successful 2010 Asian Cup campaign. "If Germany's half as good as the Asian Cup then it's going to be amazing," she said. "It's an awesome experience to get away with the girls and do what we do. Hopefully we can have as much success as we did with the Asian Cup." The Matildas take on New Zealand behind closed doors on Thursday with the second game taking place at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
NATIONAL CALL-UP FOR FIVE
Five young West Australians will stake their claim to national selection during a combined Olyroos/Young Socceroos training camp this week in Canberra. Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, defender Trent Sainsbury, midfielders Scott Neville and Ryan Edwards along with striker Eli Babalj are among 31-players invited to the five-day camp under the watchful eyes of coaches Aurelio Vidmar (Olympic team) and Jan Versleijen (Young Socceroos). It's the last opportunity for players to impress the coaching staff of both teams before heading overseas at the end of the month, the Olyroos for a friendly with Japan while the Young Socceroos will compete at the Terborg Tournament in the Netherlands.
COCKERELS LOSE THEIR CROW
The season is teetering on the verge of disaster for Cockburn City following a turbulent few days for the south of the river club. The club lurched towards crisis during the week with first team coach Tony Castiello tendering his resignation following their sixth successive loss of the season. Assistant coach Richard Francesco and former national league player Adrian Webster stepped into the breach for Saturday’s visit to Inglewood where the Cockerels surrendered a two-goal lead to go down 7-4, a result which leaves them three points below second from bottom Armadale and with a worrying goal difference of -14. With two teams to be relegated at seasons end, Cockburn very clearly have a mountain to climb if they are to remain in the top flight beyond September.
GOSNELLS GO HOMELESS
The redevelopment of Walter Padbury Reserve has left Gosnells City without a home for much of this season. Eight years in the planning and a joint venture between the club and the City of Gosnells, the works include a major upgrade to the clubroom facilities and surrounding playing and training surfaces. “The timing of the project start has not worked in our favour, with the works beginning in January and expected to continue throughout our current season,” remarked club president John McKinnon. “Because of the long period of discussions to get to this point we were just happy for things to start moving in the right direction.”
The work will improve the standard of the playing surfaces and facilities at Gosnells, however, they have presented some significant challenges to the club. “Teams are having to work around daily changes in available training areas, limited lighting, a lack of change rooms and portable ablution facilities to name a few,” McKinnon added. “Once these works have been completed the addition of two more change rooms, a referee's room, media room and equipment shed will all be added to the end of the current building.”
Gosnells, who have played at Walter Padbury Reserve since formation in 1969, are looking forward to unveiling their new-look facilities towards the end of the Division One home and away series. “It’s hoped the works will be completed before August so that all and sundry may enjoy the new facilities for the tail end of this current season,” he said. “With successes on the field in 2010, and the new facilities and an increase player numbers in 2011, the 2012 season is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons for the club in many years.”
WILLIAMS TO LET MIDDLESBROUGH DECIDE HIS FUTURE
Rhys Williams will leave his immediate future in the hands of his club, Middlesbrough, following speculation he could move to Premier League side Bolton Wanderers in the coming off-season. Williams, 22, makes no secret his dream is to play in England’s top flight but whether that happens next season remains to be seen. “I've never played in the Premiership and it's always been my dream,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com. “If the right move comes along and it's right for the club, myself and my career then it'd be the way forward. My future lies in the hands of Middlesbrough Football Club. Whether they want to keep me or sell me, it's their choice and time will tell.”
Bolton boss Owen Coyle last revealed his admiration for Williams, who he previously worked with during a loan stint at Burnley. However, the Perth-born defender/midfielder said he hadn't formally heard from Bolton despite Coyle's comments in the press. “I don't know how true everything is right now,” said Williams, who has been capped three times by Australia. “I'm not even sure if the club have said anything because they haven't spoken to me about anything. Time will tell, if it's true then obviously I'm delighted for people to be interested in me.”
Williams previous experiences under Coyle at Burnley during their Championship run to promotion in 2008/09 represented a breakthrough in his club career. “He (Coyle) signed me at Burnley without even knowing much about me,” he said. “I feel that kick started my career massively, playing in the Championship and playing every week. I played 17 games on the bounce for Burnley and they ended up getting promoted. So Owen Coyle has been massive for my career, by giving me the chance when I was younger. I'll forever thank him for that.”
TEN-MEN OF BALCATTA OUT-CLASS PERTH
Balcatta moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League following a 4-1 win against Perth SC in front of a bumper crowd at Dorrien Gardens. First half goals from Jason Barrera and Steve Burton gave the visitors a two-goal buffer before David Onoforo pulled one back for the hosts on the stroke of half time. The game took an interesting turn on the hour when Balcatta defender Jovo Pavlovic saw red, however, the visiting side continued their march with further goals by Burton and Daniel Micevski to secure the points.
Perth started the brighter but on 9 minutes found themselves a goal behind to Balcatta’s first attack, Barrera arrowing in from a tight angle after Burton’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Devon Spence. The home side went close to replying seven minutes later when Greg Sharland curled a free-kick around the defensive wall only for Lewis Italiano to make the save at full-stretch. Balcatta were by now looking the more threatening when going forward and Barrera shot wide from distance before an unmarked Burton headed straight at the ‘keeper from a Micevski cross.
Spence was lucky to remain on the park after 25 minutes, the ‘keeper earning a booking after rushing out of his area and bringing down Ashley Rosindale. Balcatta doubled the lead in the 40th minute when Burton sent Spence the wrong way from the spot at the second attempt, his initial shot saved by the ‘keeper but a raised assistant referee’s flag required the penalty be retaken. The game was in stoppage time when Sharland latched onto a ball over the top but was thwarted by Italiano, the ball falling kindly for Onoforo who fired into the net via the crossbar.
The second half started at a breakneck pace with chances at both ends of the park. Sharland blazed high from 15-metres then Burton was denied by an alert Spence. Onoforo’s low shot was save by Italiano, and moments later Spence brilliantly kept out Barrera’s effort. Italiano again came to his sides rescue by halting Dom De Felice’s curling strike. Balcatta suffered a setback in the 67th minute when Pavlovic was shown a straight red card from an off the ball incident spotted by referee David Costello.
Balcatta coach Michael Roki reshuffled his deck and six minutes later Micevski sealed the win by converting at close-range after Dean Apelgren’s error allowed Burton to waltz past a couple of defenders and set-up his team mate. Although shell shocked, Perth continued the fight but successive shots by Adam Bachiller and De Felice were saved by Italiano. 81 minutes were on the clock when a ball over the top released Rosindale who unselfishly pulled the ball back for Burton to fire in goal number into an empty net.
COCKBURN STUNNED AS INGLEWOOD HIT SEVEN
Inglewood United piled on seven second half goals to defeat Cockburn City 7-4 in an incredible match at 6PR Stadium. Cockburn entered the break two-up thanks to Rory Feely and Michael Grigo but within minutes of the second half the balance had switched in Inglewood’s favour through goals by Ryan Clarke, Adrian Caceres and Rory Grant. The hosts went on to score four more with Grant completing his hat-trick in between an own goal and a rare finish by Darko Ilmanoski in a remarkable nine-goal second half.
Cockburn started positively with Johny Mirco going close from distance inside a minute. Ndumba Makeche rippled the top netting from the corner of the 18-yard box and Ilmanoski scooped over the crossbar at close-range as Inglewood began to get going. Those misses were punished in the 18th minute when Feely brilliantly cut in from the left and beat a couple of opponents before angling his shot between Oliver Taseski and the near post. That lead was doubled three minutes later when Declan Boyham charged forward from full back and played in Michael Grigo, who lashed in from a tight angle.
James Sammut was within inches of pulling a goal back on 23 minute when his shot struck the base of the upright and rebounded into the arms of goalkeeper Alex Pearson. Inglewood had no intention of surrendering and soon after Makeche stroked agonisingly wide with only Pearson to beat. Next to threaten was Caceres with a brilliant curling free-kick that whistled narrowly high of the crossbar. Grant sent a golden opportunity well over after being found in space by Dannie Richman, and a couple of minutes later the striker’s diving header was just wide from Jason Colli’s cross.
Inglewood were back in the game within 20 seconds of the break, Clarke running onto Makeche’s centring pass which he tucked inside the far post. Four minutes later when Pearson was red carded for his foul on Makeche, replacement ‘keeper Dejan Aleksic’s first action was to pick Caceres spot kick out of his net. Inglewood were on fire and a mazy run by Caceres saw him cross to the far post where an unmarked Grant headed in goal number three with 54 minutes gone. Referee Hugh Best gifted Inglewood a chance to further increase their lead but Caceres’ second penalty of the match was saved by Aleksic.
Aleksic brilliantly palmed Clarke’s shot away from the top corner after the midfielder exploded past a tiring Cockburn defence. Substitute Gerardo Soto was in the wrong place at the wrong time on 70 minutes when the ball ricocheted off him and into the net after Aleksic blocked a close-range Caceres shot. Cockburn refused concede and three minutes later Mirco drilled low into the corner of the net after Inglewood partially cleared a Marc Anthony free-kick to the top of the area.
A 76th minute corner from the right by Caceres led to a goalmouth scramble in which Illamanoski emerged with his arms upraised. Grant then grabbed his second goal, heading in the rebound from a couple of metres after another Caceres shot had been blocked by Aleksic. Poor defending at the other end permitted Feely to blast in from similarly close-in after Anthony’s shot free-kick found Wesley Britz deep inside the area. Sixty seconds later Grant returned fire to secure his hat-trick and return the margin to four goals.
MONTGOMERY GETS THE KNIGHTS HOME (with Tim Lefort, Football West)
Western Knights ended a two-game losing streak by scoring late to see off Bayswater City 1-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. The games’ only goal arrived six minutes from the end via Stuart Montgomery whose penalty spot conversion rewarded a strong overall performance from the away side. “I thought we were the better side all day,” Knights boss Carl Medica said. “We created quite a few chances in the first half and didn’t take them but Bayswater made us work hard and fight right to the end.”
The outcome could have been very different had Frazer Siddall not moved swiftly to keep out Cisco Jorquera’s long-range free-kick in the opening minute. The next clear chance didn't come until the quarter hour when Branimir Mikulic’s flick-on created the opening for Montgomery, who was unable to beat goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. Montgomery then saw his snap shot clip the crossbar after a scramble inside the 18-yard box, and not long after Papalia blocked well a powerful strike from the Knights striker.
Simon Versaico’s angled drive was high before the attacker watched in frustration as Papalia parried his powerful close-range volley. Cormac Dawson miscued his shot after the ball dropped kindly for him 7-metres out as the misses continued to mount for the Knights. The home side might have gone ahead after 41 minutes if not for Stuart Ferguson’s last-ditch tackle on Gustavo Maralunda. On the stroke of half-time Montgomery clipped the bar with an exquisite chip from 18-metres after only half-cleared a corner.
The second half followed much the same pattern, Montgomery whipping a cross to the near post where Papalia was in the right place at the right time to thwart Daniel Trim. Versaico fired over from distance, Mikulic’s low strike was well held by the ‘keeper, then referee Josh Mihevc turned down strong penalty claims from the Knights after Joseph Sieh appeared to handle inside the area. Bayswater sparked into life midway through the second period after Jorquera played in Maralunda who flashed across the face of goal.
In the minutes that followed Jorquera fired just over from an angle and Maralunda went close with a free-kick from 18-metres. Siddall was out quickly to smother at the feet of the dangerous Maralunda after David Annall lost possession near the halfway line. But just as it looked like Bayswater steal victory Sieh was ruled to have handled after Versaico had flicked the ball past him. Up stepped Montgomery to coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner and give his team three very deserved points.
SORRENTO MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW (with Michael Bate, Football West)
Sorrento were pushed all the way in getting the better of Armadale 2-1 on an afternoon of controversy at Alfred Skeet Oval. Ryan Pearson struck the deciding goal just after the hour, negating out Ross Diamond’s header on the stroke of half time which had itself cancelled out a 29th minute own goal that put the Gulls in front. Both Pearson and Diamond were also shown red cards in the final ten minutes of a match that was overshadowed by a number of controversial decisions by referee Joe Fusari.
The game didn’t really come to life until the 25th minute when referee Fusari dismissed Armadale’s strong claims for a penalty after the ball struck Jamie Harnwell’s outstretched arm. Luck was very much against the home side four minutes later when Warren Beattie attempted to guide the ball back to Neil Young but succeeded only in heading the ball over the goalkeeper for an own goal. Armadale had another penalty shout turned down when Jamie Harnwell appeared to nudge the ball out of play with his arm following a fine save by Curtis Aspden.
Tom Robinson and Paris Okai combined twice in the space of a few minutes as Armadale pushed for an equaliser. Okai fired the initial shot over from Robinson’s centring ball, then Robinson met Okai’s cross at the back post only for his header to be well saved by Aspden. The teams were brought level in the 43rd minute when Diamond headed from 5-metres during a goalmouth scramble, despite Sorrento’s assertion that Anthony Campbell had impeded Aspden as he attempted the capture a corner. Robinson was felled by Daryl Platten in stoppage time but again Fusari remained unmoved.
Armadale came out for the second half determined to grab an early lead but Paul Lloyd, James Robinson nor Campbell were able to capitalise on their chances. At the other end of the pitch Todd Harnwell had a couple of great chances, volleying the first just wide then drawing a fine one-footed save from Neil Young a couple of minutes later. The breakthrough came in the 62nd minute when Todd Harnwell carried the ball forward before playing a superb through ball which Pearson powered past Young at his near post.
Pearson was very lucky to stay on the pitch after scything down Diamond with a late tackle in the 66th minute. Diamond had a goalbound shot cleared off the line, Cameron Yorke nearly headed into his own net before Steve McDonald nodded just wide as Sorrento rode their luck. Pearson was issued his a second yellow card in the 81st minute for retaliation after tussling with Okai. Despite dominating late possession, Armadale failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority. The game was deep in stoppage time when Diamond was also sent off for a late aerial challenge on Aspden.
JOONDALUP GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS (with Val Mac, Football West)
ECU Joondalup bounced back into the winners circle by defeating Floreat Athena 3-2 on a sunny afternoon at Edith Cowan University campus. Charlie Comyn-Platt, Ross Anderson and John Stynes found the back of the net to earn Joondalup maximum points for the first time six weeks and keep the northern suburbs club within touching distance of the top five. “Absolutely delighted,” said coach Steve Amphlett. “I was nervous at the end because we were desperate for a win. But it was a fantastic win and we’ll drive on from there.”
Floreat got play underway but quickly found themselves on the back foot to a dominant home team, who asserted themselves with three corners in the opening five minutes. Joondalup’s reward came on 18 minutes when Jordan Withey send a corner to the far post from where Comyn-Platt made no mistake. There was no let up from the home team whose tidy passing and focus on attack left their opponents chasing the ball. Floreat eventually found their rhythm and in the 37th minute drew level with Callum O’Connell heading Jarrad Smith’s cross from the left.
Joondalup reclaimed the lead eight minutes into the second half when Jon Higgins’ in-swinging corner rebounded off the crossbar before being lashed into the net by Ross Anderson. The pace now quickened and in the 72nd minute substitute Stynes increased the home teams’ advantage only minutes after coming off the bench. With the clock ticking down Mark Pritchard gave Floreat hope of salvaging something from the afternoon with a free-kick from distance that beat Andy Banks. It looked as though Floreat snatched a point when Smith netted in stoppage time, however, his effort was disallowed for offside.
STIRLING PUNISH SLOPPY NTC (with Michael Barr, Football West)
Anthony Skorich and Dean Evans played starring roles as Stirling Lions toppled the National Training Centre 3-0 on a scrappy encounter at Macedonia Park. Evans marked his first start of the season by putting the home side in front early with Skorich doubling their advantage before the interval. The result was put beyond doubt by Daniel Dols’ own goal seven minutes from the end of regulation time.
The first chance on goal came from the NTC with Ivan Skorich deflecting wide a dangerous low cross from Sahr Musa. Stirling responded with venom in the 10th minute when Shintato Ito knocked the ball into the path of Evans who coolly swung his shot past goalkeeper Tom Doyle and inside the upright. Musa did his best to work NTC back into the match breaking free of the defence and forcing an excellent save from Cory Hugo in a one-on-one. A long ball by Roberto Lujan in the 33rd minute allowed Anthony Skorich to outpace the defence and pushed the ball past Doyle for the Lions second.
With one goal already under his belt, Evans struck the post with a low drive two minutes after the interval. Ludovic Boi, Anthony Skorich and Bobby Wilson also joined in on the party with long-range efforts that were narrowly close to giving Stirling a third goal. That finally arrived on 81 minutes when Anthony Skorich pulled the ball back into the area where substitute Daniel Dols’ nervous jabbed deflected off ‘keeper Doyle and rolled into the net. The NTC worked tirelessly for a late consolation but it was without success.
FREMANTLE GET OFF THE MARK
Fremantle Spirit got three vital points against fellow strugglers Canning City with a 2-1 triumph at Wauhop Park. Both sides were winless coming into the match and were desperate to record their first points of the season. Canning made a dream start with Blake Readwin hitting the back of the net in the 3rd minute after latching onto a ball over the defence and slotting past the oncoming goalkeeper. Buoyed by their early goal, Canning twice threatened to add a second but Lachlan McAlindon thwarted one attack and later a free header was sent wide of the target. Fremantle’s only opening of the period was created by Caleb Aquino, who tamed the ball well only to prod wide from the top of the 18-yard box.
Knowing how important the outcome of this game could be to their season, Fremantle showed greater purpose after the break by launching a series of attacking raids. Their reward came on 72 minutes when Aquino’s tidy pass out of midfield saw Chris Holland beat the offside trap then the ‘keeper with a low drive. The port side pushed on and minutes later Tyrone Fenwick’s cross into the box was met by Darren Monaghan whose sweet strike was well saved by the ‘keeper. With six minutes left Fremantle struck the decisive blow, McAlindon’s goal kick finding Roberto Colalillo who shrugged off two opponents to loft the ball in for Michael De Souza to coolly slot into the net.
WANNEROO GO CLEAR IN DIVISION ONE
Wanneroo City moved to the top of Division One with a sensational 2-1 win Swan United at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Swan opened up the scoring through Aaron Colli five minutes out from the break. The second half was four minutes old when Wanneroo drew level through David Herety, and on 55 minutes Brian Cairney put the home team in front. A strong Wanneroo rear guard kept at bay the visiting attack as they attempted to salvage their afternoon. But with the final whistle it was Wanneroo who’d secured the points to leapfrog over Swan and claim outright leadership of Division One.
BINNIE STRIKES LATE TO GIVE BUNBURY VICTORY
Bunbury Forum Force came from behind to post an emphatic 3-2 victory over Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. Highlights were few and far between in the opening hour which had Bunbury holding the lions’ share of possession but unable to break down a stubborn defence, whereas Forrestfield threatened only occasionally on the counterattack. Half time was only nine minutes away when Bunbury finally broke the deadlock, Michael Marten snapping into the net during a goalmouth scramble after Oliver McGee headed a corner against the crossbar.
Bunbury continued to hold sway at the start of the second period as Jon Brooks fired across the goalkeeper and Marten slammed over the bar. That miss was compounded in the 70th minute when Bryce Young’s poor defensive header permitted Simon El Chami to stab past a badly exposed Ryan Montgomery and bring the teams level. Forrestfield’s spirits soared even higher five minutes later as Matt Harold’s close-range shot deflected off McGee for an unfortunate own goal.
Forrestfield were denied a third goal by an offside flag as play streamed from end to end in a thrilling climax to the afternoon. Moments later Rory Binnie brought the teams level by tucking away the rebound after ‘keeper Stuart Delgarno parried an attempt on goal by Brooks. The game was settled in the final minute of regulation time by Binnie, who rose highest to head past the ‘keeper and steal his team all the points on offer. Bunbury leap into second spot with the win whereas Forrestfield remain firmly rooted in the bottom half of the table.
WILSON STUNNER NOT ENOUGH FOR MORLEY
The points were shared at Ashfield Reserve where Morley Windmills were held to a 1-1 draw by a Ashfield. The early exchanges favoured the home side but that dominance was ended on 18 minutes by Simon Wilson who thundered the ball into the top corner of Brad Eiffe’s net from outside the 18-yard box. Morley were unlucky not to increase their lead when Andy O’Neill’s chip was paddled onto the bar by Eiffe with Ryan Frisina unable to convert the follow-up. Ashfield created a couple of good chances late in the half but could find no way past Steve Grant.
The home side opened the second period with intent, Alex Stamatiadis hitting the crossbar with a free-kick and Ibnen Charming headed high at the follow-up. Ashfield’s reward arrived in the 69th minute when Stamatiadis swung the ball into the area where Brian Maybin scrambled it over the line. The better of chances continued to be with Ashfield but Stamatiadis hit the bar and Wayne Culverwell shot straight at Grant. However, their momentum was broken by the red carding of Gareth Lloyd for his late two-footed tackle on Wilson. Morley regained their composure and attacked relentlessly during the final ten minutes only to be held out by a resolute defence.
KIDD MOVES ROCKINGHAM UP
An under-strength Rockingham City climbed into fourth place on the table with a hard-fought 3-1 defeat of Dianella White Eagles at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Jamie Kidd scored twice with Darren Lawler putting away Rockingham’s third goal late on to cap a superb performance by the home team. The game opened at a good pace with both teams applying pressure from the outset. Rockingham needed only 7 minutes to get on the scoreboard through Kidd, who instinctively glanced the ball into the bottom corner.
Rockingham posed a constant threat when going forward with the wide players proving particularly effective in linking with those in midfield. Their positive approach was further rewarded in the 38th minute when Kidd reacted smartly to lash in his second goal of the afternoon. Dianella were thrown a lifeline in the shadows of half time with defender Simon Barber converting from the penalty spot after the referee ruled Craig Thompson had impeded Byron Allen.
The second half started at a similarly brisk tempo with Rockingham’s Andrew Keary directing traffic through the middle of the park. Strikers Kidd and Craig Tone were being given plenty to work with but could open up very few holes in a composed Dianella backline. It wasn’t until stoppage time that Rockingham’s pressure paid off for a third time with Darren Lawler slotting under the goalkeeper after getting on the end of a quality through ball by Craig Kelly.
SHAMROCK OVERPOWER GOSNELLS
Shamrock Rovers continued to settle into State League life by fending off a resilient Gosnells City 4-2 at Harold Rossiter Reserve. The home side came out all guns blazing, with Damien Smythe netting his first goal after just a couple of minutes. That lead was doubled just before the break when Smythe bagged his second goal. Desperate to salvage a point, Gosnells came out firing in the second half and by the 65 minute were level thanks to Darren Francis and Adrian McBride. However, the visitors’ joy was short lived with Sean Brooks netting three minutes later, then adding his teams’ fourth in the 79th minute to seal victory. The result keeps Shamrock in seventh place and only three points away from the top of Division One, however, the situation is not quite so rosy for Gosnells who have a solitary point to show from three games.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
All roads lead to Dorrien Gardens on Saturday for the top of the table Premier League clash between traditional rivals Perth SC and Balcatta (3.00pm). Perth are unbeaten in six games and striker David Onoforo says last week’s hard-fought defeat of Armadale has served them well for arguably the game of the round. “It is probably our biggest test this season thus far, it should be an entertaining game and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Onforo. Andreas Oliviera and Robbie Puca should return to the Perth squad, however, Jason Dos Santos looks like missing the next twelve months with the knee ligament injury sustained at Armadale.
Balcatta defender Adam Tong knows how difficult it’s going to be to get the better of Perth at their home ground. “Perth are in fantastic form. They’ve been scoring freely in recent weeks with Antonio Naglieri running the midfield and strikers like David Onoforo and Greg Sharland toes,” he said. “I think it will be a cracking game, there is a great atmosphere around the club so we will be looking forward to getting the win and head there with confidence. Our strikers - Ashley Rosindale, Steven Burton and Mo Atak - are in good form and it will be difficult for their defenders to control them for five minutes, never mind 90.”
An in-form Inglewood United go in search of a fourth straight win by hosting bottom of the table Cockburn City (3.00pm). Ryan Clarke and James Sammut provide much of Inglewood’s attacking drive from the middle of the park with striker Ndumba Makeche the benefactor in the final third. Cockburn are winless from their last six outings and need to start picking up a few points or run the risk of being cut even further adrift of the field. The experience of Marc Anthony and Johny Mirco along with Jason Godfrey’s defensive know-how will be key the visitors chances.
Western Knights can end a two-game losing streak when they meet Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve (3.00pm). Influential defender Stuart Ferguson returns from suspension to a Knights side that really has struggled in the past fortnight, and has on the injury list the considerable talents of Luka Jukic, Callum Roberts and Paul Cooke. Bayswater spanked Sorrento 4-1 in their last home game and a similar result will please the club faithful no end. Anthony McStea is pushing for a starting role while Gianni Papalia and Larry Miller will need to be on top of their game.
It’s been 450 minutes since ECU Joondalup last scored and that’s something they’ll want to end when Floreat Athena visits the Edith Cowan University campus (3.00pm). Joondalup have slipped off the past over the past month and need Charlie Coymn-Platt, captain Dale McCulloch, Jon Higgins and Ian McMurray to step up to the plate. By contrast, Floreat have shown much improvement in recent outings and head north looking for a third successive win. James Isaia and Jarrad Smith have been impressive along with captain Julian Madaschi.
Sorrento are also on the rise and this week travel to Armadale (3.00pm). Adam Luca and David Foster were on target last week for the Gulls and will need to watched closely while Daryl Platten and Ryan Pearson their former club. English import James Robinson has settled back into the Reds camp and would like to score a goal or two in front of his clubs loyal supporters. Goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock is expected to return from injury with Anthony Campbell determined to reclaim his place in the starting line-up after missing last week.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
There are three vital points up for grabs when the bottom two, Fremantle Spirit and Canning City, meet at Wauhop Park on Saturday afternoon. Neither club have started the season as they’d like and this game provides a perfect opportunity to kick start their respective campaigns. Ty Fenwick and Roberto Colalillo should come back into a Fremantle side that has Cameron Hayes and Atekhis Elhousaine out through injury. Emlyn Whetnall, Kyle Critchon and Sam Ainscough in doubt for Canning, however, Steve Murgia and Greg Newcomb have their hands up for selection.
Swan United can extend their unbeaten run to four games by taking home the points from Wanneroo City. “A win at Wanneroo will give us ten points out of a possible twelve and put us in good stead for the season,” Swan defender Rory Mouttet said. “Wanneroo are one of the teams to beat this year and to beat them on their home turf will be a huge result for us. We beat them twice in the pre-season - they won’t have forgotten that. It’s going to be a tough, no-nonsense match and we are ready for it.”
It’ll be all hands on deck when Rockingham City takes to the field to play Dianella White Eagles at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Oscar Thompson, Darren Lawler and Jamie Kidd are in contention for a return to the Rockingham line-up as coach Steve Robinson battles a lengthy injury list which includes Stu Carlisle (ankle), Adam McLeod (ankle), James Hesketh (hamstring) and Danny Macklin (knee). Dianella also have their injury concerns with Sasa Cvijetic and Ognjen Radonic set for late fitness tests and Andreas Theodosiades still a week or two away playing.
Forrestfield United will need to be at their absolute best to take anything from the game with Bunbury Forum Force at Hartfield Park. The contributions of Stuart Delgarno, Graham Herd and Jamie Burns will be vital for the home team, who are slumped in the bottom half of the table, while Jonathon Krawec comes face-to-face with former team mates for the first time. Ryan Montgomery resumes his position between the posts for Bunbury as teenage midfielder Carlo Cuzzolo pushes for a starting spot.
Gosnells City returned from a fortnights break to visit Shamrock Rovers. The home team welcomes captain Paudie O’Connor back from his overseas jaunt but remain without injured trio Barry Glasscott (foot), Simon King (hip) and David Murphy (back). The recruitment of ex-Rangers defender Ross Harvey has strengthened a Gosnells line-up, however, a knee injury looks to have forced Daiten Twyman out of the game for up to three months. The five afternoon games kick off at 3.00pm.
Round four concludes on Saturday evening with Ashfield on home turf to neighbouring Morley Windmills (7.00pm). “This is a must-win game if we want to push for a top four finish,” said Ashfield goalkeeper Brad Eiffe. “It’s been a tough start for us – we’ve played three of last years’ top four teams – and a win will boost confidence throughout the side. Morley will be no push over – they’re sitting joint top for a reason – but I’m confident we can kick start our season this weekend.”
DOUBLE GLORY FOR CELTIC ‘KEEPER FEELY
Nick Feely will be pushing for a first team spot at Celtic next season after helping the Glasgow giants to the Scottish Youth League and Cup double. Having clinched the Scottish Premier Under-19 League title, Celtic completed the double by defeating arch-rivals Rangers 2-1 late last week to complete a fairytale twelve months for Feely. “It was such an unbelievable experience – you train all year for to play in big games and Cup finals,” enthused Feely. “Since leaving Perth my game has changed out of site … moving here was without doubt the best decision of my life so far.”
Substitute Liam Gormley scored in the second period of extra-time to secure Celtic the Youth FA Cup after Rhys McCabe pulled Rangers level three minutes from the end of regulation time, cancelling out Greig Spence’s second half chip. “The game started like any Cup final. It was a quiet first half but opened up for some fantastic football in the second half. We had far more possession and chances, and made them count in the end,” commented Feely, who represented Australia at youth level in 2009 while playing for Cockburn City.
Walking out onto Hampden Park in front of close to 10,000 spectators is something Feely says he will never forget. “It was an amazing feeling, I definitely won’t forget it and none of the lads will either,” said Feely, who turns 19 next week. “It was my first Cup Final and for it to be in front of such a big and loud crown made it extra special. Playing at Hampden, a stadium with such history, was amazing. We’ve played on Celtic Park many times this season, both atmospheres are electric and the pitches are like carpets.”
Feely, who signed a new first team contract with Celtic in March, says his game has come on in leaps and bounds since moving to Celtic Park. “The coaching’s fantastic, and having top international players around you brings the best out of you every game,” he commented. “Since the New Year I’ve played all the reserve games and made my first team debut in a friendly in Ireland. The rewards come with hard work – I had my first day off in six weeks after the Cup Final – and a couple of time a week I train with the first team.”
But not everything has gone according to plan since Feely arrived at Celtic last September. “I was in great form in the pre-season until I tore my quad twice, first a week into the season and then a month and half after that when I’d just got back training,” he explained. “I was out of action for three months. It was obviously tough having moved across the world, but the medical team at Celtic are amazing and got me back to full fitness … I got my place back in the team soon after returning and since then have kept the spot.”
Feely, not surprisingly, has no regrets about leaving Perth as a teenager and encourages others not to put off their dream of playing professional football. “I recommend for any player to get out of Perth as soon as they can and never look back,” he said. “Many players give up hope of making it (in Europe) when in fact they’re a million miles away and can get caught up in the bubble of Perth - you can see that by the few players that leave. The coaching is far better over here and the support for Australians overseas is incredible.”
While continuing his progress at club level is Feely’s number one priority, he also has one eye on establishing himself in the goalkeeper pecking order with Australia. “Celtic is my priority over international duty and moving up the ranks and improving my game are my main goals,” commented Feely. “I’m hoping to go to Columbia with the Under-20s for the World Cup (in July/August), and I really want to make the squad for the Olympic Games next year … it should be an exciting twelve months for me.”
SAMMUT KEEPS HIS FEET ON THE GROUND
Inglewood United have stormed their way up the Premier League table in the recent weeks thanks in part to the midfield talents of James Sammut. Recruited in the off-season from Swan United, Sammut is enjoying being back on his old stamping ground and helping the club where his senior career started get their season back on track. “It’s where I started my senior football and it’s going well for me and the side at the moment,” Sammut said. “We have good depth in the squad, meaning everyone is challenging for a spot in the starting line-up.”
Shane Pryce’s team have cast aside a slow start to the year with a trio of wins that have propelled them to third on the table. “In the last three games we’ve scored 13 goals - we have been more clinical in the final third,” he explained. “Earlier in the season the score lines could have been simular, if not more, but we were not taking our chances. It’s something Pricey has been working on at training in the last month and it’s good to see that we are getting some rewards.”
Inglewood surprised many last weekend by downing Western Knights 4-1 on their own turf. “It was a great win for us, we couldn’t ask for a better result away from home against a good Knights side,” commented Sammut. “Although we didn’t have it all our own way and the Knights started the better, the coaching staff made a few changes which allowed us to settle and start playing our football that we have shown in previous weeks. We created chances and took them.”
Sammut didn’t need to think long when Pryce approached him about returning to Inglewood. “Prycey is a great coach and I have the upmost respect for him,” said Sammut. “When he spoke to me at the end of last year with his plans for the coming season I couldn’t refuse. The style of play suits the way I play and I have been enjoying my football down there. He has encouraged us to play and get the ball moving quickly whenever possible and this has paid off with us playing good football and getting good results.”
Pryce played three seasons alongside Sammut during the midfielders’ previous spell at Inglewood so knew he was the type of player he was after. “I wanted a player like James in the squad because he is an on the ball midfielder,” commented Pryce. “He’s not afraid to ask or demand the ball, his work rate and passing are great and a lot of our play goes through him. He times his forward runs really well, and has great energy and he is looking very sharp at the moment.”
The off-season was a busy time for Sammut who attended trials with Maltese clubs Marsaxlokk, Hibernians and Mosta. “I enjoyed my time there playing football and the lifestyle was brilliant. I’m not sure if I will head back as yet, when I was there I had a couple of offers to stay and see out the rest of the season although came back to finish my last year of study,” commented Sammut, could soon be wearing the national team colours of Malta. “The national coach came and watched me train and the feedback has been positive.”
Sammut quickly returned his focus to this weekend’s home encounter with a wounded Cockburn City, who have one win after eight games and have gone pointless since early March. “Cockburn have a good squad and in this league you can’t take anyone for granted,” said Sammut. “We defiantly won’t be taking them lightly. We will be trying to continue the same way we have been playing and hopefully come out with the three points.” Inglewood takes on Cockburn at 6PR Stadium from 3.00pm on Saturday.
EVANS BACK ON DECK FOR STIRLING
Versatile Dean Evans has returned to the pitch after three months out of the game with injury. The Stirling Lions midfielder celebrated his first appearance of the season with a goal in the recent State League Cup win over Gosnells City following time out with ostietis pubis. “It was good too finally get back and play some minutes for the Lions, and I was happy to get on the scoresheet,” he said. “I’ve never been so tired in my life and only played half a game. But I was happy and pulled up pretty well. I had a bit of soreness in the legs but that was expected and hopefully, touchwood, no more injuries."
Evans played the summer months with Perth Glory Youth and it was towards the end of their season that he began to feel something wasn’t quite right. “It’s been a frustrating time for me. I got ostietis pubis at the start of January whilst playing with the Glory youth team,” explained Evans. “At the time I thought nothing of it and just thought it was just a bit of groin soreness. But then I found out it was more serious and had to sit out for three months to get it right.”
The talented midfielder missed the final six games of the Y-League season but was rewarded for his on-field consistency with a second successive Most Glorious Youth Player accolade, which was shared with Cameron Edwards. “It’s always a great honour to win awards and was very surprised when I won it,” he commented. “I didn’t think I was in the running because I missed too many games. None the less I’m very honoured to go back-to-back with Cam Edwards as joint winner too.”
Glory is yet to indicate whether Evans is a required player for next season and, as such, the midfielder is keeping his playing options open. “I’m still unsure regarding next season at Glory - nothing concrete has been offered,” explained Evans, who could be tempted to join the legion of Australians playing in the new Indonesian Premier League. “If things don't work out in Australia I would look at all options for a professional contract, where ever that is.”
Evans comes up against a few familiar faces this weekend when Stirling hosts the National Training Centre on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to the game as I’ll come up against some former team mates. Hopefully there’ll be a bit of niggle and banter out on the field,” he said. “It’s perfect for me because I need match fitness and hopefully I can play another 60 minutes then push for full fitness. The NTC are a good footballing side, they will be no pushover, but I’m sure our boys will show them the respect they deserve.”
WORLD CUP IS MCCALLUM’S SOLE FOCUS
Perth Glory Women midfielder Collette McCallum has given up her day job to realise her goal of representing the Matilda's this year's Women's World Cup in Germany. McCallum is giving her all to gain selection for the biggest event on the women's footballing calendar. "At the moment I have stopped being a personal trainer for the next few months to concentrate on training," she told Will Henshaw of the 'Rutherglen Reformer'. "I train six days a week for about three hours a day ... It is quite hard to balance out football and working."
McCallum, who is nearing her 60th Australian cap, attributes her success on the football field to her family. “My dad (Robert) played at a very high level back in Glasgow so I wanted to follow his footsteps … he has been a big influence. He used to always take me out for a kick about and taught me how to play the game," commented McCallum. "My mum has been behind me 100% supporting me in my goals. She used to take me to every training session when I was younger.”
Born in Scotland, McCallum moved to Perth with her family at the age of 4 and as a junior mixed it with the boys at Joondalup. As a teenager the family moved to New South Wales where McCallum was playing first team with Manly Warringah by time she turned 14. State under-17 team selection was followed by a spot in the Young Matilda's with the fledgling star gaining national youth team selection on 25 occasions over five years, including at the 2004 Under-20 Women's World Cup.
However, it wasn't all smooth sailing for McCallum. After moving back to Perth the then 16-year old was forced out of the game for two years by cruciate ligament injuries. She tentatively returned to the fold with Northern Redbacks before signalling she'd lost none of her flair through spells at Adelaide Sensation and Western Waves. A series of eye-catching displays at the 2006 Under-20 Women's World Cup led to McCallum's selection in the tournaments' All-Star Team.
McCallum's senior international debut arrived against China in January 2005. She starred in the side which made the quarter finals of the 2007 Women's World Cup, and was shortlisted for the AFC Women's Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. Two seasons in the United States saw McCallum collect national league titles with Pali Blues and New Jersey Sky Blues. "It was a great experience to go over and feel what it is like to be a full-time professional footballer," she said.
On coming back to Australia McCallum signed with her hometown club, Glory Women, where she has been a key figure in the centre of the park over the three seasons of W-League football. On the international front she played leading roles in the Matilda's lifting the 2008 Peace Cup, where they defeated Brazil in the final, and the 2010 AFC Asian Women's Cup, where they out-shot North Korea in a penalty shoot-out.
McCallum feels the Matilda's recent experiences in international tournaments will serve them well when they face Brazil, Norway and Equatorial Guinea in the initial stage of the upcoming Women's World Cup. "I think we have the capability and character to face up to the teams and get a result out of them," said the midfielder. "I think we have a very strong squad and have a lot of depth to push us to the final stages of the World Cup.”
BOLTON PREPARE TO OFFER £3M FOR WILLIAMS
Bolton Wanderers are set to test Middlesbrough's resolve to keep Rhys Williams by offering £3million for the highly-rated defender. Trotters boss Owen Coyle is looking to bolster his defensive options and is preparing to raid the Teeside club, who are not keen to sell but need to slash their £20m wage bill. Coyle has already worked with Williams during the defender's five-month loan spell at Burnley in 2009 and could tempt the Socceroo to move to the Reebok Stadium. Williams, 22, can play at right back and in the centre of defence and midfield but has been limited to only 11 appearances this season due to injury.
NINE CLUBS APPLY TO JOIN STATE LEAGUE
The addition of a third tier to the State League looks increasingly likely following the revelation that nine clubs have applied to move to Saturday football in 2012. Football West announced yesterday via Twitter that applications to join the State League had been received from Balga, Ballajura, Fremantle United, Kingsway Olympic, Melville City, Queens Park, Quinns, Subiaco AFC and UWA-Nedlands. Just what format the State League will take next season is yet to be decided with suggestions ranging from the formation of a new Division Two competition to an expanded Division One of two conferences.
GLORY CAN CHALLENGE FOR FINALS: DODD
Summer signing Travis Dodd says Perth Glory has a squad capable of challenging for an A-League finals berth next season. The former Adelaide United captain backed the likes of fellow newcomers Shane Smeltz and Danny Vukovic to help return the once-proud Glory back to the national league summit. “If you look at the players that have been recruited there’s certainly some quality players in there,” said Dodd. “It’s certainly a team that I believe can challenge for the finals and beyond.” Glory officials are still waiting on a final decision from Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler who has verbally agreed to a player-coach role with the club but is yet to put pen to paper.
GILL OUT OF THE WORLD CUP
Australia’s Women’s World Cup hopes have been dealt a massive blow with a serious knee injury putting star striker Kate Gill out of the tournament. Gill suffered the injury while club duty for Linkoping last week with further examination revealing a shattered anterior cruciate ligament which could put the Perth Glory player out of the game for up to a year. “Everybody’s disappointed for her,” Matildas coach Tom Sermanni said. “The way Kate has played in the last eighteen months and taken her football to another level and her professionalism ... for this to happen on the eve of the World Cup is devastating for her. Everybody in the team will be feeling very, very sad.” Australia’s opening game of the Women’s World Cup is against Brazil on 29 June.
READING CONFIRM SIGNING OF EDWARDS BOYS
English Championship club Reading have confirmed the recruitment of brothers Cameron and Ryan Edwards, the sons of former Socceroos striker Alistair Edwards. “Cameron and Ryan have spent some weeks trialling with us following a recommendation from my former Reading teammate Andy Bernal,” Reading Director of Football Nick Hammond told readingfc.co.uk. “These are two bright talents and have a great pedigree as their father Alistair is also a former Australian international.”
Cameron Edwards, 19, played locally for Cockburn City and for the past couple of summers has been a regular fixture of the Perth Glory Youth midfield. Ryan Edwards, 17, spent last year at the Australian Institute of Sport having made a handful of appearances for Glory Youth in 2009/10. Both players are expected at Reading for the start of pre-season training in July, following both clearance and approval from the Football Association and obtaining visas.
NEVILLE REMAINS WITH GLORY (with the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory fans can look forward to watching Scott Neville’s piercing runs next season after the young defender failed to land a professional deal in England. Neville impressed during extended trials with Portsmouth last month but wasn’t offered a contract and has since returned to Perth. “I think it was good for him ... he enjoyed it,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “He couldn’t believe the intensity and how hard they worked. It just shows the level he has to aspire to if he wants to get over there.”
Neville was the standout performer at the Glory's first day of pre-season training and Ferguson predicted a bright future for the talented 22-year old. “I’m so excited and looking forward to him getting up and down that line on the right hand side,” Ferguson said. “And then you’ve got (Dean) Heffernan and (Evan) Berger on the other side, so hopefully it will be a big difference next year.” Veteran defender Chris Coyne could only walk laps during today’s sessions as he recovers from an Achilles tendon complaint that sidelined him upon his return from China at the end of last season.
MANAGER PRAISES GARCIA’S COMMITMENT
Hull City boss Nigel Pearson has praised Richard Garcia’s commitment to the team just hours after the attacker suffered a recurrence of a knee injury. Garcia, who missed the 2011 Asian Cup after undergoing a knee operation, had to be replaced 14 minutes into the Tigers’ 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday. It was the second time in the past few weeks Garcia has suffered the knee injury after being stretchered off in the mid-April clash with Doncaster Rovers.
Pearson admitted Garcia isn’t 100% and praised him for playing through pain against Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers, which came after the injury against Doncaster. “Richard plays with injuries that other players wouldn’t even dream of taking to the training field with,” Pearson told BBC. “He’s managing himself very well. He came off against Doncaster and I thought he was one of our best players by quite a long way against QPR … He’s a player that’s prepared to put himself on the line for the team and I think you’ve got to remember that.”
MAKAROUNAS COMMITS TO GLORY
One of Australia’s most promising young strikers, Jesse Makarounas, has joined Perth Glory for the next two seasons. Makarounas, who recently turned 17, has spent the last twelve months honing his skills at the Australian Institute of Sport. "We are absolutely delighted to get Jesse on board, he's an exciting young prospect," Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. "He can play three or four different positions going forward, left or right, as the number 10 and through the middle, so he's a fantastic acquisition."
Makarounas played for Perth SC and with the National Training Centre prior to going to Canberra and featured in two pre-season games for Glory last season at the age of 15. "We had him up in Newman for the game against Gold Coast and he also played against Armadale and did really well that night and scored two goals," Ferguson added. Makarounas, who is expected to be part of Australia's squad at the Under-17 World Cup in June, was awarded the Golden Boot at last year's AFC Under-16 Championship.
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This page was last updated on the 5th May, 2011