PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
The regular season crown could well be decided tomorrow at Frank Drago Reserve with top-of-the-table Bayswater City up against second-placed Sorrento. A Bayswater win will secure the club top honours for the first time, but coach Mauro Marchione isn’t about to underestimate a Sorrento side which last weekend lifted the State Cup. “It is going to be a great game and we will do everything to bring home the first league title ever at Bayswater,” said Marchione, who welcomes star striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda back from injury. “We are very happy to have made the finals so have already achieved a huge goal in our second season of Premier Division.”
For Sorrento to finish top of the table they must beat Bayswater this week, then knock over Balcatta on the final day of the season. “It is very difficult to keep playing must-win games but it’s the same for any team who wants success,” said Price, whose team beat Balcatta 4-3 in the Cup Final only a week ago. “You would think the game versus Bayswater will be the decider for the league title. It’s great for the clubs to be involved in these sorts of games and just like last week it’s going to be tough, and perhaps the team who keeps their nerves in check best will win it.”
Floreat Athena and Bunbury Forum Force will be without a host of players for their meeting at Litis Stadium. Missing for the home team are David Heagney and Spencer Harris while Danny Kane, captain Steven Howson and Bright Ababio are out of action for the visitors, all five due to suspension. Inglewood United will be out to consolidate their top five position by defeating Stirling Lions at Intiga Stadium, while Balcatta’s hopes on making the play-offs rest on taking all three points from their visit to ECU Joondalup. Armadale will be without defender Sam Loveless (suspension) but are nonetheless expected to better the National Training Centre.
Western Knights must take all three points over visiting Perth SC if they intend playing top flight football in 2013. “Our boys are playing for survival,” stated Knights boss Robbie Dunn. “Since taking over I have noticed some real character in players, the training sessions have been at a good level of intensity and the way we want to play is sinking into the minds of the lads. We have had more than our fair share of injuries, suspensions and illnesses but rest assured the lads who take to the pitch on Saturday will give a very account of themselves in this do or die clash.” All six Premier Division games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
There’s a lot riding on tomorrow’s Division One contest between Wanneroo City and Mandurah City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Wanneroo enter the weekend at the top of the pile, however, they hold a slender one point lead over Cockburn City, who have played once game less. Not a lot has gone right of late for Mandurah who, although third, have taken just two points from last outings. The list of absences in both camps is lengthy, Guy McDonald, Sahar Konomanyi, Rowdy Yates and Chris Pugh are unavailable for Wanneroo while Mandurah’s outs include Jay Bonser, Ryan Townsend, Michael Grigo and Phil Straker.
Swan United coach Mick Skowron is expecting a positive outcome from his teams’ clash with Shamrock Rovers at Ashfield Reserve. “After two good performances and a win last week confidence is up,” he said. “Although we haven’t beaten Shamrock in three previous encounters we are looking forward to a change in fortune, even with the players we do have out. It will be a tough ask but the players are up for the challenge.” Missing in action for the black and whites are goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo (other commitments), Trent Wood (suspension), Michael Tronchin (illness) and John Monterosso (injury).
New Morley Windmills coach Paul Dundo takes his side to second-placed Cockburn City, who are at full strength and ready to pounce should leaders Wanneroo slip up. It’ll be a tough afternoon for Forrestfield United when they host an in-form Ashfield, who are poised to give promising 16-year old Johnny Corfis his first taste of senior football. Dianella White Eagles’ quest for a top six finish has them on home soil to Gosnells City this week. Canning City have leading scorer Daniel Trevisiol back for their game with Fremantle Spirit at Hossack Reserve. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Joondalup City has found some form of late and tomorrow they’ll take that to Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve. “The squad has been settled for the last four or five games and as a group they are making some good progress which has been reflected in the results we have been getting,” said new coach Mike Hartley, who has promoted youngsters Scott Urquhart, Dylan Moore, Ryan Keep and Cane Dearlove to the senior list. Melville have some notable absences, namely Lee McKay (suspension), Michael Everett, Keith Nolan and Mickey Jennings (injury) with the only positive being Simon El Chami return from overseas.
There’s not likely to be too much change to the Quinns line-up for their game with Fremantle United at Gumblossom Park. That said, Aaron Maplestone is back in training and the coaching staff are hopeful the midfielder will make an appearance off the bench. Subiaco AFC are likely to take out all the points from the game at Kingsway Reserve Kingsway Olympic. The home team will be without experienced pair Andy Bowyer and Glen Thomas due to injury whereas Subiaco coach Ian Cowan has a full squad at his disposal. All three Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
UWA MAKE HISTORY UNDER BURTON
Kevin Burton is honoured to have guided UWA-Nedlands to their first ever piece of State League silverware. UWA wrapped up the Division Two championship last weekend by demolishing Fremantle United 7-0 through a two goals apiece from James Plowman and Rory Feely plus singles to Tom Sellers, Steve Purton and Banner Schafer. The result ended a 48-year State League trophy drought for a club whose only previous capture was the Amateur Cup in 2009. “It’s a great privilege and, after coaching here for seven years, it is nice to have contributed to something so significant,” Burton commented on his unique place in UWA’s history.
Burton readily admits his surprise with how successful UWA’s re-introduction to the State League has been. “I’m a little surprised that success has come so early,” commented Burton on his clubs’ return to Saturday football after a 14-year absence. “The team bonded well and developed an inner strength which allowed us to win games by digging in when required. That said, some of the football we have played against the sides challenging us in the last few weeks has been quite exhilarating to watch. The quality of players we have is the reason for that and the relationships they have established on and off the field has improved with each game.”
Plowman, Feely and captain Purton have spearheaded the UWA attack this year, contributing in excess of 50 goals between them. Brad Skea and Roberto Lujan have turned in some sparkling performances in midfield while defensively it’s Sellers who has been the standout. Burton is quick to attribute UWA’s success not to individuals but to the depth of his squad. “Team selection is always tough with so many good players,” the coach commented. “When you have to put good players on the bench it is never easy but I always set them a challenge to get back in.”
A number of off-field factors also played a big part in UWA winning the league. “Former president Guy Hattersley made a personal commitment to make us successful and the club committee and new president, Conrad McKelvie, have continued to support the team reach its goals,” Burton explained. “Our secretary, Sam Watkins, ensured we had high quality physiotherapy services at training and on match days via our sponsors, Activate Physiotherapy of Claremont. Coach John McGlynn has made a positive contribution to all three of our State League teams and hopefully he’ll get our Reserves over the line for the title.”
With promotion secured, Burton is now turning his attention to 2013. “Our biggest issues are to get team managers, provide adequate catering and to improve our dressing room and bar facilities. We really need UWA Sports to help us with better infrastructure and facilities,” said Burton. “The club has created great pathways for our juniors so much so that one of our 15-year olds, Jonas Dorling, played reserves and came off the bench a couple of times for the first team. But we certainly need some additional under-18’s for next season as our very young squad was depleted on occasions this year despite some creditable performances.”
UWA have set themselves the target of going unbeaten in their last four games of the season. “I have said to the lads that it is unlikely we will ever coach or play with a team that has only been defeated once in a league season so we have reset our goals to remain unbeaten in the last few games,” explained Burton, who is tipping more success for UWA in 2013. “I think we will go well again. I’m not expecting much change to the squad, we have a positive football philosophy and we are now familiar with playing at this standard.”
MORGAN REFLECTS ON CUP GLORY, AND LOOKS FORWARD TO WINNING THE TREBLE
Celebrations went well into the night and flowed through into the following day after Sorrento clinched back-to-back State Cups on Saturday afternoon. The Gulls were pushed all the way before taking the trophy back to Percy Doyle Reserve with a 4-3 victory in extra-time. “The partying started as soon as we got to the change rooms. It continued at a bar in Leederville and went right through to Sunday night … it would have carried on well into this week if it hadn’t been for work,” Sorrento midfielder James Morgan said.
Sorrento’s Cup defence looked to be on solid ground after midfielder Brodie Martin scored twice inside 20 minutes to put the northern suburbs club in control. “We were coming in to the game in great form and, having put seven past Floreat Athena the week before, we knew we had a good chance of scoring a few goals,” Morgan commented. “At two-nil we were cruising. Then Moe Atak scored for Balcatta just before half-time, which is always a good time score as it gives you a boost going in to the change rooms.”
The second half had Balcatta throw everything at their opponents in an effort to equalise only to concede for a third time with Todd Harnwell converting from close-range a Reece Vittiglia cutback. “We were still dictating the game and when Toddy scored I thought we had it in the bag,” said Morgan. Balcatta, however, had other ideas. Jason cut deficit from distance before Chris Thackray’s dipping finish brought the sides level and sent the game to extra-time. “They never gave up and ended up pinching the equaliser late in the half,” Morgan added.
A steely determination to win plus a bit of luck saw Sorrento prevail in the additional half hour. “I was looking around at the lads (before extra-time) and although we were all tired nobody was slumped over looking at the ground. We were all standing tall saying ‘we can win this’ and that attitude and confidence helped us get on top,” said Morgan. “They missed a good chance from a nicely worked free-kick, but then Stuart Montgomery whipped in a great corner and Daryl Platten was on hand to head in … it was our day.”
After the weekends’ highs it was back down to business for Sorrento last night with a potential Premier Division title decider with Bayswater City on the horizon. “Everybody now has their sights set firmly on winning the league so getting refocused for Bayswater isn’t going to be a problem,” said Morgan, whose team heads to Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday. “We are hitting our straps at exactly the right time and we want this to continue as we have a great chance of winning the treble, I don’t think there are many teams that have done that.”
Morgan recognises all the pressure will be on Sorrento, who sit a point behind leaders Bayswater, this weekend. “Bayswater don’t have to chase the win as a draw will keep them on top, whereas we need to win,” said the midfielder. “There is no point us going there and being cautious and playing for a draw – we want to finish on top of the league. The desire and hunger of the boys and coaches, coupled with our great run of form, will be enough to get us over the line on Saturday in what will be a great game of football.”
HIGGINS HAPPY WITH JOONDALUP’S PROGRESS
ECU Joondalup have spent much of this year at the wrong end of the Premier Division but midfielder Jon Higgins expects his club to finish on a high. The northern suburbs club hover just above the relegation zone but Higgins has no doubt they can collect the single point required from their two outings to remain in the top flight. “Things are going really well down the club at the moment,” said 26-year old Higgins. “We have really started to gel and the lads attitudes couldn’t be better … picking up a few points always keeps everyone around the club happy too.”
An influx of new players, injuries and suspensions have all contributed to Joondalup’s poor showing this year but Higgins says none of that should be used as an excuse. “Every team has their injuries and suspensions so that’s something we can’t use has an excuse,” he said. “Yes we’ve had a couple of players that have had to adjust to new positions and a few new players come in this year, but they are really starting to show there quality in the last few games. Hopefully we can keep the squad together for next year.”
And you don’t need to look too hard to see just how far Joondalup have come this year. A fortnight ago they returned from Dorrien Gardens with all three points after seeing off Perth SC 5-3. “Going to Dorrien Gardens and picking up any points is difficult, so to come away with all three points in the position we are in at the moment was huge for us,” said Higgins, who twice found the back of the net along with Tanner Selyer, Scott Blackmore and Mike Adamcewicz. “It was good to get on the score sheet again, finally some of the miss-kicks are going in.”
Higgins has been one of his teams’ most consistent performers this winter, so much so he was called up for the State teams recent friendly with Perth Glory. “They were really impressive, very fit and well organised. On the pitch you could tell the difference from part-time to full-time football,” said Higgins, who as a teenager spent time with English club Birmingham City. “The State team still put in a top effort considering we only had two sessions prior to the game. Saying that, it is really good to see Glory have a strong squad capable of taking them a step further this year.”
Joondalup coach Salv Todaro will be back on familiar turf this weekend with the northern suburbs outfit paying a visit to his former club, Balcatta, on Saturday afternoon. “Salv is very passionate about football and has a good understanding with all the players,” Higgins said of Todaro, who has put in the hard yards since moving across from Division One club Morley Windmills in April. “Balcatta are going be very hard to break down. But the way the lads are playing at the moment, the quality we have and the form we are in then hopefully it’ll be three more points.”
WEST AUSSIES GUIDE YOUNG SOCCEROOS TO VICTORY
The Young Socceroo completed preparations for next week’s AFF Under-19 tournament in Vietnam by defeating a combined Hong Kong Under19/21 team 3-0 last night at Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong. Australia went ahead five minutes from the break when Adam Taggart tucked into an empty net after being set-up by Jason Geria. Riley Woodcock doubled the difference two minutes into the second half with Jesse Makarounas lashing in the Australia’s third goal from inside the 18-yard box on 84 minutes. All five West Australians’ in the squad saw action with Taggart and Ryan Edwards playing the opening half whereas Makarounas, Woodcock and Brandon O’Neill came on for the second period.
MIDDLESBROUGH EXPECT TO GO WITHOUT WILLIAMS
English Championship club Middlesbrough are bracing for bad news on captain Rhys Williams. The classy midfielder is facing several months on the sidelines after going down in pain midway through the second half of last night’s game with Gillingham clutching his ankle. Williams needed extensive treatment on the touchline and left Priestfields on crutches, his ankle heavily strapped and iced. “It looks like it might be a bad one. He might have damaged ankle ligaments but until we have the scans and do the tests we won’t know for sure how bad it is or how long he will be out,” said Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray. Williams suffered an ankle ligament injury against Leeds earlier this year and was out for six weeks.
OSIECK STICKS WITH SOCCEROOS MAINSTAYS
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has named a squad of the tried and tested for next month’s international outings with Lebanon and Jordan. Tim Cahill comes back into the squad after missing the recent friendly against Scotland, likewise Jade North, Nikita Rukavytsya, Adam Sarota, Matthew Spiranovic and James Holland, who hasn’t gained national team selection in 18 months. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is poised to become the first Australian male footballer to play 100 ‘A’ internationals matches should he take the field in either game. The Socceroos play Lebanon for the first time on Thursday 6 September in a friendly and five days later met Jordan in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The Australia for games against Lebanon (6 September) and Jordan (11 September) is Matthew Spiranovic (Al Arabi), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Lucas Neill, (Al Wasl), Brett Holman (Aston Villa), James Holland (Austria Wien), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), David Carney (Bundyodkor Tashkent), Matthew McKay (Busan I’Park), Jade North (Consadole Sapporo), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Ryan McGowan (Heart of Midlothian), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Nikita Rukavytsya (Hertha Berlin), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Adam Federici (Reading), Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) and Adam Sarota (Utrecht)
SOCCEROOS COACH “UNCONVINCED” BY HERD
Australia coach Holger Osieck cast doubt over Chris Herd’s international future after omitting the Aston Villa midfielder from his squad to play Lebanon and Jordan. Herd, 23, has pulled out of Socceroos squads three times because of injury and it appears Osieck has grown impatient with his lack of commitment. “I wanted to give him a chance to look how he does in our group,” the coach said. “I wasn’t actually convinced. I just wanted to open the door for him. Then he had to decline from invitations three times, so I never really got a chance to see him again. I think at present, I don’t really see him in a situation to help our team.”
WANNEROO UNDONE BY CANNING
Canning City dealt Wanneroo City’s promotion chances a massive blow by claiming a 2-1 victory from this evening’s catch-up game at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Paul Van Dongen and Michael Lawson netted first half goals for the visitors and although Jared Love pulled one back it simply wasn’t enough for Wanneroo, who stay atop Division One by one point but with second-placed Cockburn City having played a game less. “It was probably the youngest team we’ve put together all year so it was pleasing to see those players show they can stand up in the big games and be rewarded for their hard work,” said Canning coach Michael Van Dongen.
A positive start by Wanneroo had the hosts controlling possession but unable to find a way through the Canning formation. Slowly but surely the tide started to turn and with 21 minutes gone Canning hit the front with Paul Van Dongen heading in neatly from a corner drilled in by Michael Van Dongen. Those two players combined again soon after but on this occasion goalkeeper Clint Davies prevented Michael Van Dongen’s curling shot from entering his top corner. A quick exchange of passes lead to Canning doubling their lead just after the half hour when Lawrence Chayne played into the path of Michael Van Dongen after taking a couple of touches squared for Lawson to slot into the bottom corner.
The second half started much like the first and Wanneroo on top. The hosts’ main avenue to goal was Josh Booysen whose on the ball trickery provided good reason for concern in the Canning defence. Down the other end Davies did well to parry a goalbound strike by Michael Van Dongen. With the game slowly slipping out of reach, Wanneroo pushed forward in increasing numbers entering their final quarter hour. Their reward finally arrived via a Garin Collins corner which Love headed through a congested goalmouth to make it two-one. But Canning were not to be denied and it was in no small part due to the defensive efforts of Garth Lecky and Mark Trevisol that points went to the visitors.
CUP FINAL COMPLETES WATTS ROAD TO RECOVERY
Refereeing a State Cup Final was the furthest thing from the mind of teenager Marcus Watts only a few short years ago. But the 17-year old completed a remarkable recovery from serious injury by taking the whistle for Saturday’s youth encounter in which Floreat Athena prevailed 1-0 over Balcatta. “It was an exciting spectacle and I loved every minute … it was great for WA football and probably one of the best games that I have been involved in,” said Watts. “I have many goals in my refereeing, and I have achieved many goals this year.”
Watts was left contemplating a life without football after being involved in a motor vehicle accident shortly before the Christmas of 2009. “It was a sweltering Perth afternoon and I agreed to join my mate for a ride on his moped,” Watts recalled. “I had a horrific fall, fracturing both my growth plates and consequently leaving me in a wheelchair for two months. I was literally contemplating everything in life. I was seriously depressed and was fearful of leaving the game that I loved so much. But I needed to still keep in touch with the game, and refereeing seemed a great thing to do.”
And since that moment Watts has not looked back. “The best thing about refereeing any game is the satisfaction you get from controlling 22 players, not to mention the technical areas,” said the teernager. “Refereeing in WA has never been in such a healthy state. We have a really strong nucleus of young referees and the refereeing department at Football West have worked extremely hard to raise the standard of officiating. There is a great camaraderie within the refereeing group. At training we have a laugh and although there is great competition everyone wants each other to do well … I haven’t seen this type of friendship in a team before.”
Watts says he has benefitted greatly from the tutelage of Eddie Lennie and Mathew Cheeseman. “Eddie’s knowledge is second to none, everyone in WA should be grateful to have a man who has been to a World Cup. He is much more than a state coach, I consider him a friend and someone that I can talk to about almost anything,” commented Watts. “Cheesy is also great for advice, he is Eddie’s middle man. His vision for refereeing in this state is undoubtedly positive and, as most people would know in the WA football community, he is an all-round top guy who loves the game.”
Come October Watts will be off to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales where he’ll officiated at the Under-13 National Youth Championships. “But right now I am just focusing on the immediate challenges of refereeing,” he stated. “I love my weekend hobby, enjoy training and I have met some amazing people. Of course the ultimate goal would be to whistle an A-League game. I am a young man with a lot of time left, I’m still developing as a person and as a referee and I’m sure if I put in the effort and make sacrifices I will get to where I want to be.”
NTC GIRLS RETURN FROM CANBERRA
Western Australia’s Under-18 Girls squad returned from last week’s National Training Centre Challenge in Canberra with a wealth of experience after coming face-to-face with some of the best players in Australia. Stirling Lions player Caitlin Doeglas caught the eye of nation selectors during the tournament in which Western Australia drew with South Australia (1-1) and lost to Victoria (2-1), the New South Wales Institute of Sport (7-0) and a Combined Squad (3-1).
Coach Gary Church was pleased with how the girls applied themselves throughout the tournament. “The NTC Challenge gave our girls a memorable experience as well as an idea of the benchmark if they were to pursue football careers playing against the best girls in Australia and reaching the Matildas,” said Church. “Tom Sermanni, the Matildas coach, commented on how much the WA side had improved throughout the week as well as identifying one of our youngest players, Caitlin Doeglas.”
The Under-18 National Training Centre squad which competed in Canberra featured Jamie-Lee Gale, Annique Keisler (Beckenham Angels), Tia Stonehill (Cockburn City), Emma Neville (East Fremantle), Caitlin Doeglas (Stirling Lions), Georgia Alford, Leigha Bullock, Stephanie Cain, Sarah Carroll, Jess Darmago, Thia Eastman, Chelsea Evans, Adele Jackson, Kim McCartney, Zoe Palandri and Kathryn Riley (National Training Centre). The team officials were Gary Church (coach), Elisa D’Ovidio (assistant coach) and Alessia Floyd (physiotherapist).
GARCIA DREAMS OF SOCCEROOS RECALL
Attacker Richard Garcia is hopeful his signing with Melbourne Heart can propel him back into the international frame. Garcia, who has 14 Socceroo appearances to his credit, recently ended a 15-year stint in England to play in the A-League where he’ll be out impress national coach Holger Osieck. “I am still only 30, so I am younger than many of those in and around the (Socceroos) squad,” he said. “I have been part of it before and I know what is required at international level, so I would like to think that if I play well here in the A-League and stay clear of injury, I might be able to catch the eye of the coaches again.”
Part of Australia’s squad at the 2010 World Cup Finals in Germany, Garcia says that after such a long time in England he wanted a change and the opportunity to recapture the form that made him a regular in the English Premier League with Hull City. “There were some discussions with Perth Glory but nothing too serious,” commented Garcia, whose career began on the local scene with Kingsway Olympic. “Melbourne Heart sold the club to me and the vision they had, the type of football they wanted to play and the role I could have with them and I wanted to come here.”
Garcia spent half his life playing at highest levels of club football England. At the age of 15 he moved to West Ham United where he progressed well as a youth player but struggled to break into the senior line-up. “I spent nearly eight years at West Ham and although I did play for the first team, a lot of the time I was in the squad or on the bench,” said Garcia, whose time with the Hammers included a loan Leyont Orient. “There came a point, when I was about 23, that I needed to play first-team football, so I left and went to Colchester.”
Next on the agenda was a switch to then third tier Colchester United where over three seasons Garcia gained 99 outings. “But I needed to move on to a bigger club if I wanted to achieve my goals in the game,” explained Garcia, who by mid-2007 had signed for Hull City. “It was a great journey and we made it in 2008 when we won the play-off final and went up (to the EPL). That first season was fantastic and I think we were so new that we shocked a lot of people who didn’t know what to expect. But we got relegated the next season.”
It’s no secret Garcia’s career has been plagued by knee ligament injuries, but he says he is now fit and ready for the rigours of the A-League. “I watched the highlights show when I was in the UK. There are some good players here and a lot of the players who have come back have maybe found it harder than they thought it might be,” he said. “It looks quite a physical competition, but I have spent my life playing in the Premiership and Championship and there are not many leagues that are quicker or more physical than them, so I should be able to cope.”
Sorrento, 2012 State Cup winners (photograph by Brett Klucznik)
PLATTEN IN THE NICK OF TIME FOR SORRENTO
Sorrento has defended their State Cup crown with a thrilling 4-3 extra-time win over Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens. The Gulls unlikely hero was defender Daryl Platten who nabbed the deciding goal just minutes before the final whistle. Man-of-the-match Brodie Martin helped himself to an early brace only to have Moe Atak bring it back to a one-goal game at the break. Todd Harnwell increased Sorrento’s lead shortly after the restart but Jason Barrera and Chris Thackray finished into the net to send the game to extra-time. With spot kicks looming Platten nodded in a deep Stuart Montgomery corner to take the trophy back to Percy Doyle Reserve.
“It is an amazing feeling to be captain of a team that has won the cup back-to-back … it’s going to take a while for it to sink in just how great an achievement this is,” said Gulls on-field leader Todd Harnwell. “We dominated the first half but they definitely had the wood in us in the second. (Coach) Paul Price said at the end of 90 minutes that he wanted us to just keep doing more of the same. We had been through the extra-time routine many times last season so were confident our fitness and nerve would get us through.”
An attacking start by Sorrento paid dividends after only 6 minutes when Gavin Knight’s shot from 6-metres was parried by Bobson Koroma who was helpless as Martin headed into the corner of his net. Sorrento’s lead should have been doubled in the 14 minute when James Morgan played into the path of Todd Harnwell who expertly side-stepping Koroma only to shoot into the side netting. That miss was forgiven two minutes later, Martin rising well to glance Johny Mirco’s delivery across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. And it would have been much worse for Balcatta had Ryan Pearson’s rising shot not been straight at Koroma.
David Micevski and Moe Atak were trying all they could to bring Balcatta back into the game but time and time again were turned away by a well-organised defence. Frustration got the better of lone striker Boima Karpeh in the 22nd minute when he lashed out at Morgan, leading referee Mat Cheeseman to speak to both players at length. Koroma unconvincingly pushed a near post Mirco corner around the post, and soon after flapped at another from the Sorrento attacker. A Balcatta counterattack a minute from half-time brought them back into the game, Atak racing down the left and luring Curtis Aspden off line before angling low into the net.
Following the break it looked only a matter of time before Balcatta equalised. But some pure brilliance in the 53rd minute from Reece Vittiglia restored the Gulls two-goal buffer, the midfielder shimmying past five opponents to get to the line before cutting back for Todd Harnwell to blast in from a couple of metres. Balcatta were soon back on the attack where Micevski was threatening until having the ball taken from under his feet by Morgan. The pressure was very much on Sorrento when Barrera cut the deficit with a crisp shot into the bottom corner from 20-metres which gave Aspden no chance on 62 minutes.
Gavin Knight then squandered a golden opportunity to put away Sorrento’s fourth goal by going for power over accuracy after meeting a Pearson cutback. Aspden just managed to tip over a deflected Shane Nunes shot in the 72nd minute as Balcatta set about finding an equaliser. They need wait only another seven minutes for Karpeh to dance through the defence and unselfishly square for an unmarked Thackray to expertly clip over the ‘keeper from the top corner of the 18-yard box. Balcatta held sway over the final ten minutes but Karpeh failed to respond when Ashley Rosendale’s low free-kick came his way and Thackray headed just wide from Tong’s delivery.
The first period of extra time followed this same pattern but the only clear cut shot was a long-range Micevski attempt that was just beyond the top corner. Sorrento stepped up the pace for the second period with substitute Montgomery stinging the gloves of Koroma from 13-metres. Balcatta’s failure to deal with a Montgomery corner in the 109th minute had devastating consequences as Platten nodded in at the far post to snatch his team a 4-3 lead. There was still time for a few more chance on goal but Montgomery shot weakly at Koroma while at the other end Barrera’s low strike was deflected agonisingly wide of the bottom corner.
Balcatta: Bobson Koroma, Chris Thackray, Shane Nunes, Adam Tong, Julian Madaschi, Jason Barrera, Paul Vatistas, David Micevski, Moe Atak (Marc De Francesch 70), Callum Roberts (Ashley Rosedale 61 (Simon Elton-Bott 108)), Boima Karpeh
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Michael Aspin, Ryan Pearson, Daryl Platten, Steve McDonald, James Morgan (Danny Cain 117), Brodie Martin, Reece Vittiglia (Jamie Harnwell 111), Johnny Mirco, Todd Harnwell, Gavin Knight (Stuart Montgomery 95)
Bookings: Tong (80), Karpeh (95)
Referee: Mat Cheeseman
Cockburn, 2012 State Reserve Cup winners (photograph by Brett Klucznik)
COCKBURN CUPSET THE FAVOURITES (With Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Cockburn City lifted their fourth State Reserve Cup by stunning Premier Division champions Perth SC 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Sam Wheatley had the Division One club in front at the break with Mussad Algahtani putting away their second goal late in the first half. However, Chris Rizidis’ penalty conversion just a couple of minutes later ensured the crowd remained on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle. It was fairytale stuff for Cockburn veteran Dusan Macura, who wore the captain’s armband in his final game for the club.
Perth hit the ground running with Emmanuel Mansaray and Chris Rizidis linking to terrific effect but resilient defending ensuring the ‘home’ team didn’t break through. With 10 minutes gone Sebit Oyet cut in from the left only to have Macura block his shot, and a few minutes later the Perth attacker placed wide after being released by Tim Robertson. Cockburn almost snatched the lead when Chris Blackledge and Algahtani combined to set up Wheatley but he failed to test Luke Martino.
This led to a sustained period of pressure from Perth in which Chris Rizidis drew a fantastic save from Paul Basto, and Oyet’s resulting corner kick passed out just beyond the back post. They best chance came on 40 minutes when Michael Rizidis and Chris Rizidis combined only for the latter’s shot to be blocked. Then out of nothing Cockburn were ahead, Wheatley winning possession from Daniel Colletta and slotting past Martino amid appeals for a foul on the Perth player. Cockburn’s advantage would have been greater had Algahtani not scuffed past the post from a Wheatley pull back.
Fired up by coach Taki Nicolaides, Perth opened the second half determined to equalise. Oyet sent a free-kick into the underside of the crossbar, and a few minutes later had another shot blocked by Basto with Mansaray putting the follow-up wide. Cockburn returned fire through Anthony Pereira and David Johnstone but both had their shots saved well by Martino. The margin was eventually doubled on 75 minutes when Liam Miller’s cross into the 18-yard box was misjudged by Colletta, his header landing at the feet of Mileta Miletic, who slipped the ball off for Algahtani to lash into the roof of the net.
Things stayed that was just two minutes. As an Oyet corner came in referee Trent Fleskens spotted something he didn’t like and awarded Perth a penalty which Chris Rizidis fired past Basto to give his team a glimmer of hope. Perth immediately set about working towards a second goal, Chris Rizidis went close on a couple of occasions along with substitute Josh Pereira. But their best chance came the way of Chris Saldaris buut he too could not find a way past Basto after being picked out by a Jordan Candlish cross. The final whistle was greeted with scenes of wild celebration in the Cockburn camp.
Cockburn City: Paul Basto, Eamon Mcneilis, Dusan Macura, Anthony Pereira, David Johnstone (Peter Kuzet 70), Chris Smith, Sam Wheatley (Liam Miller 64), Daniel Bryant, Ian Ng, Mussad Algahtani, Chris Blackledge (Mileta Miletic 71)
Perth SC: Luke Martino, Micheal Rizidis (Jordan Candlish 86), Ogi Lalovic, Daniel Colletta, Chris Saldaris, Tim Robertson (Josh Pereira 64), Sebit Oyet, Jarrod Belford, Stefan Orca, Chris Rizidis, Emmanuel Mansaray (Matthew Izzo 58)
Bookings: Mansaray (52), Wheatley (58),Orca (79), Pereira (83)
Referee: Trent Fleskens
Floreat, 2012 State Youth Cup winners (photograph by Peter Simcox)
BRAMLEY HEADS FLOREAT TO VICTORY
Floreat Athena survived going down to ten men to earn back-to-back State Youth Cups, defeating Balcatta 1-0 at Dorrien Gardens. Tommy Bramley put away the only goal just before the hour but the dismissal of David Martins soon after ensured a tense final twenty minutes from which Floreat prevailed. “It was great team effort. All the boys gave me everything, I’m proud of them,” said winning coach Kyle Moran. “They did really well and battled hard even when we went down to ten men … at the end of the day I think the better team won.”
A tentative start was punctuated by Bryce Conway’s long-range strike which Drew Garnaut tipped over the crossbar. Floreat went close again three minutes later, David Martins’ cross from the left finding Conway whose first time shot flashed past the post. Balcatta had to wait until the 24th minute before fashioning their first chance when Carmelo Giuffre’s free-kick picked out Stefano Valentini at the back post but goalkeeper Jordan Barbas was up to the task. Moments later Dino Topcagic crossed from the right made its way to Nikloa Talimdzioski, who placed just wide.
Play was end-to-end as the teams searched for the opener. Garnaut kept things level on the half hour by saving well from Martins, while at the other end Topcagic shot wide after good approach work by Joshua Veroni. As the half came to a close Floreat began to gain the ascendancy. Nathan Grostate flashed narrowly wide of the far post after getting on the end of a James Tuong through ball. Three minutes before the break Tuong raced away down the left and unselfishly pulled the ball back for Bramley whose shot from 9-metres was superbly saved by Garnaut.
Floreat continued to dictate terms after the turnaround. A Tuong effort from 15-metres was tipped over by Garnaut, who was beaten six minutes later by a Grostate free-kick which rattled the bar. Their persistence paid off in the 59th minute when Martins first time shot was superbly blocked by Garnaut, who denied Tuong at the follow-up only to have the ball loop over to the back post where Bramley was positioned to head into an empty net. However, Floreat’s celebrations were short-lived as just ten minutes later Martins received a straight red card for a crude tackle.
Although a man down Floreat continued to attack, Ali Khateri volleying high with ten minutes to go. Balcatta were determined to make the most of their extra man and on 85 minutes almost equalised, Veroni’s cross from the right was misjudged by Jordan Barbas, who managed to push the ball onto the bar with his defence clearing. The game was in stoppage time when Balcatta created their final chance, Veroni again delivering from the right to Talimdzioski, who disappointingly put his free header from 6-metres wide of the target.
Balcatta: Drew Garnaut, Christian Armenti (Emmanuelle Pilar 57), Carmelo Giuffre, Jake Cherrie, Nikola Talimdzioski, Stefano Valentini (Daniel Pelle 89) , Adriano Granato, Dario Pavic, Dino Topcagic (Harry Bissett 46), Milos Dubroja, Joshua Veroni
Floreat Athena: Jordan Barbas, Ryan Slade, Tommy Bramley, David Martins, Adam Blewett, Nathan Grostate (Joshua Metzger 76), Bryce Conway, Michael Ellis, James Tuong (Steven Veneris 93), Ali Khateri (Simon Barbas 87), Trent Blewett
Bookings: Slade (36), Valentini (66), Bramley (77)
Dismissals: Martins (69)
Referee: Marcus Watts
WANNEROO SNEAK BACK ON TOP
It was a point apiece to Wanneroo City and Dianella White Eagles from this afternoon’s entertaining meeting at Kingsway Reserve. Wanneroo were on the scoreboard first with Jake Benson-Cooper robbing a defender of possession driving into the 18-yard box before squaring for Brian Cairney, who struck low and between the legs of goalkeeper Nas Farsalas. It should have been two-nil but Nathan Diaz’s tame shot after good build-up play by Garin Collins and Cairney failed to trouble the ‘keeper. Dianella’s equaliser came about through Andreas Theodosiades who jinxed his way inside the area before being fouled by Joe Stoker, Soitris Theodosiades steeping up to convert the from the spot.
Andreas Theodosiades’ continue to influence the game after the break, the attacker surging straight down the middle only to blast high of the crossbar. Wanneroo weren’t to be outdone but Josh Booysen’s goal bound strike was deflected wide by team mate Nathan Diaz. Penalties appeals at either end of the park, both for handball, were turned away by the referee as the tempo increased for the closing twenty minutes. With only a few minutes to go Cairney squandered a golden opportunity to put the home side back in front, the striker placing past the post from 5-metres after great lead-up work from Booysen and Collins. The point gained puts Wanneroo on top of Division One, just a single point ahead of Cockburn City.
UWA ARE OFFICIALLY CHAMPIONS
UWA-Nedlands have been crowned champions of Division Two after thrashing Fremantle United 7-0 at McGilvray Oval. Two goals from each James Plowman and Rory Feely along with singles by Tom Sellers, , Steve Purton and Banner Schafer moved UWA 18 points clear of second-placed Subiaco AFC with five rounds still to be played. “This is the first time University have won a league championship at a State League or Amateur Premier level,” said coach Kevin Burton. “We are delighted to be crowned champions and to return to Division One after an absence of many years.”
The opening exchanges were relatively even before UWA slowly but surely began to assert a greater influence over proceedings. The breakthrough goal arrived after 25 minutes via a Steve Purton corner to the far post which was met by the head of defender Tom Sellers, who nodded in his first goal since of the season. Purton was unlucky not to double UWA’s lead ten minutes later with a lovely chip over the goalkeeper which hit the crossbar. Roberto Lujan teed up the hosts second goal in the 37th minute by playing through to Plowman whose effort from a narrow angle was deflected in by a defender.
The second half was just two minutes old when Purton’s cross intended for Plowman somehow found its way past the goalkeeper to make it three-nil. In the 53rd minute Lujan’s deep cross from the right was nodded into the net by Feely. UWA were next on target in the 75th minutes, Lujan and Plowman combining to set-up Feely, who unleashed an unstoppable shot. Three minutes later Purton’s cross from the left was headed in by American import Schafer. The route was made completed when Feely turned provider for Plowman to put away his second goal with eight minutes left.
FERGUSON DELIGHTED AS GLORY ROLL ON
Perth Glory’s preparations for the coming A-League season continued with a resounding 5-0 win over Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Billy Mehmet scored twice with Travis Dodd, Steve McGarry and substitute Adrian Zahra also on the scoresheet for Glory. “I was delighted with the first half and the way we moved the ball,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “We were patient again, we made some great runs and we created numerous opportunities. Things are going well at the moment and we still have five games to go (in pre-season) so we will take it from there.”
It took only 2 minutes for Glory to open their account with Mehmet heading in from a delightful Scott Jamieson cross. Jamieson was again the provider on 18 minutes as Dodd volleyed in brilliantly at the front post. A neat cut back by Liam Miller in the 24th minute then set up McGarry for a calm finish past Gianni Papalia. A lovely lofted pass by Zahra allowed Mehmet to chip over the goalkeeper in the 58th minute. Zahra then turned scorer ten minutes later to net his second pre-season goal and complete the five-nil scoreline.
BALCATTA AND SORRENTO PROMISES TO THRILL
One of the biggest games on the local football calendar, the State Cup Final, takes place tomorrow with trophy holders Sorrento coming up against Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens (2.30pm kick-off). Sorrento had to wait 40 years before lifting the Cup for the first time last year and now find themself on the cusp of wining the trophy for the second time in 12 months. For that to happen they’ll need to get past a Balcatta outfit playing in their first ever Cup Final and with aspirations of creating a little bit of history of their own.
Balcatta defender Julian Madaschi has every intention of bringing the Cup to Grindleford Reserve to accompany the league title the won in 2011. “It is an awesome opportunity for the club to pick up another piece of silverware to add to last year’s effort,” said Madaschi, a Cup winner with Floreat Athena in 2009. “Everyone at the club is up and buzzing and can’t wait for Saturday. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often so I expect both teams to be up for it in an electrifying affair.”
Curtis Aspden, who stood between the posts when Sorrento won the Cup last year, is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead this weekend. “Whoever you play in a final is always going to be tough and Balcatta have picked up of late,” he said. “But we are on a great run and have last years’ experience behind us – that’s going to be a massive positive in the day. We have earned the chance to win the Cup two years in a row and I’m sure the boys are more than capable in doing so.”
Sorrento overcame Cockburn City (3-2) and ECU Joondalup (2-0) in the opening Cup rounds. After that that it was clear sailing with successive 6-0 wins against Melville City and Floreat Athena, that latter through Reece Vittiglia, Mikey Aspin, Todd Harnwell, Johny Mirco, Brodie Martin and Stuart Montgomery goals. Balcatta defeated Fremantle Croatia (2-0) and Shamrock Rovers (5-1) early on before being put to the test by Perth SC (2-1). That set up round of four meeting with Inglewood United who succumbed 4-1 with Callum Roberts (2), David Micevski and Boima Karpeh finding the net.
There’ll be some notable absences from the Balcatta line-up when they take to the field on Saturday, namely leading scorer Daniel Micevski (suspension), John Migas (hamstring) and Simon Elton-Bott (ankle). “When you lose good quality players it does tend to disrupt the team and coaching staff, but we’ll soldier on and adjust to the situation,” said Madaschi. “We did get Dave Micevski back from injury half way through the season, club captain Ashley Rosindale has recently come back into the picture after a long layoff we got in Jerry Karpeh, all of which have contributed greatly.”
Sorrento’s Jason Mirco has been highly influential down the right-side of midfield this year but will play no part it the Cup Final due to being overseas. “It’s a shame for Jason Mirco as he has been one of our top performers, if not our best player this season,” commented Aspden, who team are also without Irish import Jack Doyle. “Losing players that have been playing week in week out is always a loss but we showed on Saturday with the result against Floreat Athena (a 7-0 win) that we more than enough in our squad to cope.”
PERTH TIPPED TO TRUMP OVER COCKBURN
The State Reserves Cup Final brings together traditional powerhouses Perth SC and Cockburn City in what promises to be a fiercely contested encounter of the highest quality at Dorrien Gardens tomorrow (12.15pm kick-off). Perth SC has already been awarded the Premier Division champions trophy and enter the Cup Final as red-hot favourites on the back of a 24-game unbeaten run. Cockburn are themselves riding high in Division One, sitting top of the table having lost only once in their 23 outings this year.
Goalkeeper Luke Martino’s experience will be vital in how the day pans out for Perth with similarly important role falling to captain Chris Saldaris, Chris Rizidis and Tim Robertson. In fact it was the latter who booked their progression to the Cup Final, Robertson scoring a match-winning hat-trick in a 4-1 semi-final defeat of Swan United. Perth’s campaign commenced in April with victory at Mandurah City (2-0) after which they swept aside Subiaco (4-1) and Balcatta (4-0). Frank Furfaro’s dreams of helping Perth achieve a league and Cup double has been ended by a cruel hamstring injury.
Cockburn’s route to the Cup Final opened with regular time wins over Kingsway Olympic (3-0) and Sorrento (1-0) before needing penalties to get past ECU Joondalup (8-7). Their run continued with a comfortable home win against Armadale (5-1) before downing Floreat Athena (3-0) in the semi-finals where Chris Smith netted twice and David Johnstone once. Captain Anthony Pereira and Declan Boyham have key roles to play in the defensive zone while heading in the other direction it’s Terrance Connor and Sam Wheatley who are the players to watch.
BALCATTA OUT TO STOP FLOREAT
State Cup Final day commences with the highly anticipated Youth fixture between Balcatta and Floreat Athena from 10.00am on Saturday at Dorrien Gardens. The sides have met twice already in the regular season – Balcatta claiming a 2-0 win in April with the return game of earlier this month finishing level at 1-1 – and expectations are for a similarly close encounter. That said, there’s been marked contrast in the finalists recent form with Floreat unbeaten in six games whereas Balcatta are coming off back-to-back losses.
Balcatta didn’t come into the Cup until the second round of competition but comfortably accounted for Shamrock Rovers (5-2) then Western Knights (2-0). A semi-final win was secured through goals by Joshua Veronni, Dario Pavic and Emmanuelle Pilar to see off Bunbury Forum Force (3-0). Nikola Talimdzioski and Stefano Valentini missed that game but are back from successful trials in Europe to spearhead Balcatta’s quest for Cup glory alongside Jake Cherrie, while at the other end of the park captain Milos Dubroja will be doing all he can to keep Floreat at bay.
Floreat, who were also granted a first round bye, faced second tier opposition in their opening Cup games which produced narrow wins over Forrestfield United (3-2) and Fremantle Spirit (1-0). Ali Ithateri, Tommy Bramley and Mitekli Ayene were each on target in the round of four win against ECU Joondalup (3-0). The defensive influence of captain Adam Blewett will be vital to their cause on Saturday along with midfield pair Tommy Bramley and Bryce Conway, while in the final third Nathan Grostate knows well how to both create and convert chances on goal.
HARNWELL AND TONG HAVE THE FINAL WORD
Just how great an influence captains Todd Harnwell and Adam Tong can assert in the State Cup Final will go a long way to determining which club has their hands on the trophy. The pair are no strangers to the pressures of football, Harnwell through a decade-plus career with Sorrento and Tong via a succession of English clubs before his arrival at Balcatta three years ago. In the lead-up to Saturday’s game Peter Simcox caught up with both players to get their thoughts on the big occasion…
Winning last years’ Cup will give Sorrento the advantage according to Harnwell. “It’s a massive achievement for the club to reach two consecutive finals, especially given a number of boys have waited a long time to get themselves in a position to win one Cup Final, let alone two in a row,” said Harnwell, who admits he would not be surprised if the game goes right down to the wire. “Cup finals are always unpredictable and given the nature of the league this year this is probably the case more than ever.”
Saturday will be the first time Balcatta have played in a Cup Final, however, Tong says his team are poised to strike. “We achieved our goal last year of winning the league and now we have another chance of silverware with the Cup. Our league position this year doesn’t show it but we have had a great year and the club is going in the right direction,” commented Tong. “Sorrento are in-form and have been dominant in all areas so we will have to be on the top of our game to get the right result.”
Harnwell recognises his team are in for a torrid time on Saturday afternoon. “Balcatta have good depth all over the park so rather than focus on individual players I think we will have to focus on stamping our authority on the game and dictate terms,” said Harnwell, who points to the likes of David Micevski, Moe Atak and Ashley Rosindale as potential match winners. “They are a strong attacking force so we will need to be aware of that and be hard to break down.”
Tong has been impressed with what he’s seen of Sorrento this year. “They play as a team and a unit. If I were to pick three players we need to watch then Todd Harnwell would be at the top of the list, he’s a clever player and has a bit of pace about him,” said the Balcatta captain. “The ball always comes through Reece Vittiglia, he brings players into the game, and the other would be Steve McDonald mainly because he’s 8 foot tall!”
Finally, both captains were asked what their message will be in the pre-match huddle. “The boys are such a tight knit group that there really won’t be much to say,” said Harnwell. “The last four games of the regular season have, and will be, like Cup Finals for us so we approach every game with a desire to put pressure on teams all over the park and attack at every opportunity … we have a pretty good record against Balcatta so we will go into the game with confidence.”
Tong will ask his players to have no regrets and give their all to the club. “My last words to the lads will be ‘Let’s leave it all out on the park. We’ve got 90 minutes of football ahead of us and if we all perform to what we are capable then we will come away as Cup winners’,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle but I’m sure all players from both sides will put on a thriller and a classic game, as it always is when Balcatta and Sorrento play each other.”
GARCIA SIGNS WITH MELBOURNE
Melbourne Heart has underlined its ambition with the signing of attack-minded Richard Garcia on a one-year contract. Garcia, 30, joins former Dinamo Zagreb star Josip Tadic and Liberian international Patrick Gerhardt in the Melbourne line-up for the upcoming A-League summer. “Richard can play a number of roles,” said Melbourne coach John Aloisi of his latest capture. “For the national team, he played across the front line and in England he spent a considerable amount of time in the midfield, which is the role we see him playing for us.”
Garcia returns to Australia after over 250 first team outings in England for West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Hull City. “The experience he possesses isn’t something you encounter too often,” Aloisi commented of Garcia, whose 14 appearances for Australia included two at the 2010 World Cup Finals. “Having been a professional in England for ten years at a high level, and as a World Cup veteran, he will assume a leadership role on the pitch and will be an important guide for our younger players.”
COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY, PART ONE
The State Cup Final, one of the centrepiece events of the football calendar, brings trophy holders Sorrento and debutants Balcatta together on Saturday afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out so during the week footballwa.net caught up with each of the Premier League coaches to get their thoughts on where the finalists strengths lay and make a prediction as to where the trophy will end up...
Graham Normanton expects it to be a very close game. “Sorrento and Balcatta are the two best sides we have played this season,” said the Inglewood United boss. “David Micevski is Balcatta’s best player and how Sorrento handle him will be the key to whether they are able to win or not. Sorrento’s form over a long period will stand them in good stead, they will be very confident going into the game and they are my tip to win it in a close one.”
Salv Todaro believes his former club, Balcatta, have the quality on board to lift the trophy. “Balcatta play an attractive brand of football and have some individuals that can hurt the opposition,” the ECU Joondalup coach said. “David Micevski has the pace and skill to create goal scoring opportunities, and if Ashley Rosindale plays his pace and cunning will make it hard for the defence. Sorrento’s Curtis Aspen is the best goalkeeper in the league and has the ability to keep Balcatta at bay if they get on top.”
Floreat Athena coach Chris Barbas is another tipping big things from Aspden. “He’s a quality ‘keeper, Curtis’ presences and wealth of experience will stop many of Balcatta’s attacks,” said Barbas, who is tipping the Gulls to defend their Cup title. “Sorrento has a good blend of youth and experience with speed to burn. Balcatta have many players who are match winners and all of them will have to turn up and be at their best.”
Doug Hesketh of Stirling Lions is also backing the team from the north. “It should be an intriguing game with both teams in good form but for me Sorrento are well-organized and are very experienced from front to back,” said Hesketh. “If Dave Micevski is on form it may be a different matter, and Jason Barrera could also be influence for Balcatta. For Sorrento Ryan Pearson is important as he can score goals and gives the team excellent wide options on the right or left.”
WARBURTON LEADS SUBIACO TO GLORY
Ryan Warburton bagged a hat-trick to lead Subiaco AFC to a 3-0 win over Kingsway Olympic under lights this evening at Kingsway Reserve. The visitors took control from the first whistle with Joe Kresling and Danny Malcolm wreaking havoc down the right as Barry Hurd did likewise on the opposite flank. It took only 10 minutes for Subiaco to open their account, Warburton curling past the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net from 14-metres. Some terrific lead-up play down the right produced their second goal, Kresling and Malcolm combining before the latter fired in a low cross which Warburton converted at the near post.
The second half followed much the same pattern as Kingsway struggled to make an impact against a well-drilled Subiaco outfit. The pick of the game came midway through the half with Steven Otigbah winning possession on the right and feeding Kresling who played into the path of Warburton, the striker touching the ball past his marker before striking past the advancing ‘keeper. Subiaco had their chances to add a few more goals but the closest they’d come was Otigbah’s rasping 27-metres drive which skimmed the crossbar. The win jumps Subiaco into second place, 16 points behind champions-elect UWA-Nedlands.
COCKBURN WILL BE OUR “BIGGEST CHALLENGE” SAYS NICOLAIDES
Taki Nicolaides expects Saturdays State Reserves Cup Final clash with Cockburn City to be one of Perth SC’s biggest challenges of what has already been a very successful campaign. Perth entered the year full of optimism but never in their wildest dreams would they have entertained thoughts of going unbeaten in 20 games to be crowned regular season champions over a month before the home and away concludes. Cockburn, however, will be no push over with the side sitting atop Division One and out to upset their more fancied opponent tomorrow at Dorrien Gardens (12.15pm)
Nicolaides has a fair idea what to expect from Cockburn having done his homework on the opposition. “I have watched them a couple of times this year and they have a very good balance of experience and youth. They are a quick team and can mix it physically,” said Nicolaides, who twice won the Cup as a Floreat Athena player. “Cockburn has a plus 64 goal difference and only conceded 15 goals this season so they have been able to produce the goods at both ends of the park. It will definitely be our team’s biggest challenge this year.”
Perth may be pre-game favourites but Taki Nicolaides says that will mean nothing when the opening whistle sounds. “It’s all about producing a performance on the day,” the Perth coach commented. “The boys are very keen to win another trophy and continue their good work. They have a ‘refuse to lose’ attitude and want to create a record of winning the treble while staying undefeated. Whatever they achieve in their careers, in years to come I want them to be able to look back to this year’s achievements with pride.”
PROUD STAJIC PRAISES HIS BALCATTA YOUNGSTERS
Goran Stajic is bursting with pride for what his young Balcatta side has achieved so far this year. And victory over Floreat Athena in Saturday’s State Youth Cup Final at Dorrien Gardens would be the icing on the cake of a memorable year for Stajic, his players and the Balcatta club. “We have achieved a top five finish in the league – we were leaders for the first 13 rounds – and now have the opportunity to be crowned State Cup champions,” Stajic commented. “As a coach I can’t be any prouder, although if we win on Saturday we might take it easy at training on Tuesday!”
Stajic expects this years’ State Youth Cup Final to be a high quality affair. “I hope to see two teams trying to play football at all costs and in good spirit. I will certainly be encouraging my boys to not walk off wondering what might have been, we’ll take the game up to Floreat and back our ability,” said the Balcatta coach. “Games like this are the reason you play football. You can go an entire career and not get a chance to play for silverware, so to have a chance so early in your career can only prepare you for what may lie ahead in professional football.”
Weighing in Balcatta’s favour is the fact they have not been bettered by Floreat in this year’s two regular season meetings. “Beating Floreat once and drawing with them once is something we can draw strength from,” Stajic commented. “As a squad we have been together since October 2011 and have worked extremely hard during that period. It would be an amazing treble for Balcatta, and recognition of our youth development system, if the boys can add the Under-18s 2012 State Cup Final silverware to accompany the Under-16s 2010 Cup Final and Under-15s 2011 Cup Final trophies at the club.”
MORAN PLANS FOR FLOREAT TO GO BACK-TO-BACK
The next generation of Floreat Athena stars can write a new chapter in their clubs’ history on Saturday by winning back-to-back State Youth Cups for the first time. Floreat claimed the trophy last year by defeating Bayswater City 2-1 and new coach Kyle Moran says his team are well positioned to defeat Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. “As Cup holders it would be nice to retain the trophy,” Moran said. “It’s coming to the business end of the year, we are in with a good shout in both competitions so hopefully we can come away with some sort of silverware.”
The sides have met twice this season already with the most recent being only three weeks ago when at the end of 90 minutes it was deadlocked at 1-1. “I feel I have a good indication of how they play and what sort of team they are,” Moran commented. “They are well organised and have one or two very good individual players, which makes them difficult to break down and a bit unpredictable. It will be an extremely tough game but, to be honest, if we play the way we have been over the last five weeks then I have no doubt we will come out on top.”
Floreat have really hit their straps in the home and away series of late, unbeaten in five games to surge into fifth place. But come Saturday afternoon that run of good league form will count for nothing. “It is a Cup Final so league form goes out the window,” Moran commented. “Unlike league games young players especially get very nervous on big occasions so this will play a massive part in the outcome of the match. Most under-18 games are won and lost on mistakes so if we concentrate for 90 minutes and take our chances we will have no problems.”
EDWARDS CALLED UP FOR YOUNG SOCCEROOS
Paul Okon has included Reading midfielder Ryan Edwards in his 20-man Young Socceroos squad for next month’s AFF Under-19 tournament in Vietnam. Edwards, who joined the newly promoted English Premier League outfit last year, is the only overseas-based player selected in a squad which includes fellow West Australians Jesse Makarounas, Brandon O’Neill, Adam Taggart and Riley Woodcock. Australia will play host nation Vietnam, Iran and Uzbekistan in the week-long tournament which begins on 2nd September.
The Young Socceroos squad for the AFF Under-19 tournament in Vietnam is Jake Barker-Daish, Paul Izzo (Adelaide United), Ben Garuccio (Australian Institute of Sport), Luke O’Dea (Bentleigh Greens), Corey Brown, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Nick Munro (Croydon Kings), David Vrankovic (Melbourne Heart), Josh Brillante, Connor Chapman, Mitch Cooper, Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Jesse Makarounas, Brandon O’Neill, Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Terry Antonis, Hagi Gligor, Daniel Petkovski (Sydney) and Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers).
GLORY TOO STRONG FOR STATE TEAM
Western Australia has gone down 3-0 to Perth Glory in wet and blustery conditions at Intiga Stadium in Inglewood. First half goal from Shane Smeltz and Jesse Makarounas set the A-League side on their way with substitute Ndumba Makeche sealing the win after the turnaround. State coach Kenny Lowe had no issue with his teams’ performance against a Glory side which started at full steam. “They came out of the block well, but once we started to cope with the intensity and started to keep the ball we brought ourselves into the game,” Lowe commented. “We finished the first half well and I was really pleased with the second half.”
A big crowd was on hand to see Dean Heffernan get off the first shot which brought a low save from State custodian Alex Dunn. It took Smeltz only 9 minutes to find the back of the net, the New Zealand international volleying in at the back post from a deep cross by Heffernan. The margin was doubled seven minutes when Scott Jamieson’s delivery into the 18-yard box was finished low into Dunn’s net by Makarounas. The State team didn’t return fire until midway through the half, Ryan Clarke finding Francisco Jorquera but the attacker lifted high of the target.
But for the most part it was Glory who were dictating terms. Billy Mehmet headed wide from a Smeltz cross on the half hour and soon after Josh Risdon’s explosive drive whistled narrowly the wrong side of the post. Half-time was only a few minutes away when Liam Miller played down the right to Risdon whose centring ball was headed wide by Smeltz from 7-metres. The State team were struggling in the final third but on 42 minutes they almost found a way through via Jorquera who played a one-two with Gustavo Catarcione only for his shot from 15-metres to drift past the target.
The interval saw Lowe make a rash of changes to his line-up with seven new faces entering the action at the re-start. Two of those substitutes, Ludovic Boi and Ashley Rosendale, combined for the first opening of the second half in which the latter’s headed was tipped by over an alert Danny Vukovic. The State team went close again on 56 minutes, Mark Pritchard’s incisive pass releasing David Foster to go one-on-one with Vukovic who breathed a sigh of relief when the striker’s shot flashed over his crossbar. In an attempt to stem the flow Glory boss Ian Ferguson looked to his bench before making a trio of changes which had the desired effect.
A poor clearance by Dunn put under pressure Patrick Quinn, the defender being dispossessed by Ndumba Makeche who streamed inside the area before applying a clinical finish low past Dunn with 72 minutes on the clock. To their credit the State team refused to drop their heads and continued to push in search of goals. With twelve minutes to go Rosendale brought a smart save from Vukovic and with the final whistle nearing Glory’s substitute ‘keeper Jordan Franken raced off his line to snuff out an opening for Boi after he’d latched onto a delightful pass by Pritchard.
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic (Jordan Franken 79), Bas Van Den Brink, Billy Mehmet (Steven McGarry 64), Dean Heffernan (Steve Pantelidis 46), Shane Smeltz (Ndumba Makeche 64), Liam Miller (Matthew Davies 76), Brandon O’Neill (Adrian Zahra 46), Jess Makarounas (Nick Ward 69), Josh Risdon, Scott Jamieson, Michael Thwaite
Western Australia: Alex Dunn, Jason Gavin (Jack Clisby 46), Jon Higgins (Patrick Quinn 46), Ryan Clarke, Francisco Jorquera (David Foster 46), Gustavo Catarcione (Ashley Rosindale 46), John Kearney (Adam Bachiller 46), Steve Turnbull, Mark Pritchard, Reece Vittiglia (Ludovic Boi 46), Storm Roux (Spencer Harris 46)
Referee: Mathew Cheeseman
Crowd: 1,500 (approx)
COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY, PART TWO
The State Cup Final, one of the centrepiece events of the football calendar, brings trophy holders Sorrento and debutants Balcatta together on Saturday afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out so during the week footballwa.net caught up with each of the Premier League coaches to get their thoughts on where the finalists strengths lay and make a prediction as to where the trophy will end up...
It’s Sorrento that gets the thumbs up from Bayswater City coach Mauro Marchione. “Paul Price has done a great job in the last two years. Sorrento are a very hard team to play against and have experience in all departments and a very solid mentality … Sorrento will win 2-1,” said Marchione. “Reece Vittiglia and Gavin Knight will be influential for Sorrento and for Balcatta it’s ‘Jerry’ Karpeh, Ash Rosindale and Jason Barrera that are the players to watch.”
Perth SC assistant coach Richie Abrams is also on the Sorrento bandwagon. “I think they will be desperate to retain the Cup and have peaked at the right time,” said Abrams. “On paper Sorrento have perhaps the strongest team in the league, Steve McDonald is a potential match winner at both ends of the park as are both Todd and Jamie Harnwell. That said, Balcatta’s defensive group could certainly be pivotal in bringing the Cup to Grindleford Reserve.”
Lee Bamber from Armadale is another who’s tipping the Cup to stay at Percy Doyle Reserve for another 12 months. “Paul Price and Steve Neville have developed a great team spirit at the club and that will see them through,” said Bamber. “Johny Mirco, if on song, will wreak havoc if he’s not closed down, while Balcatta captain Adam Tong is a leader on the park and will demand nothing but 100% from his team mates.”
Bunbury Forum Force boss Matt Lock is also backing Sorrento. “They’ve been churning out some very good results lately and were a big, strong dominant team when we played them a couple of weeks ago,” said Lock. “They have some very good players in – Mikey Aspin, Johny Mircos, Todd Harnwell, etc – and are coming off the back of a massive win so confidence is going to be sky high. But it is a ‘one off’ Balcatta obviously have the ability to perform in the Cup.”
JUNIORS READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD
The National Training Centre will fly the flag for Western Australia at next week’s Gangjin International Youth Tournament in South Korea. The under-15 development squad will pit their skills against Spanish giants Barcelona, two South Korean national squads and New Zealand club Wynra at the five-day event. “Each year it provides a very challenging experience where our best young players are tested against some of the better players of the same age group around the world,” said Cris Ola, technical director at Football West.
The under-15 National Training Centre squad for the Gangjin International Youth Tournament is Matt Akehurst, Dylan Catalano, Nicolo Cellamare, Tristan Colli, Jonas Dorling, Joel Driscoll, Jacob Flores, Richard Giorgi, Saul Healy, Hudson Herron, Ben Johns, Jesse Lazzaro, David Molinari, Hakim Rezaie, David Roy, Ciaran Salinger, Callum Simmonds and Luke Vittiglia. The team will be coached by former Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Milosevic with John McGlynn as his assistant.
JOVIC OPTS FOR INGLEWOOD OVER EUROPE
Teenager Aleks Jovic has turned down a spot at OFK Belgrade to see the season out with Inglewood United. Jovic, Inglewood’s leading scorer with ten regular season goals, has spent the past few weeks trialling with the Serbian SuperLiga club where the young guns talents were recognised but with an offer that fell short of his expectation. “I went to Serbia to play first team,” Jovic commented. “They offered me a place in the reserves and if everything went alright then in two or three months I could start training with the first team … but that’s not what I came for.”
Although disappointed with the outcome, Jovic took plenty of positives from his time in Serbia. “It was a good experience, it shows me where I’m at as a player and gives me belief in myself,” he said. “The kids my age in the youth squad at OFK would be considered good players in Australia with the difference being fitness and training, which is much more intense and was hard to cope with at the start. If we trained more (in Australia) we will be very competitive with the guys in Europe, where it’s more attacking and technical.”
SOCCEROOS WILL COMPETE IN BRAZIL SAYS WILLIAMS
Rhys Williams is preaching a fearless approach to the Socceroo’s remaining World Cup qualifiers with one simple message – ‘we are Australia’. The new Middlesbrough captain is confident Australia’s quality will rise above the challenge of their tough qualification group. “Everyone expects us to win and we’re no different,” said Williams. “Who we play, it shouldn’t matter – we are Australia – we play to win and we should get out of this group with no problems and onto the FIFA World Cup. It’s definitely difficult with all the away games and stuff but, we go into every game wanting to win and having the desire to win.”
The Socceroo will take their next steps en route to Brazil against Jordan in just under a month. Another away date against Iraq will follow in October before they return home to play Oman in March. “I’m looking forward to getting back (to Australia), obviously we love playing at home in front of a home crowd and trying to excite them to bring more and more people to watch us,” said Williams. “As long as we do our job with the away games, I think the home games are ours to lose. When we go home, we can’t wait to play and, put on a show.”
“I’LL DO WHATEVER THE GAFFER NEEDS”: LOWRY
Millwall defender Shane Lowry is happy to play wherever he needed to help coach Kenny Jackett. The off-season departure of Tony Craig and Scott Barron has seen Lowry switch to the left-back in Jackett’s back four. With a small squad at The Den it is conceivable the 23-year old could hold that position on a regular basis, although his preference is to play in the centre of defence. “First and foremost, I see myself as a centre back,” Lowry said. “I did well with Robbo (captain Paul Robinson). I’ll do whatever the gaffer and the team needs. I can play left back as well.”
Lowry suffered with a groin problem during pre-season training but played all 120 minutes of Millwall’s mid-week League Cup draw with Crawley Town. “I feel a little bit behind,” the former ECU Joondalup added. “I missed a few games but that’s part of football. I’m getting there game by game. This is more minutes for me under my belt.” Lowry began his professional career by joining Aston Villa in early 2005. Through loan spells with Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Millwall he gained valuble first team exposure and in January of this year signed a two and a half year deal with the latter.
CLASSY BAYSWATER ON THE CUSP OF HISTORY
Bayswater City remains on track to finish of top of the Premier Division for their first time after seeing off Balcatta 3-1 from a niggly encounter at Grindleford Reserve. The game didn’t come to life until the second half when goals from Thomas Gooding, Cisco Jorquera and Gustavo Catarcione negated substitute Ashley Rosindale’s finish. “If you put in the work, you get the results,” said Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione, whose side were without four regular starters. “We have played four games this season without Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and today we were missing three other senior players, but we were still able to surpass Balcatta.”
The early passages were played out between the boxes with the two defensive units passing every test with flying colours. Patrick Quinn’s move from the left to the right flank provided the impetus for Bayswater to finally kick into gear. Cisco Jorquera should have done better on 27 minutes than shoot weakly at Bobson Koroma after meeting a low centre from Quinn. And ten minutes later Gooding blasted not too far wide of the top corner after Catarcione had worked tirelessly to get deep inside the 18-yard box. Balcatta gained a bit more momentum as the half came neared but Tom Dixon was not to be beaten, turning away shots from Daniel Micevski and Jason Barrera.
Adam Tong would have given Balcatta the lead two minutes into the second half if not for a goal line clearance by Luka Njegich. But it was Bayswater that found the back of the net first, Steven Turnbull dancing down the right before clipping to the far post for an unmarked Gooding to steer his header into an unguarded net. Michael Roki could not have wished for a more immediate response to a double change in the 66th minute which saw Boima Karpeh and Rosindale enter the action. The pair had been on the park less than 30 seconds when Karpeh pounced on an error by John Kearney and released Rosindale, who fended off David Sesay to angle low into Dixon’s net.
With this the game really burst into life. Rosindale broke away again but was robbed of a shot by Andy Reale, then at the other end Quinn drilled low but beyond the far post. A goal of the highest calibre had Bayswater back in front after 77 minutes, Catarcione and Jorquera exchanging delicate touches before the latter applied a clinical finish from 11-metres which had Koroma motionless. Bayswater were coming home with a wet sail and when Balcatta had Daniel Micevski sent off for a harsh second yellow card the writing was very much on the wall. To rub salt into the wound Turnbull delivered the resulting free-kick into the area where Catarcione slotted past Koroma to seal victory with four minutes remaining.
RAMPANT SORRENTO PUT SEVEN PAST FLOREAT (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Sorrento turned in one of their best performances of the season to thrash Floreat Athena 7-2 on a sunny afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Gulls had seven different scorers – Todd Harnwell, Reece Vittiglia, Johny Mirco, Brodie Martin, Mikey Aspin, substitute Jamie Harnwell and Steve McDonald – to demoralise a Floreat outfit which had Spencer Harris and David Heagney sent off in the closing stages. “The win cements our spot in the top three and sets us up nicely for a clash against Bayswater City in a fortnight,” said Sorrento captain Todd Harnwell. “We played exceptionally well. Although the first half was tight we were well in control throughout the second half, even before the dismissals.”
It took Sorrento only 3 minutes to make a statement, Vittiglia linking with Gavin Knight before sliding a perfect pass in to Todd Harnwell, who rounding goalkeeper Brad Eiffe to tuck into an empty net. Floreat refused to drop their heads and on 26 minutes Mark Pritchard had them back on level terms, brilliantly curling a free-kick into the top corner after David Heagney was bundled over by Ryan Pearson. Pritchard and Ludovic Boi featured prominently as the visitors pressed but wayward finishing denied them the lead. Sorrento went back in front on the stroke of half-time when referee Josh Mannella spotted an infringement as a corner came in, and from the penalty spot Vittiglia blasted beyond Brad Eiffe’s reach.
Floreat’s outrage had barely subsided when a suspiciously offside Mirco prodded into the net after some tidy interplay on the edge of the 18-yard box with Vittiglia in the 56th minute. Sorrento were now in full flight and five minutes later Martin bundled the ball in from a poorly defended Mirco corner. Things only got worse for the home side as in the 66th minute Aspin cut in from the right to exchange passes with Martin and unleash a fierce strike that was too good for Eiffe. Benny Kovadio gave the visiting side hope when he skilfully created space before shooting low across Aspden in the 73rd minute.
But that was a good as it got for Floreat whose day totally fell apart in the final ten minutes. Heagney collected a straight red card in the 81st minute for dissent, and barely minute more had passed when Spencer Harris also earned an early shower for an appalling tackle on Todd Harnwell. Sorrento rubbed salt into the wound in the 85th minute with Jamie Harnwell finishing a Todd Harnwell cross into the net. Three minutes later Aspin floated a long diagonal ball into the box where McDonald beat Eiffe to the ball with the towering defenders header having just enough power on it to sneak over the line despite Mark Walsh’s best efforts to clear.
JOONDALUP STEP CLOSER TO SAFETY
ECU Joondalup all but secured their Premier League future by stunning Perth SC 5-3 at Dorrien Gardens. Tanner Selyer and Scott Blackmore were on-target early for the visitors with Jon Higgins netting twice and Mike Adamcewicz once after the turnaround to seal three very much-needed points. “I thought the boys played really, really well,” said winning coach Salv Todaro, whose side are five points clear of the drop zone with only two rounds remaining. “It was hard but we had a game plan and we stuck to it. We are still playing for our season, we have to keep winning and it is in our hands.”
Joondalup reaped the rewards of a positive start by taking a 16th minute lead, Selyer firing past Alex Dunn following good work by Higgins. It was now that Perth sparked into action and although they enjoyed some possession the attacks were all too frequently halted by an offside flag. Not content with a one-goal lead, Joondalup took the game up to their hosts with Matt Italiano forcing a good save from Dunn. The half hour had just ticked by when Higgins’ corner was headed in by Blackmore for a two-nil lead. Things stayed that way only three minutes before Daniel Niederberger’s shot cannoned back off the post with Shaun Kilkelly positioned to convert past Andy Banks from close-range.
The introduction of David Onoforo and Robbie Sciascia at the break added some much-needed bite to the Perth attack. But eight minutes into the half Higgins gained possession in midfield, drifted past a couple of opponents and from 25-metres shot into Dunn’s net. Perth hit back just sixty seconds later with Niederberger tapping in from a Sciascia corner. The home crowd were given more to cheer about in the 63rd minute when Adam Bachiller’s shot was too good for Banks to bring the game level. A minute later Onoforo was taken down but referee Mathew Cheeseman played the advantage which saw Neiderberger lift high after going one-on-one with Banks.
As the final whistle neared Amphlett spotted Dunn out of position but the attacker’s long-range attempt was wide. There was a touch of controversy when Joondalup did reclaim the lead in the 83rd minute, substitute Adamcewicz racing clear after playing a one-two with John Thornley to finish low past Dunn. What incensed the Perth players was that a foul on Daniel Coletta in the lead-up was overlooked, Onoforo taking his teams’ case up with Cheeseman to no avail. Higgins put the icing on Joondalup’s cake in stoppage-time, the midfielder hitting a vicious dead ball into the top corner to spark wild celebrations within the Joondalup camp.
DOMINANT BUNBURY FRUSTRATED AS INGLEWOOD TAKE A POINT (with James Wragg, Football West)
Inglewood United escaped from a torrid afternoon at Payne Park with a point from a 0-0 draw with Bunbury Forum Force. The home team were by far the more enterprising side over the 90 minutes but on far too many occasions were let down by poor finishing. “It was a hard fought battle with neither team able to finish their chances,” said Inglewood’s Alex Caniglia, who is confident his side are close to ending a five-game winless run. “We are starting to get back to the form we have shown previously and having this weekend off will allow us to continue working hard and going into the final games of the season with the right attitude, and a style of play that can overcome our opponents.”
Bunbury were quickest to settle with Ryan Risdon and Aaron Brittain getting off early shots but neither troubled goalkeeper Francis Soale. Wide players Ryan Clarke and Alex Caniglia were looking dangerous as the visitors struggled to come to grips with the games. A clever flick over the defence by Jarrod McNally presented Clarke with Inglewood’s first chance on goal but his shot was directly at Ryan Montgomery. If truth be told there was very little else for either ‘keeper to do in a first half played out between the boxes and dominated by the defences. The only other opening of note came just before the break when a Bunbury counterattack came the way of Bright Ababio whose goalbound effort was blocked by Rikki Smith’s lunging tackle.
The game finally sprang to life upon the restart. Bunbury player-coach Matt Lock blasted a free-kick over the defensive wall but Francis Soale was alert to save down low. The hosts fashioned another chance just minutes later thanks to Jayden Prosser whose insightful delivery to the near post was stabbed wide by Ababio. Soale was beaten in the 50th minute by Aiden Savory’s precise finish but the attacker’s effort was chalked off for offside. It appeared Bunbury would be awarded a penalty when Ababio went down under a Soale challenge, however referee Michael Jasinski saw things very differently to the crowd and prompted booked the striker for diving. An Inglewood counter attack finished with Clarke grazing the top of the crossbar from just inside the 18-yard box.
Although Bunbury seemingly had the ball on a string, nothing was doing right for them in the final third. Ababio wasted another guilt edge opportunity by heading high from 5-metres. Lock, who was the controlling force in midfield, had Soale backtracking quickly with a miss-hit cross which the ‘keeper managed to tip over. Inglewood flickered as the game came to a close. A James Sammut shot from outside the area was headed for the top corner when Montgomery acrobatically palmed the ball away. The final minute of regulation time included chances for either team to steal the win but substitutes Michael Baczynski and Martin Ryan failed to convert, meaning the points would be shared.
ARMADALE WIN BUT NOT YET SAFE SAYS BAMBER
Armadale did their hopes of avoiding relegation the world of good by downing Stirling Lions 2-1 at Macedonia Park. Ravi Kuppusamy and Rhys Loxley had the visitors in a comfortably position before Anthony Lyons grabbed Stirling’s late consolation. “The win doesn’t mean anything yet – we’ve still got to get a couple of points,” said Armadale coach Lee Bamber. “Today was a great win, but as far as the season goes we haven’t achieved anything.” With two games to be played Armadale hover four points above the drop spot occupied by Western Knights.
Stirling Lions controlled the early pace but failed to create much in the way of chances before Armadale gained the momentum. Kuppusamy, who would be a thorn in the hosts side throughout the afternoon, raced down the flank and cut the ball back for Darren Francis who, faced with only goalkeeper Cory Hugo, blazed wide from 6-metres. That miss was forgotten in the 33rd minute when Kuppusamy held his nerve to convert from the penalty spot after referee Paul Anderson a handball against defender Jason Gavin had taken place inside the 18-yard box, not outside as the Stirling players were claiming.
Andy Brown looked set to bring the sides level soon after the interval but Cyril Sharrock brilliantly kept the Stirling captain’s shot out of his top corner. Stirling were now on top but wasteful finishing and a couple of super saves by Sharrock ensured Armadale remained in front. So it was against the run of play that Armadale doubled their lead, Kuppusamy slipping a pass into the stride of Loxley to fire under Hugo from 12-metres. Stirling finally got the goal they sought with eleven minutes left, Gareth McGlynn crossing for Lyons to finish from inside the 6-yard box. Armadale’s day ended on a sour note with Sam Loveless dismissed for a second yellow card in stoppage time.
SHACKLETON GIVES KNIGHTS A GLIMMER OF HOPE (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
A sensational long-range strike by midfielder Ryan Shackleton earned Western Knights a narrow 1-0 win over the National Training Centre at Wauhop Park. Shackleton’s second half goal should have eased the Knights relegation concerns but with second-from-bottom Armadale also winning Robbie Dunn’s side remains four-points adrift with only two games to play. “It was a mixed win for us as other results didn't really go our way,” said Shackleton. “We’re still confident of staying up, we’ve seen many time this year already that anything can happen in this league and as long as it’s mathematically possible we will keep fighting to stay in the Premier Division.”
The NTC should have gone a goal up after only 8 minutes but Shazalee Ramlee somehow placed wide with only Alfie Brincat to beat after being inadvertently played in by defender Ethan Levitt. The home team responded with a series of raids in which Shackleton send a dead ball too close to goalkeeper Jordan Franken before a long-range effort by Jesse Fuller drifted past the post. Jamie Burns flashed wide with a shot on the turn from inside the 18-yard box after which Fuller was on-target with another long-range shot but Franken saved comfortably. Jamie Grego squandered a golden chance to send his team into the break with the lead by heading wide at close-range after being found unmarked by a Shackleton cross in the 42nd minute
The Knights hard work paid off four minutes after the turnaround, David Annall combining with Rory Grant who laid the ball off for Shackleton to unleash a vicious shot into the top corner of Franken’s net. It was only now that the NTC awoke from their slumber but while the teenagers held a good share of possession they rarely looked like breaking through their hosts solid defensive line. Instead, it was the Knights who went close to netting in the 65th minute with Grant crashing a spectacular volley into the far post following Levitt’s clever cross-field ball. The clock had just ticked into stoppage time when substitute Jacob Aquino also went close to adding a second for the home team with a sizzling shot from 27-metres which rose just over the crossbar.
LUCK KEEPS WANNEROO ON TOP
Fremantle Spirit conceded a cruel last minute own goal to hand a ten-man Wanneroo City a 2-1 win from this afternoon’s meeting at Beeliar Oval. The early action was end-to-end with Wanneroo controlling the flow of play. But it was the home team that would open their account first, Tyrone Fenwick pouncing on a loose ball and from the edge of the 18-yard box fired into the bottom corner of Clint Davies net. Unperturbed, the visitors returned to the attack where a Garin Collins free-kick was met by goalkeeper Elhossain Atekhis, while Brian Cairney headed against the crossbar from a Liam McGurk cross. The dismissal of Rowdy Yates for a straight red card took some of the sting out of Wanneroo, who eased their way to the break a goal behind.
With their batteries recharged, Wanneroo came out firing in the second half. Josh Booysen, Cairney and Jake Benson-Cooper each got themselves into good scoring positions but each was unable to find the target. That changed when Booysen was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot Jared Love brought the teams level, albeit at the second attempt. The pace quicken as both sides went searching for the deciding goal, however, Atekhis and Davies were in fine form to keep things on a level pegging. The game was settled in the final minute of regulation time, Love driving down the right before firing in a low cross intended for Cairney but which was met by a Fremantle defender who turned into his own net.
Canning City’s four-game unbeaten run has come to an end at Ashfield, who claimed victory by 1-0 on a sunny afternoon. The hosts account should have been opened by Karl O’Reilly but after being found unmarked by Branimir Mikulic the striker lifted high from close-range. That miss was put aside when the ball spilled to Nathan Tossum who, from the top corner of the 18-yard box, volleyed into the far top corner of the net to leave Steve Grant helpless. Alistair Campbell prevented Alan O’Mahoney from increasing Ashfield’s lead by clearing his shot off the line. Canning began to spark late in the half, Michael Lawson volleying wide before Michael Van Dongen forced a good save from John Perkins.
Perkins was in the thick of the action as Canning started the second half under full steam, the ‘keeper at full-stretch to parry a powerful Sam Carello header then recovering quickly to also block the follow-p by Simon Corriea. Reuben Tristao unleashed a fierce shot from distance soon after which was matched by an equally excellent save by Grant. Canning were throwing everything into conjuring an equaliser but the closest they’d come was another long-range shot by Michael Van Dongen that passed over the crossbar. After this Ashfield locked things down in their defensive zone to ensure their opposition wouldn’t leave with a point. Canning’s day ended on a low with Steven Kane given his marching orders for dissent.
PENDER TO THE RESCU (courtesy Shamrock Rovers)
Shamrock Rovers came away from Walter Padbury Reserve with a deserved 1-0 win over Gosnells City. Will Pender’s finish in the closing stages were all the reward Shamrock got for a control and commanding performance from a game they controlled from the first to the final minute. Quick to assert themselves across the middle of the park, the visitors asked plenty of questions of the Gosnells backline throughout the half. But Adriano D’Alo conspired to keep them without score, diving full-length to thwart Barry Triggs and Ciaran Byrne before having his reflexes tested by Jacob Gordon’s close-range strike late in the half.
It was more of the same after the turnaround, although it was now the patience of Shamrock’s diehard supporters that was being tested. Byrne crashed a header into the crossbar after getting on the end of a Pender cross with the rebound nodded in by Triggs, whose effort was disallowed for his push on a defender. The pressure valve was finally released on 73 minutes, a blocked shot spilling to Pender whose crisp half-volley from 20-metres gave the ‘keeper no chance as it cruised inside the bottom corner. There was still time for Byrne to get off a few more shots, two of which were blocked by the defence with a third going over the bar.
LATE RALLY PUTS DIANELLA OVER THE LINE
Abdul Sesay and Brendan Craig netted in the closing minutes as a ten-man Dianella White Eagles came from behind to snatch a 2-1 over Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. Luke O’Neill put the home side in front midway through the second half and it looked like staying that way until Dianella struck twice in three minutes to steal the points. The opening 45 minutes were a largely lacklustre affair riddled with errors and devoid of meaningful chances on goal. Michael Dudek was by far the busier of the goalkeeper’s but his job was made easier by Dianella’s inability to get their shots on target. Morley, who didn’t spark until late in the half, were denied a penalty despite Kris Dennis’ goal bound header seemingly striking a defender on the arm.
Morley emerged from the break to take the game by the scruff of the neck. After several close calls it was left to Luke O’Neill to put the team in orange one-nil up, the attacker crashing the ball in at close-range after the ‘keeper failed to hold David Houston’s stinging 67th minute shot. And when Dianella had Bojan Radinovic sent off soon after for dissent it appeared the game was as good as over. Dianella, however, had a very different view of things and with twelve minutes to go Andreas Theodosiades played in Sesay to stroke past Dudek in a one-one-one to bring the sides level. Three minutes later Craig punished poor defending at a Dimce Taneski corner to head in the deciding goal from a few metres.
SKOWRON GETS SWAN BACK ON TRACK
Swan United chalked up their first win under new coach Mick Skowron by downing Forrestfield United 3-1 at the Swan Italian Club. John Monterosso and Mark Miraudo were on-target in the first half with Brendan Knox getting the remainder late. The crowd were still settling into their seats when Swan turned the ball over and surged into attack where Luke Colli’s cut back was slammed into the net at close-range by Monterosso. Both sides had some good possession across the half with Swan looking the more dangerous in the final third. Miraudo doubled the hosts lead five minutes from the break with a blistering drive from 22-metres.
The second half started brightly for Swan with several goal scoring opportunities coming their way but a failure to capitalise prevented any addition to the margin. Forrestfield found themselves back in the game on 59 minutes when Robbie Chipchase’s low cross was turned in by a Swan defender under pressure from Ben Fraser. With the game now in the balance, Forrestfield took their game up a notch with Chris Perrott’s 25-metre volley flashing just the wrong side of the post. Swan had their chances to seal the points but Knox and Monterosso squandered close-range attempts. The game was eventually made safe in the 82nd minute with Knox tucking into the net after being put through by Monterosso.
HONOURS EVEN BETWEEN FREMANTLE, SUBIACO
Ger Fitzgerald scored late to earn Subiaco AFC a 2-2 draw with Fremantle United from an entertaining game at Hilton Reserve. Subiaco looked the more likely to net early but Joe Kresling, Danny Malcolm, Simon Ralphs and Steven Otigbah were unable to make much of their chances. So it was Fremantle that registered the first score via Levi Reichelt, who headed in from 5-metres following a Darren Monaghan corner which was flicked on by Andrew Morrow. That lead was cancelled out around the half hour by a slick move involving Malcolm, Ralphs and Kresling, whose lay off was sweetly curled into the net by Jordan Rhodes. Subiaco should have entered the break in front but Kresling’s header came back of the crossbar.
Fremantle opened the second half full of attacking intent. Angelo Canzurlo’s goal bound strike was tipped over by goalkeeper Tom Barrett, who later breathed a sigh of relief when Tim De Souza’s shot cannon back off the upright. Fremantle’s perseverance was rewarded when substitute Sam Ambrogio punished a midfield error by playing through to Fusari, who past his man and lobbed the on-coming ‘keeper. Subiaco had no intention of the game ending that way and with ten minutes left substitute Fitzgerald latched onto a loose ball to lash the equaliser past Carlos Bervenotti. There was still time for both side to find a winner but with neither able to convert they had to settle for just the one point.
BEATTIE GIVES QUINNS WIN NUMBER TWO (courtesy Quinns)
A gritty performance by Quinns has been rewarded with the teams’ second win of the season, 1-0 over Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve. The only goal of the afternoon arrived midway through the second half with Marc Beattie having the honours. “We’ve had a difficult season but we have kept working hard and our last two results have shown that we can compete at this level,” said Beattie, who team drew last week with Subiaco AFC. “It was a disciplined performance, our defence in particular played very well. We have been on the end of a few heavy defeats from Melville this season so it was nice to get a bit of revenge!”
The dominant feature of a scrappy first half was a midfield battle in the two units negated their opponent with the end result being very few chances on goal. The game started to open up after the break with Melville increasingly applying the pressure but Kudzi Chigwanda placed narrowly wide while Sasha Goric
lifted over the crossbar. Those misses were punished when Gareth Hamilton and Ryan Pellow combined down the left with the latter’s cross low turned in by Beattie. It was a case of all hands to the pump over the closing stages for Quinns whose defensive line dealt tuned away all attempts by Melville to salvage a point.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Sorrento and Floreat Athena will get another chance to assert their title credentials tomorrow afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. The teams sides sit side-by-side in second spot on the table with both having aspirations of overtaking leaders Bayswater City, who lead by a single point, to finish the home and away series on top of the pile. “We’ve been playing well and are confident of finishing the season in a strong manner,” said Sorrento coach Paul Price, who’ll without Jason Mirco for the remainder of the campaign. “This game could have a major effect on the outcome of the league and I’m sure it will be a tight affair.”
Floreat captain Mark Pritchard is expected to come straight back into the line-up for what coach Chris Barbas rates as one of the games of the year. “It would have to go down as the most important home and away fixture to date,” commented Barbas, before suggesting all the pressure is on Sorrento. “They must endure us this week for what could decide who is crowned end of season champions, and the following week play Balcatta in the Cup Final. For Paul Price and Steve Neville’s established team nothing but victory would satisfy the Sorrento club and board members to take out the double.”
Bayswater City has John Kearney and Luke Njegich back in contention for their trip to Balcatta, where striker Boima Karpeh faces a late fitness test. Inglewood United are likely to be minus Michael Baczynski (injury), Aleks Jovic (overseas) and Koji Yamada (suspension) as they attempt to end a four-game winless streak away at Bunbury Forum Force. Stirling Lions welcome back Anthony Lyons but will be without Phil O’Callaghan (work) for their home meeting with Armadale, who could be without Mark McClements (injury) as goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock comes back in. Western Knights Premier League status goes on the line when they welcome the National Training Centre to Wauhop Park.
ECU Joondalup remain a mathematical chance of being relegation so head to Dorrien Gardens wanting to take all three points over Perth SC. “We have another ‘Grand Final’ this week in what is a must-win game for both teams,” said Joondalup coach Salv Todaro. “Perth are just hanging in the top five after their loss to Balcatta last week and they need to win to keep their top five hopes alive. We have to be at the top of our game to deal with their backlash as we strive to get results to keep our distance from the bottom of the ladder.” All six Premier Division games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The pieces have certainly fallen into place over the past month for Canning City who plans to make a statement at Ashfield tomorrow afternoon. “We have come a long way this season and we have really started to see the benefits,” said Canning defender Garth Lecky, who team have won their last three games. “We have a nice little winning streak going at the moment and have no intention of giving that up on Saturday. Ashfield would be another step in the right direction, they are genuine league contenders and that is something we will be striving to achieve next season and beyond.”
Planning for next season has already begun at Swan United with coach Mick Skowron using the home clash against Forrestfield United to introduce some Reserve team players to first team football. Glen Moore and Jake Benson-Cooper have been added to Wanneroo City’s squad for their game with Fremantle Spirit at Beeliar Oval. Gosnells City will be without Graham Tough (suspension) and Darren Gamble (work) for the meeting with Shamrock Rovers at Walter Padbury Reserve. Morley Windmills have home ground advantage over Dianella White Eagles who are without Andrew Kiir, Goran Radinovic and coach Vesko Zmukic due to suspension. All five afternoon games kick-off at 3.00pm.
The round concludes with a twilight fixture between Mandurah City and Rockingham City at Hyundai Stadium (6.00pm). “We are on good run at the moment, winning three games in a row, and we want to make that four on Saturday night,” said Rockingham’s Rob Crerar. “The players are really determined to finish the season off well this year and here is an opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best sides in the league. If we can defend well as a team and maintain our concentration it will go a long way to us getting the result we want.”
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Fremantle United and Subiaco AFC will be out to a stake their claim on a top two placing at Hilton Reserve. Injury, suspension and the like ruined both chances hopes of winning the league but each is eyeing maximum points on Saturday. Fremantle’s ranks have been swelled by the return of Connor Shaw, Tim De Sousa and Nathan Findlater while Angelo Canzurlo and Andrew Morrow are also an outside chance of playing. Joe Kresling and Ger Fitzgerald are back in contention for Subiaco with newcomers Christof Noehring and Steven Otigbah likely to retain their places in the eleven.
Joondalup City face the difficult task of containing champions in waiting UWA-Nedlands at Iluka Sports Complex. There’s mixed news for the home side with Adam Buckley and possibly goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane back in contention but Brad Kershaw is ruled out through suspension. Melville City have been bolstered by the return of a host of players for the clash with Quinns at Len Shearer Reserve. Mark Clayton, Clayton Kendall, Kudzi Chigwanda and Will Kinsey are all available, however, John Brennan won’t play again this year due to injury. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
STATE SQUAD FINALISED FOR GLORY
State coach Kenny Lowe has handpicked the cream of the Premier Division crop to take on Perth Glory next week. The 24-player squad has trained together just twice but Lowe remains hopeful his team can upset the 2011/12 A-League Grand Finalists. “I’m really looking forward to it - looking forward to working with some really good players as well,” said Lowe. “I think the big thing for me is that every player that I called said ‘yes’. Whether we can win a game is maybe an unrealistic target, but we’ll be certainly trying to do that.”
The State squad boasts seven players with previous State team experience, amongst them David Micevski, Greg Sharland and Mark Pritchard, along with newcomers of the calibre of Jack Clisby, Cisco Jorquera and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. Those selected from Balcatta and Sorrento will be unavailable due to their participation in next weekend’s State Cup Final, while standby players will be called upon as cover for those carry injury. Tuesday’s friendly is a special fundraiser for Mount Lawley Primary School after it tragically burnt down, with part proceeds from the match going directly to the school.
The Western Australia squad to play Perth Glory on Tuesday 21 August at Intiga Stadium, Inglewood (kick-off 6.45pm) is is Daniel Micevski, David Micevski (Balcatta), Gustavo Catarcione, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, Cisco Jorquera, John Kearney, Patrick Quinn, Steve Turnbull (Bayswater City), Ludovic Boi, Spencer Harris, Mark Pritchard (Floreat Athena), Ryan Clarke, Jack Clisby, Devon Spence (Inglewood United), Tommy Amphlett, David Foster, Jon Higgins (ECU Joondalup), Adam Bachiller, Antonio Naglieri, Greg Sharland (Perth SC), Curtis Aspden, Ryan Pearson, Reece Vittiglia (Sorrento) and Jason Gavin (Stirling Lions).
KNIGHTS CAN BEAT THE DROP: BRINCAT
Western Knights don’t need reminding that anything less than maximum points this weekend could spell the end of their stay in the Premier League. The Knights enter the third to last round of the winter stumping up the league, four points adrift of their nearest rival, and with time fast running out if they are to avoid relegation. “It’s a real disappointment that a club with so much history like ours is in the position that we are in,” said Knights custodian Alfie Brincat. “But I’m positive that we can beat the drop with the amount off quality we have here.”
To label 2012 is struggle for the Knights would be an understatement. As if being forced from playing at their home ground of Nash Field wasn’t bad enough the Knights have switched coach three times and endured countless changes to the playing roster over the course of the past six months. The effects’ of that constant evolution is none more evident on the field of play. The Knights have won only four of nineteen games played to date with not so much as a single point taken from the last two months of competition.
In the past fortnight the Knights have squandered chances to make up ground on those above with losses to Bunbury Forum and Stirling Lions. Brincat feels his team should have taken something from both game, especially last weekend when they went down 2-0 to Stirling. “We gave them the game, we were all over them,” said the goalkeeper. “We were very organized and passed the ball round well. It was just two silly mistakes which cost us the game … when you are at the bottom nothing ever seems to go right for you.”
Brincat, 23, played the early stages of his career with English club Leyton Orient for whom he was about to turn professional when injury intervened. “I suffered a compound fracture to my tibia and fibula which put me out for two years and I ended up getting released,” said Brincat, who trialled with Perth Glory after arriving in Perth in February. “After training with Glory I got a phone call from Willie McNally saying the Knights were looking for a goalkeeper and asked if I fancied coming down … I enjoyed his sessions and signed on.”
The recent coaching appointment of former Socceroo defender Robbie Dunn has had a big impact on the sides on-field performance. “Robbie has changed the way we have been playing and judging from our performance on Saturday it looks like a step in the right direction,” said Brincat, who know the Knights must win against the National Training Centre on Saturday to stand any chance of remaining in the Premier League. “This week is vital for the whole club and I’m more than confident we will pick up the three points and close the gap.”
GAMBLE TO SPEARHEAD GOSNELLS TITLE CHARGE IN 2013
Gosnells City will use the final rounds of 2012 as preparation for next season according to former Northern Ireland youth international Darren Gamble. A struggle for consistency this year has Gosnells sitting ninth in Division One with only a handful of game to play. Gamble, the clubs’ leading scorer with 11 goals, says there is still plenty of work to do but does concede the focus is beginning to swing towards next year. “We plan to get as many points in the board as possible as we rebuild and get ready to push for the title next year,” the striker said.
Gosnells have shown what they are capable of in the past fortnight with convincing wins over Swan United and Morley Windmills. “It’s the first time this season that we have won two games on the bounce,” commented Gamble, who bagged a hat-trick in both outings. “I felt like I owed the club along with coaches Tony Maguire and Paul McCue a lot. They’ve stuck by me and been patient as I had a bad run of form and a few injuries. Hopefully I can keep repaying them with a few more goals before the season is over.”
Gamble, 26, says a number of factors have contributed to Gosnells poor showing this year. “We had a difficult start to the season with a mixture of injuries, wrong formations and referee decisions seeing lesser teams beating us,” said Gamble. “We’ve taken a lot from our staff and supporters, who have always stuck by us and the youth players coming through have kept us on our toes. The Under-18’s are second in the league and have proven their quality all season and Reserves have been pushing for first team places.”
A professional life in football looked to be in the offering back in the UK when serious injury shattered Gamble’s dream. “I played with Dunganon Swifts growing up and was linked with Preston North End,” the attacker explained. “I represented Northern Ireland in the European Championships at youth level and won the Under-17 International Player of the Year. But I ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in my knee and also suffered cartilage and medial ligament damage which meant I couldn’t continue play at that high standard.”
Gamble left his home in Strabane and headed to Perth in January 2011 but it would be well over a year before he played football again. “I hadn’t kicked a ball in over 14 months when a work colleague got me in contact with the Reserve team coach at Gosnells, Rob Eldridge and he invited me to come down to training,” explained Gamble, who says the local game compares favourably with what he experienced in his homeland. “There are some good footballing teams in the league which is similar to the standard I played before I left Ireland.”
Gosnells will most likely be without Gamble when they strive for a third straight win on Saturday afternoon against a Shamrock Rovers outfit that has lost once in two months. “I’m working in the mines and it’s doubtful I’ll make the game this weekend,” said a disappointed Gamble. “But we have decent cover and I’ve faith the lads will do a good job and spoil Shamrock’s run of form. They’re a physical side who are good at their football and don’t stop until the final whistle. They’re favourites to win on the day but we are quietly confident.”
SOCCEROOS SUNK BY SCOTLAND
Australia are searching for momentum ahead crucial World Cup qualifiers after suffering a 3-1 loss to Scotland in Edinburgh. A memorable Mark Bresciano goal gave the Socceroos an early advantage only for Jordan Rhodes to square the ledger before half-time after which a Jason Davidson own goal and a late finish Ross McCormack finish sealed Scotland’s triumph. Although Holger Osieck use the game to experiment, trying several players in new roles and making six substitutions, the Australia coach was left with much to ponder ahead of next month’s high-stakes qualifier in Jordan.
Scotland exerted their dominance from the outset, albeit without seriously testing opposing goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. But the hosts would rue their profligacy when Bresciano let fly in the 18th minute with a stunning first-time volley into the bottom corner from 20-metres. Scotland needed just ten minutes to equalise via Rhodes’ glancing header from a Danny Fox cross. There was more bad news in the second half for Australia with debutant Davidson miscuing a header past substitute ‘keeper Adam Federici on 63 minutes. The result was sealed thirteen minutes later by McCormack, who placed into the bottom corner after evading two tackles. West Australian Rhys Williams played the full game at right-back.
MELBOURNE CLOSE IN ON GARCIA
Former Socceroo Richard Garcia is poised to join Melbourne Heart for the summer of 2012/13. Garcia, whose career has been plagued by knee problems, will sign on the dotted line with the Melbourne club subject to passing a medical. Should the deal go through Garcia is likely to be used by his new club as a central midfielder behind box-to-box pair Matt Thompson and Fred. That might come as a surprise to some who, knowing him mainly from his 14 outings for Australia, have pigeonholed him as a winger.
Melbourne football manager John Didulica says Garcia, 30, has a pedigree as a central midfielder, which makes him well-equipped to fulfil the role here. “He played in that position when he was younger at West Ham and also played that sort of role in the Championship,” Didulica commented. “This is the A-League, not the Premier League or Championship, and he is a skilful player with good technique who can play in a central position here.”
BUNBURY IN LOCK DOWN WITH SURVIVAL THE GOAL
The adoption of a siege mentality has gone a long way to keeping Bunbury Forum Force’s head above water according to Matt Lock. Bunbury were in a bad way when Lock took over but after a lot of hard work the player-coach has his club on track for a second season in the top flight. “I had many chats with the players and constantly strived for them to realise that no one else was going to help us, a kind of ‘us against the world’ mentality,” explained Lock. “It might sound a little over the top but that’s the way we have to conduct our business.”
Bunbury’s introduction to the Premier Division could not have been more tumultuous. Backroom squabbles led to an early season change of president and preceded three coaching switches, not to mention an ever-changing playing roster. “When I first started the mood in the camp was dreadful, a lot of unhappy people feeling sorry for themselves,” said Lock, who took up the reins in late June. “My first challenge was to make people smile again and feel good about themselves. I now have a load of people, staff included, that are desperate to achieve something.”
Lock, 28, has added some muscle to the Bunbury side since arriving from England, where he most recently played for Gloucester City. “I feel I have started to find the balance between playing and coaching, and how best to get my points across to the lads whilst still keeping my own performance in check,” he said. “I love the club, the locals involved and the people behind the scenes and have really helped me settle in to the area. I’ve now got a great back room staff with Andy Cowley and Mark Osmond assisting me with everything and we have a good progressive working relationship. Overall I’m very pleased and adoring football in WA.”
Bunbury turned in one of their best performances of the season last weekend to beat Armadale 3-0 and take another step towards Premier Division survival. “We were superb. We grew into the game, dominated massive parts of it and scored at vital times whilst playing some lovely football,” Lock commented. “Armadale were not a push over but we dominated over the 90 minutes and after 60 minutes I knew they were beaten. There were a few areas where I felt we could have had more conviction but that’s being pernickety. Credit to every single player, there were a few standouts but every squad member contributed to a good performance.”
Lock’s football career started as an apprentice with Exeter City. “This was a great place to learn my trade, however it was a slight baptism of fire as we were relegated and the club wasn’t in a stable place,” he explained. “From Exeter I went to Team Bath where I combined full-time training with a degree and this was a great move for me. I had some amazing experiences at Team Bath and learnt from some incredibly knowledgeable people. I then went to Chelmsford City where I felt I played the best football of my career, to date anyway, and after that I had a short spell with Gloucester City.”
Along the way Lock got a good taste of Cup glamour. “I scored my first senior goal for Exeter City in the FA Cup which set us on a very good Cup run and that led to four promotions in six years with Team Bath, which was an amazing journey,” the versatile midfielder added. “When I was at Chelmsford we went to Wycombe in the FA Cup, it was a great day where 2,000 supporters travelled down to support us. I also scored some special goals in my time and those feelings when they fly in will stay with me for a while.”
Lock would love nothing more than to find the back of the net again on Saturday against Inglewood United. “We have come a long way in the last six weeks and during that time we have come very close to the likes of Perth SC and Stirling Lions. We are a completely different team, both tactically and mentally, so I feel now is a great time to play Inglewood,” said Lock. “We have a fully fit squad and the atmosphere in the camp is vibrant and confident. I have just told the lads that this is another little challenge we have to stand up to.”
OUR FATE IS IN OUR HANDS SAYS ARMADALE’S MCCLEMENTS
Defender Mark McClements has no doubts Armadale have what it takes to stay in the Premier League. The Reds are placed second-to-last on the table, four points above drop zone occupants Western Knights, heading in to the closing stages of the home and away series. “It has been difficult for the club with new coaching staff, new cohorts and a terrible start,” McClements reasoned. “There have been some decent performances but results have not always reflected that. Our fate is in our hands, we need to go out and perform in the remaining three games to secure our place in the Premier League.”
Armadale missed the chance to do just that last weekend when beaten at home by Bunbury Forum Force, who entered the game on level points with the Reds. “Saturday was a huge disappointment,” admitted McClements. “We were coming of two good performances – a win against ECU Joondalup and a narrow loss to Sorrento – so going into the game the confidence was high. But we never got going. We gave away possession too easily and created very little. We’ve got excuses for the performance, all credit to Bunbury for taking the spoils.”
Having played most of his career with English side GE Hamble, McClements decided it was time to up sticks last October and head to Perth. “My wife is from Perth and having spent the last five years in England with me we decided to move back here with our two little girls,” said McClements, whose background also includes four years in the coaching arena with the English FA and time at Arsenal with Prozone. “Armadale was the closest State Premier team to where I live so I went down and the rest is history as they say.”
McClements has formed a good partnership at the back with Armadale captain Nick Viaggio. “We are similar in our philosophies in that we like to play out. Nick is an accomplished defender so it’s been easy to fit in alongside him and develop,” said McClements, who also saluted the coaching staff. “Lee (Bamber) and Kevin (Brophy) have been great to work with. They are knowledgeable about the game and have challenged all of us to develop. Both are approachable and have created a good atmosphere amongst the whole club, not just the first team.”
Armadale head out on the road this Saturday bound for Macedonia Park where a win against Stirling Lions will secure Premier League survival. McClements is well aware that is easier said than done and expects a tough game from an opponent whose own season hasn’t gone to plan. “They are all must win now for us. We know if we perform to the best of our ability we can give anyone a decent game on our day,” said McClements. “Hopefully we can put a performance together this week and cause a strong Stirling squad more than a few problems.”
NINE REFEREES TO MAKE THEIR MARK NATIONALLY
Nine West Australian referees will get their chance to shine in this summer after gaining selection to the A-League and W-League Referee Panels. Mathew Cheeseman, Josh Mannella, Tim Mihevc, Michal Jasinski, Stuart Muldoon and Trent Fleskens will officiate in the A-League with W-League appointments bestowed on Renee Silvester, Jessica Ryan and Jennifer Wood. All selected referees will now enter the second phase of Football Federation Australia’s ‘Possibles and Probables Candidates Program’ with a nine week fitness program to ensure they reach optimal fitness in readiness for the summer season.
KERR RETURNS WITH A NEW OUTLOOK
When Sam Kerr steps out as a Sydney FC player this summer it will be with a new approach and intensity to her game. An enforced twelve month lay-off caused by a ruptured knee ligament gave the former Perth Glory attacker plenty of time to think about what she wants to achieve as a footballer. And with the new W-League season approaching Kerr is ready to implement her plan. “For me it was just after my injury that I had a whole different view on football,” Kerr told thewomensgame.com. “I always taken it for granted and I then realised that I needed to start taking football seriously.”
The new attitude has necessitated a new environment and last month Sydney FC announced 18-year old Kerr as one of their new signings for the 2012/13. It’s the challenge she believes she needs and an opportunity to prove herself away from the comforts of home. “With all that has gone on in the last few years in Perth and my injury, I just thought it was a good opportunity for a new start,” Kerr commented. “I felt I didn’t take it (football) as seriously as I should have and I think it will be a good environment training with Sydney.”
Sydney may be a new environment but Kerr will be no stranger to many of her team mates. Sky Blues coach Alen Stajcic, who oversaw Kerr’s development with the Young Matildas, has assembled a star-studded line-up which includes Matilda’s Caitlin Foord, Alanna Kennedy and Kyah Simon, the latter freesh from a sting in the United States of America. “For me personally, it will be training every day at such high level,” said about training and playing alongside players such calibre. “It is a team that has so much talent and a broad range of talent.”
The new found maturity and intensity of Kerr is not just off the pitch. On the pitch she admits she has not always understood the game but the year off has changed that. “I see the game a lot differently that I did before,” she stated. “I used to just take what the coaches would say and go along with it. Whereas now, I understand what they are talking about and why. I go to training to learn more, I don’t just go to training to be there. I want to learn and I want to improve every session.”
HERD WITHDRAWS FROM SOCCEROOS
It certainly was not a case of third time lucky for Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd. The 23-year old has to wait a little longer to make his full international debut for the Socceroos after pulling out of the squad which takes on Scotland in Edinburgh this week with strained quadriceps. Herd had twice previously been called up for Australia – in November 2011 for games against Oman and Thailand and again seven months later for outings with Denmark, Oman and Japan – but on both occasions withdrew citing an ankle problems.
WILLIAMS HAS HIS SIGHTS ON PROMOTION
Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams wants to take his club back into the Premier League. Williams, who was handed the captain’s armband last week, will lead Middlesbrough into the new Championship season on Saturday at Barnsley where he hopes the foundations will be laid for his club’s return to the top flight after a four-year absence. “Obviously I would love to lift that trophy at the end,” Williams told thenorthernecho.co.uk. “The gaffer is excited by what he has brought in, so we just have to work on keeping teams out and scoring like we have been in pre-season.”
The coming campaign will mark 24-year old Williams eighth season with Middlesbrough, making him longest serving play in the first team squad. His association with the Riverside Stadium, aided by a talent which has caught the eye of many Premier League clubs, helped convince Mowbray to hand him the captain’s armband. “The manager had mentioned I could be captain a little while ago,” said Williams. “He had said I was in his plan with a couple of others. I had to show I was ready for it. I now feel like I have to grow up more quickly. I am still young and hopefully I can get in to the role as soon as possible.”
Williams got his captaincy got off on the right foot by guiding Middlesbrough to a 2-1 Football League Cup win over Bury last weekend. “It was the first time a lot of us had played together at Bury,” Williams commented. “The starting line-up had five new players. It was good that we got to play together before the league started. Hopefully we will be even better when we start at Barnsley. There’s still stuff to work on but it was brilliant that we went through in the League Cup even though we were not at our best.”
With so much change within the playing ranks, Williams says the time has come for Middlesbrough to deliver the goods. “We can’t keep using next year, next year, we hope it is this year. This club can’t be out of the Premier League for much longer, it is a club deserving of a higher league,” commented Williams. “It was a proud day for me when the manager asked me to be captain. I will wear it with pride and I will try to bring the lads through with me. I am delighted to have been asked. It was a proud day and now I just want to take this club back up.”
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Bayswater City marksman Gustavo Giron-Marulanda is on course to win his second Golden Boot award in as many years. With only three rounds to play Giron-Marulanda sits atop the Premier League goal scorers charts having netted 21 times over the winter to date. The only player with a realistic chance of catching Giron-Marulanda is Balcatta’s Daniel Micevski whose tallied 17 goals and will need to get his skates on to catch the leader. David Heagney of Floreat Athena is in third place with 14 goals to be two ahead of Liam Boland (Perth SC), Gustavo Catarcione (Bayswater) and ECU Joondalup pair David Foster and John Thornley.
The race for the Division One Top Goal Scorer trophy is set to go down to the wire with half a dozen players in the running. With six rounds to play Mandurah City’s Craig Tone and Shamrock Rovers’ Ciaran Byrne led the way with 15 goals apiece. But hot on their tails with 11 goal are Darren Gamble (Gosnells City, who has put away consecutive hat-trick to storm into contention, and John Monterosso whose weekend double ended a is two-month goal drought. Brian Farrell (Shamrock) and Josh Booysen (Wanneroo City) have 10 goals each and are sure to add a few more before seasons’ end.
There may be six rounds of the third tier to be played but James Plowman has the Top Goal Scorer award in the bag. The UWA-Nedlands striker has bagged an astonishing 23 goals in just 18 games to be well clear of the chasing pack. Plowman’s nearest rival is Joondalup City’s Lucais King with 17 goals while his UWA teammates Rory Feel and Steve Purton have 14 and 12 goals respectively. Andrew Morrow’s pre-injury goal scoring run for Fremantle United have him on 11 for the season to be one ahead of Kingsway Olympic’s Josh Rolls.
ROBERTS WINS IT FOR BALCATTA
Balcatta’s hopes of a second successive finals appearance is alive and well following this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat of Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. The only goal on a wet and blustery winters day came from the boot of Callum Roberts, however, after going ahead the visitors certainly rode their luck with Perth hitting the frame of the goal on no less than three occasions. “It’s always good to win here and it’s nice to pop up with the winner too,” Roberts said. “We haven’t had much luck this season but we got a little today.” The win puts sixth-placed Balcatta just two points behind Perth and Inglewood United.
The first shot in anger came from the visitors after 5 minutes, Jason Barrera’s effort deflected wide by Craig Simpson. Perth didn’t look like scoring until the 21st minute when Liam Boland twisted past Shane Nunes only for his shot to come back off the upright with Josh Wilkins putting the follow-up wide. Balcatta stepped up the pace with David Micevski shooting just high and Nunes heading narrowly over. Their reward arrived on 38 minutes when David Micevski’s low centre from the right was finished clinically by Roberts. Adam Tong’ goal line header denied Boland an equaliser soon before the teams went in for a break.
Perth began the second half positively with Naglieri sending a free-kick over the defensive wall and past goalkeeper Bobson Koroma, but not the crossbar. There was a strong sense of déjà vu when, just five minutes later, Naglieri stepped up again with the same end result, denied by the bar with the ‘keeper beaten. Driving rain and a slippery surface made it difficult for players in both camps to make much of their possession. Perth perhaps shaded their visitors in terms of time on the ball but with Tong and Julian Madaschi on top of their game there would be very few opportunities for the Blues to equalise.
LOWE READIES FOR GLORY TEST
New Western Australia boss Kenny Lowe recognises the difficulty his team faces as they prepare to play national league side Perth Glory. Lowe’s preliminary 24-player squad got together for the first time last week and will have only a couple more sessions before taking on the full-time professionals of Glory, who only four months ago qualified for the A-League Grand Final. “I’m really looking forward to working with the best players in the State,” Lowe commented. “It will be tough for the players but I am sure they are relishing the opportunity to measure themselves against one of the top teams in the country.”
Lowe says it will be with minimal preparation that his side steps out to play Glory on Tuesday 21 August and Wednesday 12 September under lights in Inglewood. “We have the same preparation as last year’s State squad, and it’s a very difficult gig for the coaches and players,” said Lowe. “We have limited training time and we have no time to get practice games in. At the first session I asked if everyone knew each other, there was a bit of silence due to the fact they didn’t … it’s a little thing but it goes the show the complexity of the task.”
A further layer of complexity is added with players being unavailable for a variety of reasons. “The State Cup final is on the week of the first game so Sorrento and Balcatta boys may not be eligible, my squad may be around 17 for that game,” Lowe explained. “Of the 22 some players are carrying knocks and niggles that may restrict them, we have one player on holiday for the first game and another is expecting his first child. So even though it looks plain sailing in picking a 22-man squad there are about 30 names, with all a chance of being involved.”
Lowe has been delighted with the response he’s received from coaches in making their players available. “Every club, coach and player has all said yes to anything I have asked for. There are some top people about in the local game, don’t get the credit sometimes for the things they do,” Lowe said. “Michael Roki and David Price have a big Cup Final the week of the game and they have released all their players, and Daniel Micevski, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, Greg Sharland, Ludo Boi and Ryan Clarke are carrying knocks but all attended the session even though they cannot pull on their boots.”
Glory lost last seasons’ A-League Grand Final to Brisbane Roar, who struck a controversial winner deep in stoppage time. “Glory had a fantastic season last year, and was very unlucky in the Grand Final with a few critical decisions going against them,” said Lowe, whose background included a three-year spell as assistant coach at Glory. “This year sees Glory in the Asian Champions League, which really highlights the level the State boys are playing against. I think the level Glory are at is underestimated in State League circles, and the State League players are underestimated in A-League circles.”
Western Australia’s record against Glory reflects the difference between the sides – the State team have won just once in seven meetings – but Lowe expects his players to put on a good show over the next month. “The attitude in the first (training) session was superb, they are a great set of guys,” Lowe said. “It would be great to have a competitive close game between the two sides. I am sure all the lads will be buzzing on game day to hopefully make that happen. No matter what happen I am sure all the players will be trying their upmost to shine.”
FLOREAT STEAL A POINT FROM BAYSWATER (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Floreat Athena scored twice in the last twenty minutes to earn a 2-2 draw with Bayswater City at Listis Stadium. Ross Cosgrave and Thomas Gooding had the visitors two-goals the better at the break and which Floreat kicked into life to be rewarded by late finishes by Mark Walsh and Jon Brooks. “I’m so pleased that the boys dug deep and never gave up to the end” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “For the second week we’ve come from two goals down to salvage the game, and I thought we perhaps could have won this one had we taken our chances”. The result keeps Floreat at the top of the Premier Division, one point ahead of Bayswater and Sorrento.
Bayswater suffered an early setback with Gustavo Giron-Marulanda exiting the action after 18 minutes due to a niggling injury. This brought Cosgrave into the action and within three minutes he’d posted the visitors opening goal by converting from the penalty spot following Jack Allen’s foul on Gustavo Catarcione. Five minutes later Floreat playmaker Ludovic Boi succumbed to injury, forcing home coach Barbas to re-shuffle his deck. Floreat twice went close to equalising on the counterattack but Benny Kovaoio shot straight at goalkeeper Gianni Papalia, who later dealt with a clever chip by David Heagney. In the 41st minute Gooding showed them how it’s done, curling an exquisite shot between ‘keeper and post after meeting Cisco Jorquera’s ball through the defence.
Floreat enjoyed the better of second half possession as Bayswater seemed content to protect their two-goal buffer. The home side’s perseverance was rewarded in the 73rd minute when Heagney whipped a cross to the far post where Walsh rose well to head powerfully into Papalia’s net. In the minutes that followed creative Bayswater midfielder Jorquera and Floreat defender Bobby Wilson joined the injury list. The absence of the latter allowed David Sesay to sneak through but his lob over Brad Effie was cleared off the line by Spencer Harris. The game had just ticked into stoppage time when Brooks grabbed Floreat a share of the spoils, the midfielder curling a superb free-kick from 22-metres around the defensive wall and into the top corner to send the home fans into raptures.
SOALE DENIES SORRENTO VICTORY
Goalkeeper Francis Soale played a leading hand in a ten-man Inglewood United earning a 0-0 draw with Sorrento at Intiga Stadium. The young shot-stopper was at his best in thwarting the visiting attack time and time again as Inglewood snapped a three-game losing streak. “It was hard to break forward because we were forced to keep going backwards,” said Inglewood’s Alex Caniglia. “The half time talk from Normo certainly shook all of the players and got us focused on what we had to do. We had to work hard to ensure we walked away with something, and that’s what we did.”
Sorrento created by far the better of the early chances but could find no way past Soale, who made several sharp saves. The Inglewood custodian was eventually beaten by James Morgan, however, the midfielder’s long-range strike smashed into the upright before being cleared by Rikki Smith. With captain James Sammut starting on the bench, Inglewood lacked cohesion as they went from defence to attack and as a consequence struggled in the final third. The closest they came to scoring before the break was via a Jack Clisby whose free-kick whistled the wrong side of the target.
Inglewood got more involved after the break with Sammutt and Ryan Clarke having a greater say. Soale denied Vittiglia in a one-on-one before similar heroics at the other end saw Curtis Aspden foil Jared McNally. Vittiglia’s dipping strike was tipped over by Soale, then Ryan Clarke flashed wide from long-range. The dismissal of Koji Yamada on 67 minutes for two yellow card swung the game back in Sorrento’s favour. Vittiglia placed wide from 16-metres after which Soale managed to keep out a close-range header by Brodie Martin. Clisby almost stole victory for the hosts but his late shot was wide.
BUNBURY LOOK TO BE SAFE (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
Bunbury Forum Force all but secured Premier Division survival with a 3-0 win over Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Steve Howson had the visitors in front by the break and further goals by Danny Kane and Aiden Savory giving Bunbury their first win on the road of the season. “We defended well, we’ve been struggling to keep clean sheets, but that’s only our second one of the season,” said Andy Cowley, assistant coach of Bunbury. “The last two games have been very important wins … I know it’s an old cliché but it’s just got to be one game at a time. Until you’re mathematically safe, you can never know.”
A smattering of half chances were the best either side could muster in a tight opening spell. The deadlock was broken on 22 minutes when Armadale’s failure to clear a corner was punished by Howson, who fire low past player-coach Lee Bamber between the posts. With the home fans giving their all to inspire their side, Armadale wasted several chances to get back on level terms. The best of those came the way of Armadale captain Nick Viaggio whose header from a Mark McClements free-kick was well saved by Ryan Montgomery.
Bunbury’s lead was doubled six minutes after the re-start, Kane making the most of some hesitant defending to fire low into Bamber’s net from the edge of the 18-yard box. Wilf Dinsdale and Rhys Loxley were working overtime to revive Armadale’s fortunes but there was no way past Montgomery, who saved comfortably from a Darren Francis header. Savory and Bright Ababio both wasted chances to further increased Bunbury’s lead when it seemed easier to net and not. That miss was soon forgotten as in the 70th minute Savory tucked in from the penalty spot after referee Tim Mihevc ruled handball against Viaggio.
BROWN INSPIRES STIRLING TO VICTORY (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
A best on ground display from captain Andy Brown has guided Stirling Lions to a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Western Knights at Wauhop Park. A goal late in the first half by Clayton Arnez gave the visitors the upper hand bit it wasn’t until the closing stages that the points were made safe with Brown netting Stirling’s second goal. The result does no more than cement Stirling’s place in mid-table, however, the Knights are in very real danger of dropping out of the top flight for the first time in almost two decades. With three games to go the Knights will need a miracle if they are to close the four-point gap between themselves and second-from-bottom Armadale.
The early signs were positive for the Knights with Jamie Burns unleashing the games’ first shot but his long-range attempt failed to trouble goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Stirling returned fire soon after via Hayden Barnett, whose shot from distance flashed over Alfie Brincat’s crossbar. The visitors were seeing a good deal of the ball and just prior to the half hour let off a vicious strike from 16-metres which past wide of the target. Not to be outdone, Knights youngster Jackson Turner combined brilliantly with Jesse Fuller whose shot on the turn was a touch high. But a defensive lapse by the Knights proved their undoing as Denis Galan threaded the ball to Arnez, who coolly slotted past Brincat on the stroke of half-time.
The second half opened with the Knights on the attack. A long-range strike by Jamie Grego wasn’t far from bringing the sides level while captain Ivan Zuvela really should have done better than headed over after meeting Ryan Shackleton’s delivery. A long ball into the final third by Ethan Levitt had Rory Grant bearing down on goal when Jason Gavin intervened. Brown had seen enough of the Knights’ resurgence and felt it was time to begin asserting his dominance. A mazy 59th minute run had Brown link with Barnett has he took play from one end of the park to the other but the midfielder’s tame finish was wide of the upright.
Brown’s work in the defensive half was also impressive, the Stirling captain helping ease the pressure as the home side pressed for a late equaliser. Grant was in a particularly menacing mood and in the 86th minute the towering striker steered his header from a Burns cross the wrong side of the target. As the Knights committed players forward in the search for a goal they ran the risk of being caught short at the back. And that’s what happened in the 89th minute when an error by Brian White let in Brown, who muscled his way past a couple of defenders before driving in a low shot via the far post.
SURVIVAL A LITTLE CLOSER FOR JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup took another step towards holding onto their Premier Division status by edging out the National Training Centre 2-0 in a gritty affair at the Edith Cowan University campus. Second half finishes by Tanner Selyer and Rob Draper sealed the points for Joondalup who move five points clear of the drop spot with three games to play. “This would have been our Grand Final, and if we didn’t get anything from today we would have been stuck down the bottom with the (Western) Knights,” coach Salv Todaro said. “The first half was a bit of a scrap, I thought the boys played some good football and we kept them to long-range shots, and we were okay in the second half and peppered their back half a bit more.”
Joondalup took their time to settle but by the time Jon Higgins’ rising shot flashed over the crossbar the hosts were on top. After that the home side put their foot down with Higgins and Rob Draper asserting control in the centre of the park. A mazy Tommy Amphlett run took him past two defenders but his pull back was just out of David Foster’s reach. Selyer shot weakly after accelerating past the defence, and a firm shot by Amphlett was parried by Franken with a defender thwarting Foster at the follow-up. The NTC’s best opening had Jordan Dodd through one-on-one with goalkeeper Andy Banks, who came out trumps.
The second half had been underway a few minutes when Joondalup got the goal they sought, Shaun Timmins finding Amphlett who lured the defence before squaring for Tanner to tap in at the far post. Amphlett created space but his shot the power required to beat Franken, then Scott Blackmore headed wide from a Higgins corner. Draper made no mistake when his chance arrived, the midfielder heading in a well-flight Amphlett corner to make it two-nil. The NTC didn’t find a way through until late when Borbor Sambindi took on and beat four opponents but his shot from a narrowing angle failed to test Banks.
COCKBURN POUNCE AS RIVALS FALTER
Cockburn City jumped clear at the top of Division One by defeating title rival Mandurah City 2-0 this afternoon at Dalmatinac Park. A first half Paul Lloyd free-kick and a late wonder strike from Connor Kavanagh were the rewards for a dominant display by Cockburn, who finished the round three points clear of Wanneroo City. “We knew anything less than three points would have made promotion very unlikely, and the fact Wanneroo lost was an added bonus for us,” said Cockburn’s Nick Carroll. “It was one of our best performances of the season, everybody played their role and the score could have been greater give the chances we had.”
With top spot up for grabs, it was hardly surprising the game started at a hectic pace with the two combatants hell bent on being the first to find the back of the net. What was unexpected was that the big crowd was forced to wait until midway through the half for the first chance on goal, Marc Anthony and Carroll exchanging passes to release Ian Stack who placed wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Anthony looked the goods to break the deadlock soon after but his 16-metre free-kick was kept out of the top corner by Caleb Besci. Cockburn finally got the goal they sought five minutes from the break, Lloyd sending another dead ball into the net with Mandurah still setting up their defensive wall.
Cockburn came out from the break focused on finishing what they started. Carroll, Devon Gibson, Anthony and Lloyd rained shots down on the Mandurah goal where Besci’s heroics ensured Mandurah remained in the hunt. The visitors were struggling to make headway against a solid defensive line marshalled by Euan Grant and Jason Godfrey. Their closest they came to equalising was a Craig Tone free-kick which crashed into the frame of the goal. The result was put beyond doubt soon after when Lloyd cut the ball back for Kavanagh who, from 20-metres, unleashed a blistering shot which gave the ’keeper no chance.
MIKULIC BRINGS DOWN THE LEADERS
Ashfield re-asserted their position as one of the top dogs in Division One with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Wanneroo City at Kingsway Reserve. Branimir Mikulic netted twice and set up another for Ian Griffiths to deliver a serious blow to Wanneroo’s hopes of gaining promotion to the top flight. “It was an overdue win but more importantly it was a great team performance,” said Ashfield attacker Mladen Kovacevic, whose team remain in fourth spot. “We’re thrilled to beat Wanneroo and in such impressive fashion. Everyone has been working really hard, especially the coaches, to show that we are one of the top sides in this league.”
Mikulic, who passed late fitness test to take his place in the visitors’ line-up, sounded an early warning by swinging wide from a free-kick. That was just a sign of things to come from Mikulic who, with 14 minutes gone, sent another dead ball into the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection. With this the first half tone was set with wide players Nattapong Narongphunt and Karl O’Reilly heaping pressure on a Wanneroo side that was struggling to get out of their defensive zone. A rare attack by the home side had Jared Love pick out Josh Booysen but he screwed the chance wide.
The second half opened with Kevin Heuvelink hitting the upright from 25-metres as Wanneroo started to assert some pressure of their own. However, a defensive lapse gifted possession to saw Mikulic who exchanged pass with Reuben Tristao before playing in Griffiths to fire past Clint Davies from just inside the 18-yard box for a two-nil lead. Heuvelink laid on a great chance to half the deficit by finding Booysen but instead of shooting the striker attempted to beat his man and the opportunity was lost. Mikulic sealed the game from the penalty spot after 70 minutes by converting past Davies following a harsh handball decision against Garin Collins.
LATE GOALS GET SHAMROCK OVER THE LINE
Ciaran Byrne and Sean Taylor scored in the last few minutes to gain Shamrock Rovers a 4-2 win over Morley Windmills at Ashfield Reserve. Barry Mulligan and Will Pender were also on the scoresheet to keep Shamrock on course for a top five finish from what has been a trying season for the club from East Victoria Park. Shamrock would have taken a 10th minute lead had Morley custodian Kenny Ftynogiannis not kept out Byrne’s penalty kick. An excellent move just a minute later gave the hosts the goal they sought with Jacob Gordon teeing up Mulligan to lob over the goalkeeper. Chances came and went across the rest of the half but there’d be no addition to the scoring.
Shamrock came out from the break firing and within four minutes their lead was doubled, Pender pouncing on a poor back pass to net from an acute angle. The visiting team responded by raising their game, a neat string of passes ending with Michael La Cava squaring for Tony Vento to drive past Philip Shiel from 15-metres. A few minutes later Luke O’Neill crossed for La Cava to clip the ball over the oncoming ‘keeper and bring the sides level. Shamrock went back in front on 86 minutes with Byrne tucking on after some fine work down the left by Gordon. The game was in stoppage time when substitute Taylor found some space to lob the ‘keeper and seal the result.
ROCKINGHAM HOLD OUT A SPIRITED FREMANTLE
Three first half goals laid the foundations for Rockingham City to see off a Fremantle Spirit revival to claim victory by 3-2 at Lark Hill Sportsplex. The home team set the tone early before being rewarded with the opening goal after 12 minutes, David Clark placing across goalkeeper Elhossain Atekhis after breaking the offside trap. Rafael Insaurradle doubled the margin in the 33 minute by turning his marker and blasting into the net. It appeared the game had been ended as a contest four minutes later when Clark converted from the penalty spot following a foul by Joseph Kendall on Ryan Kennedy. Fremantle had their chances to score but Jake Goss lifted high and Danny Clapham was twice denied by ‘keeper Matt Hammett.
Fremantle came storming out of the blocks in the second half with Tyrone Fenwick shooting into Hammett’s net just before the hour. Clapham could have further reduced the deficit soon after but placed wide in a one-on-one with Hammett, who later did well to keep out Goss’ goal bound effort. Fremantle eventually found a way through via a Sean Treacey free-kick which picked out an unmarked Kendall, who chested into an empty net. A thrilling final quarter hour had Clark find the net for a third time only for the referee to rule out his effort for offside, while at the opposite end of the park Hammett saved shots from Treacey and David Cyrus in Fremantle’s ultimately fruitless search for an equaliser.
THREE MORE FOR GAMBLE AS GOSNELLS GO BACK-TO-BACK
Darren Gamble bagged his second hat-trick in eight days to lead Gosnells City to a 4-2 win over Swan United at Walter Padbury Reserve. Swan were slow to get into gear so it was against the run of play that they went ahead after 10 minutes, Trent Wood playing in John Monterosso whose first time strike came to rest in the bottom corner. It didn’t take long for Gosnells equalise, Tiernan McMullen and Gamble stringing together a series of one-two’s which made space for the latter to shoot into the top corner from 16-metres. The home side hit the front five minutes later with McMullen crossing for Gamble to nod in his second of the afternoon.
Gosnells were now on their way and goal number three arrived soon enough, McMullen again the provider from a quick corner which an unmarked Liam Cave sent into the net. John Monterosso brought Swan back into the game by converting a penalty awarded for a dubious handball, and Aaron Colli wasted a chance to send the side into the break level by skying over the crossbar with an open goal at his mercy. The second half was dominated by Swan but the goal they sought wasn’t forthcoming as Rory Mouttet’s header was cleared off the line and John Monterosso hit the bar. Gamble sealed victory with ten minutes to go by slipping through the defence to complete his hat-trick.
CANNING PUNISH WASTEFUL FORRESTFIELD
Paul Van Dongen and Anthony Campbell were on-target as Canning City continued their late season revival with a 2-0 defeat of a youthful Forrestfield United at Hossack Reserve. The day could have turned out so very differently had Forrestfield been able to make more of their chances over the first 45 minutes. James Harold skewed over the crossbar from a couple of metres after meeting a ball played in by Wade Farmer. Another close-range attempt by Harold was blocked by a defender while Ben Fraser and Chris Perrott put shots too close to goalkeeper Steve Grant. Canning were limited to shooting from distance but Joel Zappacosta’s only save was from a Paul Van Dongen half-volley.
Canning came out from the break with renewed purpose. Their reward came quickly, Paul Van Dongen applying an easy finish after Danny Trevisiol was played through and unselfishly squared to his player-coach. Trevisiol followed this with a shot on the bounce that called Zappacosta in action, and soon after a long-range attempt by Michael Lawson drifted wide. The game was finely balanced when a refereeing error allowed Canning to turn over a free-kick and on the break Lawson played in Campbell to finish with precision past Zappacosta for a two-nil scoreline. Campbell could have had another but his powerful strike failed to elicit a response from the visiting ‘keeper.
UWA ON THE VERGE OF PROMOTION
James Plowman scored twice as UWA-Nedlands stretched their unbeaten run to ten-games with a 5-1 mauling of Melville City at McGilvray Oval. Steve Purton also netted a brace with Stefan De Plessis getting the remainder to leave UWA needing just three points from the final six rounds to gain promotion from Division Two. “The lads were buzzing after the game,” said UWA’s Aaron Barnett. “We knew Melville would come at us looking for a result so it was good to see we kept our heads up when they took an early lead. Our first goal took longer to come than expected but once that went in we began to play some nice football. We worked on a few things in training last week and it was great to see the lads bring those into the match.”
Melville could not have wished for a better start with James Castiello tapping at close-range after only a couple of minutes. But that was as good as it got for the visitors with UWA fashioning a host of chances before Rory Feely played in Plowman to slot past the goalkeeper after 35 minutes. Goal number two came soon after the break, Purton crossing for Plowman who angled into the far bottom corner at the second attempt. The gap was doubled in the 65 minute with Purton drilling a cross to the near post which Stewart Dalgarno was unable to keep out of his top corner. Roberto Lujan’s cross was met by a powerful Purton volley which gave the ‘keeper no chance. And with ten minutes to go De Plessis drilled into the net after the Dalgarno spilled a corner.
HAMILTON STEALS QUINNS A POINT FROM SUBIACO
Young gun Gareth Hamilton salvaged a ten-man Quinns a share of the points by scoring with the last kick of the game to earn a 1-1 draw with Subiaco AFC at Gumblossom Park. Scott Wrightson broke the deadlock midway through the second half only to have Hamilton bring the teams level moments before the final whistle. “I knew there wasn’t long left, I saw a chance to shoot and thankfully it went in,’ commented Hamilton. “The boys performance was good we dug in deep all game and deserved to get a point out of it in the end.”
The opening exchanges were dominated by Subiaco, who set up camp in their hosts half with Wrightson and Jordan Rhodes driving their team into attack time and time again. Had it not been for a combination of wayward finishing and some excellent goalkeeping from Adam Bowers then the game could have been over inside twenty minutes. Quinns eventually found their rhythm and began creating chances of their own pressure but, like at the other end of the park, Tom Barratt remained unbeaten at the end of 45 minutes.
It was with a touch of controversy that Subiaco took a 70th minute lead. The referee’s decision to allow play to continue after Louis Hughes went down with a head injury left Jack Nash no choice but to haul down Wrightson, who stepped up to convert from the penalty spot. Brad Kershaw came off the bench soon after but lasted just ten minutes before earning a red card for lashing out at an opponent. Subiaco squandered several chances to seal the game out before Hamilton turned sharply and from the top corner of the 18-yard box unleashed a brilliant shot into the top corner of Barratt’s net.
KINGSWAY POWER AWAY WITH LATE GOALS
A trio of late goals allowed Kingsway Olympic to get the better of Joondalup City by 5-2 at Kingsway Reserve. The first goal of an even opening 45 minutes came the way of Kingsway’s Nick Lowe, who capped a fine build-up by netting from the edge of the 18-yard box. That lead was added to when David Ashworth headed in at close-range after Aaron Lickiss flicked on a corner played to the near post. Kingsway were well in control when Joondalup hit on the counterattack with Oliver Forster half-volleying past home custodian Ben Towers to make it two-one at the break.
A strong start to the second had saw Joondalup draw level, Forster reacting quickest to a rebound off the post to net his second of the afternoon. This sparked Kingsway back into action and when Ashworth’s drive from 15-metres deflected off a defender and beyond the goalkeeper’s reach there was only going to be one outcome. With ten minutes to go Jesse Bridgeman played in Wayne Culverwell to head past the ‘keeper before placing in to an empty net. Josh Rolls completed the scoreline by beating a couple of defenders and tucking goal number five in to the net.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Dorrien Gardens is the place to be on Sunday for the traditional derby between Perth SC and Balcatta. A home win will stretch Perth’s unbeaten run to six games, strengthen their claim on a finals berth and possibly even narrow the gap between themselves and top spot. “No matter when the game is Perth verses. Balcatta is always a huge game and the way the league is shaping up now creates an even greater buzz,” said Perth attacker Greg Sharland. Home coach Gianfranco Circati will leave it until late before assessing whether or not Craig Simpson has sufficiently recovered from injury.
Balcatta head into the round sitting in sith spot and well aware that anything less than victory could spell the end of their hopes of playing finals football. “Our season has been disrupted this year which is probably reflected by our mid-table position,” said Moe Atak, whose team will be without Simon Elton-Bott, Callum Roberts, Daniel Micevski and John Migas on Sunday. “We will keep fighting to get into the top five, however, that doesn’t rely on only us now … our main focus is to win the Cup and putting another piece of silverware in the clubs trophy cabinet.”
The pick of Saturday’s action is the top-of-the-table meeting of Floreat Athena and Bayswater City at Litis Stadium. Defenders John Kearney and Luka Njegic will be absent for Bayswater but Patrick Quinn remains confident his team will finish the afternoon on top. “Floreat are a physical team, they move the ball quickly and play at a high tempo,” said Quinn. “It’s going to be a tough game but we are confident that if we play our game we will walk away with three points.” Striker David Heagney faces a late fitness test but otherwise Floreat are at full-strength.
Inglewood United will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak by welcoming Sorrento to Intiga Stadium. A win to either Armadale or Bunbury Forum Force, who meet at Alfred Skeet Oval, will pretty much secure their spot in next year’s top flight. Both are likely to be without their regular custodian’s with Cyril Sharrock suspended and Ryan Montgomery hampered by a knee problem. Western Knights must take the points over Stirling Lions at Wauhop Park if they’re to have any hope of avoiding relegation. ECU Joondalup have home ground advantage against the National Training Centre. All six Premier Division games – be they Saturday or Sunday fixtures – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Promotion chasers Cockburn City and Mandurah City go head-to-head in what promises to be a no-hold barred contest at Dalmatinac Park. With only a couple of points separating the teams this game has the potential to determine who gets to go the distance with Wanneroo City. “It’s probably our biggest game of the season,” Mandurah’s Michael Grigo commented. “Cockburn are a difficult side to beat, they have a strong, quality side. It’s not going to be easy, especially with the player we have out, but I’m confident we can get a result.” There are some notable absences in both camps, amongst them Jeff Bright, Phil Straker, Matt Salmon and Ian McMurray.
Wanneroo City and Ashfield will have their depth put to the test when they face off at Kingsway Reserve. Brad McDonald, Guy McDonald, Chris Pugh and Jay Marsden are amongst those out of action for the hosts, while in the opposing camp are injury concerns over Brian Maybin, Daryl Warren, Branimir Mikulic and Alex Stamtiadis. “We’re being tested, however, there are a few lads champing at the bit and out to prove a point,” said Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers. “We have had some close results with Wanneroo in recent times and I expect this one to be no different.”
Shamrock Rovers and Morley Windmills also have a lengthy list of outs for their game at Ashfield Reserve. The home side have Barry Triggs and goalkeeper Eamonn Barnes unavailable as Morley go without Mark Grant and Ian McKean. New Swan United coach Mick Skowron takes his team to Walter Padbury Reserve to play Gosnells City, who have Graham Tough suspended. That same reason will prevent Jordan Hart from lining up in Forrestfield United’s outing with Canning City at Hossack Reserve. Rockingham City are expected to get the better of Fremantle Spirit at Lark Hill Sportsplex. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Melville City will need to be on top of their game to end breakaway leaders UWA-Nedlands’ nine-game unbeaten run at McGilvray Oval tomorrow. “We’ve managed to get ourselves up into second and we want to stay there,” said Melville goalkeeper Stewart Dalgarno. “UWA are up there for a reason but they are beatable and we’ll go into it knowing we can close the gap and put a lot of pressure on them.” Melville’s task has been made all the more difficult by the absence of Simon El Chami, Lee McKay, Clayton Kendall, Paul Sanchez and John Brennan (injury).
Joondalup City are without Lucais King, Nicholas King, Jodie Thomson and possibly captain Sam Hall for their meeting with Kingsway Olympic at Kingsway Reserve. A near full-strength Subiaco AFC are expected to win for just the second time in two months when they meet a depleted Quinns line-up at Gumblossom Park. The visitors are bolstered by the return of Jordan Rhodes, Barry Hurd, Ger Fitzgerald, Joe Kresling and Simon Edwards amongst others, however, Quinns will miss the services of Adam Buckley, Ryan Green, Arran Mapleston and Nick Maplestone. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
WILLIAMS NAMED MIDDLESBROUGH CAPTAIN
English Championship side Middlesbrough has named Socceroos defender Rhys Williams as team captain for the 2012/13 campaign. Williams, a former junior with ECU Joondalup, got the nod from manager Tony Mowbray who believes the 24-year old has all the attributes necessary to make a successful captain. “First and foremost he is a top football player with good communication skills and he’s very, very well respected in the dressing room,” said Mowbray. “He’s still developing, yet an immensely talented player and one I hope by giving him the added responsibility of captaincy will be one who will focus his mind on the job week in, week out.”
Williams’ career has been blighted by persistent injuries, but Mowbray insists they have had no lasting impact on his ability. “He had some injury problems early in his career, but has come through them and come out the other end and shown his qualities,” said the manager. Williams gained State Under-16 honours with Joondalup before entering Middlesbrough’s youth system in 2005. He turned professional two years later and has gone on to make 88 appearances for Middlesbrough, plus a further 17 through a loan deal with Burnley. Middlesbrough open the Championship season against Barnsley on 19th August, when Williams is expected to partner Jonathan Woodgate in the centre of defence.
SPENCE’S GLORY DEBUT ONE TO REMEMBER
South African-born Devon Spence says he will never forget his first outing with Perth Glory. The Inglewood United goalkeeper was a guest player on Glory’s recent trip to South Africa where he came on late in the teams’ 3-0 defeat of Platinum Stars. “It was one of the best feelings I have experienced, making my debut in my country of birth was something I could only dream of,” said Spence. “I was a little bit nervous coming on to replace Danny (Vukovic) but that is expected … it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Glory played three games while in South Africa but the trip wasn’t only about football. The Glory squad did their bit to promote the world game by holding coaching clinics for local children in several towns. “It was great to get around the townships,” Spence commented. “The club worked hard off the pitch and all the coaches, players and support staff were involved. To see the kids and interact with them was fantastic, you could see their eyes light up and to see that is a very rewarding feeling.”
Spence, who was this week named in the State training squad for their upcoming friendlies with Glory, soaked up all he could from coaches Ian Ferguson and Willie McNally while on tour. “Working with the Gaffer (Ferguson) and the coaching staff has been fantastic,” 21-year old Spence commented. “It’s what you want, to experience it first hand and take everything they say to you on board. Working with the Glory ‘keeping coach was a great experience, and it got the best out of me.”
Training with Glory custodians Danny Vukovic and Neil Young has shown Spence where he needs to be if his career is to take the next step. “Danny is where I hope I will be, he helps me out and I get a lot of confidence being around him. Youngy is great to work with, he is honest and is great to be around,” he said. “Physically and technically I believe I have improved but there is always room for improvement. Being a young ‘keeper I have a lot to learn and this trip opened my eyes to that.”
Spence is tipping another strong season for Glory after experiencing first half the camaraderie that exists among the squad. “It’s amazing working with the first team players. They all made me feel welcome and that helped me settle in a little easier,” said Spence, before adding newcomers such as Nick Ward, Michael Twaite and Scott Jamieson have slotted quickly into the side. “The new boys have gelled well and they have a really strong core group, who will put Glory in good stead for the season.”
COCKBURN BELONG IN THE PREMIER DIVISION SAYS STACK
Confidence his sky-high at Cockburn City leading into Saturday afternoon’s Division One blockbuster with third-placed Mandurah City. Four straight wins, the most recent a 7-1 thrashing of Fremantle Spirit, have jumped Cockburn into joint top spot with Wanneroo City and another three points from the coming round will keep them on course to gain promotion back into the top flight. “Morale is great in the camp at the moment,” commented Stack. “Everybody in the squad knows what’s required to get us back playing in the Premier Division next season where this club belongs, and we are quietly confident that can be done.”
Stack attributes a large slice of Cockburn’s recent success to new coach Scott Miller, who took over four weeks ago from Mike Lyons. “Since Scotty has come in he’s done a great job. There’s a great buzz every night at training and lads are focused on just one game at a time,” commented Stack, who knows his team can not afford to take their eye off the ball. “We have won our last four comfortably and there is a new sense of confidence in the camp. But if we don’t win on Saturday it’s more or less over for us as there are only five games remaining.”
Stack has no complaints with how the season to date has gone for Cockburn, who he joined in April from Shamrock Rovers. “We have had a few blips along the way but that happens to every team and is to be expected over a long season,” the right-sided midfielder said. “Luckily we have managed to hit form at the right time, getting the wins we need to gain promotion. We have to keep winning and when Wanneroo and Mandurah slip up we will be right on their shoulder waiting to jump past them.” Cockburn hosts Mandurah at Dalmatinac Park from 3.00pm on Saturday.
SWAN IN CARETAKER MODE
Mick Skowron will coach Swan United through the closing stages of 2012 following the sacking of John O’Reilly earlier this week. Swan entered the season as one of the promotion favourites but a poor run of results, from which the blacks and whites took maximum points only three times from ten outings, saw the club tumble down to seventh place, 14 points behind the leaders. “Our current situation in the league is not what we had in mind at the start of the campaign,” said Swan president Cos Coniglio. “We invested on a number of players at the start of the season and backed John all the way, but at the end of the day the results haven’t come.”
Skowron, who took the first team training session on Tueday, is looking forward to his new role which comes after two years as Reserve team coach at Swan. “I’m very happy to given the opportunity to coach the senior side for the remainder of the season,” said Skowron. “I will continue to be involved with the Reserves side and with the help of Matt DeBarro we will look after both teams. Matt and I have had a positive reception from the players and are hopefully of finishing the season on a positive note.” Skowron’s first game at the helm of Swan is against Gosnells City this Saturday at Walter Padbury Reserve.
WA-GLORY JOIN FORCES TO HELP REBUILD SCHOOL (courtesy Perth Glory)
This month’s friendly between the State team and Perth Glory will serve as a fundraiser for Mount Lawley Primary School, which tragically burnt down four weeks ago. Eight-five per cent of historic century-old school was gutted in the deliberately lit blaze on 7 July, causing $9 million dollars’ worth of damage. “It’s been really inspiring to see how the school has bonded together through these challenging times,” said Glory captain Jacob Burns, who visited the school this morning to show his support. “The children have shown great bravery and I hope we can raise a good amount of money from our game to assist with the rebuilding of Mt Lawley Primary School.”
While the primary school is being rebuilt Mt Lawley Senior High School’s football pitch will serve as the temporary home for the classrooms. “It’s been remarkable, the community has come together in such a remarkable fashion, combining to make something very special happen,” said primary school principal Don Barba. “We’ve built a school in 13 days and to see it now stand as a complete school is a testament not only to the government, but our department, our parents, and of course the community. Mt Lawley Primary School has had a great association with the Inglewood football club and they’ve also come to the party to assist as much as they can. We’re so thankful.”
KNIGHTS PUT THEIR FUTURE IN DUNN
Former Socceroos defender Robbie Dunn has been tasked with leading Western Knights away from the relegation zone over the final month of the Premier Division season. Dunn, one of the state’s most capped players with twenty-five ‘A’ outings for Australia, takes up the coaching reins from Willie Kelly with the Knights sitting bottom of the table with only four game to play. “Being a former player and coach of the club, together with his vast football experience, Robbie brings with him a strong sense of passion and desire we believe can be instilled to the playing group in order for the club to achieve its goal of avoiding relegation,” Knights secretary Alan Pecotic commented.
The decision to replace Kelly, who was appointed only days before the start of the home and away series, was not taken lightly. “The club believed that a fresh change was needed for the remaining weeks of the season,” explained Pecotic. “Willie Kelly, together with (assistant coach) Willie McNally, came to the club at the start of the season when we were coachless. The club will be forever grateful to Willie Kelly for not only his previous achievements at the club but for all his hard work and effort since he came back at the start of this season. Willie Kelly will always be a legend of the Knights and his contributions will never be forgotten.”
SOCCEROOS CALL-UP FOR WILLIAMS, HERD
Rhys Williams and Chris Herd have made Holger Osieck’s 20-player Australia squad for next Wednesday’s friendly with Scotland in Edinburgh. Osieck has gone for a largely Europe-based squad which mixes youth with experience and will have Lucas Neill lead the Socceroos out for the 50th occasion. Chris Herd is in line for his Socceroos debut along with Mitch Langerak, Jason Davidson and Ryan McGowan while Williams is hopeful of making his first appearance since October last year. Two of the nation’s most experienced goal scorers, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill, are notable by their omission.
The Australia squad to play Scotland on 15 August is Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Chris Herd, Brett Holman (Aston Villa), Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City), David Carney (Bundyodkor Tashkent), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Ryan McGowan (Heart of Midlothian), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Scott McDonald, Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) and Lucas Neill (uncontracted).
O’REILLY “GUTTED” BY SWAN AXING
John O’Reilly has been left reeling by Swan United’s decision to replace him as first team coach. O’Reilly was informed last night that his services, along with those of assistant Ben Kelly, were no longer required following an indifferent run of form. “I’m gutted by the decision the club has made,” said O’Reilly, who had been with Swan for three years. “I have invested huge amounts of time and emotion into the role and felt the club as a whole was moving forward. In my time there I have worked hard to integrate the juniors with the seniors, with seniors coaching junior sessions, coaches courses and summer clinics for the kids to name but a few of the programs that have been introduced.”
O’Reilly coached at youth and reserves levels with Swan before stepping up to the first team role last year. Success came quickly in the form of the Division One Night Series title and runners-up in the league, however, things this year haven’t quite gone so well. “I have really enjoyed the time I have had at Swan. They gave me my break into first team coaching and it’s a real shame I couldn’t emulate the successes of seasons past,” said the outgoing coach. “I personally feel the situation could have been handled better, but I have learnt a lot during my time at Swan. I would like to say ‘thank you and good luck’ to all the playing and coaching staff and wish the club well in the future.”.
WA YOUNGSTERS SHINE FOR JOEYS
There’s a good chance future Socceroo teams could have a very strong West Australian after six ‘Sandgropers’ donned the green and gold at this week’s Under-16 International Friendly Tournament in Saudi Arabia. National Training Centre team mates Daniel De Silva and Rocco Pizzata, Jack Iredale and Matthew Ntoumenopoulos of the Australia Institute of Sport and West Ham United pair Ross Millard and Taylor Tombides featured prominently for Australia throughout the tournament.
Kenny Lowe, who coached De Silva, Pizzata, Iredale and Ntoumenopoulos during their time with the NTC, is thrilled with the quartet’s progress. “All four players have massive potential,” he commented. “Daniel and Rocco have really grown this year playing in State League (and) it’s great for Jack and Matty, who have just being rewarded with Scholarships to the AIS. They are a credit to themselves and their families. Great balanced kids who just happen to be fantastic footballers.”
The Joeys recorded a 1-1 draw with host nation Saudi Arabia in Friday’s opening game of the tournament thanks to a late equaliser by Taylor Tombides. Team captain Jack Iredale converted a second half penalty, but exited the action early suffering concussion, when Australia went down 2-1 to the United Arab Emirate in a bruising encounter on Sunday. Tombides was among the scorer when Australia rounded out their tournament with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over China.
ASHFIELD ONWARD AND UPWARD
Division One club Ashfield are anticipating a bright future. The implementation of a five-year plan combined with an active recruitment drive has all at Ashfield, who are currently positioned fourth in the second tier, looking forward to future success. “The club is enjoying its success at the moment and that is especially enjoyable when you look at where we have come from,” said the clubs’ vice-president Phil Kelly. “We have a clear plan that drives us in a few critical areas, namely youth, engaging our community, financial sustainability and the clubs reputation as a club of choice for people involved in the game at all levels.”
A lot of hard work has gone in to revive Ashfield’s flagging fortunes over the past 16 months. Coach Matt Carruthers look the club to sixth place in his first season and indications are that will be improved on significantly this term. “With the team we have in place on and off the park, we are tracking really well against these key targets that we are certain will ensure this great clubs success,” said Kelly. Ashfield have some exciting projects and initiatives in the pipeline, including an Under-21 Apprentice Program which is expected to be rolled out in coming days, which will continue their drive towards success.
STATE TRAINING SQUAD REVEALED
Newly appointed State coach Kenny Lowe has selected a preliminary 24-player squad for the upcoming friendly series with A-League club Perth Glory. Lowe, who was assistant coach at Glory for three seasons, has gone with six players from Premier Division leaders Bayswater City along with three from each of the other top five teams, Sorrento, Floreat Athena, Perth SC and Inglewood United. The State team are due to take on Glory under lights on Tuesday 21 August and again on Wednesday 12 September at Integra Stadium in Inglewood.
The preliminary Western Australia squad to play Glory is Daniel Micevski, David Micevski (Balcatta), Gustavo Catarcione, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, Cisco Jorquera, John Kearney, Patrick Quinn, Steve Turnbull (Bayswater City), Ludovic Boi, Spencer Harris, Mark Pritchard (Floreat Athena), Ryan Clarke, Jack Clisby, Devon Spence (Inglewood United), Tommy Amphlett, David Foster, John Higgins (ECU Joondalup), Adam Bachiller, Antonio Naglieri, Greg Sharland (Perth SC), Curtis Aspden, Ryan Pearson, Reece Vittiglia (Sorrento) and Jason Gavin (Stirling Lions).
RUKAVYTSYA’S HERTHA FUTURE IN DOUBT
A pre-season injury could spell the end of Nikita Rukavytsya’s time with Hertha Berlin. Rukavytsya, 25, missed his clubs preparation for the new 2.Bundesliga season along with Friday’s opening round clash with SC Paderborn due to a calf injury. The former Perth Glory player has been on a customised recovery program but just how long he will remain at Hertha is up in the air. Media reports out of Germany suggest Rukavytsya, who last month was linked with Bundesliga outfit FSV Mainz, could be on the move before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
BALCATTA TAKE A POINT FROM FLOREAT (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Balcatta have kept their final hopes alive by playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Floreat Athena this afternoon at Grindleford Reserve. Daniel Micevski, Boima Karpeh and David Micevski found the net for the home side in a thrilling game with Ludovic Boi, Spencer Harris and Jarrad Smith replaying for the visiting team. “We really needed the three points from today’s match”, commented Balcatta coach Michael Roki, whose team are four points behind fifth-placed Inglewood United. “I thought we could have pinched it at the end, but after hitting the bar and having the ball cleared off the line both in the last five minutes it just wasn’t to be”.
Daniel Micevski had Balcatta in front after 17 minutes when his deflected shot was judged to have crossed the line despite Brad Effie’s claims he had taken the ball before it crossed. Going a goal down had a galvanising effect on Floreat who now began to menace with intent. David Heagney’s lob over Bobson Koroma was just high before Jon Brooks angled strike crashed into the upright. Balcatta countered with a long ball to Karpeh who, in acres space, unleashing a stunning 25-metre volley which looped over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net. Floreat managed to pull a goal back just before the break with Boi taking advantage of some indecision in the home defence to sneak in and push the ball past Koroma.
The opening stages of the second half produced good chances at both ends. David Micevski whistled a shot over the crossbar after being teed-up by Chris Thackery, then a minute later Heagney slammed into the side netting at close-range having met a pass from Benny Kovaoio. Parity was restored in the 64th minute, Boi whipping a cross to the front post where Harris rose strongly to arrow his header into the net. Not long after Mark Pritchard picked out Bobby Wilson and while his header beat Koroma the defender was thwarted by the bar. Balcatta regained the lead on 74 minutes via David Micevski, who drove a free-kick low and hard past the wall and inside the bottom corner.
But Floreat were not to be denied and on 78 minutes a partially cleared corner sat nicely for Smith to unleash a sizzling volley that screamed through a crowded area and bulged the back of the net. There was still plenty of time for a few more dramas. Moe Atak crossed to the back post where Karpeh looped his header over Effie only to have Harris cleared from on the line. In the final minute of regulation time Daniel Micevski wriggled into space to get off a stinging shot which Effie instinctively tipped onto the bar. From the rebound Jack Allen release Boi, who got to the byline before crossing to the far post where Heagney sliced a spectacular volley wide.
LOWE APPOINTED STATE COACH
Former Birmingham City midfielder Kenny Lowe has been confirmed as the new coach of the West Australian State team. Lowe, who represented England at semi-professional level and has been an assistant coach at Perth Glory, will immediately get to work assembling a squad for the upcoming two-game friendly series with Perth Glory. “The (Selection) Committee was faced with a tough decision with some highly suitable candidates, but in the end it was unanimously agreed that Kenny’s unparalleled credentials and experience stood out and made him an ideal appointment,” said Football West board member Henry Atturo.
Lowe enjoyed a lengthy playing career in England which started as an apprentice with Hartlepool United, where he made 54 appearances. Spells at Billingham Town and Gateshead preceded a season with Spearwood Dalmatinac with whom he won the 1986 Gold Medal. On returning to England he played for Barrow, Scarborough, Barnet, Stoke City, Birmingham, Carlisle United, Hartlepool, Darlington and Gateshead. Lowe coach the latter along with Barrow before heading back to Perth where he coached down under stepping into coaching with the latter in 1997. He was an assistant with Perth Glory for three seasons and since 2008 has overseen the National Training Centre.
SUBIACO COACH FUMES OVER REFEREES’ INACTIVITY
Subiaco AFC coach Ian Cowan has lashed out at the match officials who allowed yesterday’s Division Two game with Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve go ahead. Cowan, himself a former referee, could not believe his ears when the officials ignore issues he raised about the condition of the ground prior to kick-off. “We had a young referee who lacked knowledge of the laws of the game and application of the Football West by-laws,” said Cowan, whose team went down 3-1. “Let’s be clear - I have no complaint about the result, Melville took their chances whereas we didn’t.”
Cowan was stunned by officials response to issues he raised prior to kick-off. “I spoke with the Reserves official about the state of the playing surface and lack of visible markings of the 18-yard box, the 6-yard box, the goal line and no penalty spot,” Cowan explained. “I was told it would be put in a report. I replied by saying ‘If you have the need to put in a report then you should have something done about it first. If the club cannot do something then – unless the by-laws have changed – the game should be called off’.”
Not happy at being brushed off, Cowan then raised these same concerns with the senior game referee only to get a similar response. “I questioned the referee minutes before the teams were lead out and, after she took a look at the ground and markings, was told the same thing – it would be put in a report,” said the Subiaco coach. “So wasn’t it interesting that when a penalty was awarded during the game and we watched as the referee walked out from the goal line the number of steps to the penalty spot because nobody could see where it was.”
BIG WIN PUTS BAYSWATER ON TOP
Bayswater City claimed leadership of the Premier Division following this afternoon’s thrashing Inglewood United 7-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Larry Miller netted two apiece Damian Catalano, a Rikki Smith own goal and Thomas Gooding rounding out the scoring as Bayswater came from behind by hitting the games’ last six goals. “We have a never say die attitude here and that’s important heading into the final rounds of the season,” said winning coach Mauro Marchione. “Our heads never dropped when they went in front, that is something I’ve worked on in my three and half years at the club and it’s showing now.”
A bright start by Inglewood produced the games’ first opening which Michael Bczynski headed wide after 4 minutes. The action was at the other end shortly after with Francis Soale tipping a Gustavo Catarcione header onto the crossbar. David Perich should have put Inglewood in front but his free header from a Jack Clisby corner was cleared by Luka Njegich. That miss was punished in the 25th minute by Giron-Marulanda, who dashed past three opponents and blasted into Soale’s net for a one-nil lead. It took until just before the break for Inglewood to threaten again but Clisby and Ryan Clarke failed to beat Gianni Papalia.
Whatever was said in the Inglewood rooms at half-time worked a treat. Baczynski levelled the game in the 56th minute with a superb free-kick that went over the defensive wall and beat Papalia. Three minutes later Inglewood took the lead, Clarke centring from the left for Alex Caniglia to send a low shot into the net from 15-metres. Bayswater coach Marchione changed the game on the hour by bringing David Sesay off the bench and switching to a 3-5-2 formation. Within five minutes the teams were again level, Giron-Marulanda bursting through and playing into the path of Miller who finished low under Soale.
With the game in the balance Bayswater made their move. Giron-Marulanda rounded Smith and finished with aplomb past Soale from 16-meters after being played through by Catarcione in the 73rd minute. Smith had the misfortune of turning a low Sesay centre into his own net four minutes later. And sixty second later Miller weaved through two opponents to low into the net. Inglewood’s misery was not yet over as Catalano firing in goal number six from 18-meters in the 87th minute. And in stoppage time Gooding converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Catarcione by Jason Colli which left referee David Costeloo with little option.
TEN-MEN ENOUGH FOR SORRENTO TO DEFEAT ARMADALE (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Sorrento overturned a half-time deficit to triumph 2-1 over a spirited Armadale side at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Reds entered the break in front thanks to Ravi Kuppusamy, however, the teams were back on level terms soon after the restart courtesy of Jason Mirco who also snuck a late winners to send Sorrento into second spot. “The performance wasn’t great and Armadale made it difficult for us with a solid defensive unit,” said Sorrento’s Todd Harnwell, whose brother Jamie Harnwell was sent off with twenty minutes to go. “Ironically, I feel we played our best football after we went down to ten men.”
Armadale settled quickly and looked likely to grab an early goal with Kuppusamy and Rhys Loxley leading the way forward. But the first chance came at the other end where Jason Mirco blocked an attempted clearance by goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock, who was relieved when the ball bounced off the crossbar. Wilf Dinsdale and Alan Darlington had shots blocked by the defence as the home side sought to breakthrough. Their persistence was rewarded in the 45th minute, Kuppusamy latching onto a long ball and luring Curtis Aspden off his line before stroking into the net.
There was a fair dose of luck in Sorrento’s equaliser with Jason Mirco’s corner deceiving Sharrock and drifting into the back of the net after 51 minutes. Armadale pushed to regain the lead and when Jamie Harnwell collected his second yellow card in the 71st minute it seemed only a matter of time before the broke through again. Darlington was denied by an alert Aspden while two Nick Viaggio headers were cleared off the line, one by Steve McDonald and the other by Ryan Pearson. So it was against the run of play that Sorrento conjured a winner, Reece Vittiglia’s free-kick was nodded back across goal by McDonald for Jason Mirco to side-foot in.
SNORE BORE AT MACEDONIA PARK
The points were shared at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions and ECU Joondalup played out an uninspired 0-0 draw under leaden skies. Joondalup created the better chances in a game that failed to reach any heights but wayward finishing prevented either team from breaking through in front of a small crowd who’d braved the wintry conditions. “I’m a little disappointed we didn’t end up getting all three points as we created a couple of decent half chances in the last ten minutes,” said Joondalup coach Salv Todaro. “The lads worked extremely hard to ensure they followed our game plan, the boys that came in did a sterling job.”
The early signs pointed towards an entertaining afternoon. A long ball in just the 2nd minute put Anthony Lyons through but Scott Blackmore and Andy Banks conspired to rob the Stirling striker a shot. Eleven minutes later Clayton Arnez advanced unchallenged into the final third to release a powerful 20-metre shot which Banks took low at his near post. But after that early flourish the game developed into a between-the-boxes slog with neither side able to penetrate the opposing defence. Joondalup really didn’t threaten until just before half-time when Rob Draper’s swerving shot from 18-metres tested Corey Hugo for the first half.
There was a slight intensity increase for the second half which opened with Hugo pushing wide a downward header by David Foster. Stirling were unlucky not to go ahead with their next attempt, Banks throwing out a leg to block Lyons shot after being played in by Arnez. Tommy Amphlett cut in from the left to blast high of the target when the better option would have been to tee-up free teammate Foster in the 77th minute. Play was end to end in the closing stages as both sets of players pressed for a late winner, however, a lack of finishing prevented either team from finding the goal they sought.
BUNBURY MOVE CLOSER TO SURVIVAL AS KNIGHTS GET THAT SINKING FEELING
Bunbury Forum Force appears to have secured Premier Division survival with this afternoon’s 3-1 defeat of Western Knights at Payne Park. Ghanaian striker Bright Ababio opened the hosts account early with Jayden Prosser sending them into the break with a handy two-goal buffer. A second Ababio goal midway through the second half sealed the win before Rory Grant grabbed a late consolation for the Knights, who have a massive mountain to climb if they’re to escape relegation. With only four game remaining the Knights sit in last spot, two points behind ECU Joondalup and four adrift of Bunbury and Armadale.
Bunbury came out firing and would have gone ahead inside 5 minutes had Ababio or Aaron Brittain made more of their early chances. Those misses were forgotten in the 11th minute when Ababio found his measure to put the ball past goalkeeper Alfie Brincat. As the minutes ticked by the Knights increasingly got involved in the game without creating much in the way of genuine chances to equalise. Prosser doubled the hosts lead with 36 minute gone, the midfielder dribbling into the net after seizing upon a deflection off Brincat. Grant almost pulled a goal back but his free-kick was taken cleanly by Ryan Montgomery.
There was little chance in the flow of play after the break with Matt Lock and Jarrod Mort dictating terms in the middle of the park. Bunbury increased their lead to three goals in the 65th minute, Ababio tucking into the net when faced only by Brincat having latched onto a brilliant long ball by Prosser. With the job done, Bunbury happily sat back and focused on keeping their opponents at bay. The Knights failed to break through on several occasions before Grant got the goal they sought in the 85th minute, however, by that time the game had already been decided.
EASY WIN FOR FLAT PERTH (with Nathan Drudi, Football West)
A lacklustre performance by Perth SC mattered little as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over the National Training Centre at Dorrien Gardens. Andreas Oliveira got the show on the road before Liam Boland netted twice, once in each half, to move Perth into fourth place. “I don’t think it was our best performance,” conceded winning coach Gianfranco Circati. “It is a very dangerous game when you play the NTC because you have everything to lose and nothing to win. We have a very important game next week against Balcatta, we won 3-0 today so we now move on.”
Perth may have been on the attack from the get-go but it was the NTC that almost opened the scoring after 6 minutes through Borbor Sambindi. Greg Sharland got off the hosts first shot on goal but his low strike was well saved by Jordan Franken. Perth’s third attempt on goal produced the goods with Oliveira finding the back of the net after meeting a 25 minutes cross from Boland. Five minutes later the roles were reverses with Oliveira’s perfect delivery lashed into the bottom corner by Boland. Jordan Dodd was bearing down on goal with only Alex Dunn to beat when Craig Simpson denied the NTC attacker a shot.
Franken prevented Boland from adding to Perth’s tally early in the second half. Although the NTC then enjoyed a good period of possession they struggled to break down a well-organised home defence. The momentum was back with Perth after Boland’s powerfully struck penalty kick, awarded for a foul on the big striker, rolled over the line after Franken thrust out a glove to take the pace off his shot. Oliveira would have further widened the gap late on but his shot was blocked close to the line by an unfortunately placed Boland.
CAIRNEY, COLLINS GUIDE WANNEROO TO VICTORY
Joint Division One leader Wanneroo City never looked troubled in sweeping past bottom-of-the-table Forrestfield United 4-0 at Hartfield Park. Doubles to both Brian Cairney and Garin Collins guided Wanneroo to their 13th win of the campaign, which keeps them level on points with a resurgent Cockburn City. “We’re delighted with the three points as it keeps the pressure on all the promotion hopefuls,” Wanneroo coach David Tough said. “I was very pleased with our patient passing performance and the fact we kept a clean sheet against a stubborn Forrestfield side.”
Wanneroo controlled proceedings from the outset and were unlucky not to take an early lead through Guy McDonald whose shot hit the upright. Cairney made up for that miss by latching onto a ball over the top and fending off two opponents before driving under goalkeeper Joel Zappacosta. Collins doubled Wanneroo’s lead with a crisp left-foot finish after meeting a Josh Booysen cut back. The visitors could have entered the break a few more goals up but Cairney’s strike from 9-metres was saved by Zappacosta, who also kept out free-kicks from Guy McDonald and Rowdy Yates.
Clint Davies was called into action soon after the break to keep out Ben Fraser’s shot. A lovely strong of passes laid on Wanneroo’s third goal, Chris Pugh starting the move by finding Collins whose first time pass allowed Guy McDonald to drive into the 18-yard box where he cleverly tapped the ball for Cariney to finish into the net. Guy McDonald also played a hand in his teams’ final goal, crossing for Collins to fire past the ‘keeper from 7-metres. Booysen, Cairney and Pugh each had chances to further extend Wanneroo’s lead without success.
COCKBURN IN SEVENTH HEAVEN
A commanding second half performance saw Cockburn City whip Fremantle Spirit to the tune of 7-1 at Nikola Tesla Reserve. A Paul Lloyd brace was complimented by finishes from Nick Carroll, Devon Gibson, Euan Grant, Ian Stack and Conor Kavanagh to keep Cockburn on track to bounce straight back into the top flight. The opening passages were controlled by Cockburn with Marc Anthony leading the midfield and wide players Lloyd and Stack causing all sorts of problems for the home team. The breakthrough came after 29 minutes with Lloyd sending a penalty kick high into Elhossain Atekhis’ net. Fremantle replied five minutes later when Sean Tracey’s corner entered the back of the net after deflecting off a defender.
Lloyd doubled Cockburn’s advantage early in the second half from a free-kick which Carroll cleverly allowed to run, deceiving both goalkeeper and defence as it snuck over the line. Fremantle rallied with a long-range strike by Sean Tracey which forced a superb save from goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. After that Cockburn upped the ante. Gibson, who had come off the bench at the break, claimed the ball in his defensive zone and raced the full length of the pitch to unleash a stinging shot from 18-metres which gave the ‘keeper no chance in the 63rd minute. With this the floodgates were prised open, Cockburn’s relentless pressure rewarded with a further four goals.
Grant rose high to nod in from a 67th minute corner played in by Lloyd. Two minutes later Lloyd was provider once again, this time by floating the ball into the 18-yard box where Stack lashed into the back of the net after Fremantle failed to respond to the bouncing ball. The pick of the goals arrived in the 76th minute, Paul Natale and Lloyd exchanging passes with Kavanagh who finished off the move by beating Atekhis. With the final whistle fast approaching when Pavle Biserko’s long ball found Carroll, who without breaking stride gathered possession and beat the advancing ‘keeper to add further gloss to Cockburn’s performance.
RADINOVIC SNATCHES A POINT FROM MANDURAH
Mandurah City’s promotion hopes suffered a major setback by being held to a 1-1 draw with Dianella White Eagles at Hyundai Stadium. Bojan Radinovic salvaged a point for Dianella, who had Andrew Kiir and Goran Radinovic sent off, by scoring with the last touch of the game to cancel out Oliver McGee’s towering header. Craig Tone got off the first shot in anger which visiting a full-stretch Matt Battigelli managed to tip around the post. By this stage Mandurah were well on top and had it not been for Battigelli then McGee would have had the hosts in front after rising unchallenged to meet a corner. Dianella’s afternoon took a turn for the worse just after the half hour when attacker Andrew Kiir was issued his marching orders for a harsh second bookable offence.
The one-way nature of the game continued after the break with Michael Grego, Jeff Bright and Matt Stares driving Mandurah into the final third time and time again. The dismissal of Goran Radinovic for a late challenge on Sam Keary only served to intensify the pressure Dianella were feeling. And from the resulting free-kick McGee powered a superb header into the top corner after Tone whipped the ball to the back post. Liam Hurst could have sealed the game but was thwarted in a one-on-one with Battigelli. The final whistle was just moments away when Andreas Theodosiades weaved his way through the defence only to be brought down by Grigo, and from the penalty spot Radinovic slotted beyond the reach of Caleb Besci.
ROCKINGHAM GO BACK-TO-BACK
Rockingham City collected maximum points for the second time in eight days with an impressive 2-1 defeat of Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. Rafael Insaurralde, who netted twice in last week’s win over Forrestfield United, again played the starring role by scoring the opening goal and laying on the winner for David Clark. “It is nice to be back scoring goals and helping the team win again,” said Insaurralde. “Everyone here is trying very hard for each other and it is an enjoyable team to play in. It was also nice to be able to help little Davey Clark get his goal as he deserved one today.”
After an early Ashfield surge it was Rockingham that took control with Marco Dos Santos getting in behind the defence with regularity thanks to a supply by Llewellyn Bake and Lance Louvie. So it came as no surprise when Dos Santos whipped a cross to the near post where Insaurralde headed powerfully into the net with 22 minutes gone. Ashfield instantly sprung to life and seven minutes later Alex Stamatiadis’ free-kick deflected off the defensive wall to be poked in by Steven O’Mahoney. Half-time was six minutes away when the visitors went back in front, Insaurralde lofting a delightful ball over the defence for Clark, who held his nerve to tuck into John Perkins’ net.
The second half was dominated by an Ashfield team desperate to get back on level terms. Visiting goalkeeper Matt Hamnett and veteran defender Rob Crerar had their work cut out negating an endless stream of attacks. Hamnett in particular was playing like a man possessed, saving shot after shot from Stamatiadis, Mikulic, Rueben Tristao, Mladen Kovacevic and Daryl Warren. Ashfield’s best chance to equalise came the way of Mikulic whose strike from point-blank range was miraculously blocked by the ‘keeper. Bake went within inches of making the game safe when Perkins touched his fierce shot away from the top corner. Some of the gloss was taken off Rockingham’s day when Roy Hissey was issued a mysterious second yellow card five minutes from the end.
TREVISIOL STARS AS CANNING HIT THEIR RHYTHM
Canning City’s rise up the Division One standings continues to gain momentum after inflicting a 3-1 loss on Swan United at Hossack Reserve. A strong first half performance by the team in blue was highlighted by a Danny Trevisiol hat-trick, which pout Canning within three points of the fifth position. “We’ve needed time to develop our style of play and winning five of the past seven games suggests that we’re finally hitting our rhythm,” said Canning player-coach Paul Van Dongen. “It was great to see smiles on the faces of all those people who work unnoticed behind the scenes and are the diehards of our club.”
Trevisiol gave Canning a dream start by netting with only a few minutes gone, that attacker played through by Michael Lawson and finishing in emphatic style past Daniel Agudelo. Youngster Alastair Campbell went close to doubling the hosts while at the other end Steve Grant moved sharply to keep out a couple of Miki Vujacic free-kicks. Lawson laid on Canning’s second goal with a wonderful cross to the far post where Trevisiol rose majestically to head across Agudelo and inside the far upright. A lack of communication between Agudelo and team mate a few minutes later allowed Trevisiol to steal in and finish into an unguarded net.
Swan came out for the second period determined to force their way back in. Vujacic unleashed a couple of vicious shots from long-range but Grant spectacularly pushed both ball away from the top corner. A tidy move in the other direction ended with Michael Van Dongen placing just wide of the target. A lapse by Mark Trevisiol was punished by Aaron Colli, who grabbed Swan a goal back by slotting past Grant. Agudelo did well to keep a powerful Trevisiol shot out at the near post, and later the Swan custodian brilliantly tipped over Paul Van Dongen’s long-range attempt. A succession of late Swan corners kept the crowd on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle.
GAMBLE PAYS DIVIDENDS FOR GOSNELLS
Darren Gamble scored three times to lead Gosnells City to a 3-1 victory over Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. Adam Pygrum had Morley in front shortly late in the first half before Gamble turned the game on its head. Wayward finishing highlighted the first half with both players in both colours guilty of wasting their chances. The deadlock was eventually broken with 40 minutes played, Pygrum hitting a brilliant free-kick over the defensive wall and under the crossbar with goalkeeper Adriano D’Alo well beaten. Two minutes later Tiernan McMullen turned his man and slipped a pass to Gamble who slid the equaliser under ‘keeper Michael Dudek.
The second half was only three minutes old when Gosnells seized control, Daiten Twyman playing in Gamble who dinked the ball into the top corner after luring Dudek off his line. Andy Griffiths went within inches of making it two-all when his 70th minute lob of the ‘keeper bounced off the crossbar. The miss was compounded two minutes later, the loose ball from a corner falling to David Tough who squaring for Gambled to poke into the roof of the net for his hat-trick. Morley refused to give up hope and D’Alo did well to push wide a fierce Andy O’Neill free-kick, while a couple of long-range attempts by David Houston drifted wide. 4.8.2012
KINGSWAY GIVE UWA A SCARE
UWA-Nedlands recovered from conceding early to run out 3-2 winners from their meeting with Kingsway Olympic at McGilvray Oval. Wayne Culverwell had the visitors before James Plowman, Rory Feely and an own goal swung the game in UWA’s favour, however, Jesse Bridgeman ensured a tense final half hour by adding a second goal to Kingsway’s tally. The ball had been in motion just 5 minutes when an alert Culverwell lobbed over goalkeeper Gavin Doran. Unfortunately for Kingsway that lead last just four minutes before a defensive mix-up allowed Plowman to take the ball around ‘keeper Ben Towers and slot in an empty net. After that UWA slowly increased their share of possession but there’d be no addition to the scoreline before jalf-time.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Steve Purton’s precision corner found Feely whose powerfully header burst the back of the net. Only a few more minutes passed before Kingsway defender Stuart Banks had the misfortune of directing a Plowman centre into his own net to make it three-one. The difference was back to a single goal on the hour, Jesse Bridgeman poking in the loose ball after Doran parried a header by David Ashworth. UWA piled on the pressure in an attempt to seal the gap but Plowman was denied by Towers in a one-on-one while a shot by Purton skimmed the top of the crossbar. Josh Rolls almost grabbed a late equaliser, however, his shot from distance drifted just wide of the target.
A DAY TO REMEMBER AT JOONDALUP
Joondalup City claimed their biggest scalp of the season by coming from behind to defeat Fremantle United 3-2 at Iluka Sports Ground. A trio of early second half goals by Rhys Booth, Lucais King and Ben Yates swung the game in the hosts favour after Fremantle entered the break two-nil up courtesy of Michael De Souza and Iain McInnes. A lively start by Fremantle almost paid dividends with Connor Murphy’s shot on the turn from 16-metres bringing a fine save from Scott Wallis. A tidy move in the 20 minutes got the goal Fremantle deserved, Kurt De Souza splitting open the home defence for cousin Michael De Souza to slot past the goalkeeper. Five minutes later that lead was added to as Michael De Souza’s cross from the right was volleyed low into the net by McInnes.
It took Joondalup just ten second half minutes to turn the game on its head. A nice piece of play wide on the left by Lucais King produced a dangerous cross which under pressure ‘keeper Carlos Bervenotti spilled for Booth to stick in the back of the net. Two minutes later Adam Proctor delivered a smart free-kick into the 18-yard box where Lucais King rose to head in the equaliser. Yates then put Joondalup in front for the first time by calmly tucking past the ‘keeper after Lucais King and Booth combined in the lead-up. Fremantle’s attempts to revive their fortunes were thwarted by Wallis, who stood tall to any challenge thrown at him by the visiting attack. Lucias King threatened to break away on several occasions but on each occasion was caught by a square defence.
MELVILLE MOVE ON UP
Melville City climbed into joint second place with a hard-fought 3-1 defeat of Subiaco AFC at Len Shearer Reserve. Michael Everett, Sasa Slavujevic and an own goal ensured the points went to Melville, who moved to level points with Fremantle United. A pre-match downpour on an already soggy surface signalled a tough day for both midfield and led the two teams to channel play down the flanks. Subiaco should have gone a few goals up but Scott Wrightson and Ryan Warburton placed wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Melville showed them how it’s done in the half hour, a miscued cross by debutant Everett drifting over ‘keeper Simon Clarke and sneaking inside the far post.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All roads lead to Frank Drago Reserve tomorrow when second-from-top Bayswater City take on fourth-placed Inglewood United. “Playing Bayswater at their ground will be tough, they have been playing well over recent weeks,” said Inglewood defender Jason Colli, whose team are coming off their first loss in over two months. “I know the boys will be up for the challenge and I’m sure if we play our best we will win this game.” Attacking midfielder Dannie Richman is expected to come into the line-up, however, Aleks Jovic and Devon Spence remain unavailable.
A Bayswater win will keep the pressure on leaders Floreat Athena but defender Calum O’Connell is well that’s easier said than done. “It’s an important game for both teams. Inglewood are a good side and have some quality players,” said O’Connell, whose team claimed the fixture earlier in the season 2-1. “We need to stay focused and take our chances because we might only get one.” Bayswater enter the afternoon with Paul McCarthy, Andy Reale and Luka Njegich watching from the sidelines due to suspension.
There’s also an important game at the other end of the table with relegation rivals Bunbury Forum Force hosting Western Knights. The visitor’s defensive muscle has been boosted by the return of Ivan Zuvela and David Annall, however, goalkeeper Kevin Miller is unavailable. Sorrento are at full strength and tipped to take the points over Armadale. Reds coach Lee Bamber is likely to be without Mitch Castrilli and Sean Nicholls, both due to ankle complaints, at the end of a week in which leading goal scorer Joey Tavernese left the club.
ECU Joondalup hover perilously close to the drop zone and will need something special if they’re to get the better of Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Injury prevents Dale McCulloch and John Thornley from taking to the park for Joondalup, who also have Tommy Jones unavailable due to suspension. By contrast Stirling have Gareth McGlynn and Clayton Arnez back from suspension while Michael Pugliese, Matt Harold and Phil O’Callaghan have also put their hands up for selection. The final Saturday game has the National Training Centre on the road to Perth SC.
The round concludes on Sunday with Floreat Athena away to Balcatta. “It will be a tough game with them wanting to keep their final hopes alive and with us trying to consolidate our lead at the top,” Floreat defender Jarrad Smith said. “We are confident that individually we can win our battles and collectively come away with three points.” Daniel Micevski comes in for the home side but John Migas is out through work commitments. All six Premier Division games – be they Saturday or Sunday fixtures – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Morley Windmills intend jumping straight back into the winners circle when they welcome Gosnells City to Wotton Reserve on Saturday. “It’s a pretty important game for us,” said Morley captain Mark Grant, whose team are coming off their first loss in five weeks. “We are determined to get back to winning ways against a Gosnells side which has been a bit shaky of late. The plans Jason (Van Rooy) has put in place are taking us in the right direction, we have good squad depth and we’re all working as a unit to move the club forward.”
Mandurah City and Dianella White Eagles will both be without key players for their meeting at Hyundai Stadium. Amongst those out of action are Chris Wylie, Graeme Matthews, Jeff Bright, Brendan Craig, Bojan Radinovic and Damon Kalamaras. Cockburn City are expected to come home from their game at Fremantle Spirit with all the points. Forrestfield United have been bolstered by the return of James Harold and James Monks for their home fixture with Wanneroo City. Ante Kovacevic and Anthony Campbell are looking for a shirt when Canning City hosts Swan United at Hossack Reserve.
Rockingham City’s first win in six-games has provided the club a timely boost ahead of Saturday’s visit to Ashfield, who are expected to bring Branimir Mikulic straight back into the eleven. “We’ve struggled to pick up points the last couple months but with the squad we’ve got we are always confident of getting a result, no matter who the opposition is,” Rockingham’s Roy Hissey commented. “With Ashfield playing the way they have been, and with the players they’ve brought in, we will have to be on the top of our game.” All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Melville City defender Clayton Kendall knows his team must win tomorrow’s home encounter with Subiaco AFC if they are serious about finishing in the top three of Division Two. “A win to us can keep pressure on the top three and, if all the planets align, potentially we can move into second,” Kendall said. “On our day we can beat any team in this league and Subiaco is no exception. We have the depth and we have the talent but for us the challenge has been getting the cogs all moving together for 90 minutes.”
Division Two pacesetters UWA-Nedlands are expected to get the better of visiting Kingsway OIympic and stretch their unbeaten run to nine games. The addition of Matt Chapman is the only change to the UWA squad which last week saw off second-placed Fremantle United, who have the bye this time around. Connor Murphy and Sam Ambrgio come into the reckoning for Fremantle United’s trip north to Joondalup City. The port side have been decimated by injury of late with no fewer than eight of their first eleven absent this weekend. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
BAYSWATER POSITIONED WELL FOR TOP HONOURS SAYS REALE
Defender Andy Reale is looking forward to helping Bayswater City finish top of the State League pile for the first time in their 31-year history. With only a handful of games to be played Bayswater trail leaders Floreat Athena by a single point and in with a very real shot at regular season honours. “We’ve had a great season so far, Mauro has got us well structured and playing some great football,” Reale commented. “We are now down to the business end of the season and are in good position with only five games left.”
Reale has been a key figure in Bayswater’s season, forming a solid partnership with Irish import John Kearney in the heart of the clubs’ defence. “John is a great player very experienced and I’ve learnt a lot playing alongside of him,” said reale, who turned 23 this week. “We have formed a great partnership at the back and are work really well together.” Reale has further demonstrated his importance by chipping in at the other end of the park with four goals, a tally which includes a match-deciding hat-trick against Armadale only a fortnight ago.
Reale has progressed swiftly up through Bayswater’s ranks since joining the then Division One club four years. “I started in the reserves and am now playing first team football week in week out,” said Reale, who played his junior days in Bunbury. “I’m enjoying my football, they are a great bunch of lads at Bayswater and winning the Division One title (in 2010) was a great highlight. Mauro is a wonderful coach, it’s a real pleasure to be playing under him. He is very professional and makes sure everyone is physically and mentally fit each week.”
Stirling Lions pushed Bayswater all the way last weekend before eking out a 1-0 win courtesy of a second half free-kick by Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. That result kept the pressure on Floreat Athena, who hold a slender one point lead at the top of the table. “The boys fought really hard against Stirling to get the three points,” said Reale, who was sent off just before half-time for a second yellow card. “I had no doubt we’d get the job done as we were creating plenty of chances and it was just a matter of taking one of them, which Gustavo did.”
Bayswater’s drive for regular season honours has them on home soil to fellow title contenders Inglewood United on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Reale he will be amongst those watching from the sidelines after being sent off last weekend. “It’s another tough game and I’m disappointed I won’t be playing,” Reale commented. “Graham Normanton has them well drilled and moving the ball very well. In saying that, we are well prepared for the game and the lads are looking forward to it … with three points a must this weekend.” Bayswater and Inglewood lock horns from 3.00pm on Saturday at Frank Drago Reserve.
THE NEXT 90 MINUTES IS ALL THAT MATTERS SAYS UWA’S PURTON
UWA-Nedlands may be closing in on the Division Two championship but captain Steve Purton says his team are not about to get ahead of themselves. Saturday’s win at Fremantle United jumped UWA almost four games clear at the top of the table and while the inner city could be forgiven for casting their minds towards promotion Purton says the focus remains very much on the next 90 minutes. “It would be easy for us to get complacent but that’s not going to happen,” Purton commented. “(Coach) Kevin Burton doesn’t allow us to talk about the game in three weeks, his focus is solely on the coming Saturday.”
UWA put one hand on the trophy with the 2-1 defeat of second-from-top Fremantle. Purton had the honour of scoring the deciding goal after James Plowman’s opener was cancelled out by Michael De Souza early in the second half. “Going into the game we knew that a victory would open up an 11 point gap between us and Fremantle,” commented Purton, whose team survived a barrage of late Fremantle attacks to stretch their unbeaten run to eight-games. “We were expecting a tough afternoon and it was a very close game, which makes the result all the more better.”
Purton, 24, played for his local club Stevenage Borough and kicked around with Hucknall Town, Corby Town, Rugby Town and Quorn FC before catching the travel bug. He arrived in Perth almost two years ago after receiving an invitation to play for UWA, where things could not have gone better. “It was a massive honour to be vice-captain of the team which finished third in the Sunday Premier Division last year,” Purton said. “For me personally it was a great season – I was asked to play for WA Amateur State team in Malaysia, was the top goal scorer for UWA and also won the Coaches Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.”
The way the seven-team Division Two has evolved over the season has provided quite a few challenges for UWA. “I think people underestimate how hard it is to win this league,” Purton said. “Playing six teams four times is a lot harder than playing twelve teams twice as by the third time you play a team the game are coming a lot more tactical. James Plowman has been sensational so far and teams recognize this and man-mark him, and because of that other players have to step up to perform. League positions really don’t mean a lot, Quinns beating Subiaco AFC shows how competitive and tough the league actually is.”
One of the secret to UWA’s success is a tight-knit group of players who are friends on and off the field of play. “The lads have been great this season. After the game eight or nine of us head out for the night which only makes our bond stronger,” said Purton, who joined UWA last year from Quorn. “Our imported players, myself included, only really know our team mates. We’re always around each other, finding things out about each other’s playing careers in England and constantly growing as a unit. The buzz around training and on match day just keeps improving, everybody is in it together.”
Kingsway Olympic make the trip to McGilvray Oval this Saturday and although the visitors have won just six times in 17 games Purton says they will not be taken lightly. “We beat them 8-0 last time but that was a very flattering result, and you have to also remember Kingsway recently beat Fremantle,” said Purton. “This is the fourth fixture between us this season so we know were going to have to come up with something different to get the win. The team knows how important it is that we keep winning and building on our eight-game winning streak.”
ARMADALE ESCAPE PUNISHMENT FROM ITC BREACH
Football West have taken no action against Armadale despite finding the Premier Division club to be in breach of International Transfer Certificate protocols. A lengthy investigation into the breach found Armadale fielded a player in the opening rounds of the league season without first seeking an ITC from his previous club in Ireland. Under the ‘Competition Rules’ Football West had it in their power to register those games in which the player appeared as forfeits and award the game to the opposition club by a margin of 3-0, unless that score disadvantaged the opposing team in which case the original result will stand.
Keith Wood said Football West saw little value in punishing Armadale given the circumstances. “The player filled out his registration stating he had never played for another club and the club took him at his word,” said the competitions and operations general manager. “If we were to strictly apply the ‘Competition Rules’ for each sanction the only result which would change would be a Reserves match, although there would be fines associated with each forfeit. We see little value in enacting such strict application of the rules when there is a grey area as to whether the club is responsible for a less than honest or incomplete registration form filled out by the player.”
The ITC process is currently being reviewed by Football West. “We have begun a process of reviewing in depth the issue of ITCs, and we are likely to discuss the matter with the Standing Committee with a view to outlining changes to the process in 2013 as well as liaising with FFA about changes on MyFootballClub,” stated Correia. “In the meantime, Football West strongly recommends that each club question the playing history of new players joining from this point forward, and, if in doubt, lodge an ITC request to avoid any unnecessary incidents in future.”
ROSINDALE IS HAPPY TO BE BACK
Balcatta captain Ashley Rosindale hopes his return from long-term injury can inspire Balcatta to a second success State League finals campaign. It looked earlier in the year as though Rosindale’s season had been ended prematurely by a serious knee injury, however, following surgery and rehabilitation the striker is back in time to help along their finals quest. “I’m absolutely loving playing again,” Rosindale said. “I’m back in the first team squad and it was great to come on against Western Knights and get a goal after only being on for a couple of minutes.”
Rosindale, 26, feels he needs a few more first team runs off the bench before he’s ready for a full l90 minutes. “My knee has fully recovered, it’s just a case of getting my strength and fitness back now,” he said. “It has been a frustrating five months watching from the sidelines, but I have tried to stay involved with the team on match days and at training. Being around the lads has definitely helped. I have been fairly lucky with injuries in my career up until this season, it was just was one of those things you just have to take on the chin and get on with.”
The cause of Rosindale’s injury was diagnosed as years of playing the game he loves. “I tore my patella tendon and meniscus. The patella tendon tear was what was causing the majority of pain, which had been caused by years of stress to that area when planting my left foot and striking the ball with my right,” he explained. “I played the 2011 season with a pain in my left knee and rested during the off-season, however when I returned for pre-season the pain was still there. And that’s when I knew there was something more serious going on than just a niggle.”
Rosindale followed his weekend outing off the bench against the Knights with another in Monday’s State Cup semi-final defeat of Inglewood United. “It was a great team performance against Inglewood,” said Rosindale, whose team claimed a 4-1 victory courtesy of two goals from Callum Roberts and singles by, David Micevski and Boima Karpeh. “We never gave Inglewood the opportunity to play their attractive passing brand of football as we worked hard to press them and not give them time on the ball. When we had the ball we created a lot of chances and finished them well.”
Balcatta’s push towards the top five has them on home soil to Premier Division leaders Floreat Athena on Sunday afternoon. “We know that it will be a tough game against Floreat, they have some very good players,” Rosindale said. “We’re gaining momentum and form at the right time of the year and if we play like we did on Monday night we should get the three points. We’re all confident about playing finals football and winning Balcatta their first Cup.” Balcatta and Floreat kick-off at 3.00pm on Sunday at Grindleford Reserve.
“WE’VE SET OUR STANDARDS” SAYS SORRENTO’S NEVILLE
Sorrento are beginning to find their rhythm according to assistant coach Steve Neville. In the past fortnight the northern suburbs club have moved to within two points of pole position in the Premier Division and qualified for their second successive State Cup Final by hitting ten goals without reply. It goes without saying that Neville has been pleased with his team’ current form and with the winter drawing to a close it’s vital that momentum is maintained. “We’re going well at the moment,” Neville commented. “In the last two weeks we’ve set out standards and we’ve got to make sure we don’t drop below that.”
Sorrento followed up their six-goal demolition of Floreat Athena in the Cup semi-final with a commanding 4-0 win over Bunbury last weekend. “We were a little bit worried about how the boys would react after beating Floreat and whether we’d have a hangover,” said Neville, whose concerns were allayed when Sorrento raced to a three-goal lead inside 16 minutes against Bunbury. “We were superb right from the first whistle. We controlled the game right the way through and were well pleased with how the lads went about it because they’re not a bad side Bunbury, they’ve got some decent players.”
The developing partnership between Johnny Mirco and team captain Todd Harnwell has played a big part in Sorrento’s recent success. “Our front pairing is starting to click. Johnny has been at the club only a little while but he and Todd are starting to get a good partnership going,” said Neville. “We’ve got good competition for places across the park, we’re solid at the back and we’ve got a superb goalkeeper which gives confidence to the back four. This week everyone is fit so we’ve got a squad of sixteen to pick from, it’s a nice problem but you do feel for the boys who aren’t going to play.”
Sorrento have home ground advantage on Saturday over an Armadale side whose confidence received a timely boost with last week’s win against relegation rivals ECU Joondalup. “It will be a hard game, whenever you play Armadale you know it’s going to be a battle all the way,” commented Neville, who admits to not knowing a great deal about this weekend’s opposition. “I’ve looked at their team sheets and I don’t recognise too many names. But we’re on a bit of a roll and starting to hit a little bit of form so hopefully we can keep that going on Saturday.”
GLORY TRIUMPH FROM PROVERBIAL “GAME OF TWO HALVES”
Perth Glory rounded off their three-game tour of South Africa by downing Premiership side Bidvest Wits 2-1 at Mbombela Stadium. Dean Heffernan and Billy Mehmet both found the net for Ian Ferguson’s side, who finished their trip with two wins and one loss. “I thought it was a real game of two halves,” Ferguson said. “We dominated the first 35 minutes, played some good stuff and scored two cracking goals that I was really pleased with. We played out nicely from the back and kept the ball well which was another major positive. Then in the second half they put a lot more pressure on us, we made a lot of changes and lost our fluency a bit.”
Glory’s opening goal arrived on 14 minutes when Josh Risdon sped down the right to deliver a deep cross which Heffernan volleyed in crisply at the far post. The visitors doubled their lead with a classy finish in the 29 minute, Mehmet timing his run brilliantly to foil the offside trap and latch onto Scott Jamieson’s through ball before calmly rounding the ‘keeper and tucking into an unguarded net. In response Wits cranked up the physical side of their game and on 41 minutes they pulled a goal back with Nato Ofentse teeing up Ryan Chapman to beat Danny Vukovic from close-range.
Wits continued to press after the turnaround, but despite spending lengthy periods in their attacking half the home team rarely managed to breach a dogged Glory backline. And on the few occasions when they did get sight of goal they could find no way past Vukovic, who was in terrific form. The closest they came to equalising was a scoring was a ferocious shot from just inside the 18-yard box by substitute Calvin Kadi to which Vukovic produced a spectacular save. Glory substitute Ndumba Makeche came close to making the game safe when he headed a Travis Dodd cross narrowly over the crossbar in the closing stages.
COYNE SWEATS ON RETURN TO INDONESIAN CHAMPIONS
Defender Jamie Coyne wants to extend his time with Indonesian Super League champions Sriwijaya but has been told to “patient” as the club weighs up his future. Coyne, 31, joined Sriwijaya in April following his release by Sydney and featured 14 times for the South Sumatra club as they stormed to the championship with four games to spare. And while Coyne has made it clear he wishes to be part of Sriwijaya’s title defence, the club is unsure of the direction they’ll take for 2012/13. “I’ve already talked about new contract with the club, but until now they haven’t given me any decision,” Coyne told Goal.com.
So it was with is future up in the air that Coyne returned to Perth on the weekend. “Sriwijaya is a magnificent team. With this team, I’ve experienced what it feels to be a champion, so it’s clear Sriwijaya is becoming my priority for next season. Hopefully Sriwijaya still need me and are willing to extend my contract so I can stay for next season,” Coyne said. “Obviously, I'm really expecting the club to call me so I can win title again with Sriwijaya next season. If not, I will look for another club.” Sriwijaya’s technical Hendri Zainuddin said a decision as to whether they retain Coyne will be made after an evaluation meeting.
GRIFFITHS OFF TO THE COAST
Central Coast Mariners have signed former Perth Glory defender Brent Griffiths on a one-year deal. Griffiths is well known to the Mariners having spent two months training with the club last year before signing on with Wellington Phoenix, for whom he made 7 appearances. “Brent gives us A-League experience having played with both Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix,” said Mariners coach Graham Arnold, who picked up Griffiths from Victorian club Heidelberg United. “He gives us good cover at left stopper and can adapt to a number of other roles on the pitch should we need him to.”
Griffiths said he was pleased to pen a season long deal with the club he considers as Australia’s benchmark. “It was an easy decision to come to the Mariners – they are the best club in the A-League as far as I’m concerned. The guys are good lads, the coaches are great and the facilities are very good, too,” said Griffiths. “I want to learn as much as I can from the coaching staff and Arnie. Patrick Zwaanswijk obviously plays the same position as me and has had a great career, so I’m keen to learn off him.” Griffiths older brother, Rostyn, played 48 times for the Mariners before moving to Chinese club Guangzhou R&F earlier this year.
BALCATTA CATCH INGLEWOOD COLD TO REACH CUP FINAL
Balcatta qualified for their first ever State Cup Final by defeating Inglewood United 4-1 in this evening’s re-scheduled semi-final at Intiga Stadium. Callum Roberts scored twice along with David Micevski and Boima Karpeh to books Balcatta’s place alongside Sorrento in next month’s decider of the knock-out competition. “We had to work hard to get the first goal but copped a penalty which got them back in the game. We had plenty of possession, but didn’t have the luck in the first half,” Balcatta coach Michael Roki said. “We pressed them high all game to try and stop their wide players and it worked, and I thought we scored some great goals.”
A strong start from Balcatta should have been rewarded in the 6th minute when captain Adam Tong headed over from Moe Atak’s right wing cross. Karpeh and Roberts combined on the edge of the 18-yard box only for the latter to fired wide, then on the quarter hour Paul Vatistas’s snap shot was saved low by Francis Soale. It took until the 24th minute for Inglewood to muster their first attempt on goal as Jack Clisby played down the left for Ryan Clarke whose curling shot was past the upright. Balcatta returned fire via a Micevski thunder-bolt which crashed back off the crossbar and Roberts’ follow-up was tipped over by Soale.
But Balcatta were not to be denied and in the 31st minute they took a deserved lead through Roberts, who finishing neatly into the net after taking possession of a poor clearance by Soale and getting past Rikki Smith. It was only now that Inglewood sparked into life. Two quick corners may have amounted to nothing but David Perich’s long-range effort certainly stung the palms of Bobson Koroma. Parity was restored in the 36th minute after Perich was felled on his way to goal by Karpeh, referee Josh Mannella pointing straight to the penalty spot from where Sammut coolly converted.
Four second half minutes was all Balcatta required to reclaim the lead, Roberts tucking into the net after being released by Micevski. The result was pretty much put beyond doubt in the 58th minute as Tong advanced out of defence and slipped the ball into Micevski, whose low finish was too good for the goalkeeper. And in case Inglewood thought they might be able to fight their way back in, Balcatta netted for a fourth time. Micevski again started the move by finding an overlapping Atak whose pinpoint cross was powerfully headed in by Karpeh. Substitute Ashley Rosindale went close to netting another in the 88th minute but placed just wide after being set-up by Tong.
NORWICH COME KNOCKING FOR JONES
English Premier League club Norwich City are understood to be close to signing goalkeeper Brad Jones from Liverpool. Norwich manager Chris Hughton has been a long-time admirer of Jones and wants the 30-year old to provide competition for first choice ‘keeper John Ruddy. Jones has made just four first team appearances for Liverpool since his mid-2010 move to Anfield Park from Middlesbrough. Capped three times by Australia, Jones has in recent days turned out in friendlies with AS Roma and Tottenham Hotspur on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of North America.
DUNCAN ON THE MEND
James Duncan is slowly getting his football career back on track 12 months after it was brought to a crashing halt. The Inglewood United defender suffered a horrific five breaks to his leg while playing Stirling Lions last July and, after two bouts of surgery and countless hours in rehabilitation, he is finally back in training. “It’s been a tough 12 months,” said Duncan reflecting on the injury which has changed his life. “It was 50/50 tackle and, unfortunately, my studs got caught in the ground and my leg ended up the other way. I can laugh now but it’s been arguably the toughest experience of my life, in or out of football.”
Duncan, 26, knew instantly the injury was serious. “I grabbed my right leg and, for the want of a better word, my leg ‘flopped’ towards me. I was more or less face-to-face with the bottom of my studs and that is something no footballer should ever have to see,” Duncan said. It would later be revealed the defender had broken his tibia in two places and his fibula in three, as well as suffering a compound fracture of the latter. “The surgery team inserted a metal rod through my tibia from the top of my knee down to my ankle,” the defender added. “I was given a 50/50 chance of playing again.”
The long road to recovery has been far from smooth for the winner of Inglewood’s 2004 Rising Star award. “I lost all movement in my ankle, I’d been in a full length cast for a significant period of time and my ankle became locked in a 90 degree position,” Duncan explained. “In February it was decided I required a second lot of surgery to fix one of the initial breaks. This surgery required a replacement metal rod and re-breaking my Fibula. Four and a half months of monotonous, mundane rehab later and two lots surgery finally seem to have me on the right track.”
Although back in training, Duncan knows he is still some way off from playing again. “I’ve been back training at Inglewood for the last couple of months and last Tuesday managed my first run of any real significance. I’m still a number of weeks away from any contact training, but it’s feeling better by the day,” he said. “It’s great to be back down training with the boys, I’ve missed the banter and camaraderie more than anything. I’m grateful for being able to return to the training paddock with a view of getting a few games under my belt towards the end of the year.”
Duncan is looking forward to playing for Graham Normanton, who took up the coaching reins during his absence. “Normo’s a massive part why the club is in such a strong position this season,” said Duncan. “I’ve never played under him but he’s always the first to ask how the injury is progressing and offer me advice – he too broke his leg in a similar manner towards the end of his career. From the outside he’s this intense, fiery character you see on match day but no one gets to see the compassionate and engaging personality he is with his players. I can’t wait to return to the field to learn and play under his tutelage.”
ROUX IMPRESSES IN SOUTH AFRICA
Teenager Storm Roux turned in an eye-catching display on his starting debut for Perth Glory in Friday’s 3-0 win over South African Premiership side Platinum Stars. Roux, 19, admitted his nerves had been jangling in the lead-up to the friendly, in which Travis Dodd, Chris Harold and Tyson Holmes scored, but once he got on the field those pre-game tensions melted away “I was pretty nervous before the game, but once I got a few passes and got into it, I was okay after that,” said the former Sorrento junior. “As I’ve been training with the first team, I knew what to expect in terms of the pace and physicality of the game and all the boys were talking to me and helping me out which made it a lot easier.”
Roux showed his versatility by started the game at right back and finishing it on the other side of defence. “I ended up being switched to left-back but that wasn’t a problem as I’ve played a few seasons swapping into different positions,” commented Roux, who played a hand in Glory’s second goal. “It was nice to play a part in the goal. I was happy with the touch I took and then saw Doddsy making the run and managed to get the ball to him, he whipped it across goal and Chris Harold came in at the back post and tucked it away … I was happy with my game, Fergie (coach Ian Ferguson) said ‘Well played’ to me at the end so it was a good night all round.”
GIRON-MARULANDA PROVES THE DIFFERENCE, AGAIN (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
Bayswater City kept pace with Premier Division leaders Floreat Athena by grinding out a 1-0 win over Stirling Lions at Frank Drago Reserve. Both teams were reduced to ten men with Andy Reale and Kynan Nunes issued their marching orders before Gustavo Giron-Marulanda settled the tie with an exquisite free-kick late in the second half. “We were pretty confident even going down to ten men (as) we controlled the game for the majority of the first half,” said Bayswater defender Patrick Quinn. “We still felt even with ten men we were going to create chances. It was just going to be up to us whether we took them or not as we were confident of not conceding.”
The first half was monopolised by Bayswater who, while stifling their opponents attacking thrusts, failed to convert numerous chances into goals. Cisco Jorquera, Giron-Marulanda and Sebastian Munoz linked to great effect throughout the period as pressure slowly mounted on the Stirling backline. The best opening of the period came via a free-kick, Giron-Marulanda’s shot bouncing off the defensive wall to Munoz but he didn’t make the best of contact with the ball and Corey Hugo scrambled the shot off his line. Stirling offered very little in attack with the nearest they came to scoring being a goalmouth scramble which was eventually cleared by a panicked defence. Bayswater went a man down on the stroke of half-time when Reale collected his second yellow card of the afternoon.
Stirling started to look lively in attack after the turnaround with captain Andy Brown pushing forward to link with Anthony Lyons. However, coach Doug Hesketh was forced to again alter his formation following the 59th minute dismissal of Nunes, who picked up a second yellow for a rash challenge. The game now opened up with both sides searching for the vital go-ahead goal. The deadlock was broken in the 74th minute when Giron-Marulanda brilliantly swung a dead ball from the top of the 18-yard box over the wall and into the top corner. The hosts should have had another six minutes later when Larry Miller dinked the ball over Hugo only to be left frustrated by a desperate goal line clearance.
SORRENTO CRUISE PAST BUNBURY (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Sorrento highlighted the gulf between the top and bottom of the table by spanking relegation contenders Bunbury Forum Force 4-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Johny Mirco netted twice with Daryl Platten and Jason Mirco also finding the net to move the high flying Gulls into third place in the table. “We played poorly against the bottom three sides in the first half of the season – had we won those we could have been top – so this was a very important win,” Jason Mirco explained. “To been a clean sheet and bag four is awesome.” The loss leaves Bunbury hovering perilously close to the drop spot, just a single point above Western Knights.
The game was effectively over inside 16 minutes with Sorrento racing to a three-goal lead. The opener came after only 7 minutes when Johny Mirco’s free-kick from close to the corner flag curled onto the head of an unmarked Platten, who duly nodded past Jamie Oakley. A sloppy defensive pass five minutes later was intercepted by Jason Mirco, he slipped the ball through to Todd Harnwell whose perfect delivery was tapped in at the back post by Johny Mirco. Sorrento’s added a third goal in the 16th minute via a wonderful free-kick by Jason Mirco who, from an acute angle, curled across the ‘keeper and inside the far upright. Bunbury were all over the place and could have been a few more goals down had Todd Harnwell and Jason Mirco capitalised on their chances.
Bunbury’s hopes of a second half revival ended just three minutes after the interval when poor defending allowed Jack Doyle to nod the ball down for Johny Mirco to snare his second goal. With this Sorrento took their foot off the gas, giving Bunbury the opportunity to finally test the home team. Aidan Savory drew a good save from Curtis Aspden, and shortly after showing the striker lifted just high from the top of the 18-yard box. Sorrento were still threatening and a neat exchange on the counterattack between Johny Mirco, Jason Mirco and Todd Harnwell ended with the latter thwarted by Okaley in a one-on-one. The visitor’s ultimately fruitless search for a consolation goal saw Lee Stewart denied by Aspden, and Marten Ryan’s shot blocked brilliantly by Michael Aspin.
LUCKLESS INGLEWOOD PUNISHED BY BOLAND
A Liam Boland header midway through the first half was all it took Perth SC to steal a 1-0 win over an under-strength yet dominant Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium. But the outcome could have been very different had the home side, whose attack was blunted by the absence of finishers Aleks Jovic and Dannie Richman, been able to put away any of their numerous chances. “All games now are must-wins for us and I felt that showed in our determination to grind out the win,” commented Greg Sharland, who laid the goal on for Boland. “With our goal advantage we were able to defend solidly as a unit and attack on the break.”
The small crowd were on the edge of their seats from the outset as the teams traded blows. Perth were within inches of taking the lead when Boland’s header grazed the top of the crossbar. And two minutes later Alex Dunn moved sharply to push James Sammut’s curling free-kick away from the bottom corner. With this Inglewood seemed to settle with Ryan Clarke and Alex Caniglia asking questions of the home side from their positions out wide. Michael Baczynski’s header from a Caniglia cross was deflected wide, Dunn paddled away a long-range strike by Jack Clisby and Clarke’s swerving shot was past the junction of bar and post.
It was then that Perth struck. Sharland got deep down the right to clip the ball into the heart of the 18-yard box where Boland steered his 32nd minute header inside the back post. The momentum was now with Perth who could have had another but Sharland drove straight at Francis Soale and Andreas Oliveira’s first time strike drifted just past the bottom corner. Inglewood were almost gifted an equaliser when Baczynski intercepted Craig Simpson’s back pass but Dunn thrust out a glove to block the striker’s close-range effort. The play of the half was a Josh Wilkins shot which Soale turned around the post.
Inglewood came out from the break looking for a way back in, and while they enjoyed the better of possession very few holes were opened up in a well-organised Perth backline. Sammut did manage to find a way through after combining with Baczynski but the team captain’s shot was taken cleanly by Dunn. A looping header by Boland on 72 minutes would have produced a second goal for Perth had Soale not tipped it over at full-stretch. Clisby earned the crowd’s applause with an explosive strike from distance but by this stage it was clear this was not to be Inglewood’s day.
BIG WIN KEEPS BALCATTA IN FINALS CONTENTION (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Two goals from each Boima Karpeh and David Micevski have kept Balcatta’s final dreams alive by orchestrating a 7-3 defeat of bottom-of-the-table Western Knights at Wauhop Park. Daniel Micevski, Jason Barrera and substitute Ashley Rosindale also found the back of the net for the visitors, who remain three points behind fifth-placed Perth SC. “Any loss in the next few weeks could be the nail in the coffin to our top five hopes,” Balcatta coach Miochael Roki explained. “We don’t want to get to a point where we are dependent upon the results of others. And it’s disappointing we conceded two late goals as goal difference may play a part for us yet in the final standing.”
Daniel Micevski waited just 4 minutes to open the scoring, beating the offside trap and finishing well past goalkeeper Kevin Miller. Four minutes later David Micevski delivered a superb free-kick on top the head of new recruit Karpeh whose powerful header double the visitors lead. The Knights appeared to be back in the running on 14 minutes with Jackson Turner getting on the end of a Nils Mondre pass which he steered into Bobson Koroma’s net. However, in the 26th minute David Micevski returned fire in the form of an unstoppable drive from 19-metres following a dazzling run through midfield. Balcatta’s lead was extended to three in the 36th minute when Karpeh worked his way down the right to find Barrera, who picked his spot past Miller.
A change of goalkeeper by the Knights failed to stem the flow of goals with Alfie Brincat’s first action being to pick David Micevski’s exquisite free-kick out of his new in the 56th minute. Karpeh added a second to his tally four minutes later, the attacker slicing open the visiting defence with easy before putting the ball over the line. Rosindale completed his return from long-term injury by swivelling on the spot and from the tightest of angles shooting past Brincat only minutes after coming off the bench. The Knights salvaged some pride with a pair of stunning late strikes. In the 81st minute Turner latched onto Ryan Shackleton’s long pass to lob Koroma. And two minutes later Fuller spotted Koroma off his line to hit a gem of a shot into the top corner.
ARMADALE GAIN SOME BREATHING SPACE
Armadale took a giant step towards playing top flight football next year by coming from behind to defeat ECU Joondalup 3-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval. David Foster had the visitors in front at the break but parity was restored soon after the restart by Mitch Castrilli to which Darren Francis and Dale Wingell added for Armadale’s fifth win of the winter. “It’s been a hard few last games for the lads not getting the right result, but today we showed true grit and deserved the three points,” said Armadale’s English import Wilf Dinsdale. “We went in one down and had a little luck with the first goal, but after that we dominated and took the other two chances very well.”
A warm afternoon and picture-perfect conditions greeted the players as they stepped out for this vital relegation encounter. The first opening came the way of the home team, Rhys Loxley picking out Dinsdale whose long-range strike went wide. Joondalup heeded the warning by slowly taking the upper hand. A crisp first time effort by Shaun Timmins dipped just over the crossbar, and moment later Foster’s shot beat Cyril Sharrock only to come back to the Armadale custodian after hitting the base of the upright. But the visitors had to wait until the 39th minute for their persistence to be rewarded. Andy Banks’ long clearance was flicked on by John Thornley for Foster whose first time shot crashed into the net with Sharrock grasping at thin air.
Whatever Armadale boss Lee Bamber said at the break clearly worked as treat as the teams were back on level terms three minutes after the re-start. Dinsdale worked the ball wide to Castrilli whose long-range shot deflected wildly off Scott Blackmore to wrong-foot Banks, who had no chance of saving. Armadale converted that momentum into a second goal ten minutes later when Francis blasted low into the net after Dinsdale’s initial shot was blocked by Tommy Jones. Mark McClements should have done better than head wide after being found unmarked at an Alan Darlington corner, while Dinsdale placed wide from a good position as the hosts went looking for a third goal. It finally arrived in the 88th minute when Darlington sent a delightful cross to the far post which Wingell headed in from 6-metres..
FLOREAT GO TOP AFTER CRUSHING NTC (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Import striker David Heagney scored three times in Floreat Athena’s 7-0 humbling of the National Training Centre 7-0 at Litis Stadium. Benny Kovaoio honoured his first Floreat start with a double as Mark Walsh and Ludovic Boi also found the net to give Floreat outright leadership of the Premier Division. The writing was on the wall for the NTC after only 2 minutes when Jon Brooks deep cross was headed back across goal by Jarrad Smith for Heagney to slam into the back of the net. Floreat’s ledger was doubled in the 20th minute through a Mark Pritchard corner which was flicked on for Mark Walsh to head past Jordan Franken. The result was put beyond doubt just after the half hour with Brooks playing in Kovaoio whose cool finish gave Franken no chance.
The NTC fashioned their first opening on the hour but Jordan Dodd’s volley was pushed away by Brad Effie. That miss was punished two minutes later by Heagney, who latched onto a Smith through ball to drive low and shot into the net. In the 73rd minute Boi stole possession from Savo Cubrilo and cut the ball into the path of Kovaoio whose shot on the run was too good for Franken. Boi added his name to the scorers in the 89th minute by blocking an attempted Franken clearance which ricoheted into the net. Floreat’s seventh goal came via Eiffe’s long ball to Mickey Roberts, who threaded the ball to an unmarked Heagney to score from the edge of the 18-yard box..
CANNING ROBBED AS REFEREE ABANDONS GAME AT WANNEROO
Canning City were left to wonder what might have been after their game at Division One leaders Wanneroo City was abandoned with the visiting team leading 1-0. Michael Lawson had Canning ahead when the sprinklers at Kingsway Reserve sprung into life 28 minutes into the first half, prompting match officials to call the game off. “It’s hard to feel like luck isn’t against you in situations like this,” said Canning player-coach Paul Van Dongen. “The sprinklers came up three times in the Reserves but they played on and finished the game, for us they came on once and the referee walked off before seeking other options.”
DEPLETED MANDURAH THRASH SHAMROCK
Mandurah City sounded an ominous warning to their Division One title rivals by thrashing Shamrock Rovers 5-0 at Ashfield Reserve. Despite missing a host of stars, amongst them Jeff Bright, Robbie Hamm and Graeme Matthews, the Dolphins were rarely troubled with Oliver McGee netting twice and Michael Grigo, Matt Stares and Daniel Brockwell once each in a strong team performance. The afternoon’s first chance fell to Shamrock striker Ciaran Byrne whose low strike on the run flashed past the post. But the first goal came at the other end where McGee headed in from a corner amid appeals for a foul on home goalkeeper Philip Shiel.
Mandurah extended their lead shortly after the interval via a Gringo free-kick from the left which somehow passed through a crowded 18-year box to sneak in at the near post. Before Shamrock had time to recompose they found themselves to more goals behind. Craig Tone combined to terrific effect into side the area with Craig Simms whose shot came back off the post before being sent into the net by Stares. A few minutes later Mandurah put away a fourth goal, Gringo finding an unmarked McGee who had time to control and picked his spot in the back of the Shamrock net. Brockwell struck his first senior goal for Mandurah late in the piece by lashing in 10-metres.
NODA GETS SWAN OVER THE LINE
Swan United have ended Morley Windmills’ four-game unbeaten run by claiming a 1-0 victory this afternoon at the Swan Italian Club. Chihuro Noda capitalised on the black and whites early dominance by bagging what turned out to be the deciding goal midway through the first half. “We dominated the first 30 minutes or so and should have done better with the chances we created,” Swan midfielder Miki Vujacic said. “After our goal the game slowly started to become more even and, to be honest, the second half was a bit of a non-event. Morley had a couple of chances to equalise and we didn’t really create much until quite late.”
The home side were quick to find their rhythm and put Morley on the defensive. Some fine work down the left by Aaron Colli presented an opening for John Monterosso, who was unable to get the better of goalkeeper Michael Dudek. Trent Wood also went close to breaking through but his shot in a goalmouth scramble was blocked by a defender. Swan got the goal they sought after 20 minutes when Colli played through to Noda, who cut past a couple of defenders to slip the ball under an advancing ‘keeper. Morley’s best chance of the half was on the counterattack, David Houston hitting a lovely diagonal ball into the path of Adam Pygrum whose lob cleared both ‘keeper and crossbar.
Much of the second half was played out between the boxes with the two defensive units keeping shots on goal to a minimum. From the edge of the 18-yard box Houston unleashed a vicious shot which looked destined for the top corner until Daniel Agudelo brilliantly tipped it onto the post. Gavin Brady squandered a guilt-edged chance to restore parity by skying high from 10-metres after meeting a ball in from the left by Kris Dennis. Although Swan were seeing just as much of the ball it wasn’t until the closing stages that they threatened to score again through John Monterosso, who was kicking himself after missing the target at close-range.
INSAURRALDE HELPS HIMSELF TO A DOUBLE AS ROCKINGHAM SEE OFF FORRESTFIELD
Rockingham City snapped a six-game winless run by downing Forrestfield United 4-1 at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Rafael Insaurralde celebrated his return to the starting line-up with a brace before late Roy Hissey and Gershom Rowland netted late to make safe the points. The game didn’t really get going until Insaurralde volleyed the hosts into an 18th minute lead amid appeals for handball against the Rockingham attacker. In the fifteen minutes that followed Insaurralde squandered no fewer than three guilt-edged chances to add to his teams lead. Forrestfield weren’t without their chances and seven minutes from the interval Josh Barnes brilliantly lashed into the top corner from 20-metres to send the team in level.
The second half was only four minutes old when Rockingham’s lead was restored, Insaurralde taking possession of an Innocent Zico throw and dancing past a trio of defenders before a cheeky finishing at the goalkeeper’s near post. Ben Fraser reminded the hosts the game was still up for grabs by twice testing Matt Hamnett from distance while also close to grabbing an equaliser was Chris Perrott. But a flowing ten-pass move in the 70th minute ended with Rockingham’s third goal, Lance Louvie playing in Roy Hissey who made no mistake. Rowland came off the4 bench to put the icing on Rockingham’s cake by slotting into the net after being teed-up by David Clark.
FREMANTLE NO MATCH FOR DIANELLA
Dianella White Eagles extended their good run with a 4-0 demolition of Fremantle Spirit at Dianella Reserve. Sotiris Theodosiades, Brendan Craig, Bojan Radinovic and Simon Barber were on target as Dianella jumped back into fifth place. Opportunities were few and far between throughout a cagey first half in which Fremantle’s high pressure approach prevented the home side from gaining a foothold. That said, Dianella did find a way through just after the half hour when Andreas Theodosiades sliced his way past a trio of defenders and cut the ball back for Sotiris Theodosiades to tap in from only a few metres.
Tait Comley could have levelled early in the second half but Matt Battigelli came out trumps from the one-on-one opportunity. Galvanising into action, Craig doubled his teams’ lead on the hour by threading past oncoming goalkeeper Elhossain Atekhis. Craig’s afternoon came to an end soon after for accumulating two quick yellow cards, however, going down a man failed to break Dianella’s momentum. Bojan Radinovic tucked in goal number three from the penalty spot following a foul on Sotiris Theodosiades, which in turn led to Michael Coyle’s dismissal. The game was almost at an end when Barber found the net from 15-metres courtesy of Branimir Dragojevic’s cut back.
UWA PREVAIL AT FREMANTLE
Division Two leaders UWA-Nedlands were pushed all the way in overcoming a fast-finishing Fremantle United 2-1 at Hilton Reserve. UWA moved eleven points clear at the top courtesy of James Plowman and Steve Purton, however, the outcome could have been very different had Fremantle been able to make more of their second half chances. The opening stanza was dominated by the visitors who would have gone a goal up had Plowman not scooped over from Purton’s delivery. In the 35th minute Plowman made up for that miss by turning his marker and calmly slotting past goalkeeper Carlos Bervenotti. Levi Reichelt had an opportunity to send the sides into the break level but was unable to convert the opportunity.
Fremantle came out for the second half determined to take the game up to their opponents. Parity was restored on the hour when Sam Ambrogio’s exquisite through ball teed-up Michael DeSouza to finish across ‘keeper Gavin Doran. Reichelt could have put the hosts in front soon after but his header ricocheted off the crossbar and into the arms of the ‘keeper. A quick break by UWA in the 68th minute had the desired effect as Tom Sellers found Plowman, who was forced wide by Bervenotti but centred for Purton to drill into the roof of the net. Fremantle responded with a period of sustained attack but were unable to find a way past Doran, who brilliantly saved from Darren Monaghan and Ambrogio in the closing stages.
OWN GOAL GIVES JOONDALUP THE POINTS
Joondalup City claimed their third derby win over Quinns of the year with a 1-0 victory on a sunny afternoon at Gumblossom Park. The three points, courtesy of a second half own goal, move Joondalup ten points clear of last placed Quinns. Joondalup looked the more threatening across the opening 20 minutes with striker partners Lucais King and Sam Phillips calling Quinns custodian Anthony Cochrane into action on several occasions. The home side created an opening of their own for Bred Kershaw but his close-range shot was saved by debutant Tom Scott. Cochrane ensured the teams would entered the break as they started by keeping out Lucias King’s shot after he was played through by Philips.
After the turnaround it was Quinns that took the initiative with several good set pieces. But the game was turned on its head in the 65th minute when last defender Ryan Green was issued a straight red card for his trip on Phillips. Cochrane again turned out to be Quinns hero by tipping the resulting free-kick by Phillips over the top. The pressure on the hosts now intensified and with 70 minutes gone they finally cracked, Nicholas King curling a low ball in from the left which defender Martin Lockhart had the misfortune of turning into his own net at the back post. Quinns misery was compounded with the 81st minute dismissal of Lockhart for a harsh second yellow card.
GLORY TURN ON THE STYLE
Perth Glory won the second game of their South African tour, beating the Platinum Stars 3-0 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Travis Dodd had the visitors ahead at the break after which Chris Harold doubled their lead with triallist Tyson Holmes netting a third goal late the piece. “I’m pleased with the result and with the way our fitness levels are improving”, coach Ian Ferguson said. “I was pleased with the way we played out from the back and with our rotations both in midfield and in attack and delighted with the goals from Dodd and Harold in particular.”
The Stars looked bright in the opening exchanges but as the first-half wore on it was Glory that looked the more likely to score. And that’s exactly what happened on 37 minutes with Dodd posting the games’ opening goal. Glory’s lead became two after 58 minutes, Storm Roux and Dodd combining in the lead-up with the latter’s far post cross tucked in by Harold from a tight angle. With three minutes of regulation time to go Ndumba Makeche beat his marker to deliver a pinpoint cross which Holmes headed powerfully in at close-range to make it three-nil.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
The relegation battle between Armadale and ECU Joondalup at Alfred Skeet Oval gets the nod as the footballwa.net match of the week. Armadale have not won in six games but with a full squad to choose from coach Lee Bamber is hopeful of ending that run tomorrow. “It has been a tough period and mirrors the start to our season, but we feel we will turn it around and what better opportunity than this Saturday,” Bamber said. “It is a big game for both teams’, the winner will boil down to whoever wants it the most.”
Salv Todaro, who returns to the technical area after serving a two-game ban, says playing Armadale on their turf is never easy. “It’s a difficult place to go and play, however, the boys are looking forward to extracting a little revenge. When we played Armadale at our place they got away with a point after we dominated the second half,” Todaro said. Joondalup make the trip east without Danny Allen (overseas) and quite possibly team captain Dale McCulloch and Billy Quinncroft, who both face late fitness tests.
Joint Premier Division leaders Inglewood United will be hoping the influenza that struck the club last week has cleared in time for their home date with Perth SC, who are hoping to consolidate their place in the top five. Bayswater City and Stirling Lions will both be missing players when they meet at Frank Drago Reserve. The home side are minus Paul McCarthy and Luka Njegic while for Stirling it’s Dennis Galan and Gareth McGlynn, all due to suspension. Injury will mean Bunbury Forum Force goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery misses his teams visit to Sorrento. Floreat Athena welcomes the National Training Centre to Litis Stadium.
Coach Willie Kelly has some unwanted selection headaches when relegation threatened Western Knights play Balcatta at Wauhop Park. “We’ve got a few problems with suspensions, injuries and also a couple on players on holiday,” said Kelly, whose absences include David Annall, Ivan Zuvela, Jamie Burns, Ethan Levitt and Brian White. “Balcatta have some quality players but they also have some weaknesses that we hope to exploit.” Visiting striker Ashley Rosindale might make his first senior appearance of the year after scoring twice in the reserves last time out. All six Premier Division games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The pick of tomorrow’s second tier action take place at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City host fellow promotion chaser Ashfield. Cockburn are coming off a couple of big wins and Paul Lloyd is hopeful of continuing that trend. “Scotty Miller’s got us playing good attacking football,” said the goal scoring midfielder. “This game is massive, we want to keep the momentum going especially with us playing Mandurah City in two weeks time.” Ian McMurray is back in contention for hosts while Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers will be working out if he can fit Mladen Kovacevic, Brian Maybin, Ruben Tristaio and goalkeeper John Perkins into his line-up.
Rockingham City are confident of getting back in the winner’s circle when Forrestfield United heads to Lark Hill Sportsplex. With Darren Lawler, Lance Louvie and Wesley Britz posing threats it looks like being another tough day at the office for Phil Butler’s side. Dianella White Eagles are tipped to take all the points from their home meeting with Fremantle Spirit. Shamrock Rovers are without Barry Triggs for their encounter with high-flying Mandurah City at Ashfield Reserve. Morley Windmills have a clean bill of health going into their clash with Swan United at the Swan Italian Club.
Top of the table Wanneroo City take on Canning City at Kingsway Reserve. David Tough, coach of Wanneroo, has some tough decisions to make with Garin Collins, Nathan Diaz and Darren Broxham amongst those unavailable and both Lewis Hall and Brian Cairney are back in contention. Canning have won four of their last six outings and likely to field an unchanged line-up to that which accounted for Rockingham last time out. But to take anything out of the afternoon the visitors will need to be up for the challenge from the first minute. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Fremantle United have the home ground advantage when they tackle Division Two leaders UWA-Nedlands at Hilton Reserve tomorrow. Last time the two sides met it produced an entertaining 2-2 draw but UWA coach Kevin Burton would like to see an outcome more in his teams’ favour this time around. “We are happy with the way we are travelling but we also recognise that things can quickly change,” said Burton, who welcomes Roberto Lujan and Manny Arapis back into the line-up. “We are simply taking it one game at a time and concentrating on the process of how we play our game.”
Michael Bowers would like nothing more than for Quinns to claim victory over neighbouring Joondalup City from what is sure to be a spirited encounter at Gumblossom Park. “A win for Quinns is on the cards as we welcome back players from suspension and injuries” said the Quinns coach. Kingsway Olympic have home ground advantage against Melville City, who are coming off the bye. “We are keen to get back into things, and we will have a full strength squad for the weekend” said Melville coach Dan Evans. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
SCANS BRING MONTGOMERY GOOD NEWS
Goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery is breathing easy after scans on his injured knee revealed only minor damage this week. Montgomery has been one of the stand-out performers in Bunbury Forum Force’s inaugural Premier Division campaign but it looked as though his season was over after injuring his knee at ECU Joondalup a fortnight ago. Having travelled to Perth last week for an MRI, Montgomery received good news yesterday with confirmation his injury wasn’t as bad as initially thought. “The knee is still sore but it looks like I’ll only miss one week, which is great news,” said Montgomery.
The loss to Joondalup saw Bunbury slip to second-from-bottom on the table, just one point ahead of last-placed Western Knights. “Losing last week was extremely disappointing,” commented Montgomery, who felt his team deserved something from the afternoon. “We controlled the first half but the game changed when Joondalup scored right on half-time. That took the wind out of our sails and meant they were on top in the second half. It didn’t help with my knee going as I think I would have normally got two of their four goals had I not been trying to play on one leg.”
Montgomery, 21, played his junior football with Dynamos and joined Bunbury at the age of 15. “Micky Cairns was coach at the time and within weeks I was playing first team football which was a great experience for me,” said Montgomery, who last year played a key role in Bunbury winning promotion to the top flight. “The standard (of the Premier Division) is a lot better than Division One and we haven’t done too bad so far. Personally, I feel I’m having the best season of my career but that would mean nothing if we go straight back down.”
The year has been far from smooth for Bunbury with three changes of coach and numerous players joining, then leaving the club. “It’s definitely disappointing having players coming and going but that’s football,” Montgomery commented. “There’s no ideal time to change coach but thankfully things are now how they should be. Matt Lock is a quality player and a very good coach, and he and Andy Cowley have formed a good relationship which is evident by the intensity at training. The players that have come in are all good lads and are pretty close on and off the field.”
Bunbury’s quest to stay in the Premier Division continues on Saturday when they travel to Sorrento. Although Montgomery won’t be part of the action he says Bunbury are capable of taking the three points over Sorrento, just as they did in early June. “That was great for all the boys and probably my best game of the season, so I’m devastated I’m not fit for this weekend,” Montgomery said. “It’s going to be a tough game but if we play like we did at home then there is no reason why we can’t get a result again.” Bunbury takes on Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve from 3.00pm on Saturday.
STATE TEAM MAY AGAIN PLAY IN ASIA
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg sees a day when the senior State team will once again line-up against teams from across Asia. Western Australia had a long and proud history of playing in Asia with the historic 1967 Medeka Cup win and the back-to-back Marah Halim Cup success of 1976 and 1976 amongst the highlights. Trips abroad have been few and far between for the State side in recent times but that is something Hugg hopes to change. “The board is keen in re-invigorate a proper State program,” Hugg said. “In discuss with a number of my interstate colleagues we are talking about interstate matches and the potential for an international trip.”
Hugg touted a number of possible overseas destinations for the State team, who will face Perth Glory twice in coming months. “Perth Glory are always up for one or two games prior to their season but that’s not to say we can’t go interstate, for example to Adelaide, and it’s not to say we can’t send a team to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East, and that we can’t invite clubs down here as well,” commented Hugg, who views the State team as an ongoing program and not the annual get together it has become. The State team take on Glory under lights on Tuesday 21 August and again on Wednesday 12 September at Integra Stadium in Inglewood.
NEW DATE FOR SEMI-FINAL SET
The postponed State Cup semi-final between Inglewood United and Balcatta has been re-scheduled for Monday night, 30 July, at Initga Stadium. The game was originally laid down for last Saturday but an outbreak of influenza in the Inglewood camp led Football West to call it off 48-hours before kick-off. “The next three weeks will determine whether we play finals football or not, and whilst it’s not ideal backing up a Saturday game two days later it’s probably best that we get this match played as early as possible,” said Balcatta coach Michael Roki. The winner of Monday’s game, which starts at 7.00pm, will progress to the State Cup Final where they’ll meet trophy holders Sorrento on Saturday 25 August at a venue yet to be confirmed.
ASHFIELD CAN WIN THE LEAGUE: MIKULIC
An influx of returning players will boost Ashfield’s hopes of finishing the Division One season on top of the pile according to striker Branimir Mikulic. Heading into the final two months of the season Ashfield find themselves just five points behind competition pacesetters Wanneroo City in fourth spot. And with Mladen Kovacevic, Brian Maybin, Ruben Tristaio and John Perkins back for Saturday’s game at Cockburn City, and Ryan Frisina and Jason Feathers also nearing a return, Mikulic is confident Ashfield can push for top honours. “With a number of players coming back from holidays and injury we can win this league,” he commented.
Mikulic is in no doubt his team can close the gap and overtake Wanneroo in coming weeks. “We are a good chance of winning the league and promotion,” said the former State striker. “We still have to play the three teams above us – Wanneroo City, Mandurah City and Cockburn – and if we can take maximum points we will close the gap on top spot. I think a number of teams will take points off Wanneroo and Mandurah in the second half of the season, and we’ll be ready to pounce when that happens.”
Ashfield held their spot amongst the leading pack with last weekend’s come-from-behind defeat of Dianella White Eagles. “Dianella were very aggressive and played good football,” commented Mikuluc, whose late winner came after Karl O’Reilly’s first half strike cancelled out the opening goal scored by Simon Barber. “We reshuffled the team at half-time and started being more direct with our attacks, which in turn put them under pressure at the back and eventually lead to the goal. We had been working a lot on shape and teamwork throughout the week and it paid off on Saturday.”
A place much higher on the table could have been Ashfield’s had they been able to bring a bit more consistency to their game in the past month. “We have let ourselves down by not playing the playing the full 90 minutes, and we’ve also had a number of players missing and injured,” explained Mikulic, whose team have won two and lost two of their last four games. “As a club we want to take the next step and head towards the Premier Division. Matty Carruthers and the rest of the coaching staff have added professionalism and incorporated great unity to the club.”
Mikulic ended a seven-year association with Floreat Athena to join Ashfield over the summer but waited until May before debuting for his new club. “The last couple of years I’ve been struggling to shake off a long-term injury and recently just came back from a well-earned European vacation with my lovely wife after all these years of football,” explained Mikulic, scorer of two goals in Ashfield last three games. “I haven’t done a pre-season in two years due to injury but it’s always great to hit the back of the net …I’m really enjoying playing at Ashfield.”
It’s tight at the top of Division One with only five points between Wanneroo, Mandurah, Cockburn and Ashfield. “In a month’s time we’ll see who has the best chance of winning,” said Mikulic, who feels Wanneroo have been the standout team so far. “Wanneroo have been very consistent and have shown they can score goals and defend. But anything can happen in the last nine rounds, football is one of the few sports you can dominate for 90 minutes and still lose.” Ashfield’s title credentials go on the line when they travel to Dalmatinac Park to play Cockburn.
ROBERTS OUT TO WOUND THE KNIGHTS
Midfielder Callum Roberts knows he will have a fight on his hands when Balcatta travels to Wauhop Park on Saturday to play Western Knights. Not a lot has gone right this year for the Knights, who are battling for Premier Division survival, and Roberts is well aware of his former clubs’ potential to surprise. “They will be doing everything to stay up this year but we need the points as much as they do,” said Roberts, whose team are sitting just outside the top five. “We have enough quality all over the park to get the three points and start our run home and cement a spot in the top five.”
22-year old Roberts started the year with the Knights but switched to the Balcatta camp after being contacted by coach Michael Roki in April. “It wasn’t too difficult to leave the Knights,” said Roberts, who previously played under Roki while at Floreat Athena. “I wasn’t happy with the way things were going at the Knights, especially after half the squad from last year left, which included some good mates and the coaching staff. So I jumped at the opportunity when Balcatta phoned, and I’m glad I did.”
The past few years have been tough for Roberts with a series of injuries limiting his progress. “I have been hampered by injuries over the past four years but that’s life in sport,” he said. “This year has been quiet good, I’ve probably played more games this year than I have over the past three put together. I’ve learnt not rush injuries, but to be patient. I believe getting a full pre-season with no set-backs has played a big part in keeping me on the park this year.”
Balcatta have also had their problems this year with front line striker Steve Burton and John Thornley moving onto South Melbourne and ECU Joondalup respectively, while Ashley Rosindale has been sidelined by a knee injury. “It wasn’t good losing three quality strikers but with the squad we have I don’t think goals should be hard to come by,” said Roberts, who sees the recent arrival of former Perth Glory striker Boima ‘Jerry’ Karpeh as a big boost to his teams finals hopes. “The signing of Jerry is huge, he’s a big presence up top and hopefully he can help turn our season around.”
OXTOBY LANDS COACHING ROLE IN ENGLAND
Nottingham Forest Ladies have confirmed the appointment of Tanya Oxtoby as first team manager. Oxtoby, who captained Perth Glory Women through the past four summers, will meet her squad later this week and is looking forward to the fresh challenge offered by one of England’s biggest clubs. “I am extremely excited and proud to be a part of NFLFC,” Oxtoby, 30, commented. “The club is working hard to move in a positive direction and I can’t wait for the new season to begin.” It will be Oxtoby’s first move into senior football management having previously been an assistant with the National Training Centre and in charge of State youth teams.
FERGUSON PLEASED WITH GLORY’S FIRST SOUTH AFRICAN HIT-OUT
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson took plenty of positives from his team’s opening game of their three-game trip to South Africa despite going down 1-0 to Premiership club Amazulu at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. A first half strike by Bongani Mbhele proved the difference against a Glory outfit minus Steven McGarry, Billy Mehmet and Shane Smeltz. “I thought it was a pretty reasonable display and I was pleased with the fitness levels of our boys,” said Ferguson, ten weeks out from the start of the A-League. “Results are not the be all and end all at this stage. Getting our fitness levels up and working on combinations is what we’re about at the moment.”
It took only 4 minutes for Glory to open up the Amazulu defence, Liam Miller and Travis Dodd combining to tee-up Chris Harold whose angled drive flashed just over the crossbar. The home side heeded this warning and through the efforts of Kagiso Senamela, Sfiso Vilakazi and Joseph Lekata began to ask questions of their opponents defence. The goal they sought came on 37 minutes when Mbhele raced out of midfield before beating Danny Vukovic with a well struck low drive. Almost immediately Glory hit back with Dodd squaring for Harold, however, the pass was just behind the onrushing attacker.
Amazulu began the second half on the front foot with Senamela and Goodman Dlamini both going close to doubling their advantage. The addition of players off the bench around the hour saw Glory lift the tempo and force their way back into the contest. Home custodian Mbongeni Mzimela turned Miller’s 25-metre free-kick around the post before Vukovic made an equally smart stop at the other end to thwart Ayanda Dlamini. The referee then took centre stage by handing a harsh straight red card to Scott Jamieson following an innocuous-looking altercation with substitute Siyabonga Thwala. Amazulu finished strongly but Glory’s defensive resilience meant there would be no addition to the scoring.
FOOTBALL WEST PUT PLAYER SAFETY AND WELLBEING FIRST SAYS HUGG
It would have been negligent of Football West to allow the weekend’s State Cup semi-final between Inglewood United and Balcatta to go ahead says the organisations chief executive Peter Hugg. Saturday’s game was postponed 48-hours before kick-off following an outbreak of influenza in the Inglewood camp which left coach Graham Normanton 14 players down. And while the decision to postpone has not been popular inside the football community, Hugg says it was the only realistic option available. “I don’t think we had much choice,” he commented. “We spoke with doctors and had medical certificates from the (Inglewood) club and we just weren’t prepared to risk the player’s safety and wellbeing.”
Perhaps the biggest factor which weighted into Football Wests’ decision to postpone the semi-final was the health of those Inglewood players who were not outwardly displaying any effects of influenza. “The concern for me was not so much the 14 players who were deemed unsuitable and had medical certificates,” said Hugg. “(My concern was for) any player who may have wanted to solider on – do it for Normo, do it for the club, it’s a semi-final – a young player who may be suffering and just may not be feeling it. We would have been negligent not to have shown support.”
Hugg knows well the risks associated to playing any sport while ill. “My background is exercise physiology, my training and my specialty, and I’m aware of what can happen to the heart when you are exercising when you are under duress, when your immune system is down and you may have inflammation of the heart,” he said. “We need to remind ourselves of some fairly recent unfortunate incidents in the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A where players have gone down and, in one instance, passed away. I’m not prepared to risk that and I am not prepared to go against the advice of our own medical doctors.”
MICEVSKI EARNS BALCATTA A POINT
A second half double by David Micevski has seen Balcatta come-from-behind to snatch a 2-2 draw with Stirling Lions in this evening’s catch-up fixture at Macedonia Park. Stirling looked in a comfortable position thanks to Dennis Galan and Andy Brown goals before Micevski struck twice in six minutes split the points. “The lads showed great character tonight to fight back from 2-0 down and earn a point, but we could have taken all three,” Balcatta coach Michael Roki said. “We got the better of them second half and created a number of chances but couldn’t capitalize.”
The wet conditions may have contributed to a sloppy opening littered with poor passing. The first real chance arrived on the quarter hour when Adam Tong picked out Shane Nunes whose first time shot was just wide. But it was Stirling that found the net after 21 minutes via a Gareth McGlynn corner which Jason Gavin headed against the underside crossbar with Galan on hand to fire in at close-range. The home team nearly added a second soon after, McGlynn releasing Adam Luca but just as he was about to pull the trigger Tong intervened.
David Micevski’s long-range attempt to level the game on 32 minutes flew wide of the target. Eight minutes later Andy Harold picked out McGlynn but his dipping shot was tipped by Bobson Koroma. The resulting corner was met at the back post by Gavin and while his header beat Koroma defender Julian Madaschi was positioned to clear off the line. Balcatta rallied as the half came to a close but David Micevski rifled just over the bar after Stirling failed to deal with a corner played in by John Migas.
Jamie Tandy drove Stirling into attack soon after the break to deliver a near post cross to Harold whose header was pushed away by Koroma. The hosts did double their advantage in the 57th minute when Luca played through to Brown, who out-paced Madaschi and fired low into the Balcatta net. It took only four minutes for David Micevski to half that lead, the midfielder advancing out of the middle of the park to shoot into the bottom corner from 18-metres. Balcatta continued to press and in the 65th minutes Tong got down the left to cross for David Micevski, who shot truly from 10-metres to level the game.
It went from bad to worse for Stirling when Galan was issued a straight red card by referee Tim Mihevc for a crude two-footed tackle in the 69th minute. Balcatta wasted no time making the most of the extra players, Jason Barrera squeezing the ball past Corey Hugo only to have Gavin prevent it from entering the net. The pressure on Stirling only increased in stoppage time with the dismissal of McGlynn for a second bookable offence. Hugo snuffed out Balcatta hopes for a late winner with a couple of terrific saves to deny Daniel Micevski and David Micevski.
SEASON NEEDS TO BE LONGER SAY GLORY’S FERGUSON AND BURNS
Perth Glory have backed calls for a longer A-League season. Sydney FC boss Ian Crook stated last week that he felt the A-League off-season needed to be shortened as it was to the detriment of players, position Glory coach Ian Ferguson agrees. “A six-month lay-off for the players is not good. It’s not good for any professional athlete, so we have to look at growing our season,” Ferguson told the ‘West Australian’. “To make the competition fair we need to all play each other four times, two at home and two away. That would add to the current format and balance out the long-haul games. Last season we had to travel to Wellington twice, but they came here (Perth) only once - to me that's not fair.”
Glory captain Jacob Burn is also in support of extending the season. “A 27-round season plus finals football is not long enough. If we want to improve our football we have to extend it,” Burns told the ‘Herald Sun’. “We currently have 20 weeks of pre-season and by the end of that we’re absolutely dying to play games for actual points. I’m very open to options of ways we can extend the season and shorten the pre-season. (During) my 10 years in Europe, the most you’d ever do is four to six weeks of a pre-season and you’re playing sometimes 50 games in a season.” The 2012/13 A-League regular season will be played out over 27 rounds.
STRONG WA FLAVOUR TO THE JOEYS
Six of Western Australia’s brightest young talents will represent Australia at next month’s four-nation Under-16 International Friendly Tournament in Saudi Arabia. National youth coach Alistair Edwards has named Jack Iredale and Matthew Ntoumenopoulos from the Australia Institute of Sport, National Training Centre team mates Daniel De Silva and Rocco Pizzata along with West Ham United pair Ross Millard and Taylor Tombides in his 22-player squad. Australia will tackle Saudi Arabia (3 August) in their first match of the tournament before facing Morocco (5 August) and China PR (7 August).
Edwards is excited about the challenges his squad faces as they prepare for the AFC Under-16 Championship in September. “This invitation to play in Saudi Arabia is another important step in the development process of the team with another three quality matches to play”, said Edwards, who was capped by Australia 19 times. “This is the first time that the overseas players will join up with the squad and it will be interesting to see how they have developed since the last time we saw them play at their respective clubs in May.”
Australia’s squad for next month’s International Friendly Tournament in Saudi Arabia is Alex Gersbach, Jack Iredale, Andre Jannese, Steve Kuzmanovski, Darcy Madden, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Matthew Schmidt, Jordan Thurtell (Australian Institute of Sport), Hyuga Tanner (Blackburn Rovers), Kevin Ly (Burnley), Connor O’Neill (Middlesbrough), Aaron Calver, Joshua Macdonald, Liam Rose, Matthew Stewart (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Daniel De Silva, Rocco Pizzata (National Training Centre, WA), James Baldacchino (South Coast Wolves), George Mells (Southampton), Kukas Stergiou (Sutherland Sharks), Ross Millard and Taylor Tombides (West Ham United).
“I COULDN’T PUT OUT A FIRST TEAM” EXPLAINS INGLEWOOD’S NORMANTON
Inglewood United coach Graham Normanton had little choice but to request the postponement of this weekend’s State Cup semi-final with Balcatta. Normanton’s squad was decimated leading into the game with a staggering fourteen players suffering the effects of influenza. “We had a mass sickness at the club which meant I couldn’t put out a first team, and the players who would have replaced the first team players were also sick,” explained Normanton. “I’ve never made a request to cancel a game in my career (but) in the interest of the club that I am coaching it was the right thing to do.”
Normanton first realised he had a serious problem on his hands when players started to call in sick on Tuesday. “When I got to training we had about eight players from the first team squad missing and six players from the reserves,” he said. “I made a phone call to Football West on Tuesday night telling them the situation and that if it got any worse we just couldn’t form a team.” The following day Normanton attempted to make contact with several Balcatta officials but, despite leaving messages, did not hear back from anyone at the club.
Unable to get a response from Balcatta, Normanton went back to Football West with his request to have the semi-final postponed. “Football West told me that without medical certificates the game would go ahead. I instructed all players who were sick to get medical certificates, which they did,” he said. “On Thursday night before training we got an email from Football West saying the game could be re-arranged and that they would inform Balcatta of that decision … There is nothing underhand about what I was trying to achieve out, I just want to look after the club that I am representing.”
Fielding a weakened team is part and particle of football, however, on this occasion Inglewood’s situation really was unique. “If circumstances dictate that you have to (put out a weakened team) then you do,” Normanton said. “But this wasn’t just one player coming down with a cold or the run of the mill ‘I’ve rolled my ankle, I’ve got a hamstring strain’. If that was the situation I would be able to replace those players from the reserves. But when half the reserves don’t turn up for training either, obviously you’ve got an issue.”
GLORY WING THEIR WAY TO SOUTH AFRICA
Perth Glory have departed for their second annual pre-season tour of South Africa. The 14-day trip is an integral part of Glory’s build-up to the coming summer of A-League football, with three friendlies against local opposition sprinkled amongst an intense training program. “We are all looking forward to the camp,” Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. “We’ve got some new recruits this year and the time together will help bond the squad together. The camp was massive for us last year and gave us a solid base to structure our pre-season on.”
While away Glory will also be heavily involved in key community programs to promote the game at grassroots level. “First and foremost the trip is to help prepare the squad but we also have a strong commitment to engage with the local townships,” chief executive Paul Kelly said. “Community is a big part of Perth Glory’s vision and our development officers will run daily clinics during the camp.” Glory, who flew out of Perth last night, will play South African Premier League side Amazulu (24 July), Platinum All Stars (27 July) and Bid Vest Wits (31 July) before returning home on 4 August.
SORRENTO STORM INTO CUP FINAL
Sorrento will defend their State Cup crown after putting six unanswered goals past a ten-man Floreat Athena under lights at Percy Doyle Reserve. The sending off of Jack Allen for handball only a few minutes after kick-off put Floreat in a position from which they never recovered as Reece Vittiglia and Michael Aspin sent the hosts into the break two-goals up. Goals in quick succession by Todd Harnwell and Johny Mirco sealed the Gulls spot in the Cup Final with late finishes from Brodie Martin and Stuart Montgomery adding further gloss to the outcome.
The game was ultimately decided in the opening few minutes according to Sorrento captain Todd Harnwell. “When they were reduced to ten men early it gave us a great deal of confidence and allowed us a bit of extra space to play the ball around,” said the Gulls veteran. “It was still pretty tight going into half-time but we knew if we could get a third that would effectively kill the game off. Floreat seemed to lose their shape after that and we capitalised with a few more goals. We have been playing well for the last couple of months, but not many would have predicted the final score.”
It took only 3 minutes for Floreat’s spirits to be soured by the dismissal of defender Allen, who referee Hugh Best deemed to have handled Daryl Platten’s goal-bound header. The situation could have been worse but Johny Mirco blazed the resulting spot kick well over Brad Eiffe’s crossbar. Sorrento wasted no time making the most of the extra man and in the 20th minute a slick move involving Jack Doyle, Todd Harnwell, Jamie Morgan and Vittiglia culminated in the latter side-footing past a static goalkeeper. Two minutes from half-time and the margin was doubled by Aspin, who was allowed to advance unchallenged and drill into the net from 22-metres.
The break gave Floreat an opportunity to regroup and when upon the re-start they immediately set about finding a way back in. David Heagney’s hook shot lacked the power required to beat Curtis Aspden, then a few minutes later Ryan Pearson was positioned to clear Bobby Wilson’s header off the line. Sorrento’s response was venomous. In the 61st minute Johny Mirco threaded a precision ball through the defence for Todd Harnwell, who outpaced Wilson and touched it past the advancing ‘keeper to make it three-nil. A minute later Johny Mirco volleyed past Eiffe from a Jason Mirco cross to kill off the game.
Although four goals down, Floreat continued to work for openings. Mark Pritchard’s dipping shot smacked into the crossbar as did Heagney’s long-range attempt after he’d spotted Aspden off this line, while Ludovic Boi’s rasping drive passed beyond the target. Those misses were punished in the 78th minute when Jason Mirco slid the ball across the 18-yard box for substitute Brodie Martin to net at close-range. Five minutes Stuart Montgomery, who’d come off the bench ten minutes earlier, curled past Eiffe after receiving a pass from Jason Mirco.
SWAN FAIL TO TROUBLE WANNEROO
Wanneroo City maintained a steady course towards the Division One championship by sweeping aside Swan United 3-0 at Kingsway Reserve. The first half dismissal of Chris Atkinson had Swan on the ropes but it wasn’t until after the break that Wanneroo were able to make the extra player count with goals by Josh Booysen, Jared Love and Saha Konomanyi. Possession over the early exchanges was evenly shared but that changed with the 12th minute dismissal of Atkinson for dissent. Wanneroo responded by stepping up tempo and stretching their opponents with some tidy use of the ball. Guy McDonald was twice denied a breakthrough by the goalkeeper, who later breathed a sigh of relief when Konomanyi’s shot hit the upright.
It was more of the same after the turnaround, Wanneroo enjoying the bulk of possession as Swan sat back and hit on the counterattack. The home teams’ dominance as rewarded midway through the half when Booysen cut in from the left to unleash an unstoppable shot from the top of the 18-yard box. There was still plenty of fight in Swan and if not for the sharp reflexes of Clint Davies then John Monterosso would have equalised from Trent Wood’s cutback. Love then extended Wanneroo’s lead with a tidy close-range header from Rowdy Yates corner. The game was made safe by Konomanyi, who side-footed in after a mazy run down the right by Love.
TONE STARS AS MANDURAH WIN BIG
Craig Tone’s third hat-trick of the season paved the way for Mandurah City’s 5-0 demolition of Gosnells City at the Hyundai Stadium. Tone’s haul was complimented by finishes from Graeme Matthews and substitute Craig Simms to keep the Dolphins in joint second place, and the pressure on leaders Wanneroo City. Matthews sliced high the afternoon’s first opportunity after Jeff Bright waltzed past his man and the ball back to his team mate. Gosnells had their chances to take the lead but found debutant Caleb Besci in superb form between the posts. The breakthrough came when Matthews and Tome combined for the latter to slot under the advancing goalkeeper in a one-on-one.
Mandurah didn’t add a second goal until the 65th minute when Tone delivered a pinpoint cross from the left to an unmarked Matthews, who volley hit back posts before entering the net. The home team were now firmly in control and another exchange between Matthews and Tone almost had the latter put away another goal. But it didn’t take long for Tone to make amends, the striker curling a free-kick from the top of the 18-yard box into the bottom corner. Simms hadn’t been off the bench long when he lashed in from distance to make it four-nil. Tone completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after his run into the danger zone was unceremoniously halted by a defender.
FORRESTFIELD OUT-CLASSED BY COCKBURN
Cockburn City’s trip to Forrestfield United went according to script for the visitors, who ran out convincing 4-0 winners. Euan Grant, Ian Stack, Eamon McNilis and Connor Kavanagh were on the scoresheet to keep Cockburn level with Mandurah City in second place, only three points behind Division One pacesetters Mandurah City. It didn’t take long for the central combination of Marc Anthony, Paul Lloyd and Kavanagh to assert their authority and heap pressure on the home backline. Forrestfield stood firm to the challenge but a momentary lapse of concentration allowed Grant to head in the halves solitary goal from a corner. The only other chance of note came when Stack crashed a shot into the upright.
Some exquisite two-touch football saw Cockburn continue to dictate terms after the turnaround. The margin was doubled just before the hour when Paul Natale, Lloyd and Anthony exchanged passes and Stack applied the finishing touch. A rare Forrestfield attack led to a goalmouth scramble but despite at least four attempts the yellow shirts were able to send the ball over the line. Sloppy defending at the other end of the park was punished by an unmarked McNilis, who had little difficulty netting from a Lloyd free-kick floated into the final third. Joel Zappacosta did his bit in preventing the margin from really blowing out with a succession of saves. However, there was little the Forrestfield custodian could do when Kavanagh scrambled the ball in at close-range shortly before the final whistle.
MIKULIC STRIKES LATE TO SEE OFF DIANELLA
Ashfield kept their faint title hopes alive with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve. Branimir Mikulic struck a late winner after Simon Barber’s early opener was cancelled out by Karl O’Reilly. “It was good to see the work rate and never-die-attitude which was missing in recent weeks back,” O’Reilly commented of Ashfield’s performance. “The game was a must-win for us but we’ve still got to play the top three teams, if we take all nine points from those then we could be in with a chance to win the league.”
The day started well enough for Dianella with Andreas Theodosiades having a big say in the flow of play. Theodosiades orchestrated the opening goals after 10 minutes by skipping past three opponents and squaring for Barber whose low drive from the top of the 18-yard box came to rest inside the bottom corner of Ashfield’s net. Ashfield equalised eight minutes later when a partially cleared corner came the way of Daryl Warren, who slipped the ball through for O’Reilly to turn his man and side-foot beyond the reach of Matt Battigelli.
Dianella’s dominance of the remainder of the first half was carried over in the second with Theodosiades very much the lynchpin in midfield. The tide began to turn in Ashfield’s favour entering the final 20 minutes with Mikulic and Alex Stamatiades asking questions of the visiting defence. Mikulic got the answer they were after in the 82nd minute, the big attacker gliding past a couple of challenges to get off a shot which deflected into the net via a defender. Dianella pushed hard to salvage a point but were held out by an Ashfield defence in which David Gordon was the stand out.
SHAMROCK CONTINUE THEIR RISE
Shamrock Rovers stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a pulsating 3-2 win over Fremantle Spirit at Nikola Tesla Reserve. Ciaran Byrne continued his rich vein of form by netting either side of a Barry Mulligan tap-in and cancel out a couple of second half finishes by Amin Gardoud. A fast paced opening produced some good openings at opposite ends of the park on which neither team was able to capitalise. The breakthrough arrived on 18 minutes when Byrne drove powerfully into the net after a failed attempt to clear a cross. A common sense approach by referee Mark Williams produced a free-flowing game in which the teams traded attacks for the remainder of an entertaining half.
An unmarked Gardoud restored parity on the hour by heading in at the far post from a Lam Gai cross. Ten minutes later it was Shamrock who had the ball in the net, Mulligan knocking in from close-range after being found unmarked by Byrne’s centre. Fremantle refused to lie down and three minutes later David Cyrus’ through ball put in the clear Gardoud, who slid the equaliser past goalkeeper Phillip Shiel. The outcome was settled in the 82nd minute when Byrne fired low through a crowded goalmouth as his team mates appealed for a penalty after Damien Smyth was taken down inside the 18-yard box. The three points move Shamrock into fifth position, whereas Fremantle remain in the drop zone.
VAN DONGEN STRIKES LATE FOR CANNING
Canning City’s late season resurgence continued with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Rockingham City at Hossack Reserve. Paul Van Dongen marked his return to the starting line-up with the games solitary goal to earn Canning their fourth win in six games. A tight first half contained few opportunities for either team to take the lead. Home custodian Steve Grant was called into the action early to collect a dangerous Wes Britz shot. Rockingham’s best opportunities were via dead balls but Britz’s effort was wide, while later Llewellyn Bake also shot past the target after the defensive wall did its job to block a Lance Louvie free-kick.
The second half was far more entertaining as the teams stepped up their search for the games’ first goal. Trevor Laure forced a good save from Grant before Daniel Trevisiol placed wide when faced by only Dave Keenan. Michael Lawson put a free-kick over the crossbar while at the other end Trevor Laure found the net but his effort was correctly disallowed for a foul in the lead-up. The deadlock was eventually broken on 79 minutes, Trevisiol cutting the ball back for Paul Van Dongen to send into the net. Rockingham went agonisingly close to snatching a point through an Innocent Zico shot which rattled the bar.
UWA CONTINUE ON THEIR MERRY WAY
UWA-Nedlands jumped eight points clear of their nearest rivals in Division Two by defeating bottom of the table Quinns 3-0 on a warm afternoon at McGilvray Oval. A first half brace by James Plowman set the scene with captain Steve Purton sealing the win just before the end to take UWA one step closer to promotion. The home team put a slow start behind them when Plowman finished into the net after seizing upon a miscued goal kick by Adam Bowers. Only a few more minutes had passed when Plowman doubled his tally by latching onto an Aaron Barnett through ball and firing inside the near post.
Quinns increased their possession at the start of the second half but Gavin Doran remained untroubled between the posts for UWA. As the minutes ticked by UWA reasserted their control but while they enjoyed the bulk of play it was rare the Quinns backline was pierced. With one eye on next week’s top-of-the-table fixture with Fremantle United, UWA’s coaching staff made full use of their bench. And it was substitute Francios De Plessis who fashioned their final goal by laying the ball off for Purton to fire in from 16-metres in the second to last minute of regulation time.
KINGSWAY DENT FREMANTLE’S TITLE HOPES
Fremantle United’s title hopes may well have been ended by this afternoon’s controversial 1-0 loss to Kingsway Olympic at Kingsway Reserve. The game was decided midway through the second half when the referee awarded Kingsway a contentious penalty which was duly converted by Joe Woodin. While possession was fairly even across the opening 45 minutes it was Fremantle that looked the more likely to score. Andrew Morrow and Fab Fusari put headers narrowly wide, Reichelt spurned a couple of guilt edged chances and an angled attempt by Connor Shaw crashed into the crossbar. Kingsway’s best opening came the way of Woodin but his shot was blocked by a defender.
Kingsway emerged from the break with renewed energy as Glen Thomas and David Ashworth started to have greater say in midfield. Thomas should have done better than blaze wide after Jessie Bridgeman and Wayne Culverwell combined in the lead-up. In the 70th minute the referee spotted something no one else did in an innocuous tussle between Tim De Souza and Lee Thomas which prompted him to award the home side a penalty. Woodin tucked into the bottom corner and in the aftermath Shaw was sent off for dissent. Fremantle would suffer two further blows with Morrow suffering a hamstring injury and as the final whistle blew captain Will Pender was also issued his marching orders after questioning the referee.
JOONDALUP HOLD SUBIACO TO A POINT
Honours were even at Illuka Sports Complex where Joondalup United came from behind to earn a 1-1 with a depleted Subiaco United. Sam Phillips struck early in the second half to negate Scott Wrightson’s open goal which arrived just before the interval. A scrappy first half was played out between the boxes with neither team creating much in the way of genuine chances on goal. Subiaco, who were missing five first team regulars, got their passing game going late in the half and slowly gained the upper hand. They were rewarded in the 41st minute when Wrightson poked the ball in at close-range on the end of some good lead-up play.
Joondalup needed just four second half minutes to draw level, Lucais King threading through to Phillips whose powerful shot from an acute angle was too hot for Tom Barrett to handle. With this the game finally came to life with Subiaco’s swift movement countered by Joondalup’s on the ball strength. Ger Fitzgerald squandered a golden opportunity to put Subiaco ahead in the 71st minute by putting a dubiously awarded penalty kick straight at Matt Hill. The game was close to an end when Joondalup nearly snuck a winner, Jodie Thomson guiding the ball in to Ben Yates whose shot was deflected away from the bottom corner by Barrett’s leg.
STATE CUP SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW
The State Cup field will be cut by one with tomorrow evening’s semi-final at Percy Doyle Reserve between Sorrento and Floreat Athena (7.00pm). Former Wales international Paul Price knows his players will need to be at their best if Sorrento are to defend their crown. “Floreat are flying at the moment but we have won eight of our last ten games and are in good form too,” said the Gulls coach. “These types of games are usually tight affairs and I expect that to be the case again. The players are determined to retain the Cup, last season was great for the whole club and it would be great to repeat it.”
Floreat are unbeaten in their last nine games but will be mindful the last time they lost was to Sorrento. “They will be very tough, especially on their home turf and at night,” said coach Chris Barbas. “Our league form is good but the Cup completion is different. You tend to play a different style, formation and with different players due to them begin Cup-tied. Both teams have very good attacking players so I think the team which keeps a clean sheet should win.” David Heagney and Spencer Harris come back in for Floreat who will miss the drive of Cup-tied midfielder Jon Brooks.
BALCATTA DEFLATED BY SEMI FARCE
Michael Roki’s plans to lead Balcatta to their first ever State Cup Final have been thrown into disarray with the postponement tomorrow’s semi-final with Inglewood United. Football West took the unprecedented step late yesterday to call of the round of four contest at the request of Inglewood, who are believed to have no fewer than eight players suffering the effects of influenza. “The Balcatta players and staff are deflated by this decision,” said Roki. “In my 30-year association with the State League competition I've never heard of a team being given a postponement for such an insubstantial reason.”
The decision to postpone could not have been more poorly timed for Balcatta. “We had been training specifically and preparing mentally for this match and it’s extremely disappointing for the game to be postponed less than 48 hours before kick-off,” Roki commented. “We are already under the pump trying to qualify for the finals and will now be forced to play another draining mid-week catch-up game prior to 18th August, which just happens to be during a four-week period in which we play four of the current top five teams.”
Roki says the position his club have been forced into contrasts quite sharply with that of joint Premier Division leaders Inglewood. “They are already virtually assured of finals football and now will also have their full-strength team available for the Cup semi-final,” added Roki, who steered Balcatta to the top of Division One last year. “Whilst we would rather play against a full-strength Inglewood for the football spectacle, the integrity of the competition comes first and that means injury, illness and suspensions all have to play their part in the football history.”
The wheels were set in motion for the game to be postponed earlier in the week. “(Inglewood coach) Graham Normanton contacted Balcatta on Wednesday advising that he had requested a postponement to Football West,” explained Roki. “Balcatta contacted Football West on Thursday morning to advise our club was not in agreeance with a postponement for reasons of unfortunate illness, and that we assume the game would proceed. In the same discussion Football West advised a decision would be made on Friday but they sent a formal notice of postponement by email at 4.53pm yesterday - one hour before our final training session.”
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Swan United will attempt to knock a depleted Wanneroo City from the top of Division One when they sides meet at Kingsway Reserve tomorrow. Wanneroo were pushed all the way by the black and whites earlier in the season and with a host of players absent, including Brian Cairney, Kevin Heuvelink and Garin Collins, coach David Tough knows his side are in for a difficult afternoon. “In our first fixture against Swan it was hard-fought, and I expect Saturday’s game is going to be a similarly close encounter,” commented Tough. Swan on the other hand are nearing full-strength with Lucas Whitehouse and Trent Wood back this week.
Cockburn City are expected to take home the points from Forrestfield United, who are without Jordan Hart, James Monks and goalkeeper Luke Woodfin. Mandurah City dropped some valuable points last time out but Billy Russell’s men are determined to make amends against Gosnells City at Hyundai Stadium. With Matt Wardle, John Perkins and Ryan Firsina amongst those on the injury list Matt Carruthers has some selection dilemmas as Ashfield prepare to host Dianella White Eagles. It’s going to take nothing short of a miracle for Fremantle Spirit to take anything from their encounter with Shamrock Rovers at Nikola Tesla Reserve.
Canning City verses Rockingham City at Hossack Reserve is expected to be a classic mid-table battle. The home team lost last time they face Rockingham City but centre-half Sam Carrello says they have been addressing their frailties to make sure there is no repeat performance. “We have worked on some things for this weekend so will hopefully get a positive result to jump above them on the ladder,” Carrello commented. Daniel McCurdy and Paul Van Dongen are back in training and expected to be in the Canning squad. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Spirits are up at Kingsway Olympic who this weekend welcome Fremantle United to Kingsway Reserve. The home side are coming off a good win and are confident of backing that up with another three points as Glen Thomas and Lee Thomas pull the midfield strings. Fremantle, however, are unbeaten in their last five games and pushing for top spot. Andrew Morrow has been vital to their efforts so far this season while in recent weeks young Levi Reichelt has shown he knows how to both create and score goals.
Bottom-of-the-table Quinns’ depth will be sorely tested when they take on Division Two leaders UWA-Nedlands at McGilvray Oval. The northern suburbs side make the trip without Brad Kershaw and influential midfielder Adam Buckley, while UWA’s only absence is Roberto Lujan through suspension. Home team Joondalup City will fancy their odds of causing an upset against a Subiaco AFC side struggling for form and minus Barry Hurd and Jordan Rhodes. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
PERTH RESERVES BOOKS CUP FINAL DATE
Taki Nicolaidis has guided Perth SC through to the State Reserves Cup Final for the first time in seven years with this evening’s 4-1 defeat of Swan United at Dorrien Gardens. Tim Robertson scored a hat-trick with the Blues remainder being an own goal while Swan’s solitary goal arrived midway through the first half via Luke Colli. “Swan pushed us all the way in the first half and they could have gone in at half-time in front,” said Nicolaidis. “But the second half was a different story. We showed our experience and superior fitness and finished the game off.”
Perth’s Cup Final opponent will be determined on Saturday when Division One leaders Cockburn City take on Floreat Athena. “We head into the game in indifferent form, while Cockburn have only lost once this season,” Floreat assistant coach Stefano Zagami said. “We had a good win at Inglewood United last week and naturally there is some confidence among the squad. But we all know Cup games are great levellers, so we look forward to a tough game and hope we can come out on top.” Floreat and Cockburn square off in the State Reserves Cup semi-final from 4.45on on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH JAMES MORGAN AND MICKEY ROBERTS
Sorrento’s quest for back-to-back State Cups brings them up against league leaders Floreat Athena in Saturday evening’s semi-final at Percy Doyle Reserve. For Gulls midfielder James Morgan there’s added incentive for him to help his club defend their trophy. “The State Cup is the only thing I’m yet to win so Saturday’s game is extra important to me,” explained Morgan, who has bitter memories of his last Cup Final appearance. “I played in the 2008 final against Western Knights, we got beat 2-1 and that loss still hurts today.”
Floreat’s Mickey Roberts is just as eager for his team to come out this weekend. “It’s a huge opportunity to play in a Cup Final. Not a lot of players get that chance, so we will be doing everything we can to make it to the big day,” said Roberts, who joined Floreat only a few weeks back from English side Guisborough Town. “We’ve had a run of eight games unbeaten so I’m quietly confident, but at the same time we cannot get complacent as Sorrento are very a good side and it’s going to be a tough game.”
Roberts, who played his part in Guisborough lifting last year’s North Riding Senior Cup, knows it’s the team that wants it most on the day that will progress. “Hamersley Rovers were a tough encounter and it’s games like those that are the hardest as they had nothing to lose, but we never changed our game plan and it worked,” said Roberts, who scored the opening goal in Floreat’s 4-1 win in the last round. “Cup games are different, recent league form doesn’t come into play … Cup day is anyone’s day.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Morgan, who will leave Sorrento at seasons’ end to move to Canada. “Cup games are always different to league games. You try to approach them the same way but you know you only get one chance in the Cup so they are do-or-die really,” said Morgan. “Floreat have had a good run up to now, but we have beaten all the teams above us this year so we have nothing to fear … I’m confident we can get the win.” Sorrento and Floreat lock horns under lights from 7.00pm on Saturday night at Percy Doyle Reserve.
MATTHEWS TIPS MANDURAH TO REBOUND
Graeme Matthews recognises Mandurah City’s chances of finishing top of Division One were dealt a serious blow on the weekend. The Dolphins slipped three points behind pacesetters Wanneroo City after taking just a point home from third-from-bottom Morley Windmills. “The lads were not happy … I don’t think anyone was too pleased with their performance,” said Matthews of his teams’ come from behind 3-3 draw. “We know as a group that it is these types of games that are the ones that matter most if we are serious about bouncing back into the Premier Division.”
Prior to Saturday Mandurah had propelled themselves into title contention with five straight wins, four of those under the new coaching team of Billy Russell and Tom Kilkelly. “A change of coach brings with it new intensity, we all start again and everyone wants to impress the new boss,” said Matthews. “Billy and Tom have changed the system and made us all accountable on the pitch and in training, and they have no problem letting us know if we are letting the rest of the lads down. The boys have really taken to the new system and some of the training ground routines have been coming off in games.”
It has been a chequered 12 months for Matthews who, towards the end of last season, decided it was time to hang up his boots. “But after watching some games this year I wanted to get back into it and asked (the coach) Mike Brazil if I could come back,” said 31-year old Matthews, who has put away four goals in as many games. “It’s good to be playing again and scoring. I was disappointed against Morley as I should have bagged a couple, so I’m hoping to bounce back with a goal or two this week.”
In all likelihood the Division One title won’t be decided until the final weeks of the season with only a few points separating Wanneroo, Cockburn City, Mandurah and Ashfield and each capable of going all the way. “It will come down to the last couple of games. Teams have showed this year that anyone can beat anyone and there will still be a few more upsets before the winner is decided,” commented Matthews, who says Mandurah fate is in their own hands. “If we can win our remaining games then it will be us returning to the Premier League.”
Mandurah will be pulling out all the stops to return to winning ways this weekend when they face a Gosnells City outfit stuck in the bottom half of the table. “We saw against Morley that we should not underestimate anyone – we cannot afford to drop anymore points,” said Matthews, who is tipping a big improvement from the Dolphins. “You’ll see a different Mandurah turning up than the one from last weekend, especially after Billy and Tom got hold of us this week at training.” Mandurah welcome Gosnells to Hyundai Stadium from 3.00pm on Saturday.
EXPERIMENTAL GLORY HIT SIX AGAINST AMATEURS
Perth Glory has made an ideal start to their pre-season, defeating the Western Australia Amateur team 6-0 under lights on a chilly evening at Integra Stadium in Inglewood. In their first and only warm-up game before a three-game tour of South Africa, an experimental Glory line-up were on top from the outset with teenager Borbor Sambindi posting an early goal. But it wasn’t until after the break that Glory powered away through a Jesse Makarounas double and singles from Adrian Zahra, Travis Dodd and Brandon O’Neill.
Barely a minute was on the clock when Borbor Sambindi, who plays locally for the National Training Centre, rounded Haig Kingston to stroke into the net. Nick Ambrogio forced a sharp save from the goalkeeper before Jacob Burns’ curled into the side netting. Kingston thrust out a glove to tip over Ndumba Makeche’s header on 21 minutes to deny Glory a second goal. Liam Miller struck the post with a sharp shot on the turn, Josh Risdon chipped just past the post and Benjamin Berard’s goal line clearance thwarted Scott Jamieson.
Seven minutes after the break Makarounas finished into an open net after Kingston parried a Dodd volley into his path. A glorious ball from the left by Moses Kalu provided Zahra with the simplest of headers, Makarounas doubled his tally with a neat near post finish from Storm Roux’s low centre and Dodd made it five-nil with 66 minutes played. Jack Clisby’s free-kick was kept out by Kingston before play switched to the opposite end where Logan Crawford called Jordan Franken into action. The final goal arrived in the 86th minute with O’Neill netting from close-in.
SUBIACO’S TITLE HOPES REST ON LUCK: FITZGERALD
Subiaco AFC do not need reminding that they may have blown their chances of winning Division Two. Not so long ago the inner city club were sitting top of the table, however, four losses in five outings has seen Subiaco slip well off the pace, eight points being leaders UWA-Nedlands. “We need a lot of luck to have any chance of getting back in the title race,” said defender Ger Fitzgerald, whose team surrendered 3-0 to UWA on Saturday. “We were pissed off with ourselves, we know we had a very bad first half and they deserved to be winning at half-time because our mistakes gave them three goals.”
Fitzgerald says if Subiaco can rediscover the form that produced eight wins on the trot earlier in the season then they might just be able to close the gap on UWA and second-placed Fremantle United. “Our goal is to win as many games as we can and finish as high as possible in the league. That means winning Division Two but to do that now we are going to need a lot of luck and a few favours from other teams,” commented Fitzgerald. “When we have everyone fully fit and get back to playing football like I know we can play then we have a good chance.”
Subiaco propelled themselves to top spot in late May on the back of an eight-game winning run that included defeats of both UWA and Fremantle. But that rhythm was broken by the untimely absence of several key players as Subiaco tumbled down the standings with successive losses to Melville City, Quinns and Fremantle. “We lost a bit of confidence after the three loses in a row, and that showed moist in front of goal,” Fitzgerald commented. “When we were on our winning run our confidence was high, we thought we would win and score goals every game.”
A Joondalup City outfit which has won just three times from 15 starts provides Subiaco’s opposition on Saturday. “We won’t be underestimating Joondalup, we know they are a decent team. We’ve beaten them twice already so they’ll want to turn that around and get the win at their ground to push up the table,” commented Fitzgerald. “But we have to win this one to keep pressure on UWA and Fremantle, and hope both of those teams drop points. If we play like we know we can play them I’m sure we will get the result we’re after.”
FOUR IN THE MIX FOR YOUTH CUP FINAL
Balcatta have been pitted against Bunbury Forum Force in Saturday’s semi-final of the State Under-18 Cup at Intiga Stadium (12.15pm). Andrija Petrovic, coach of Balcatta, says league positions mean absolutely nothing when it comes to knock-out football. “Any team is capable of beating any team, regardless of where they are placed on the ladder,” he commented. “In the last four or five weeks Bunbury have had some good results over teams more favoured to win. Make it a Cup game and it really comes down to who wants it more.” Key to Balcatta’s chances of qualifying for the final will be the contributions of Carmelo Giuffre, Joshua Veroni and Milos Dubroja.
The underdogs tag sits nicely with Bunbury coach Guy Italiano whose team are occupy eleventh on the table. “The pressure is on Balcatta to get a result as they are expected to win. We’ll put them under as much pressure as we can and hope that they get flustered,” said Italiano. “We’ve done well to get this far and the boys will be pumped to give it one more shot. If we play to our potential we can trouble Balcatta.” Goalkeeper Liam Reeves will be vital for Bunbury while Cam Marra and Charlie Stapleton will also need to be at their best.
It’ll be an undermanned ECU Joondalup side which takes to the field for the ‘late’ semi-final with Floreat Athena at Percy Doyle Reserve (2.30pm). “We are a development squad and a number of the boys have headed overseas for trials. We’ve been using some of the under-15’s in the league but unfortunately they are Cup-tied, so it means we are struggling to field a team,” coach Mark Windeat said. Harry Hawkins, Jock Oldham and Kye Douglas have big roles to play in a Joondalup line-up missing Joe Knowles and Coire McGuigan.
Floreat coach Kyle Moran is not phased at coming up against the Under-18 league leaders. “League standings are a bit of false judgement of teams so playing the team at the top doesn’t both us,” he said. “Obviously Joondalup are a strong side and have a good manager to go along with it, but I fancy our chances. I have no doubt we will come away with the result were after.” Tommy Bramley, Nathan Grostate and captain Adam Blewett will have a big say in whether or not Moran’s prediction comes true.
BARCELONA SNAP UP GILSENAN, 9
Sorrento junior Zak Gilsenan is set to take the football world by storm after signing for Spanish giants Barcelona. Gilsenan, 9, turned out for the Gulls last year and had been on the radar of Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid before being snapped up by four-time champions of Europe Barcelona. The schoolboy is the second Sorrento youngster in twelve months to enter a European academy, following in the footsteps of Euan Cameron who last year joined Glasgow Celtic.
The Gilsenan family – Stephen and Claudia and their children Jamie, Danielle and Zak – moved to Dublin earlier this year to help Zak follow his dream. “We were living in Australia when Zak was spotted by Spurs, who were running football camps over there,” Stuart Gilsenan told ‘the Irish Sun’. “We came home with the intention of letting Zak go to Spurs, but in the meantime we had a call from Barcelona. One of their former players saw him playing in Oz and recommended him to Barca.”
From there things progressed very quickly. “They (Barcelona) offered Zak a trial in May and it was a great experience. It consisted of over 400 boys from all over the world. He was asked back in June when it was cut down to 90,” Stephen Gilsenan added. “Then in a match between the top 16 players Zak just ran riot and scored seven goals. He was phenomenal. We heard back two weeks ago and they offered him a spot.”
Stephen Gilsenan is hoping his son can go on to become the first Australian born player to represent Barcelona. “I know Zak is young to be doing this but kids are like a sponge at this age,” he said. “People say we are mad but in Barcelona he will be educated in the best footballing techniques. All we can do is go and see how it develops. We know it’s ruthless over there. We don’t want him turned into a machine, we just want him to enjoy it.”
COMPETITIVE SPIRIT SHINES THROUGH FOR STATE GIRLS
There were some impressive performances by the Western Australia girls’ youth teams at last week’s National Youth Championships. The Under-15 squad finished third in their group with two wins and a draw from their five outings, while the Under-14 squad took fourth place in their group courtesy of a final day victory over the Northern Territory. Emily Henderson’s efforts through the tournament were rewarded with All-Stars selection for the second year running. New South Wales Metropolitan claimed the trophies in both age groups.
The Under-14 side opened their campaign with a 4-2 loss to Tasmania, against who Jessica Harris and Baxter Thew were on target. Thew found the back of the net again the following day but it wasn’t enough to prevent New South Wales Country from claiming a 3-1 win. Further losses to Victoria (4-1) and South Australia (3-0) left Western Australia out of the medal running leading into Day Five of competition. There was some final day joy for the girls after Georgia Brittan netted twice and Thew once to lead them to a 3-1 win over the Northern Territory.
The Western Australia Under-14 Girls squad for the 2012 National Youth Championships featured Baxter Thew (Busselton), Taylor Maguire, Eliza Mitchell, Kathryn Moore (East Fremantle), Kizane Mulder (Kingsway Olympic), Isabelle Bridger, Jessica Harris (Melville City), Karla Edwards (National Training Centre), Georgia Brittan, Georgia Donaldson, Janelle St Pierre (Perth Hills), Monique Todd (Sorrento), Melanie Doeglas, Cassandra Harvey, Nadia Harvey (Stirling Lions) and Alyssa Van Heurck (UWA-Nedlands). Team officials were Salv Todaro (coach), Lindsay Aldrick (assistant coach), Erin Stinton (manager) and Elise Stacy (physiotherapist).
The Under-15s went down to New South Wales Country (1-0) in their first game. But they bounced back by thrashing the Northern Territory 10-0 through a Sarah Kenny hat-trick, two apiece from Mikayla Lyons and Hope Shepherd plus singles by Shauni Reid, Emily Henderson and Steffi Nadilo. Western Australia backed that result up with a resounding 5-0 defeat of Tasmania courtesy of two goals each from Maddison Schofield and Reid and another for Shepherd. Reid also netted in a 4-1 loss to South Australia, while Emma Leaning grabbed a late goal in the final day 1-1 draw with Victoria.
The Western Australia Under-15 Girls squad at the 2012 National Youth Championships consisted of Gabby Dal Busco, Monique Godding, Danni Griffiths, Courtney Hall, Emily Henderson, Sarah Kenny, Emma Leaning, Mikayla Lyons, Steffi Nadilo, Shauni Reid, Tiahna Scandrett, Maddison Schofield, Hope Shepherd, Melissa Shepherd, Angelique Stannet (all National Training Centre) and Leniana Masibaka, who is currently without a club. The team officials were Jessine Bonzas (coach), Lindsey Kenyon (assistant coach), Lisa Tana (manager) and Elise Stacy (physiotherapist).
STATE AMATEURS NAMED FOR GLORY
State Amateur coach John McGlynn has selected a 19-player squad for Wednesday’s evenings clash with Perth Glory at Integra Stadium, home of Inglewood United. The friendly is the Amateur teams’ first outing since the appointment of McGlynn and his assistant Ljupco Taneski three weeks ago. The coaches will add to the squad and formalise a training schedule over coming months in preparation for the teams’ annual overseas tour. This week’s game is also the first on Glory’s road toward the 2012/13 A-League season.
The Western Australia Amateur squad to play Perth Glory on Wednesday, 18 July, is Anthony Carlito, Benjamin Berard, Kenji Tang Fat Sang (BB United), Patrick Barry, Amin Hassan, Declan Peters (Belmont Villa), Damian Houston (Calcio), Alen Galic, Ante Ramic, Bobby Ramic (Fremantle Croatia), Logan Crawford, Shaun Gibbons, Haig Kingston, Ryan Sochanik (Hamersley Rovers), Ricky Gardiner, Anthony Taylor (Joondalup United), Saul Rosenheim (Maccabi), Alen Karaselimovic and Felim Rugel (Southern Spirit).
GRIFFITHS SEES A BIG FUTURE FOR CHINESE FOOTBALL
Guangzhou R&F midfielder Rostyn Griffiths believes new team mate Yakubu Aiyegbeni will help ignite China's football revolution and pave the way for more big names to move east from Europe. Nigeria international Yakubu was an instant success on arriving in China, scoring a late decider on debut in Saturday's derby win over league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande. The Chinese Super League is fast becoming a popular destination for some of the world’s big names with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua and Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup success in 2006, managing Guangzhou Evergrande.
Griffiths says the addition of players like Yakubu and Drogba signals the start of a new era in Chinese football. “Hopefully that’s the case because they certainly have everything to make the Chinese league very strong and able to attract big players,” Griffiths told au.fourfourtwo.com. “Of course the league is getting a lot of hype because of Yakubu's signing and the likes of Drogba. I think in China there is a feeling that it’s only going to get better. They’re talking about extending the amount of foreign players to six in each team.”
Drogba only recently signed with Shanghai and could make his debut this Sunday against Griffiths’ Guangzhou. “Drogba has been getting the most press over here, the fans and league are very excited,” the defensive midfielder said. “There were 750 people or so at the airport when he landed. His team is struggling in the league and the media has been getting on Anelka’s back a bit so I think Drogba will ease the pressure off him. We play them next weekend so hopefully he’s not ready to play yet.”
Griffiths, a former ECU Joondalup player, has welcomed the arrival of Yakubu whose 400-plus game career has taken in spells with Maccabi Haifa, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers. “It’s brilliant playing with the Yak. I’m a big fan and he’s a much needed boost for the team. The best bit for me is that he speaks English so it’s somebody to talk to,” he said. “The professionalism at the club has gone up big time and everybody is bending over backwards to make all the players happy.”
YOUNG SOCCEROOS PROGRESS TO CHAMPIONSHIP
Australia have qualified for the AFC Under-22 Championship after finishing second in Group E of the qualifying tournament in Indonesia. The Young Socceroos defeated Indonesia (1-0), Macau (3-2) and Timor Leste (3-0, drew with Singapore (0-0) and lost to Japan (0-5) in a gruelling schedule. “I am very proud of the players performances to come here and play five hard matches in ten days when we are in the middle of the off-season in Australia,” said coach Paul Okon. Perth Glory pair Jesse Makarounas and Branon O’Neill each made four appearances while youth team player Riley Woodcock featured twice. Adam Taggart withdrew from the squad due to injury.
The Young Socceroos opened their qualifying campaign on the right note, defeating host nation Indonesia 1-0 in front of 45,500 spectators at the Riau Main Stadium in Penkabaru. Australia dominated the early passages but had to wait until first half stoppage time before taking the lead through Anthony Proia, who finished cleanly a cross from the left by Ben Garuccio. The second half was tough on both teams with the heat and humidity taking its toll. Indonesia applied a lot of late pressure but were held out by some great defending and goalkeeper Nick Munro. Makarounas played a full game while O’Neill came on in the 85th minute.
Luke O’Dea scored twice and Woodcock once to guide Australia to a 3-2 win over Macau two days later. Played in oppressive conditions on a bumpy pitch, Woodcock gave Australia a perfect start by tapping in after 2 minutes. Luke O’Dea doubled their lead after being played in by Jake Barker-Daish, and on 13 minutes bagged his second goal from a Woodcock cross. De Jesus Morias Alves Vinicio pulled a goal back soon after but it wasn’t until the 77th minute that Macau captain Leong Ka Hang scored their second on the counterattack. Woodcock played a full game, Makarounas came on at half-time and O’Neill was replaced in the 79th minute.
Australia’s third game in five days produced a dour 0-0 draw with Singapore. A first half largely devoid of chances on goal ended with the wrongful sending off of Young Socceroos captain Terry Antonis, who was the victim of an out of position referee. The game started to open up after the break with Australia enjoying the better of possession but unable to get a clear shot on goal. The 87th minute dismissal of Muhammad Farhan Bin Rahmat prompted Singapore to see out the six minutes of stoppage time with a stacked defence, stifling Australia’s hopes of stealing a late victory. Makarounas played a full game.
Thursday’s 3-0 defeat of Timor Leste moved the Young Socceroos to second place in Group E, and requiring just one point from their final game with Japan to qualify for the Championship. The first half saw plenty of end-to-end action before O’Dea two defenders and fired past the goalkeeper from 15-metres just minutes before the break. It took until the 87th minute for the game to be made safe, Proia laying the ball at the feet of Barker-Daish who finished past a diving ‘keeper. Barker-Daish added another in stoppage time after being set up by Nick Fitzgerald. O’Neill played a full game with Woodcock introduced after 76 minutes.
Australia lost their final qualifier to Japan 5-0 but still progressed to the championship after Singapore’s hopes were snuffed out by Indonesia. A fatigued Young Socceroos went a goal down after 18th minutes to Notsuda Gakuto. Iwanami Takuya headed in from a corner just after the half hour Watari adding a third in stoppage time. The second half was much the same with Japan holding possession and creating chances. Gakuto extended Japan’s lead in the 54th minute with a fine strike and with fifteen minutes to go substitute Hirota completed the route with a close-range tap-in. O’Neill came in the 39th minute, and Makarounas in the 80th minute.
STIRLING HOLD PERTH TO A DRAW (with Nathan Drudi, Football West)
The points were shared at Dorrien Gardens this afternoon with Perth SC coming from behind to grab a 1-1 draw with Stirling Lions. Anthony Lyons put the visitors in front early in the second half only to have substitute Daniel Neiderberger to bring the sides level in the closing stages. “One lapse in concentration and they scored,” said Stirling boss Doug Hesketh, who was otherwise happy with is teams’ performance. “I was very pleased, I thought we played some excellent football, we dominated the ball for 95% of the game … if we keep playing good football then the by-product will be that we will win games.”
The first half was fairly uneventful with the teams negating the others attacking desires. In fact it wasn’t until the 20th minute that either goal looked like being breached, Lyons elegantly beat two defenders but lifting his shot over the crossbar. Perth responded to this close call by increasing their share of possession and on several occasions young midfielder Josh Pereira went close to putting them in front. Stirling had one last crack at scoring just before the half time whistle but Josh Wilkins managed to head off the line Jason Gavin’s goalbound effort.
Stirling opened the second half brightly, Lyons providing a delightful through ball for Andy Brown but the team captain pushed just wide. Goalkeeper Alex Dunn and the frame of the goal then denied Matt Harold, Lyons and Brown in quick succession. The breakthrough arrived on the hour when Lyons gathered possession in midfield and, spotting Dunn off his line, chipped the ball from 30-metres and into the top corner. Gareth McGlynn nearly doubled the visitors lead but was thwarted by Dunn when the better option would have been to pass to Lyons, who was in a better position to score.
Stirling were looking the goods to add another goal when Neiderberger slotted in the equaliser after David Onoforo stepped over a low centre from Greg Sharland. Either team could have come out with all the points had they been able to make more of the chances in the final elven minutes. Lyons bicycle kick was saved with ease by Dunn, play swung straight to the other end where Onoforo’s header smacked into the bar following a corner. The final play had Onoforo one-on-one with ‘keeper Cory Hugo, who made a wonderful save to ensure the spoils were split.
MILLER WELCOMED BACK TO COCKBURN
Cockburn City have placed their faith in former Socceroo defender Scott Miller to lead them back into the Premier Division. Miller, whose career started with Cockburn under their former guise as Spearwood Dalmatinac, was appointed first team coach on Thursday following the surprise sacking of Mick Lyons. “I welcome Scott back home where he belongs,” said Lazzaro. “Mick Lyons has been a true gentleman along with (assistant coach) Peter Johnson and I wish them both well and thank them both for their contribution to our club. As we move towards the final nine games of 2012 the committee have appointed Scott for the remainder of the season, a move we hope will put the club in strong contention for promotion.”
Cockburn were slumped at the foot of the Premier Division when Lyons joined them midway through last season. The former Everton defender was unable to prevent their relegation to the second tier but had put Cockburn in the frame to bounce straight back up before being removed from the job. “These decisions are very difficult and this was discussed at length,” Lazzaro commented. “We had expected to be sitting at a certain position (on the table) at this time, unfortunately that had not transpired. As a club we strive to finish in a healthy position and promotion is definitely a motivation.” Cockburn moved into second place with Saturday’s 4-1 home win over Canning.
STALEMATE AT INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United and Floreat Athena remain locked together at the top of the Premier Division following this afternoon’s 0-0 draw at Integra Stadium. Devon Spence and Brad Eiffe were in terrific touch at opposite ends of the park where their shot-stopping abilities were tested on several occasions but neither played was breached. “It was a hard fought point for us, both teams had chances but it was probably a fair result in the end,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “There were a lot of tired bodies out there. We were missing a number of players and we didn’t have the depth to come on and change the game.”
Floreat settled the better and fashioned the first opening which Mickey Roberts unleashed from the edge of the 18-yard box only to be captured by Spence. Not long after Mark Pritchard played Roberts down the left but after evading Rikki Smith the attacker was again thwarted by Spence. Having weathered an early storm, Inglewood went forward themselves with Jason Colli finding space down the right to cross for Aleks Jovic, who nodded the ball back to Dannie Richman whose shot from 10-metres flashed wide.
Inglewood now came to life. Jack Clisby drove out of defence to unleash a fierce long-range effort which was just off-target, then Richman freed Alex Caniglia whose low strike was taken by Eiffe. Neither side was gaining much in the way of midfield supremacy with the efforts of James Sammut and David Perich countered by Pritchard and Sandi Loncar. The momentum began to tilt Floreat’s way as half-time approached. Jake Geddes stole possession from Rikki Smith and raced clear but Spence had his low finish covered.
Jovic and Sammut had chances to break the deadlock early in the second half without success. As the clock ticked by the game slowly started to open up. Spence was well-placed to keep out a shot from substitute Jon Brooks, then Jovic’s low first time strike was taken by Eiffe. Mark Walsh’s last ditch tackle denied Jovic a shot after powering inside the area, and Spence as again alert to frustrate Roberts. With nine minutes to go Pritchard played in Roberts, who skipped past Smith to be one-on-one with Spence who came out on top of the challenge.
BAYSWATER ARE THE REALE THING (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
Bayswater City moved to within a point of top spot with a resounding 4-1 defeat of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Andy Reale’s desire to push forward was rewarded with a hat-trick as fellow defender Callum O’Connell added his name to the scoresheet before Armadale grabbed a stoppage time consolation via Joey Tavernese. “It’s pretty exciting – I’ve only scored one this year, so to score three in one game is pretty special,” Reale said. “It was an important game today. We needed three points to stay in touch with (joint leaders) Inglewood United and Floreat Athena.”
It took only 6 minutes for Bayswater to open their account, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda jinxing his way past a couple of opponents on his way down the left before cutting the ball back for Reale to who slot into the net of Cyril Sharrock. This set the scene for the rest of a first half which Bayswater, despite missing five first team players through suspension and injury, dominated possession. With Thomas Gooding shutting down the Armadale midfield, the home side struggled to get into gear. Bayswater’s second goal came six minutes before the interval when O’Connell side-footed in from 5-metres metres after a Larry Miller shot spilled his way.
The second half followed the already established pattern. The result was put beyond doubt in the 72nd minute when Giron-Marulanda brilliantly flicked the ball over one defender then darting past another before slotting into the path of Reale whose finish was again too good for Sharrock. Reale’s hat-trick was made complete in the 88th minute, the defender timing his run to powerfully head a corner into the top corner. The home crowd was finally given reason to celebrate four minutes later when Tavernese placed just the out-stretched gloves of Giannia Papalia after meeting a pass by Mitch Castrilli.
SORRENTO PUT KNIGHTS TO THE SWORD (with Ilija Mihalj, FootballWest)
Western Knights slipped into the relegation slumped after surrendering a two-goal lead to go down 4-2 to Sorrento at Wauhop Park. Goals in the opening half hour from Jackson Turner and Brian White raised the hopes of the home supporters before Todd Harnwell struck twice and Daryl Platten to send Sorrento into the break with a three-two lead. The second half offered little relief for the Knights as Ryan Pearson added a fourth goal for the visitors while the late dismissals of Jamie Burns and White rubbed further salt into the wound.
The game started brightly for the Knights who found themselves ahead after 17 minutes when Ethan Levitt played into the path of Turner, who finished into Curtis Aspden’s net. The margin was doubled ten minutes later with White thumping his header past the goalkeeper from a pin-point corner by Ryan Shackleton. But as has been the case so often this year the Knights failed to take advantage of their situation. Poor defending at a 32nd minute Jason Mirco corner was punished by an unmarked Todd Harnwell, who headed in at close-range.
With club veterans David Annall and Ivan Zuvela absent from the line-up, the Knights’ defensive frailties would be exposed two more times before the half-time whistle blew. Parity was restored in the 37th minute when defender Platten rose highest to head past Kevin Miller from a Johny Mirco corner. And just when seemed the sides would go in level, Todd Harnwell broke the offside trap and cleverly beat the advancing Miller to give the Gulls the upper hand at the end of 45 minutes.
Pearson made the most of more poor defending ten minutes into the second half by looping his header over Miller and into the back of the net to make it four-two. Any hopes the Knights had of clawing their way back into the game were dashed with the 76th minute dismissal of Burns for a deliberate handball. Things only got worse for the hosts with White also issued his marching orders by referee Tim Mihevc in the final minute of regulation after bringing down Todd Harnwell when through on goal.
THORNLEY GIVES JOONDALUP RENEWED HOPE
ECU Joondalup moved out of the drop zone by beating relegation rivals Bunbury Forum Force 4-2 at the Edith Cowan University campus. John Thornley scored twice with Jon Higgins and David Foster grabbing one apiece to negate goals from Steve Howson and Aiden Savory. “The players were aware of the importance of the game today and they responded with a very good performance,” said Joondalup coach Salv Todaro. “They worked hard for each other and the build-up to the goals was exciting to watch.”
While the first half was full of attacking intent, genuine chances on goal were kept to a minimum by resilient defending at both ends of the park. Bunbury managed to find a way through in the 15th minute via Matt Loch’s well-flighted free-kick to an unmarked Howson, who controlled the ball and flicked it over the head of Joondalup goalkeeper Andy Banks. The home side were struggling in the final third but in the shadows of half-time Thornley brought the teams level by finishing low from 14-metres after being found by Shaun Timmins.
The tempo lifted after the break with some good openings created by both teams. Joondalup hit the front in the 64th minute, Tommy Amphlett playing across for Thornley to head past Ryan Montgomery. The goal seemed to knock the wind out of Bunbury’s sail and seven minutes later they conceded again, Timmins crossing to the far post where Amphlett flicked the ball back for Higgins to volley in. The visitors were thrown a lifeline with ten minutes to go, Savory netting from the penalty spot after referee Michal Jasinski ruled handball against Tommy Jones.
Sensing their opportunity to steal a point, or perhaps three, Howson, Savory and Bright Ababio stepped up to the challenge of finding Bunbury a third goal. However, as the visitors pushed forward they were caught exposed at the back by Amphlett’s deep 83rd minute cross to Foster whose brilliantly diving header flashed past Montgomery to leave in no doubt where the points were going. The win jumps Joondalup to 14 points, level with Bunbury and Armadale but just one ahead of Western Knights, who drop to last.
MICEVSKI PUNISHES NTC
Daniel Micevski put away his third hat-trick of the season as Balcatta eased past the National Training Centre 4-1 on a chilly afternoon at Grindleford Reserve. Balcatta’s eighth win of the season keeps them in sixth spot and breathing down the necks of Perth SC, while the NTC’s winless run stretches to 16 games. “It was nice to get another hat-trick, but even more important that we got the three points,” said Daniel Micevski. “It’s tough for the NTC but I was impressed with them. Even though their results have not been the best they still look to play and they have a great attitude.”
The day could not have started better for Balcatta who, with just a couple of minutes on the clock, had David Micevski find the net after slicing his way through the defence. However, the NTC should have drawn level soon after but Sahr Musa failed to capitalise when presented with an open goal. Jason Barrera squandered a great chance to double Balcatta’s lead when he pushed wide in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Jordan Franken. Daniel Micevski showed his teammate how it’s done in the 18th minute by tucking away a delightful cross from Moe Atak.
Balcatta were on top and in a blistering five minute spell created four good opening but on each occasion were unable to find the back of the net. The NTC countered through Borbor Sambindi with the midfielder collecting a long ball and shooting from an acute angle, unfortunately, into the side netting. Balcatta suffered a setback on the half hour with attack-focused Callum Roberts suffering a shoulder injury which forced him out of the game, Genaveo Human taking his place.
Daniel Micevski needed just five second half minutes before rounding the ‘keeper to put away his second goal of the afternoon after combining with David Micevski in the lead-up. The frame of the goal denied David Micevski his second goal as the home side went looking to increase their lead. But it was the NTC that would find the target next through Nick Ambrogio, who slotted in after Sambindi’s shot came back off the upright. The final whistle was just moments away when Daniel Micevski completed his hat-trick by lashing a loose ball into the roof of the net.
TEN-MAN WANNEROO HOLD OFF ROCKINGHAM
Wanneroo City increased their lead in Division One by defeating Rockingham City 2-1 at Kingsway Reserve. With fellow title contenders Mandurah City and Ashfield slipping up, Wanneroo jumped three points clear thanks to first half finishes from Brian Cairney and Garin Collins. Rockingham menaced the opening exchanges with Lance Louvie, Darren Clark and Roy Hissey asserting control in the middle of the park. The first chance on goal came when Papa Kpatar played in Innocent Zico but the teenager shot straight at goalkeeper Clint Davies.
Wanneroo made up for a slow midway through the half with a slick passing move in which Chris Pugh slipping the ball between two defenders and into the path of Cairney, who lofted over stranded goalkeeper Dave Keenan for a one-nil lead. Rockingham were still coming to terms with the situation when their defence was cut open again, this time by Darren Broxton’s through ball which allowed Collins to hardly break stride before scoring to the ‘keeper’s right. And when Marco Dos Santos limped from the field shortly before the break it appeared the writing was on the wall for the visitors.
Whatever coach Steve Robinson said at the break worked a treat as Wes Britz hit the post within minutes of the restart with a clever chip over Davies. The pressure was now all on Wanneroo whose plight was not helped by the dismissal of Collins for two quick yellow cards with fifteen minutes to go. Ryan Kennedy came off the bench to cut the deficit at close-range after Davies blocked his initial shot as well as the follow-up by Britz. After this Wanneroo locked things down at the back to ensure they held on to all three points.
COCKBURN MOVE INTO SECOND
Scott Miller made a dream start to his third spell in charge of Cockburn City, who accounted for Canning City 4-1 at Dalmatinac Park. Cockburn went one-nil up with the first attack of the afternoon, Devon Gibson winning possession just outside the 18-yard box and angling his shot past goalkeeper Steve Grant. Daniel Trevisiol forced a fine save from home custodian Dejan Aleksic, but the majority of play was at the opposite end where Grant was working overtime to prevent Cockburn from breaking through again. The pressure eventually paid off with Gibson heading powerfully into the net from a Paul Lloyd corner. Goal number three came soon before the interval via Matt Salmon, who was put through on goal by Nick Carroll.
Cockburn continued their onslaught upon the resumption, Lloyd’s long-range attempt calling Grant into action once again. Michael Lawson responded with a goalbound effort which was tipped around the post by Aleksic. But it was a brief respite as the home side resumed the attack, Lloyd going close with a dead ball while Gibson’s shot from distance whizzed past the frame of the goal. Cockburn’s fourth arrived through Carroll, who chipped into the net after being played in by Salmon. With the game all but over Trevisiol pulled one back for Canning with a tidy shot on the turn which beat Aleksic. The points gained move Cockburn to joint second alongside Mandurah City.
MANDURAH HELD BY IMPROVING MORLEY
Morley Windmills edged a little closer to Division One survival by holding title contenders Mandurah City to a 3-3 at Wotton Reserve. “There was plenty of spirit and fight from the boys with some flashes of the good football we can play,” said very pleased home captain Mark Grant. “This result, allied to the Ashfield game, shows we can compete with anyone in this league and we are rapt to keep the unbeaten run going. These results show how far we’ve come under and our aim is to keep building while having a say on the league table at both ends.”
Mandurah were quick to find their rhythm and deservedly took the lead through Robbie Hamm whose volley squirmed under goalkeeper Michael Dudek after meeting a Jeff Bright cutback. Going a goal down seemed to wake up the home side. Houston brought the teams level by slotting in at close-range after Scott Campbell’s cross was touched back across the face of goal by Tony Vento. Morley continued to match their more fancied opponents and with half-time approaching Houston flicked the ball on for strike partner Andy Griffiths to place into the bottom corner.
The second half was only a few minutes old when Mandurah drew level, Craig Tome cutting the ball back for Hamm whose miskick fell invitingly for Mathew Stares to drive first time into the net. Morley regrouped and were back in front soon enough, Houston intercepting a poor defensive pass and lifting lift over the advancing ‘keeper in a one-on-one. With five minutes remaining Bright unleashed a rasping drive from 18-metres which flashed past Dudek and inside the far post to make it three-all. There was still time for Adam Pygrum to steal the home side victory but the midfielder placed just wide from 13-metres.
BYRNE FIRES UP SHAMROCK
Ciaran Byrne struck twice to overturn guide Shamrock Rovers to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Ashfield in the ‘Woodbridge Cup’ encounter at Ashfield Reserve. Ashfield took the game by the scruff of the neck from the outset and if not for some strong defensive work Alex Stamatiadis and Daryl Warren would have had the ‘visiting’ side a couple of goals up inside 10 minutes. The goal they sought finally arrived when Branimir Mikulic’s through ball put Stamatiadis in behind the defence to poke past advancing goalkeeper Philip Shiel. Having taken the lead Ashfield wanted another before the break but Karl O’Reilly and Brian Maybin were unable to capitalise before the whistle sounded.
The break gave Shamrock an opportunity to regroup, the hosts returning to the field with greater focus and determination. Their reward came after just four minutes when captain Paudie O’Connor surged forward and delivered the ball in to Byrne, who twisted past his marker to coolly place past the advancing ‘keeper. This spurred Shamrock into a period of sustained attack in which Gavin Mooney and Brian Farrell were instrumental. The team in green snuck in front through Byrne’s clever back-header into the top corner from a Farrell cross which ‘keeper Todd Bushby failed to deal with. Ashfield responded with wave after wave of attack but Shamrock were In no mood to threw the game away and defending resolutely to stretch their unbeaten run to six games.
GOSNELLS OUT-CLASS FREMANTLE
Gosnells City picked up their second win in three games by trouncing Fremantle Spirit 4-0 at Nikola Tesla Reserve. The visitors held a slender advantage at the break courtesy of Tiernan McMullan but it was in the second half that the real damage was done with Darren Gamble, Graham Tough and Liam Cave adding to their teams tally. Gosnells opened their account midway through the first period when Paul Carlin’s cross-field was headed into the net by McMullan. Sean Treacey was denied an equaliser bya goal line clearance, while Tough almost doubled Gosnells’ lead from a corner but his effort was saved by Kodi Nagi.
Gamble spectacularly doubled Gosnells’ lead with a bicycle kick on the hour after Fremantle failed to deal sufficiently with a corner. Ten minutes later Tough converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Daniel Parades by Shaun Ilett. The result was put beyond doubt by Cave, who took possession near the halfway line and surged past three opponents before blasting past the goalkeeper to make it four-nil. Gosnells were forced to see out the closing stages a man down after, having used their allotted three substitutes, Carlin succumbed to injury. A great reflex save by Allan Creer denied David Gee a late consolation goal for Fremantle.
SUBIACO BLITZED BY UWA
UWA-Nedlands continued their march towards the Division Two championship by brushing aside a depleted Subiaco AFC 3-0 at McGilvray Oval. Guy Clarke’s first goal of the season got the show on the road with James Plowman and Rory Feely making the game safe for UWA, who remain five points clear of Fremantle United and have a game in hand over their nearest rival. “I’d like to dedicate the victory to Hilton Swan, who sadly passed away recently,” winning captain Steve Purton said post-game. “Hilton was a great support of the club and our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
The first half was pretty much one-way traffic with UWA heaping pressure on their visitors. They were rewarded in the 20th minute when Plowman beat two players to whip in a cross from the right which Clark put in the net. Ten minutes later Plowman slotted in from an acute angle on the end of a tidy move that saw the ball channelled through Rob Spence, Tom Wood and Purton. The result was put beyond doubt four minutes from the break when Feely converted at the far post following Purton’s cross from the left. Subiaco became more involved in the second half but the closest they came to scoring was a Danny Malcolm shot that hit the crossbar.
REICHELT KEEPS FREMANTLE’S PROMOTION HOPES ALIVE
Fremantle United stretched their unbeaten run to five games with this afternoon’s hard-fought 3-1 win over Melville City 3-1 at Len Shearer Reserve. A first half brace by Levi Reichelt took the young winger to five goals in two games with Will Pender netting after the interval to keep Fremantle in second spot, five points behind Division Two leaders UWA-Nedlands. However, much of the early running came from the Melville who deservedly took the lead when Sasa Slavujevic crossed to the near post where Simon El Chami’s precision header burst Francisco Bervenotti’s net.
Within minutes Fremantle were threatening to equalise, Reichelt delivering the ball into the 18-yard box where defender Mark Kendall drove an attempted clearance into the post under pressure from Andrew Morrow. The port side were now beginning to assert themselves. Darren Monaghan sent in a free-kick which evaded goalkeeper Stewart Dalgarno and Nathan Findlater smacked into the crossbar, the rebound falling kindly for Reichelt to stab in from only a metre. There was a sense of deja vu a minute later when a Monaghan corner slipped from Dalgarno’s grasp to present Reichelt with another close-range goal..
Fremantle continued to apply pressure after the interval and had it not been for an offside flag then Reichelt would have completed his hat-trick. As it was the port side didn’t have to wait too much longer for their third goal, Tim De Souza releasing Morrow who left a static defence in his wake before cutting back for Pender to send into the net. Melville responded with a few chances of their own, the best of which had Vitor Valdinei force a sharp save from Bervenotti. Reichelt should have put the result beyond doubt late on but somehow placed wide from a couple of metres.
QUINNS SEE RED (AGAIN) AS KINGSWAY TAKES THE POINTS
Kingsway Olympic celebrated their first clean sheet of the season by downing a ten-man Quinns 3-0 at Gumblossom Park. Ally Annall, Wayne Culverwell and Joe Armitage were on target for the visiting side as Quinns finished a man down for the third time in four weeks after Adam Buckley was issued his marching orders just after the hour. With Glen Thomas pulling the midfield strings Kingsway enjoyed the better of first half possession. But it took until five minutes before the break for they found a way through with Annall heading in from a Lee Thomas corner. Quinn’s could have levelled but Rudi Coetzer failed to get a touch on George Mills’ cutback.
Quinns attempted to hit back after the break but found it difficult to break down a well-organised back four marshalled by custodian Ben Towers. But the hosts were dealt a devastating blow in the 65th minute when Buckley was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Kingsway now came back in and Culverwell was unlucky not to extend their lead with a shot on the turn which slammed against the upright. It was a warning Quinns failed to heed as soon after Culverwell curled into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box after being set up by Sota Iwasaki. Armitage sealed the win with a lovely strike from 22-metres into the corner of Anthony Cochrane’s net.
COCKBURN SACK LYONS
Mike Lyons has been sacked as coach of Division One club Cockburn City. Lyons’ departure from Dalmatinac Park comes only 24 hours after Shamrock Rovers shock decision to relieve Andy Dickson of his coaching duties. Cockburn put a sluggish start to the season behind them to climb up the standings and back into promotion contention, the club sitting in fourth spot and only three points adrift of leaders Wanneroo City when Lyons was shown the door. Former Perth Glory defender Scott Miller has agreed to a third coaching stint with Cockburn which will take him through to the end of the season.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
6PR Stadium is the place to be tomorrow for the top-of-the-table showdown between Inglewood United and Floreat Athena. The two sides sit level on points but Floreat midfielder Jon Brooks is confident his team will have jumped clear by Saturday afternoon. “We are more than capable of gaining the three points,” said Brooks. “We have quality and depth throughout the squad and as long as there’s no complacency we shouldn’t have a problem. It will be a close game but I think we will edge it.” Striker David Heageny (suspended) will miss the game but Floreat are otherwise at full strength.
Inglewood returns home after six games on the road and, although suspended, Michael Baczynski is looking forward to the occasion. “Last time we played Floreat we were well below par, one of our poorest performances this season, and that’s still in the back of most the boy’s minds,” said Baczynski of the mid-April 6-1 loss. “We have to go out and play at our best, if we do that we’ll come away with the three points. The top of the table is very congested and this is the next game we need to tick off the list for us to succeed this season.”
There’s another massive game at the opposite end of the table with ECU Joondalup hosting Bunbury Forum Force. Bayswater City are without Paul McCarthy, Francisco Jorquera and Luka Njegich due to suspension when they take on Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Western Knights are hoping to repeat their dramatic come-from-behind win over Sorrento when they sides locks horns at Wauhop Park. Defensive pair Adam Tong and Jovo Pavlovic will watch from the sidelines when Balcatta pit skills with the National Training Centre at Grindleford Reserve.
Stirling Lions are out to upset Perth SC when they meet on Sunday afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. “We are all aware Perth came to Macedonia Park during the early part of the season and gave us a lesson in passing, movement and finishing (to win 6-2),” said Stirling assistant coach Gary Williams. “We have the nucleus of a good young side with a blend of experience and will continue to develop as the season progresses. We usually perform well at Dorrien Gardens and Doug (Hesketh) and I are hopeful this will continue.” All six Premier Division games – be they on Saturday or Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The Woodbridge Cup goes up for grabs when Shamrock Rovers and Ashfield come together at Ashfield Reserve. “We’re expecting a tough encounter, from what the boys have said they are a very physical team,” said Ashfield attacker Branimir Mikulic. “The team is hungry for success but we will need to be at our best for the full 90 minutes to walk away with the three points.” The season is over for Ashfield captain Matt Wardle (knee) while also unavailable this week are Reuben Tristao and goalkeeper John Perkins. Barry Triggs (suspended) is Shamrock’s only confirmed out, although they do have several players carrying niggling injuries.
Wanneroo City have home ground advantage over Rockingham City, who have Darren Lawler suspended and Papa Kpatar, Llewelyn Bake and Marco Dos Santos under injury clouds. Morley Windmills three-game comes under threat when an in-form Mandurah City, whose absences include Danny Dyson and Michael Grigo, travel to Wotton Reserve. Suspension will prevent Cockburn City playmaker Marc Anthony from taking to the field for Canning City’s visit to Dalmatinac Park. Gosnells City makes the trip to Nikola Tesla Reserve where Fremantle Spirit are without Elliott Williams (suspended), Eddie Walsh (knee) and Solomon Onyoku (work).
Forrestfield United coach Phil Butler is quietly confident his team can take home the points from Dianella White Eagles. “We are working very hard as group and we need to get over our occasional lapses in concentration. If we can do that we will start putting together a couple of results, hopefully that will begin against Dianella,” said Butler. “The recent additions to our squad has certainly boosted out chances of a result.” Unfortunately, goalkeeper Luke Woodfin looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
If you’re down Mount Claremont way tomorrow be sure to drop in at McGilvray Oval to watch UWA-Nedlands verses Subiaco AFC. “It’s first verses second so it’s going to be a very close game,” said Subiaco defender Ger Fitzgerald. “At this stage of the season it’s very important we take three points from every game. Hopefully we will get that result on Saturday and get our season and push for the league title back on track.” Subiaco playmaker Jordan Rhodes miss the game but otherwise coaches Ian Cowan and Kevin Burton have full compliments to choose from.
Fremantle United enter the weekend level in joint second spot, level with Subiaco, and are tipped to take the points over a depleted Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve. The home side have Paul Sanchez (shoulder), Graham Herd and Michael Jennings (suspended) out but welcome back defender Keith Nolan. Quinns go in search of just their second win of the season by welcoming Kingsway Olympic to Gumblossom Park. It’s an opportunity for atonement for both teams who are coming off back-to-back losses. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
COCKBURN SACK LYONS
Mike Lyons has been sacked as coach of Division One club Cockburn City. Lyons’ departure from Dalmatinac Park comes only 24 hours after Shamrock Rovers shock decision to relieve Andy Dickson of his coaching duties. Cockburn put a sluggish start to the season behind them to climb up the standings and back into promotion contention, the club sitting in fourth spot and only three points adrift of leaders Wanneroo City when Lyons was shown the door. Former Perth Glory defender Scott Miller has agreed to a third coaching stint with Cockburn which will take him through to the end of the season.
TANDY GOES THE DISTANCE
Former Manchester City player Jamie Tandy loves his football so much he travels in excess of 600 kilometres each week to train and play for Stirling Lions. Manchester-born Tandy started the season with Bunbury Forum Force but since switching to the Stirling camp in April the midfielder has been putting in more than just hard yards. “I still live in Bunbury so it was a tough decision to leave the Force. But things weren’t right there for me at the time and wanted a new challenge,” Tandy explained. “I’m enjoying my football with the Lions, they are a good bunch of lads to play with.”
Tandy, 27, learnt the finer points of the game during a lengthy spell with Manchester City but is the first to admit he wasted his opportunity to play at a higher level. “I started playing for Manchester City at nine in their youth academy and was offered a three-year professional contract with the club,” he explained. “I was with the first team for two years but never made the jump to the 18-man squad. Unfortunately, it was too easy for me to go out with my friends and I didn’t commit enough to the health regime and everything else that goes with it.”
Since leaving Maine Road in 2004 Tandy has played for a variety of clubs in Denmark, Ireland and England before heading down under to join Bunbury. “In June last year I opened my own business, but I’d had enough of it after a year so I decided to come here and see what happens. I didn’t plan on staying here this long but I don’t want to leave now,” said Tandy, who has settled well at Stirling. “There were a couple clubs I could have gone to but once I spoke with Dough (Hesketh) and Gary (Williams) then my mind was made up.”
Williams has been pleased with Tandy’s on-field efforts since arriving at Macedonia Park. “Jamie first and foremost is a good player who has been educated at the highest level of the game. He is a natural left-footed player who has brought balance to our team and also possesses great pace,” said Stirling’s assistant coach. “Jamie is also a good influence on our younger players, they look up to him due to his previous playing experiences. He has had a big influence on some of our better performances this year.”
Stirling overcame the National Training Centre 3-0 last time out with a performance Tandy recognises needs improvement if his team are to get anything from Saturday’s meeting with fifth-placed Perth SC. “The NTC are a good technical team and have some really good young players who, after watching them a few times, will go on to better and bigger things,” Tandy commented. “The Perth game is a really tough one because we have to win to stay in touch with the teams above us. But I’m hopeful the way we are starting to play we have a chance of getting a result.”
DIANELLA ON THE WAY TO ACHIEVING GREAT THINGS: THEODOSIADES
Dianella White Eagles midfielder Andreas Theodosiades has no complaints with how his clubs’ season is panning out. Midway through the campaign Dianella are positioned in sixth spot and well on track to achieve the goals they set six months ago. “I’m happy with the way the season is going,” Theodosiades commented. “Although we had a change of coaches and some players have left, there is still a great vibe around the club and everyone seems comfortable. Results have been coming our way lately and people at the club seem to be enjoying it.”
Theodosiades says Dianella are in the midst of a period of consolidation, the benefits of which will be seen in the coming few years. “We have quite a young squad and the aim is to build on that in the following years,” explained the midfielder. “Dianella are on the way to achieving great things with the players that we have. At the beginning of the season the aim was to finish in a solid position on the table and we are currently on the way to achieving that.”
Prior to the weekend Dianella had really been hitting their straps, as evidenced by convincing wins over Rockingham City (6-4) and Wanneroo City (4-1). “We kept our focus and structure in those two games and that resulted in us playing good football,” said Theodosiades, who was amongst the scorers in both games. “What we took from playing Rockingham and Wanneroo was we realised we can achieve anything if everyone follows the coaches plans and plays their role correctly. We know what we are capable of and we know that any game in this division can be won.”
Theodosiades singled out several players whose contributions he says have been vital in Dianella’s move up the table. “Bojan Radinovic has been having a great season at centre back and Simon Barber’s hard work in the centre of the park, running from box-to-box, has been a benefit to the whole team,” said Theodosiades. “Brendan Craig’s strength going forward has brought something to the team that was previously lacking. Andrew Kiir’s scoring and ability to help Brendan up-front will impact our progress for the rest of the season.”
Unfortunately, Dianella’s run came to an end on the weekend by surrendering 1-0 to lowly Canning City. “Canning played a harder game than we did, it was a definitely a fair result,” Theodosiades reasoned. “The boys did try but we can’t be satisfied with our overall performance. Personally I feel my performance wasn’t up to scratch and I am certain most of the boys feel the same about the way they played. Our decision making was poor across the park and team cohesion was definitely lacking compared to our previous games.”
Dianella will be taking nothing for granted when they host bottom of the table Forrestfield United on Saturday. “If we’ve discovered anything this year it’s that every team is dangerous, regardless of their position on the ladder. When we last played Forrestfield we conceded two goals so we know what they can do going forward,” said Theodosiades. “We will approach Saturday with the same winning mentality we always have. A win this week can take us up to fifth on the table so there is some extra motivation for us.”
SHAMROCK SWING THE AXE ON DICKSON
Andy Dickson has been left stunned by Shamrock Rovers’ decision to end his coaching tenure. Dickson was advised this morning that he was no longer coach of the Division One club who, after a flat run, have turned things around to be unbeaten in their last five outings. “I’m extremely disappointed considering how we were traveling at all levels within the club,” commented Dickson, who was taken by surprise by the clubs’ decision. “I had no idea it was coming. The reason I was given by the president was there were complaints from players regarding training, apparently.”
The timing of Dickson’s sacking could not be more bizarre. Having found the going tough earlier in the season Shamrock have turned the corner in recent times and moved to joint fifth with the weekend’s 5-2 defeat of Forrestfield United. “Our good form is down to belief – that has shown in the last few games – and the player group has started to really gel,” said Dickson, whose team had two three and drawn two of their last five games. “It’s a shame that I won’t be there to see the season through, the majority of the players are hard working.”
GULLS SET TO TAKE FLIGHT SAYS ASPIN
Sorrento are on course for a big finish to the season according to English import Michael Aspin. The 22-year old defender has been a regular fixture of the Gulls first eleven in his first season with the club, which he hopes will end in silverware. “I’m looking forward to the business end of the season with a top five finish and a Cup victory well within our sights,” said Aspin, who joined Sorrento in pre-season from English side Hyde FC. “Things have been brilliant this season. I have settled into the team with the help of a brilliant group of players.”
Aspin can’t help but be impressed by the calibre of players on Sorrento’s roster. “The squad has a good mix of experience and youth,” said the defender, whose team have sat inside the top five all season. “Steve McDonald has personally helped me a lot to settle in and his communication with Jason Mirco, Ryan Pearson and myself has certainly been a big part of our success so far. The young players we have add pace and energy to the team, and that makes us a threat to any side we come up against.”
A telephone call late last year from Sorrento goalkeeper and close friend Curtis Aspden convinced Aspin, who was a junior at Blackburn Rovers and played youth football with Preston North End, to give the State League a go. “Me and Curtis were good friends in England and played together for Northwich Victoria,” explained Aspin, who made over 70 appearances for Northwich across two spells. “We stayed in regular contact when he left and it was through him that Sorrento brought me over here to play … and I’m really enjoying it.”
Coach Paul Price praised the efforts of Aspin, whose career has also included time at Farsley Celtic, Chester, Farnborough and a three-month stint with Thai club Nakhon Pathom. “Michael is very quick and when he gets forward he crosses the ball well,” Price commented. “When Michael and Jason Mirco are on song they give any teams’ left back a hard time, like they did last week in the 3-1 win over ECU Joondalup. It was good to see him bounce back from a poor game at Perth SC the week before.”
The 4-0 loss Sorrento suffered at Dorrien Gardens a fortnight ago is a sore spot for Aspin. “It was the both the poorest the team and poorest I have played all season. Everything that could go wrong that day did go wrong,” Aspin reflected. “Pricey kept faith in us by fielding the same team against Joondalup, so it was good for us to reward that faith by getting back to winning ways. (Assistant coach) Steve Neville has also been good for myself, he gives me a lot of feedback on how I can improve and gives me the confidence to keep playing well.”
Aspin is hoping to erase the bitter memory of his previous encounter with Western Knights when Sorrento ventures to Wauhop Park this weekend. “Last time we were 3-0 up against them and somehow lost so we know it will be a tough match,” said Aspin. “The Knights are scrapping for their lives and we are pushing towards the top of the league so it is an important game for both clubs. If we play the way we can, then I’m sure we can win the three points.” Sorrento takes on the Knights from 3.00pm this Saturday at Wauhop Park.
RAMPANT MELVILLE PUT SIX PAST KINGSWAY
Melville City kept their hopes of a top three placing alive with a 6-0 thrashing of Kingsway Olympic from a chilly Division Two encounter at Len Shearer Reserve. John Brennan had Melville in front by the break but it was only after Mark Kendall doubled that lead that things started to warm up with Vitor Vadlinei and James Castiello both scoring twice. The home side bossed the first half but had seemingly left their shooting boots at home with Simon El Chami and Lee McKay both squandering golden chances. That finally changed when a long ball found an unmarked Brennan who cut in from the wing to side-foot past the goalkeeper.
Melville put their foot down after the break. Sasa Slavujevic’s cross to the far post was headed in by Mark Kendall to make it two-nil and prise open the floodgates. Vadlinei hadn’t been off the bench long when he rounded two defenders and drove low beyond the ‘keepers reach. Goal number three also came via Vadlinei, who slotted into the net after being played through with just the ‘keeper to beat. Fellow substitute Castiello then got in on the act by angling under the advancing ‘keeper after being played in behind the defence. The icing was then put on Melville’s cake by a Castiello shot which deflected off a defender to wrong-foot the ‘keeper.
KING SCORES TWICE IN FAR NORTH DERBY
Three goals in fifteen first half minutes paved the way for Joondalup City to see off northern neighbours Quinns 3-1 in this evenings derby at Gumblossom Park. Lucais King took his season goal tally to 16 by netting twice with Sam Phillips adding the visitors third before Quinns’ George Mills pulled one back just before the break. Joondalup’s dominance of the early exchanges paid dividends when Lucais King volleyed into the net from a few metres after the Quinns defence failed to deal with a dangerous cross from the right by Danny Beattie in the 21st minute.
Going a goal up gave Joondalup the impetus to push even further and soon enough they doubled the margin through a nice piece of midfield play which led to Lucais King outmuscling his marker to drive hard and low into Anthony Cochrane’s net. The visitors lead was further increased in the 35th minute when some tidy lead-up work put the ball with Phillips, who controlled nicely and turned his man before hitting low into the bottom corner of the goal. Quinns finally started to string together some passes and just before the break a superb crossfield ball put George Mills in behind the defence to lash into the roof of the net.
The second half had Quinns pushing forward in numbers as they search for a goal to breathe new life into the game. Their best chance came on the hour when Adam Buckley found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Tom Scott but chipped over the crossbar. Joondalup were content to sit on their lead and break on the counterattack with Steve Slaughter going closest with a half-volley into the bar. With ten minutes to go Quinns won themselves a corner which Adam Buckley played in but McNeil’s shot was parried by Scott and Rudi Coetzer’s follow-up was headed away from the net by Nick King.
JAPAN TOO GOOD FOR MATILDAS
The Matildas have gone down 3-0 to Women’s World Cup holders Japan in their friendly at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Japan, who are preparing for this month’s Olympic Games in London, were a class above their opponents with goals from Aya Miyama, Yuki Ogimi and Homare Sawa capping a dominant performance. “Japan played extremely well and we just weren’t up to it,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “It was very difficult to get possession and when we got possession we found it very difficult to keep it (but) we expected that because of the different stages the teams are at.”
Kate Gill could have given Australia a dream start but her close-range shot lacked the power to beat Miho Fukumoto. The host nation took the lead with a 25th minute penalty converted by Miyama after Sawa had her heels clipped by Tameka Butt. The difference was doubled on the stroke of half-time when a Sagi Kumagai found space behind the defence and centred for Ogimi to covert from close-range. Japan continued to press after the break and in the 59th minute Sawa drove into the bottom corner from 13-metres following a corner. Perth Glory striker Gill was replaced on the hour.
VALE FRANK REID
The football family is mourning the loss of former State representative Frank Reid, who passed away on Sunday, 8 July. Born in Scotland in 1923, Reid arrived in Perth soon after World War Two and quickly had become recognised as one of the best half-backs of his generation. Reid initially played for Fremantle City but later joined Caledonians where he was a key figure in the team that won the League title, Challenge Cup and Charity Cup in 1949. He went on to won a further two League titles with Perth City and wore Western Australia colours on five occasions, at a time when representative games were rare. Reid, who played until he was well into his 40’s, was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA ‘Hall of Merit’ in 2008.
JONES, 11, CATCHES WOLVES’ ATTENTION
Danny Jones is going the right way to carve out a professional career in football. Jones, 11, plays locally for Sorrento but is already on the radar of English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, who he attended a six-week trial with last year. “It was a great experience,” 11-year old Jones told inmycommunity.com.au. State selectors recently took notice of the right-winger’s talents by selecting him the Under-12 Schoolboys squad for September’s national championships in Darwin. Jones’ club, Sorrento, are unbeaten at the top of the Under-12 Premier League with the youngster confident they can go all the way through the winter without loss.
DOOR OPENS FOR GARCIA IN CHINA
Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia is set to become the latest Australian to play in China’s Super League after he revealed a deal with a club is close to being announced. Garcia, who spent the last 15 years in England with West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Hull City, is seeking a fresh start after being released by the Tigers in May. “A deal is pretty close and I should be able to confirm something in a week or so,” Garcia told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. "We are just negotiating the finer points but it looks like hopefully going ahead."
Garcia, 30, is hoping that by joining the likes of Joel Griffiths and Rostyn Griffiths in China he can came back onto the radar of Australia coach Holger Osieck. "I want to get back playing regular club football again, putting in good performances and hopefully forcing my way back into the national team. That's definitely the goal, especially after playing at the 2010 World Cup," Garcia said. "I need a fresh challenge and I’m really looking forward to a new chapter in my career. I still believe I've got a lot left to offer and feel in the best physical condition I have in a long while."
SYDNEY SNAP UP KERR
Fremantle-born striker Samantha Kerr is one of four Matildas to sign with Sydney FC for the 2012/13 W-League summer. Kerr, who missed all season with a knee injury, was confirmed as joining two-time Premiers Sydney on the same day as Danielle Brogan, Caitlin Foord and Alanna Kennedy. “I’m really pleased that the first four signings have been completed,” coach Alen Stajcic said. “Broges (Brogan) and Caitlin (Foord) are very important members of the squad and we’re delighted that Sam Kerr and Alanna Kennedy will be joining us to strengthen the squad.” Kerr, 18, made 22 appearances and scored five times in three seasons with Perth Glory Women.
FLOREAT WIN DESPITE WASTEFUL FINISHING
Floreat Athena extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-0 triumph over a lacklustre Armadale outfit at Litis Stadium. Goals by recent signings Jon Brooks and Mark Walsh may have been all that stood between the sides on the scoreboard but Floreat’s dominance of possession and territory should have resulted in a much greater final margin. “We knew Armadale were going to be hard to break down and they proved to be a tough assignment today,” Floreat coach Chris Barbas said. “They showed great resilience, but our patience paid off in the end.”
Armadale were under the pump from early and would have also been a goal down had an unmarked Bobby Wilson not headed over from inside the 6-yard box. That miss was forgotten on 12 minutes when Ludovic Boi sliced the defence open with a superb pass which put in the clear Brooks, who angled his shot across goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock and inside the far post. Floreat were soon back on the attack and with a bit more sharpness in the finishing department the game would have been over by the break with David Heagney, Brooks, Mickey Roberts and Boi each guilty of wasting opportunities.
This same pattern continued after the interval. Roberts twice stung the gloves of Sharrock, who also blocked close-range attempts from Mark Pritchard and Wilson following a poorly defended corner. Floreat got their reward 68 minutes when Pritchard’s pin-point free-kick landed on the head of Mark Walsh whose powerful header gave the ‘keeper no chance. A dipping shot from Heagney was tipped over the crossbar by Sharrock as Floreat sought to press home their advantage. Armadale’s first meaningful chance had substitute Joey Tavernese direct his effort straight at Brad Effie in the 83rd minute. There was still time for further heroics by Sharrock with saves to deny Heagney and Walsh.
JOVIC GETS INGLEWOOD THE POINTS AT BALCATTA
Inglewood United ground out a 1-0 win over a ten-man Balcatta to stay joint top of the Premier Division with Floreat Athena. The dismissal of Jovo Pavlovic early in the second half opened the door for Inglewood to assert control which was rewarded when Aleks Jovic netted for the fifth time in four games. “The game got a lot easier for us after they had a player sent off, there was all the space in the world and they couldn’t pick up the extra man coming forward,” Inglewood midfielder David Perich commented. “There was heaps of space for the full backs so it was pretty easy to drive forward when we got the ball there.”
The opening passages were quick with goalkeeper Bobson Koroma and Devon Spence called into the action early. Unfortunately, genuine chances on goal then started to dry up with play increasingly taking place between the boxes. The better of possession was with the visiting team but Balcatta’s well-organised defence were quick to shut down any danger. It took until the 38th minute for the next real opening, James Sammut sending a delightful through ball to Jovic whose low shot lacked the power to beat Koroma. Inglewood fashioned another chance on the stroke of half time with Sammut and Jarrod McNally combining only for the former’s shot to hit the crossbar.
Inglewood continued to dictate terms after the break with Perich the orchestrating play from the middle of the park. Balcatta’s day took a turn for the worse on 51 minutes when a reckless tackle by Pavlovic saw him collected a second yellow card in the space of a few minutes, leaving the home side a man down with 40 minutes still to play. By making use of the full width of the park Inglewood increasingly stretched their hosts and in the 69th minute Alex Caniglia cut in from the right and found the feet of Sammut whose sweet through ball released Jovic, and while the attacker’s initial shot was blocked by a defender he made no mistake sending the follow-up into Koroma’s net.
RELEGATION THREATENED KNIGHTS UNDONE BY NINE-MAN BAYSWATER (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Bayswater City survived two second half dismissals to claim a 2-1 victory over a gallant Western Knights 2-1 side at Wauhop Park. An eventful afternoon saw Bayswater in front at the break courtesy of Gustavo Catarcione, Rory Grant brought the sides level early it the second half only to have Patrick Quinn decide the outcome soon after. “We were happy to come out of there with three points to be honest,” said John Kearney, whose team had Paul McCarthy and Luka Njegich sent off. “A lot of decisions went against us, including two harsh sending offs, but we showed good character to win the game with nine players.”
Neither side was able to assert much control over play across a very scrappy opening period. In fact it wasn’t until the half hour that the game sparked to life when a slip by Knights defender David Caine allowed in Catarcione, who weaved his way inside the 18-yard box to slide the opening goal past goalkeeper Kevin Miller. The Knights were lucky not to find themselves another goal down four minutes later as Ross Cossgrove’s stinging long-range strike flashed over the crossbar after poor defending by Ethan Levitt. Jesse Fuller had the hosts’ best chance to equalise in the 38th minute but his vicious shot was just a tad too high.
The Knights were gifted a way back in five minutes after the re-start with referee Josh Mannella brandishing a straight red card to McCarthy for his dangerous lunge on Caine, who would take no further part in the game. Four minutes later the Knights was awarded a penalty after an assistant referee flagged for handball against Larry Miller, however, captain Ivan Zuvela’s spot kick was expertly saved by Gianni Papalia. Manella pointed to the spot again just a minute later following a sloppy challenge by Cisco Jorquera on Jamie Burns, this time it was Grant that stepped up to smash low into the bottom corner of Papalia’s net to make it one-all.
Bayswater waited just four minutes before taking back the lead, defender Patrick Quinn capitalising on another defensive mishap to float the ball over a stranded ‘keeper. It was a slap in the face for the Knights whose hard work now counted for nothing. With six minutes of regular time remaining Mannella sent off Njegich for a contentious second yellow card. But still the Knights failed to capitalise with Grant failing to hit the target with a free header at the back post. Some late pressure by Bayswater produced shot from Miller, Catarcione and substitute Jack Wilkinson but each was denied by Knights custodian Miller.
SORRENTO A CLASS ABOVE NORTHERN NEIGHBOURS
Sorrento re-discovered their wings with a resounding 3-1 victory over arch-rivals ECU Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve. Ryan Pearson had the Gulls in front at the break after which Johny Mirco and Daryl Platten netted to seal the three points. “It was a good response from the lads today,” said winning coach Paul Price, whose team were humbled by Perth SC last time out. “We spoke about the loss at Perth, which was probably the worst we have played since I’ve been here.” The result keeps Sorrento in fourth spot whereas Joondalup remain in the drop zone, two points behind Western Knights.
A positive approach by the home side produced a 6th minute penalty shout after Johny Mirco went to ground but referee Mathew Cheeseman was on the spot to dismiss the appeal. Steve McDonald was found soon after by a Michael Aspin free-kick but the towering defender headed straight at Andy Banks. Sorrento got the result they sought in the 16th minute, Banks parrying a Johny Mirco shot which spilled to Todd Harnwell who crossed for Pearson who fired in at close-range. The one-way nature of play almost resulted in a second goal to Sorrento but Banks was out quick to smother at the feet of Johny Mirco.
Joondalup didn’t fashion a response until the half hour when John Thornley picked out David Foster but his attempt from distance was too close to goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. As the half came to a close the game began to open up. Jason Mirco found space on top of the 18-yard box but his shot curled past the post. The ball was at the opposite end a minutes later with Tommy Amphlett drifting in from the right to cross for Shaun Timmins whose headed was straight at Aspden. The last play of the half was a long-range strike by Jason Mirco which Banks did well to save.
Sorrento picked up the second half where they’d left off. Todd Harnwell’s 54th minute shot was blocked by Banks, who could do little as Johny Mirco drilled in the loose ball from 16-metres to double the Gulls advantage. Shortly after Reece Vittiglia’s corner found Platten whose header crashed down off the crossbar and bounced on the line before being hacked clear. Joondalup survived another scare when Banks tipped over a Todd Harnwell header at the back post on the hour. However, their luck ran out at the resulting corner which was sent in by Vittiglia for an unmarked Platten to net at close-range.
It should have been four-nil in the 72nd minute when Aspin delivered a teasing cross which Johny Mirco somehow managed to miss from point blank range. Joondalup hit back through a Nick Tatasciore free-kick which Billy Quinncroft headed back across goal for Dale McCulloch but his header was saved by Aspden. With six minutes left Foster put the ball with Amphlett, who was allowed time to unleash a low strike from 20-metres which flew into the bottom corner. There was still time for Sorrento substitute Stuart Montgomery to shoot past Banks but on this occasion Quinncroft was back in time to clear.
PERTH SEE OFF SPIRITED BUNBURY
The long journey south prove worthwhile for Perth SC who returned from Payne Park with a 2-0 win over Bunbury Forum Force. The Blues went into the break with a slender lead thanks to Josh Wilkins but it wasn’t until late that the points were made safe by Greg Sharland. The result consolidates Perth’s place in the top five, opening a six point gap on Balcatta and Stirling Lions in joint sixth spot, while Bunbury remain three points away from last place.
A tense opening spell saw both teams take their time to settle and very little in the way of genuine shots on goal produced. The first chance came on 20 minutes when Liam Boland found some room inside the 18-yard box only to head attempt straight at Bunbury custodian Ryan Montgomery. Perth then slowly started picking holes in the home defence and it looked as though the deadlock would soon be broken. However, Bunbury counterattacked with Aaron Brittain and Aiden Savory combining to set up Steve Howson but the team captain’s shot failed to trouble Luke Martino. With 34 minutes gone Wilkins opened the scoring with a crisp strike from 30-metres which flashed past an outstretched goalkeeper.
Bunbury came out from the break desperate to equalise. New player-coach Matt Lock brought livewire attacker Bright Ababio off the bench as he sought a way to prise open a Perth backline under the command of Shaun Kilkelly and Trent Kay. The pressure was now building on the visiting side with Lock, Savory and Howson all threatening to bring the teams level. Bunbury’s hopes of taking something from the afternoon were ended in the 81 minute when Kilkelly’s long throw was flicked on by Boland for Sharland, who rammed the ball past Montgomery after the ‘keeper blocked his initial attempt. Howson should have grabbed the hosts a stoppage time consolation but placed wide of the target.
STIRLING DO ENOUGH TO DOWN NTC
A lacklustre performance by Stirling Lions was still enough to overcome the National Training Centre 3-0 at Macedonia Park. In a game that failed to reach any great heights Anthony Lyons, Andy Brown and Dennis Galan were on target for the home side who really should have finished with a few more goals to their credit. “Scoring early on helped us take full control of the game,” said Lyons. “The opposition had a lot of possession, but in areas that couldn’t hurt us. We converted our chances and it was a very professional performance against a talented NTC side.”
It took Stirling only 13 minutes to open their account, Brown feeding the ball to Lyons to apply a clinical finish past Jordan Franklin from 6-metres. The hosts should have had another but Jason Gavin headed against into the crossbar and Andy Harold nodded wide. A lack of accuracy prevented the NTC from equalising with Slobodan Vulin failing to convert a chance created by Sahr Musa. On the stroke of half-time Stirling tightened their grip on the game when Brown surged out of midfield to let off an explosive long-range shot that deflected into the net via the upright.
Musa combined with Lawrence Shurumia early in the second half to release Borbor Sambindi, who was unable to make much of the chance. Gareth McGlynn was also guilty of wasteful finishing at the other end. Stirling sealed the game in the 51st minute via a Jamie Tandy corner which Galan headed into Franken’s net at close-range. The NTC youngsters enjoyed the better of possession over the final half hour but a lack of quality delivery into the final third kept ‘keeper Corey Hugo pretty much untested. Lyons could have added another late but was thwarted by Franklin while substitute Matt Harold fired wide shortly before the end.
COLLINS ON THE BEAT
A three-goal first half has taken Wanneroo City back to the top of Division One with a 3-1 defeat of title contenders Cockburn City at Kingsway Reserve. With top spot the prize this was expected to be a close, hard-fought contest but instead a Garin Collins brace and another from Josh Booysen had the points wrapped up for Wanneroo inside half an hour. The opening goal stemmed from a link-up between Brad McDonald and Brian Cairney in which the former played out wide to Booysen, who beat his marker and crossed into the 18-yard box where Collins rose high to head powerfully over the line via the underside of the crossbar.
A foul on Booysen just outside the area produced Wanneroo’s second goal, Collins hitting the quickly taken free-kick over the defensive wall and into the bottom corner with goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic motionless. Poor defending at a corner saw Cockburn slip three-goals behind with Booysen volleying in at close-range after the ‘keeper blocked his initial attempt. Ross Edwards were close to adding another to the home teams’ tally but his header from another dead ball was off-target. It took until late in the half for Cockburn to finally threaten, Devon Gibson picking up a loose ball but failing to find the net with only the ‘keeper to beat.
Fired up by Mike Lyons half-time address, Cockburn proceeded to take the game up to Wanneroo upon the resumption. With Marc Anthony, Paul Lloyd and Matt Salmon toiling away in the engine room it was now the home side that was holed up in their defensive zone. However, Cockburn didn’t find an avenue to goal until the 70th minute when Lloyd beat a couple of defenders and from the top corner of the 18-yard box curled just inside the near post. Well aware there was still a mountain to climb, the visitors resumed the attack but despite gaining a succession corner were unable to beat Clint Davies for a second time.
ASHFIELD WEATHER EARLY ONSLAUGHT
Ashfield recovered from conceding twice in the opening few minutes to triumph 3-2 over Gosnells City at Ashfield Reserve. Branimir Mikulic, Ruben Tristao and Brian Maybin were on-target to keep Ashfield two points away from top spot in Division One. Gosnells hit the ground running to take a 4th minute lead through Tieran McMullen, who made the most of some sloppy defending. It became two-nil just five minutes later when a quickly taken free-kick saw the ball moved swiftly from defence to attack where Darren Gamble shot past goalkeeper John Perkins.
The difference was halved in the 13th minute by Mikulic, who converted from the penalty spot following a questionable foul on Alex Stamatiadis. It took only another two minutes for parity to be restored with Tristao combining with Mikulic before slotting into the bottom of the Gosnells net. Ashfield’s amazingly revival was completed just after the half hour when Maybin steered into the top corner from 12-metres after successive shots by Mikulic and Tristao were blocked. The end-to-end nature of the game continued after the break with both teams having chances to add to their tally without success.
TREVISIOL NICKS IT FOR CANNING (courtesy Canning City)
Daniel Trevisiol struck for the second time in as many weeks to earn Canning City a 1-0 from their trip to Dianella White Eagles. First half chances were slow to come with the bulk of play bottled up in the middle of the park. The game didn’t come to life until Michael Lawson and Trevisiol sent successive volleys fizzling over the Dianella goal. The visitors responded in kind, Andrew Kiir hitting the crossbar from only a few metres after meeting a Milan Bogunovic cutback. Josh Findlater should have done better than place wide on the end of a sweeping move which caught goalkeeper Matt Battigelli out of position. Steve Grant was then called upon to keep out a Brendan Craig free-kick as the sides entered the break on level terms.
Canning continued to search for a way through after the turnaround. Garth Lecky and Anthony Campbell each headed high before Simon Correia’s powerful strike was saved by the ‘keeper. A long-range effort by Campbell drifted wide before the same player lifted high with only Battigelli to beat. The breakthrough finally came via a searching free-kick over the visiting defence which an under pressure Trevisiol poked into the net. Battigelli ensured Canning’s lead wasn’t increased with a couple of brilliant saves to thwart Sam Carrello and Trevisiol. Craig looked to have grabbed Dianella a late equaliser but the referee disallowed his effort for handball. Trevisiol could have added some gloss to the win with a second goal but placed wide after pouncing on a defensive error.
VUJACIC STRIKES LATE FOR SWAN
Miki Vujacic celebrated his return to the Swan United line-up by scoring the only goal of today’s 1-0 win over Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Vujacic, who had been overseas until last week, popped up close to the end to steer Swan to just their second win in seven weeks. Swan were first to threaten through John Monterosso but having pounced on a defensive error the striker was robbed of a shot by goalkeeper Matt Hamnett. An audacious long-range attempt by Chris Atkinson drifted just over the crossbar before Lance Louvie skied Rockingham’s first shot at goal. Both teams had their chances leading into the break, Chihiro Noda’s curling strike from 17-metres was just past the post before Daniel Agudelo brilliantly blocked Rafael Insaurralde close-range effort.
Rockingham increased the tempo after the break but Insaurralde blazed over, David Clark shot just wide and Papa Kpatar’s effort was saved by Agudelo. The 75th minute dismissal of Darren Lawler to a contentious second yellow card out the game back in the black and whites’ favour. With Aaron Colli, Monterosso and Atkinson turning the screws it seemed only a matter of time before Rockingham cracked. But the ten-man hosts stuck to their guns and a couple of occasions almost stole the lead on the counterattack. It was after one of those that go Agudelo threw the ball out to Atkinson, he quickly played through to John Monterosso who stormed down the line and centred invitingly for Vujacic to side-foot in from 13-metres.
SHAMROCK HAVE QUALITY TO BYRNE
Ciaran Byrne continued his rich vein of form in front of goal by scoring twice in Shamrock Rovers’ 5-2 win over Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. Byrne’s double took him to ten goals in seven games as Will Pender, an own goal and Brian Farrell sealed the home side’s fate. Forrestfield looked anything but a team sitting at the foot of the table throughout a first half in which they match their more fancied opponents in every department. In fact it was against the run of play that Shamrock took the lead through Pender, who calmly placed low and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Luke Woodfin after being teed-up by Byrne. Parity was restored in the 39th minute when Jordan Hart converted a penalty awarded for a dubious handball decision.
Whatever Andy Dickinson said to his troops at the break worked a treat. The second half was only a few minutes old when Byrne tapped in the net after the home defence failed to clear a cross from the right by Farrell. Byrne didn’t wait too long before adding another with a snap-shot during another scramble inside the 18-yard box. Next it was Shamrock’s turn to concede after Ben Fraser and Wade Farmer exchanged passes on the end of which the latter struck into the net. Shamrock immediately restored their two-goal buffer although on this occasion it was via an own goal. Farrell sealed victory with the goal of the afternoon, a stunning strike from 20-metres which soared into the top corner following an interchange with Barry Triggs and Barry Mulligan.
A POINT EACH TO FREMANTLE AND MORLEY
Morley Windmills stretched their unbeaten run to three games with a bruising 1-1 draw with Fremantle Spirit on a bumpy surface at Nikola Tesla Reserve. An eventful day for Elliott Williams saw him put Fremantle in front on the stroke of half-time only to be issued his marching order midway through the second period. David Houston brought the sides level soon after. “We’re pleased to keep the unbeaten run going but a bit more composure in front of goal would have got us the three points,” Morley captain Mark Grant said. “Fair play to Fremantle, they scrapped and battled away when they could have rolled over having gone a man down.”
A pacey start had Fremantle create the first opening which an unmarked Josh Auguste headed wide from a Jett Shaw cross. The port side clearly wanted to be first on the scoreboard but Williams hit the post and five minutes later the same player lifted high. It took Morley until the 26th minute to threaten through Gavin Brady, who shot wide from 10-metres. Auguste’s strike from 9-metres was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Michael Dudek as Fremantle re-asserted control over the game. The hosts’ persistence was rewarded in the 45th minute via Williams’ diving header from an Auguste cross.
The second half opened with Tony Vento blasting wide a good chance to restore parity. Williams had a goal disallowed for offside in the 57th minute and soon after Dudek keep out Auguste’s goalbound effort. Fremantle goalkeeper Nas Kodi was called into action soon after to save Luke O’Neill’s attempt from 20-metres. The game was turned on its head in the 70th minute when Williams was shown a straight red card for swearing at a match official. A few minutes later Houston headed past the ‘keeper at the back post after meeting an inviting cross from Kris Dennis. Although the closing stages were dominated by Morley they were unable to conjure a winning goal.
FITZGERALD LEADS SUBIACO BACK INTO THE WINNERS CIRCLE (courtesy Subiaco AFC)
A scintillating opening half hour laid the foundations for Subiaco AFC’s 5-4 win over Kingsway Olympic at Rosalie Park. Ger Fitzgerald helped himself to a first half hat-trick with Scott Wrightson and debutant Jack Rycroft also on the scoresheet to breathe new life into Subiaco’s title hopes. The result ends a three-game winless streak for Ian Cowan’s side and narrows to five points the gap to Division Two pacesetters UWA-Nedlands. “We got back to playing the good football that won us eight in a row earlier in the season,” said a pleased Cowan.
Subiaco started the game at breakneck pace to have Kingsway four-goals down inside 35 minutes. There was a strong sense of déjà vu in all three of Fitzgerald’s goals, two headers and a volley, with Jordan Rhodes the provider on each occasion. Wrightson blew the difference out to four goals by cutting in from the right and drilling low into the net. An undisciplined challenge by home custodian Tom Barrett resulted in a Kingsway penalty which Joe Woodin slotted in. The team in green gained a second penalty for handball just before the break but Woodin’s low strike was this time turned away by Barrett.
Kingsway pulled a goal back early in the second half with Elliot Rose turning in at close-range after Wayne Culverwell’s shot came back off the bar. The gap was further reduced by Farrell Hedges’ glancing header on a deep ball by Lee Thomas. With the tide beginning to turn Subiaco lost Rhodes to an ankle problem followed by Tom Proctor, who succumbed to a groin injury. 17-year old substitute Rycroft steadied the ship by lobbing over the goalkeeper from an acute for Subiaco’s fifth of the afternoon. Thomas brought the gap back to a single goal with a cracking volley from 17-metres, and while Kingsway pushed hard to level time was again then.
FREMANTLE HIT SIX WITHOUT REPLY (courtesy Fremantle United)
A dominant performance by Fremantle United has been rewarded with a 6-0 spanking of cellar-dwellers Quinns at Hilton Reserve. Young winger Levi Reichelt played the starring role by bagging a hat-trick with Andrew Morrow, Tim DeSouza and Connor Shaw also on-target keep Fremantle in joint second spot with Subiaco AFC, just five points behind leader UWA-Nedlands. “It’s a nice personal achievement, but you have to give credit for the win to all my team mates who put in a solid shift,” said Reichelt in downplaying his matching winning effort. “It’s an extremely important win for us as it keeps pressure on UWA-Nedlands at the top and makes for an exciting second half to the season.”
The early signs were ominous with Morrow netting only to have his effort ruled out for offside. Quinns hopes nosedived on 20 minutes when Brad Kershaw was issued his marching orders for a couple of reckless challenges. Morrow had another chance to get the go-ahead goal when released by Willie Pender but was unable to get the better of goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane. However, soon after Fremantle got the goal they deserved when Shaw slipped the ball through to Reichelt, who turned his marker inside out before driving into the bottom corner from 17-metres. Fabio Fusari squandered a golden opportunity to double the lead while Cochrane’s reflexes prevented Morrow from getting on the scoresheet before the interval.
The second half had barely begun when Morrow calmly slotted into the net after a tidy piece of combination work with Pender. Tim DeSouza threaded a pass through to Reichelt, who cut inside the 18-yard box to lash past Cochrane for the second time. Neat play down the left between Darren Monaghan and Michael DeSouza saw the latter whip a cross at the far post where Tim DeSouza finished into the net. A defenders’ sloppy challenge on Reichelt in the 65th minute paved the way for him to complete his hat-trick by sending the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot. Fremantle’s final goal came just before the final whistle with Shaw unleashing a superb curling shot into the top corner from 27-metres.
SLAVUJEVIC DOUBLE SEES OFF FAST-FINISHING JOONDALUP
Melville City made it back-to-back wins by taking the points by a 2-1 scoreline over Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Complex. Sasa Slavujevic struck twice in the first half to put the visiting team in the box seat before Steve Slaughter pegged a goal back after the turnaround. Melville had the better of the early passages before going ahead on 17 minutes when Slavujevic brilliantly curled a free-kick low into the bottom corner from the top of the 18-yard box. Only a few more minutes passed before Joondalup goalkeeper Matt Hill brought down Michael Jennings for a penalty which was despatched into the bottom corner by Slavujevic. Jordan Nayana headed high as the home side attempted to draw level while at the other end Jennings and Simon El Chami each hit the crossbar.
Some positional changes at the break saw Joondalup emerge for the second half with greater composure and confidence. Stewart Dalgarno kept Melville’s two-goal buffer intact with a fine reflex save to Jody Thompson’s low drive through a crowded area. Lucais King and Ben Yates also had chances to score as play remained holed up in Joondalup’s attacking zone. Melville were hitting on the counterattack with El Chami first time shot whizzing just past the post. Joondalup were finally rewarded midway through the half via a move down the right in which Rhys Booth laid the ball off for Slaughter to slot beyond the reach of Dalgarno. The home side pressed in search of an equaliser but were denied a chance to level the game in stoppage time after a Melville defender appeared to handle the ball inside his area.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All eyes will be on Percy Doyle Reserve this week for the northern derby between Sorrento and ECU Joondalup. Sorrento coach Paul Price, who welcomes Jamie Harnwell back into the squad, expects to see a significant improvement after his side went down 4-0 at Dorrien Gardens last weekend. “We were very poor against Perth, I think most teams would have beaten us on the day as not one player performed to the required standard,” said the former Wales international. “I’m expecting a response from the team to show the last game was a blip, and for us to take the three points on offer.”
Joondalup coach Salv Toardo, who has Jon Higgins, Danny Allen, Scott Bushby and Fraser Maguire unavailable, is hopeful his team can build on the win achieved last time out against Bayswater City. “It was fantastic to be involved in a great team effort and the boys played extremely well,” Todaro said. “Sorrento will be disappointed after losing last week at Perth and will be going out all out to cement their spot in the top five. We need to continue to work hard and chip away getting results, and Sorrento represents another opportunity for us to do that.”
Inglewood United’s fifth successive away game has them travelling to Grindleford Reserve to take on Balcatta. Western Knights and Bayswater City will both have key players missing for their meeting at Wauhop Park. Team captain David Annall is out for the Knights due to suspension, which is also why Bayswater will be minus star striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. New Bunbury Forum Force coach Matt Loch faces a baptism of fire when his team hosts Perth SC, who hit four unanswered goals on their last outings. Stirling Lions should have little trouble accounting for the Football West National Training Centre at Macedonia Park.
Premier Division leaders Floreat Athena welcome Armadale to the Litis Stadium. “Armadale have improved over the last few weeks,” home custodian Brad Eiffe commented. “We will have to be ready for an Armadale side fighting to stay in the league, we need to be switched on and at our best to overcome them.” Armadale took maximum points from their last visit to the ground and if Joey Tavernese, Wilf Dinsdale and Ravi Kuppusamy can assert themselves then there’s a good chance that outcome will be repeated. All six Premier Division games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Top spot in Division One is the reward for the victor from tomorrow’s game between Wanneroo City and Cockburn City at Kingsway Reserve. Wanneroo coach David Tough has indicated his side are ready for the challenge having taken just one point from the last two games. “We've worked hard at training this week and there is a positive feel that we can get back to winning ways,” said Tough, who welcome back into the squad Ross Edwards, Brian Cairney, Jared Love and Sahar Konomanyi. Cockburn will be looking to in-form players John Hunter and Paul Lloyd to come up with the goods.
Ashfield are in need of the three points when they welcome Gosnells City to Ashfield Reserve. It’s been a disappointing month for Matt Carruthers side, who’ve slipped down to fourth spot on the back of a three-game winless streak. Carruthers needs a reaction from his team and over the past week of training feels he has got just that. “The lads have really put it in and we are hopeful of getting our season back on track,” declared the coach. Mladen Kovacevic, Karl Tate and Ashley Picker have put their hands up for selection, however, veteran Ian Griffiths is unavailable.
A massive game for Fremantle Spirit pits them against in-form Morley Windmills at Nikola Tesla Reserve. Anything less than three points to Fremantle will severely damage their hopes of playing in Division One next season. Rockingham City will be confident of getting something from their home clash with Swan United, who are minus Trent Wood, Tommy Shepheard and John Monterosso. A resurgent Dianella White Eagles take on Canning City at Dianella Reserve, while the odds are stacked against Forrestfield United despite being at home to Shamrock Rovers. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Subiaco AFC continue to look for a way back into the winner’s circle when they host Olympic Kingsway at Rosalie Park. After losing three in a row Subiaco need the points to stay in touch with pacesetters UWA-Nedlands, however, that won’t be easy with Aaron Lickiss, Nick Lowe and Jesse Bridgeman coming into the Kingsway line-up. Joondalup City are at home to Melville City where coach Danny Evans has to work out where he can fit Simon El Chami and Mark Kendall into the side. An in-form Fremantle United should get the better of Quinns at Hilton Reserve. All three Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
BOLAND MAKES AN EARLY IMPRESSION AT PERTH
A goal on debut has given young striker Liam Boland a dream start to his time with Perth SC. Boland announced himself to the Dorrien Gardens faithful by converting a second half penalty in Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of Sorrento, only days after walking out on table-toppers Floreat Athena. “I enjoyed my debut very much,” said Boland, who admits he is still finding his feet at Perth. “It will take me a couple of weeks to get used to the style of play at Perth and to gel with the players, but I took a lot of positives out of Saturday’s game and I now also know what I need to work on.”
A couple of superb Greg Sharland free-kicks and a tap-in by Andreas Oliviera had Perth holding a three-goal lead before Boland found the net just after the hour to complete the four-nil rout. “I thought as a team we played well and deserved to win without doubt. We could have scored more goals but we were happy with the result in the end,” said Boland. “It was very important to get the win because we can’t afford to slip away from the teams at the top. The three points we got against Sorrento have kept our spot in the top five for the week.”
Boland, 20, had been a regular fixture of Floreat’s first eleven this season but decided the time was right for him to move on. “I wasn’t enjoying my football at Floreat, that was the biggest factor in my decision to leave,” said the striker, who was one of only a handful of players retained following a summer clear-out which saw over a dozen players leave, and join the club. “Those changes did make it hard for the players who stayed, but at the same time the players who came in did their job which is why they are doing well this year.”
There was only ever going to be one answer from Boland when Western Australia’s most successful club came knocking at his door. “I played as a junior at Perth and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for them again,” said Boland. “I have been welcomed into the club by everyone, the players and team management. Perth is a very professional set-up and training has been very sharp and of a high standard, which will be good for me long-term. As a team we are still a very good chance of winning the league and hopefully I can stay in the eleven and do my job for the team.”
Boland’s talents have already earned him Australian Schoolboys selection in 2009 and trials last year with now-defunct A-League side Gold Coast United. And while he admits playing A-League is his goal, Boland’s immediate focus remains very much on Perth. “I have to keep working hard and hopefully I will be able to make it to the next level,” he said. “As for now I’m enjoying being at my new club, Perth is a big club and sets high standards … I’m excited about what the next few months has in store.” Boland will be confident of grabbing a goal or two when Perth travels to Bunbury Forum Force on Saturday.
QUINNCROFT READIES FOR DERBY DAY
ECU Joondalup attacker Billy Quinncroft heads back to his former club, Sorrento, this Saturday for what promises to be a thrilling the northern suburbs derby. Quinncroft switched his allegiance to Joondalup in May and although the club are struggling at the wrong end of the table the 20-year old is enjoying his football. “Things are going good personally for me,” Quinncroft commented. “We have a good bunch of lads here who all want the best for the club. We’re not in a good position at the moment but we know as a team we have to step up and get ourselves off the bottom (of the league).”
Joondalup took a giant step towards achieving that goal on the weekend by knocking over Bayswater City courtesy of a stoppage time penalty converted by David Foster. “It was a great win for us. It just shows you how much can change in a week – we were beaten 9-1 at Floreat Athena and the next week we beat the league leaders,” said Quinncroft, who attributes a good part of that success to coach Salv Todaro. “Joondalup is normally known for the ‘long ball’ game but Salv has introduced us to the ‘passing game’ which has us playing better football.”
Quinncroft arrived from England in 2005 and after playing for Joondalup transferred to Sorrento. It was during his time at Percy Doyle Reserve that the opportunity came about to play in the national league with Perth Glory Youth. “My time at Glory Youth was good because it gave me a chance to train and play at a higher level,” he explained. “I was able to work with very experienced coaches Gareth Naven and Andy Ord who taught me a lot about the game, off and on the field. I was also able to play with players that have moved on to the first team or overseas.”
Last year he played at Bogor Raya in Indonesia where his team mates included former Western Knights playmaker Andrija Jukic. “I have been very lucky to experience football at a professional level,” Quinncroft said. “My time in Indonesia was a great experience, getting to play in front of massive crowds and also trying to learn a new language. It gave me a chance to play a different culture of football, living in a different country was a big adjustment but a great experience … I would definitely go back if the chance arose again.”
Quinncroft’s immediate focus is on Saturday afternoon and a return to Sorrento where a Joondalup win could lift them off the bottom of the Premier Division table for the first time two months. “It’s going to be a massive game, as local derbies always are,” he said. “We need to work together as we did against Bayswater to get the result we want. It would be nice to have a win over our local rivals, so we need to prepare ourselves for the big game ahead.” Sorrento and Joondalup go head-to-head at Percy Doyle Reserve from 3.00pm on Saturday.
DINSDALE PUTS HIS FAITH IN ARMADALE
Armadale’s latest addition, English import Wilf Dinsdale, has made a flying start to his State League career. Dinsdale put in a strong 90-minute performance in the middle of the park on the weekend against Inglewood United, scoring the Reds solitary goal in a 3-1 loss to the Premier Division’s joint leaders. “It was a disappointing result for us but we can take a lot of positives from the game,” commented Dinsdale. “We created a number of good chances to win the game, so a bit more composure in front of goal and things could have been a lot different.”
Dinsdale, 23, feels his team should have made more of their numerical advantage after Inglewood stalwart Michael Baczynski was issued his marching orders just after the hour. “We came out second half on fire, put them under a lot of pressure and then the equaliser came,” said the midfielder. “But once they went down to ten men we seemed to drop off again and let them play, which consequently cost us in the end. I was very happy with my strike, I hit it really sweetly, it’s just a shame it didn’t count for anything in the end.”
Dinsdale arrived at Armadale a month ago fresh from a stint at English non-League side Scarborough Athletic. “I really wanted to see what the football was like in a different country and the opportunity came around to join Armadale, so I snapped up the chance,” said the midfielder. “The standard of the league is very good. It is played at a high intensity and some good football is played on the floor, keeping the ball moving. It is different from where I was playing where there were a lot more long balls being played.”
The style of play being deployed by Armadale coaches Lee Bamber and Kevin Brophy is very much to Dinsdale’s liking. “Both Lee and Kevin like us to get the ball down and play. They are brilliant to work with and I will learn a lot from them,” said Dinsdale, who has also been impressed by his clubs loyal supporters. “As soon as I arrived at the club and made my debut I could tell the fans were very passionate and love the club, having the fans on the sideline gives you a missive boost on the pitch.”
Armadale head out on the road this weekend to take on the Premier Division’s other top side, Floreat Athena. “I have heard they are a very good side so we have to work on the negatives from this weekend and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes otherwise it could cost us again,” said Dinsdale. “If we play the football the boys are capable of then we will give them a good game and it will be a tough afternoon for them … us taking away the three points is very much a possibility.”
MORLEY WILL BUILD ON RECENT SUCCESSES: HOUSTON
Morley Windmills’ hopes of remaining in Division One beyond the winter have been given a massive boost by the weekend defeat of high-flying neighbours Ashfield. David Houston, who scored the games’ only goals to secure Morley a second win in eight days, says the post-game feeling around his club was electric. “Everyone was really fired up,” said 25-year old Houston, whose second half strike moved Morley seven points clear of the relegation zone. “It was a huge win for the club and is also a great way to start the second half of the season. Saturday’s performance gives us the standard that we need to carry on throughout the rest of the year.”
Houston says Saturday’s win over Ashfield, who were second on the table leading into the round, was a long time coming. “I’m sure we surprised a lot of people but everyone at Morley knows the quality we have. We’ve had some really good performances against the top teams and on Saturday we also had the luck had been evading us,” said the one-time Australian Schoolboys international. “It was a great performance from everyone. Individually we all did the jobs that we were given. We were strong at the back and limited their chances, and going forward we were continually dangerous and created a lot of opportunities to score.”
Morley entered 2012 full of optimism only for a string of departures, such as Nick Davies, Steve Grant and coach Salv Todaro, to leave them facing an uphill battle. Jason Van Rooy took up the reins and after a lot of hard work has the club back on track. “Jason has stepped up to the plate and done a fantastic job,” Houston commented. “We’ve bolstered the squad with good players to compliment the quality we already had. Mark Grant been fantastic at the back and Adam Pygrum has put in some really good performances in midfield. Young Michael Dudek was a bit shaky in goal to start with but he is improving with every game.”
Confidence building wins over Forrestfield United and Ashfield in the past fortnight has reignite Morley’s hopes of a mid-table placing come seasons’ end. “I’m very confident we can build on these results,” Houston said. “Jason been working us hard in training and pushing the squad to improve, and we proved on the weekend by beating Ashfield that we can mix it with the top teams. Every player in the squad knows how well we can play and we’re going to make sure that for this second half of the season every team that comes up against Morley is going to be a tough afternoon.”
Morley can move further away from the drop zone by claiming victory this weekend over Fremantle Spirit, who are paired with Forrestfield at the foot of the table. “With our recent wins and confidence we’re ready to take another three points,” said Houston. “When we played Fremantle earlier in the season we all thought it wouldn’t be a tough game given the turmoil they went through right before the season started. But they proved us wrong and we were quite lucky to come away with the 1-0 win. I’ve been hearing that they’ve improved since they so we will definitely not be underestimating them.”
FOOTBALL WEST INVESTIGATE TRANSFER BREACH
A Premier Division club have come under scrutiny from Football West following revelations they fielded a player without first gaining clearance from his former club. The State League club are understood to have failed to gain an International Transfer Certificate from the players’ former club in Ireland prior to his turning out in the opening five rounds of the Premier Division season. Should the club be found to be in breach of the ‘Competition Rules’ they stand to have the results of these five games registered as forfeits and awarded to the opposition club by a margin of 3-0, unless that score disadvantages the opposing team in which case the original result will stand.
MADASCHI HAPPY WITH HIS KOREAN ADVENTURE
Five-time Socceroo Adrian Madaschi is one of an ever-increasing legion of Australian defenders plying their trade in Korea. The 29-year old penned a two-year deal with island club Jeju United in January, after a long career in Italy and a ten-week cameo with Melbourne Heart. Almost six months later Madaschi took time out to chat with Ben Somerford of Goal.com on football and life in Korea. “The way the football has been going, it’s all positive,” Madaschi said. “The games that I have played, I’ve done really well, so I’m happy with that.”
A series of quad and shoulder injuries have plagued Madaschi’s first six months at Jeju, who are currently flying high up in fifth spot. The former Perth SC junior admits he’s been frustrated by the injuries, but has thoroughly enjoyed the switch despite the unfamiliarity of his surrounds, having previously spent the majority of his professional career in Europe. “I’m happy with how things are going, except the injuries,” Madaschi said. “The club has a lot of faith in me and have been really good with me. They see me as an important part of the team.”
Madaschi admits to being impressed with the standard of the K-League, which he rates as better than the A-League. “I think the A-League has come a long way but here is another level,” said Madaschi, who had a 10-week stint with Melbourne Heart prior to joining Jeju. “The football is a lot quicker and the passing is sharper but that’s no disrespect to the A-League which is a growing competition and it’ll only get better. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, and you’ve got to take the positives out of that.”
“My background is more Italian, so the emphasis in Italian football is more on defensive tactics, but here tactically there are certain things they do lack,” added Madaschi. “It’s got more to do with defending as a team as a whole unit, whereas here they look at defending as a back four or two central defenders together. That’s where the difference is. In Italy, you’re first defender is your first line of attack. Here you tend to face a lot of one-on-one situations which isn’t ideal.”
Off the field Madaschi, who became a father for the first time in June, has been pleasantly surprised by life on the picturesque Jeju Island, which was voted last year as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature with its heritage-listed volcanic region. “It’s really beautiful, a really natural environment, a lot of things to see. I’ve seen a few bits and pieces here and there between training and football,” he said. “It’s a hidden wonder of the world. I don’t think a lot of people know about it, but it’s an absolutely fantastic place to be.”
Given he has just started a young family Madaschi could be forgiven for wanting to return home to family and friends in Australia, however, he has no intention of leaving Jeju just yet. “I don’t have a problem raising a family in Jeju,” Madaschi said. “The problems will come further ahead when you’ve got to think about putting kids through school … Bringing a baby boy up in Jeju is definitely something to look forward to, it’s a relaxing environment, it makes things a lot easier. It’s not a big stressful industrialised city, there’s fresh air and nice natural habitat around so it’s good.”
SPENCE BACK IN THE NICK OF TIME
Devon Spence could not have timed his return from a shoulder injury better. Inglewood United were thrown into something of a goalkeeper crisis on the weekend with Francis Soale out injured and Alex Sutton raced off to hospital prior to the reserves game with Armadale. Those circumstances paved the way for Spence, who has not played since mid-April, to come straight into his clubs’ elven. “I was quite nervous to get back because the injury was always at the back of my mind,” said Spence. “I didn’t want it to hinder the teams’ performance in anyway, but the boys played really well against a never-say-die Armadale.”
Spence damaged his shoulder ten weeks ago after colliding with a Floreat Athena opponent. It had at one stage looked as though he’d miss a lot more football, and probably would have if not for a well-managed recovery program. “The injury is all good now but at the time it was quite a serious one. I was hit from the side against Floreat, my shoulder dug into the turf and just stopped, I didn’t roll it just got stuck in the turf,” he said. “It was dealt with quickly and rehab has been very smooth so I’m pleased how everything has come together."
After playing last summer with Perth Glory Youth Spence found himself being courted by several overseas clubs but opted to join Inglewood. “One of the key factors for choosing Inglewood was Normo (coach Graham Normanton) and Bobby Despotovski, the facilities and the link with Glory,” explained Spence, who last year helped Perth SC become State Champions. “I enjoyed my time at Perth but I had to weigh up my options for the current season. And the season with Glory Youth was a great experience, and it’s one that I’m hoping to get again with the new season coming up.”
IS IT TIME TO REVIEW THE NTC IN THE STATE LEAGUE? (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show")
When Football Federation Australia announced plans to have development squads playing in each State’s top competition we applauded the concept. However, with the National Training Centre struggling through their second season of State League football questions are being raised as to what benefits these young players are getting from competing in the Premier Division. Are these burgeoning young talents becoming better players as a result?
Fourteen games into the season and the NTC are still winless, a remarkably similar story to that of 12 months ago. If these players are ready for the next step then these would not be the results. Losing every week cannot be good for any young player, and I have been advised that some have stated they no longer are enjoying the game. That is sad and ultimately could see a young talent walk away from the game, which surely defeats the object of the NTC program.
Once these boys reach 17 years of age would these players not be better off playing with grown men rather than against them? Imagine if Ryan Giggs have been held back in the youth team at Manchester United, along with David Beckham and Paul Scholes or Wayne Rooney at Everton. How would their games have progressed? Pele and Norman Whiteside were playing in World Cup finals at 17. These two players may well be exceptions but it proves that if you are good enough, you’re old enough.
The NTC does serve a vital role in bringing through young talent, but at 17 that talent should be set free. If the A-League clubs have spotted a player’s talent – and they should be looking at these boys from the time they are 13 or 14 – then they should pick them up and continue their development. If the boys have faith in their own abilities and are overlooked in Australia then they can head overseas and try their luck, and should they obtain a contract then the NTC has achieved another success.
Some players, however, will mature late while some may never make it to the next level, so the highest they will ever play is in the State League. By delaying their entry into a man’s world are we not in fact stunting these players development? By having them take the field each weekend and lose are we not destroying their enjoyment of the game? These and other questions need to be asked and considered seriously, before we lose these players to the game completely.
TAGGART RELISHES NEW STRIKE PARTNERSHIP
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart says top quality support makes the job of scoring goals easier. Taggart scored twice in Newcastle’s 3-1 defeat of Broadmeadow Magic last Wednesday’s thanks in no small part to experienced campaigners Michael Bridges and Ryan Griffiths. “With people like Bridgey and Griffo playing alongside you, you’re always going to have chances,” Taggart said. “The thought process and movement behind everything is already there and it’s easier for someone like me to come into that. You can sort of expect what you’re going to do with their movement and it’s really good to play up front with them.”
Unfortunately, 19-year old Taggart exited last week’s friendly midway through the first half with a groin strain. “I felt a little tweak in the game and thought it would be pretty silly to carry on and maybe risk anything serious,” said Taggart, who is one of five Newcastle players heading to Indonesia this weekend with the Young Socceroos. “I’ll just have to wait and see how I pull up over the next couple of days. I’ve got the Indonesia trip coming up on the weekend so we’ll just have to assess it before that to make sure everything is okay.”
BEING BACK HOME HAS WARD EXCITED (with Chris Correia, Football West)
Nick Ward is glad to be back at home. The career of the Perth Glory midfielder has taken him from Perth to London, Brighton, Melbourne, Thessaloniki and Wellington before returning to the familiar surrounds of his hometown. From Grand Final wins to failed attempts to break into Europe, Ward has seen it all and the 27-year old is now channelling his energies into bringing success to Glory. “I’m really excited about it all,” Ward told Football West’s ‘Beyond 90’ magazine. “It’s been six years and a lot has changed around town, with new developments popping up and the mining industry booming.”
Ward, winner of the inaugural A-League Rising Star award in 2005/06, is one of several new faces that Glory coach Ian Ferguson has brought into the squad for the upcoming season and he can’t wait for the action to begin. “Glory were slow starters in the A-League and last year they were just one step away before losing it (the Grand Final) quite harshly,” the attacking midfielder said. “(Jacob) Burns and Liam Miller are really good ball players and I think I can inject a bit of energy and get back to what I used to do. I’m quite versatile and can play wide when needed or in behind the strikers too.”
Ward made his first team debut with ECU Joondalup and spent a year at the Australian Institute of Sport but it was only after winning the Gold Medal as a Stirling Lions player in 2004 that things really took off. After starring for Glory he headed to England where injury curtailed his time with Queens Park Rangers and Brighton and Hove Albion. On returning to Australia he linked up with Melbourne Victory with whom he won the 2008/09 A-League premiership/championship double. Two spells with Wellington Phoenix were punctuated by a short stay with Iraklis, who were relegated over unpaid debts before Ward saw match action.
Another spell with Glory, who Ward played for 23 times before chasing his dream in Europe at the age of 21, was always part of the midfielder’s plans. “I always had it in the back of my mind,” Ward said. “I wanted to come back before I retired and had a career in Europe. Obviously that didn’t work out and things don’t always happen like they do in your head. I’m just happy that now I can catch up with school friends, go dinner with my parents, go surfing everyday - the lifestyle here is just the best.”
The coming season offers a fresh, new challenge for Ward, who remains hopefully of one day reaching his potential by playing for the Socceroos. “You can never rule anything out,” declared Ward, who has represented Australia at Under-20 and 23 levels. “I’ve been in squads but never got that cap and it’s something I’ve always wanted, but it depends on form. That’s something that wasn’t happening in Wellington, as I hadn’t settled in there at all as a person. I’m just happy to be back home and hope to play regular football, it’s (the Socceroos) not something I’m going to go chasing.”
GILL CALLED UP FOR MATILDAS
Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has announced an 18-player squad for next week's friendly with World Champions Japan. The game at the National Stadium in Tokyo is the first time the two nations have met since Japan triumphed 1-0 last September. Perth Glory striker Kate Gill continues her return from a serious knee injury by gaining selection alongside the teams' overseas-based stars Kyah Simon, Tameka Butt and Servet Uzunlar.
The Australian women's squad to play Japan on 11 July is Tameka Butt, Kyah Simon (Boston Breakers), Brooke Spence (Colorado Rapids), Laura Alleway (Lincoln Ladies), Emily Gielnik (Liverpool), Ashley Brown, Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey (Melbourne Victory), Alanna Kennedy (Newcastle Jets), Katrina Gorry (Ottawa Fury), Servet Uzunlar (Pali Blues), Kathryn Gill (Perth Glory), Teigen Allen, Danielle Brogan, Caitlin Foord, Thea Slatyer, Sarah Walsh (Sydney FC) and Melissa Barbieri (uncontracted).
FERGUSON ‘DELIGHTED’ WITH NEW SEASON COACHING TEAM
Perth Glory have finalised their coaching team for the 2012/13 A-League season with Stuart Munro and Mark Jones confirmed to work alongside Ian Ferguson. For the third season, Munro will be Ferguson’s senior assistant while Jones will take the role of assistant. “We are delighted to have them both on board,” Ferguson said. “I’m really please Stuart is with the club again and Mark will bring great experience having coached in the A-League (as an assistant) and the New South Wales Institute of Sport.”
Jones, a former Australia Youth international played more than 200 games in the National Soccer League, arrives in Perth with a wealth of A-League knowledge gleamed from four years with Newcastle Jets. “I’m excited to be given an opportunity to be involved in the A-League again,” Jones said. “I’m grateful to coach at this level and feel I have a lot to offer. Perth Glory did tremendously well last season, they have very good youth development at the club and Western Australia is an exciting place to coach.”
Glory has also released their pre-season schedule, which includes a three game tour of South Africa and two outings against the Western Australian State team. Their first hit-out will be against a local club mid-July before heading to South Africa for games against Amazulu (24 July), Platinum All Stars (29 July) and Bid Vest Wits (8 August). Upon returning they face the State team (21 August and 12 September) either side of Inglewood United (5 September). A trip east includes friendlies with a ‘to be confirmed’ opponent (19 September) and Melbourne Heart (22 September) followed by another game against local opposition (26 September).
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This page was last updated on the 5th July, 2012