TEN MAN STIRLING EDGE OUT INGLEWOOD
Premier Division leaders Stirling Lions played the majority of the second half with ten men but held out for a 2-1 win over Inglewood United at Macedonia Park. Phil Arnold had the home team in front before midfielder Gareth McGlynn collected his marching orders soon after the interval. Jason Gavin doubled their lead but Craig Simpson’s goal just after the hour ensured tensions remained on edge right up to the final whistle. “We’re 16 games unbeaten – three more points and we have won the league,” said Stirling assistant coach Gary Williams, before praising his players’ efforts. “Our boys showed the team spirit throughout the camp.”
It took only 4 minutes for Ryan Clarke to create an opening for the visiting side, the attacker’s cross into the 18-yard box evading David Perich by the narrowest of margins. Inglewood had Luke Martino to thank three minutes later when they goalkeeper cleared the danger posed by Arnold after he pounced on a poor back pass. James Sammut brought a fine save from Aleks Vrteski as Inglewood continued to take the game up to their hosts. But the breakthrough came at the opposite end on the quarter hour, McGlynn sending clear Arnold who expertly lobbed over Martino in the one-on-one.
Both sides had their chances leading into the break, Sam Fuzik shooting too close to Martino before Greg Sharland curled high with a dead ball. Stirling suffered a blow four minutes after the break with McGlynn harshly shown a straight red card for his challenge on Perich. Gavin doubled the hosts lead six minute later with a powerful header past Martino from Miki Vujacic’s corner. Inglewood’s reply came on 62 minutes with Simpson nodding in from an Alex Caniglia cross. The visitors heaped on the pressure but the closest they’d come to scoring a second was Caniglia’s long-range attempt which flashed just past the post.
BAYSWATER KEEP PACE AT THE TOP
Bayswater City’s regular season title hopes remain alive courtesy of a resounding 4-0 win on home soil over Armadale. Todd Howarth opened the scoring right on half-time after which Gustavo Catarcione netted twice and Andy Reale once to keep Bayswater one point behind Premier Division pacesetter Stirling Lions. “It was a sluggish start to the game but we had made a few changes, with players coming back from injury,” said Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses, whose team copped a spray during the interval. “Chris (Coyne) didn’t like what he saw and told the guy’s, but once we got the first one we knew we would go on and get three and four and that was the case.”
The day could have finished much differently had Rhys Loxley’s 7th minute strike been a little more out of Devon Spence’s reach. Bayswater responded to this let-off by upping their workrate and pressing deep into their opponents half. Howarth lifted over the defence on the quarter hour for Catarcione but Armadale goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock kept out his opponents low shot. Sharrock did even better in the 27th minute when his one-handed save again left Catarcione frustrated. The breakthrough arrived in the shadows of half-time, John Kearney and Catarcione combining to play in Howarth who fended off Sam Loveless before despatching his shot beyond Sharrock from 6-metres.
Bayswater put their foot down in the second period. James Isaia’s low shot was saved by Sharrock, who was grateful when Paul McCarthy placed wide after the ‘keeper spilled a Ross Cosgrave cross. Bayswater’s inevitable second goal arrived on 59 minutes when Howarth and McCarthy exchanged passes to teed-up Catarcione whose shot from 15-metres deflected into the net off the post. Catarcione was on the score sheet again ten minutes later, Howarth again releasing the attacker whose clipped finish gave Sharrock no chance. The icing was put on Bayswater’s cake seven minutes from time by substitute Reale, who make no mistake from the edge of the 18-yard box after meeting Patrick Quinn’s centre.
BUNBURY PROVE THEIR POINT
Bunbury Forum Force put the disappointment of missing out on the National Premier Leagues behind them by downing finals-bound Cockburn City 3-2 at Dalmatinac Park. Steve Howson decided where the points would end up early in the second period after finishes by Bright Ababio and Ryan Francis were discounted by Harry O’Brien and Paul Lloyd. “The shock decision to leave Bunbury out of the NPL hurt a lot,” said away custodian Ryan Montgomery. “As a Bunbury local it’s devastating to think we might not be able to compete against the best teams in the state next season. We had a point to prove today against one of the top teams, we are good enough and should have been included.”
It was with a flurry of activity that Bunbury opened the game but despite enjoying plenty of possession the goal they sought was not forthcoming. Cockburn showed them how to do it on 26 minutes when O’Brien firing in after the away team failed to deal with a Lloyd corner. Six minutes later Ababio had the ball in the net following a Liam Hutchinson corner. Bunbury edged in front on 38 minutes with Francis turning in from Ryan Risdon’s left wing delivery. Half-time was moments away when Conor Kavanagh threaded the ball in to Lloyd, who was allowed time to pick his spot in Montgomery net’s. The decisive goal arrived eight minutes after the break, Ryan Stewart’s cross deflecting into the path of Howson who headed powerfully past Nick Feely from 6-metres.
KNIGHT’S TRIPLE TREAT
A sparkling display by State striker Gavin Knight was at the heart of Sorrento’s 5-0 thrashing of finals contender Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Knight helped himself to a hat-trick with captain Todd Harnwell and defender Mikey Aspin also on the scoresheet to move Sorrento into third spot on the table. “It’s nice to score goals,” said Knight, who set-up both his team mates goals. “I haven’t scored in a couple of weeks (but) once the first one went in it gave me a bit of confidence and then I created plenty of chances.” Despite the loss Floreat remain in fifth spot, one points ahead of Inglewood United.
The only goal of a fairly uneventful opening half came after 7 minutes when Callum Fransz’s slip was punished by Knight, who finished past goalkeeper Brad Eiffe in a one-on-one. Floreat sought to get back on level terms but long-range strikes by Cisco Jorquera and Ludovic Boi were high while Benny Kovadio was thwarted by Curtis Aspden. Harnwell came close to adding another to his team tally after the break but was unable to get the better of Eiffe. But on 49 minutes the Floreat goal was breached for a second time with Harnwell volleying in from 8-metres after being teed-up by Knight.
Sorrento further strengthened their hold over the game on 54 minutes when Knight guided his header from 10-metres beyond Eiffe after getting on the end of an Apsin cross. Floreat were pushing forward looking for ways to get back in only to be caught short at the back by Aspden’s long clearance which found Aspin who, after playing a tidy one-two with Knight, unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner. Knight completed his hat-trick with four minutes remaining by tucking in from the spot after Fransz’s foul on the Sorrento marksman prompted referee Paul Anderson to award a penalty.
JOONDALUP TAKE THE POINTS AS PERTH END WITH NINE
ECU Joondalup’s late season revival continued with a 1-0 win over Perth SC under lights at the Edith Cowan University campus. Genaveo Human grabbed the only goal of a tight game which ended on a soar note for Perth who had both Antonio Naglieri and Luka Njegich sent off. “At one-nil up with a two-man advantage you have a choice to make – throw numbers forward and try to kill the game off or maintain your shape and structure,” home coach Dale McCulloch said. “I chose the latter and was pleased with the team spirit and discipline in seeing out the result.”
It was a tight opening with genuine chances few and far between, thanks in no small part to the wet and windy conditions. Perth held the upper hand in terms of possession but found it difficult to break down a resolute home defence. On the half hour David Onoforo finally found a way though only to have an alert Andy Banks come out quickly and block his opponents shot. Perth did manage to put the ball in the back of the net just before the break, however, Onoforo’s tap-in after a defensive header looped over Banks was disallowed for offside.
Perth game was turned on its head early in the second half with Naglieri copping a straight red card from referee Tim Mihevc following a clash with Joe Smith. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the 51st minute, Jon Stynes playing down the right for Amphlett whose cutback was converted from 6-metres by Human. Joe Knowles fired wide from a similar range before Onoforo again tested Banks as the game began to open up. But Perth’s hopes were dashed with the 77th minute dismissal for a harsh second yellow card. Stynes and Amphlett had chances to add to the final tally but in the end Joondalup had to be content with the single-goal margin.
EXPERIENCE GETS BALCATTA THE WIN
Balcatta collected only their second home win of the winter by overcoming the National Training Centre 3-0. Matt Brooks struck in the first half with Simon Versaico and Roberto Lujan rounding out the scoreline following the interval. “They pushed us for the first twenty minutes and had large periods of possession where they moved the ball around quite well,” Balcatta’s Jarrad Smith said of a tough opening spell. “Once we adjusted our formation we were able to absorb their pressure and put some meaningful attacks together, which produced some good end-to-end football.”
Although the NTC enjoyed some good early possession it wasn’t until midway through the half that Jacob Collard was sent through but the youngster fired high with only Alex Dunn to beat. Balcatta claimed the lead right on half-time when Brook got to an Adam Tong free-kick ahead of goalkeeper Jordan Franken to register his first senior goal. That lead was doubled on the hour with Versaico nodding in at the back post from a Smith corner. Lujan completed the scoring eight minutes later by lobbing the oncoming ‘keeper after being played through by Chris Thackray.
ASHFIELD DEAL CANNING A MAJOR BLOW
Canning City’s title hopes suffered a major setback when held to a 1-1 draw this afternoon at Ashfield. Daniel Neiderberger scored late to cancel out Karl O’Reilly’s first half opener but it wasn’t enough to prevent Canning from conceding top spot in Division One to Dianella White Eagles, who hold a one point advantage with three games to play. “We’re gutted to get only a draw,” said Canning coach Paul Van Dongen, whose team played the first half into a stiff wind. “We stuck to our game plan for the first half and conceded one lucky goal. But we had the character to keep battling on until the very end of the game to get something out of it.”
Ashfield, who had the wind at their backs, dominated first half territory so such a degree that the ball rarely crossed the halfway line. Tom Kennedy looked like getting the go-ahead goal with a speculative shot from distance which carried over the crossbar, while Ryan Frisina forced goalkeeper John Perkins into a fine save. Chances weren’t as plentiful for the away team although Mark Trevisiol thought he’d scored with a header but match officials ruled otherwise with the ball hacked off the line. Half-time was just moments away when O’Reilly tucked into the net after Steve Grant parried a shot by a suspiciously offside Jay Lang.
After the interval it was Canning’s turn to hold sway over proceedings. But try as they did the visitors were unable to find a way past Perkins, who came up trumps time and time again. That was until the 89 minute when Matt Wardle’s second yellow card foul presented an opportunity for Neiderberger, whose low free-kick through a crowded 18-yard box brought the teams level. The game was now Canning’s for the taking. In a frantic final few minutes Neiderberger fizzled one shot past the post and nodded another into the upright, the latter after Perkins parried a Rory Moutett header. Gerardo Soto also squandered a couple of chances had before Paul Van Dongen hit the side netting from a tight angle.
DRAW DOES NEITHER SHAMROCK NOR WANNEROO ANY FAVOURS
The failure of Shamrock Rovers and Wanneroo City to find the back of the net meant neither team was happy with the point gained from the meeting at Harold Rossiter Reserve. The scoreless draw was a blow to both teams already slim hopes of climbing to the top of the Division One now appear to be over. Shamrock were on the front foot from the outset with Kevin O'Herlihy commanding the middle of the park and Will Pender providing plenty of pace and width on the right. Ciaran Byrne had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for a team mate push on an opponent in the lead-up while Paul Concannon sliced wide from a good position.
Fired up by coach David Tough, Wanneroo returned for the second half determined to break the deadlock. A Stuart Montgomery strike was parried by the goalkeeper with the follow-up sent high by Scott Bushby, who later angled into the upright. The visitors thought Anthony Jones had found a way through when he volleyed in from a free-kick but an offside flag ended any celebrations. Shamrock had good reason to feel aggrieved when referee overruled his assistant by not awarding the hosts a penalty for a clear trip on Mark O’Brien. Both sides had their chances to grab victory in the final five minutes. Charlie Kenna lifted high at close-range after the ball bobbled up on an uneven surface, and there was still time for Montgomery to flash just over from 20-metres.
KNIGHTS OUT-CLASS ROCKINGHAM
A dominant 90 minute performance by Western Knights was rewarded by a 3-0 demolition of home side Rockingham City. Steve Purton, Brendan Craig and Jamie Ricks found the back of the net in windy condition to send Rockingham tumbling to the foot of the Division One standings. Rockingham mounted the first attack on goal but after that it was all one-way traffic with the Knights well and truly in control. Ricks twice went close to breaking through, sending a header high before volleying another chance over, while Johny Mirco , Craig and Luka Jukic each brought the goalkeeper into action. Purton got the goal they were after with a vicious shot from 22-metres which flashed into the bottom corner before the ‘keeper had time to react.
Rockingham gave a better account of themselves in the second period, the hosts stringing together several promising moves and creating a smattering of half chances. At the other end, Craig and Ricks continued to ask questions of the defence and after some nice interplay between the pair Craig tucked in goal number two. Ricks should have made it three-nil but instead hit the post from all of a metre, and with the rebound the same player headed over with the ‘keeper stranded. That miss was soon enough forgotten with Ricks expertly lifting over a diving ‘keeper following a tidy lead-up. Chances continued to flow for the Knights but when the final whistle sounded they had few complaints with the three-goal margin.
CARROLL JUMPS GOSNELLS OUT OF LAST PLACE
Team captain Alan Carroll popped up with just minutes to spare to grab Gosnells City a valuable 3-2 victory over Swan United on a blustery afternoon at Walter Padbury Reserve. The three points, which came courtesy of earlier finishes by Tony Ton and Sean Taylor, moved Gosnells away from the foot of Division One with only three rounds to play. “The change rooms where electric after the game, the team song was a great moment in what has been a tough season,” said Gosnells coach Alan Dunlop. “We have been playing well and picking up points and today the performance was brilliant. It was a very even game but my boys wanted it more.”
Gosnells adapted to the windy conditions well and would have gone a goal up through Ton had the youngster not lifted over the crossbar from a good position. However, Ton atoned for that miss in the 12th minute with a composed finish past veteran goalkeeper Cory Hugo after being played in behind the defence by Wade Farmer. Swan rallied and four minutes later levelled, Black converting beyond the reach of Struan Herd from a Mark Miraudo free-kick awarded for a foul on Monterosso. Both sets of players worked tirelessly to fashion another goal before the break but Herd and Hugo stood their ground to ensure there was no addition to the scoreline.
The second half followed much the same pattern with both ‘keepers making some timely interceptions and saves. Hugo was eventually beaten for a second time on 71 minutes when Brian Patterson slipped the ball through for Taylor to sweep into the visitors net. Swan went forward four minutes later through Monterosso, whose speculative effort from out wide was caught by the wind and drifted over a hapless Herd. Gosnells’ responded in kind but Taylor’s shot was blocked while Aaron Coslani and substitute Feisal Zaw were thwarted by Hugo. There was one minute left on the clock when Ben Howe returned a partial clearance into the 18-yard box where Carroll nodded in.
MELVILLE CONTINUE TO IMPROVE
Division Two cellar dwellers Melville City stretched their unbeaten run to three games with a come-from-behind 1-1 draw at competition leaders Maddington White City. The home team entered the break with the upper hand but a headed goal from Mark Lucas saw that the points were shared. “We played attractive and effective football,” said Melville coach Danny Evans, who lamented a campaign ruined by injury. “It’s been a season that could have been. We’ve not been able to put out consistent sides until the last three games so it’s been a frustration. Still, this bodes well for next year and lots of young players have got invaluable experience which we as a club are better for.”
The loss of Aaron Bahadori inside the opening minute suggested Melville’s injury woes were far from over. However, the team in green rallied with a spirited performance which belied their position at the bottom of the table. Even so, Maddington held the upper hand at the end of 45 minutes courtesy of Mwansa Musonda’s stunning shot on the run which flashed between goalkeeper Elliot Duncan and the near post. Melville had to wait until the second half before being rewarded, Jack Mawdsley crossing for an unmarked Lucas to head past Peter Wile. The game now opened up with Simon El Chami and David Palin going closest to putting Melville in front, while at the other end it was Yves Mwila that looked most likely to score.
DERBY WIN KEEPS JOONDALUP IN TITLE CONTENTION
Joondalup City moved to within reach of the Division Two summit by accounting for northern neighbours Quinns 2-0 in a fiercely contested derby at Gumblossom Park. Goals by Elliott Rose and Mark Tebbutt were a just reward for a solid all-round performance from the visiting team, who are one of three teams separated by only two points at the top of the leader board. “These three points were massive for our chances to win the league,” commented Tebbutt. “We’ve got a very strong side at the moment and are playing some good football.”
It took only a few minutes for Joondalup to assert themselves on the game with Danny Allen pulling the strings in the middle of the park. Rose was proving a handful in the final third and his persistence was rewarded with the opening goal, lobbed goalkeeper Daniel McAinish. Jake Benson-Cooper was the architect of Quinns better moves when going forward, however, a lack of meaningful support led those attacks to break down more often than not. Poor marking at an Allen corner was punished by Tebbutt, who double the visitors’ advantage with a powerful header. Quinns ended the afternoon with only ten men following a harsh second booking to Jack Cann.
REWARDS ARRIVE LATE FOR FREMANTLE
A couple of late goals have seen Fremantle United come away from Subiaco AFC with maximum points courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline. Fremantle enjoyed by far the better of the first half, dominating possession and carving out some great chances to go ahead. And the game would have been over by the break had Maddison Holman, Andrew Morrow and Fletcher Tracy packed their scoring boots, the trio squandering some guilt-edged opportunities. As it was the only goal of the period came at the other end where John Molloy’s strike from 25-metres flew past goalkeeper Carlos Bervenotti.
The second half started in much the same fashion, Fremantle seeing more of the ball but unable to convert. Molloy came within inches of doubling his teams lead with another sensational which rattled the crossbar. With the physical side of the game increasing, Fremantle equalised via Cameron Hayes’ crisply struck free-kick which deceived the ‘keeper thanks to a deflection. Hayes then turned provider by playing through the defence for Sam Ambrogio and while his chip caught the fingertips of ‘keeper Sam Stone, Tracy reacted quickest to smash in the loose ball to get Fremantle a deserved victory.
REWARDS ARRIVE LATE FOR FREMANTLE
A couple of late goals have seen Fremantle United come away from Subiaco AFC with maximum points courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline. Fremantle enjoyed by far the better of the first half, dominating possession and carving out some great chances to go ahead. And the game would have been over by the break had Maddison Holman, Andrew Morrow and Fletcher Tracy packed their scoring boots, the trio squandering some guilt-edged opportunities. As it was the only goal of the period came at the other end where John Molloy’s strike from 25-metres flew past goalkeeper Carlos Bervenotti.
The second half started in much the same fashion, Fremantle seeing more of the ball but unable to convert. Molloy came within inches of doubling his teams lead with another sensational which rattled the crossbar. With the physical side of the game increasing, Fremantle equalised via Cameron Hayes’ crisply struck free-kick which deceived the ‘keeper thanks to a deflection. Hayes then turned provider by playing through the defence for Sam Ambrogio and while his chip caught the fingertips of ‘keeper Tom Barratt, Tracy reacted quickest to smash in the loose ball to get Fremantle a deserved victory.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All roads lead to Macedonia Park tomorrow when top of the table Stirling Lions come up against sixth-placed Inglewood United. A home win will put Stirling on the cusp of regular season honours, however, captain Andy Brown says getting that result is easier said than done. “The last time we met it was a tight affair and we were lucky to come away with the points,” he commented. “In our favour is the game is at Macedonia Park, we have been strong there all year and seem to save our best football for the home contests so, hopefully, we can keep that ritual going and take one step closer to the title.”
This is a game Inglewood must win if they’re to leapfrog Floreat Athena and qualify for the finals. “Stirling hasn’t lost since mid-April so it’s going to be a tough game,” said Inglewood captain Rikki Smith. “Floreat are up against Sorrento and Perth SC in their last two games so it’s safe to say that the pressure is firmly on them not to slip out of the five. All we can do is take maximum points from our remaining games and hope they slip-up.” The away team will be at full-strength for the game with James Sammut, Andrija Jukic, Ryan Clarke and Danny Thomson available for selection.
Sorrento striker Anthony Skorich recognises getting a win at home against Floreat is not going to be easy. “They'll be pushing hard for a spot in the finals and we haven’t been in the best of form, so it will be a tough game,” Skorich commented. “We’ve worked on a game plan this week and we will look to execute it on Saturday. The thought of the last time we met (a 2-0 win to Floreat) may play a factor for them and seeing as they have much more at stake could play in our favour in a tight contest.” Floreat defender Jack Allen (suspension) and Sorrento attacker Jesse Fuller (ankle) will watch from the sidelines.
Bayswater City are breathing down Stirling’s neck in second place but will be minus star pair Steve Burton and Brian Farrell for Armadale’s visit to Frank Drago Reserve. Bunbury Forum Force will attempt to put National Premier League omission out of their minds when they travel to Dalmatinac Park to meet Cockburn City. Jarred Mort, Chris Blackburn, Ryan Francis and Liam Hutchinson are in doubt for the visitors, likewise Cockburn trio Euen Grant, Conor Kavanagh and Ian McMurray. The final afternoon game has Balcatta on home soil to the National Training Centre. Simon Elton-Bott and Stef Valentini come back in for Balcatta whereas the development squad are without attacker Borbor Sambindi.
The second-to-last round of the regular season concludes with a night game between ECU Joondalup and Perth in the northern suburbs (7.00pm). “We’re hoping to build on the last few weeks and hopefully make it three wins on the bounce at home,” said home coach Dale McCulloch. “Perth has also been in good form and we will need to be at our best to keep our run going.” Midfielders David Caine and Jon Higgins are in doubt for Joondalup, while Perth is minus English duo Ashley Corker and Clark Keltie. Unless stated otherwise, all six Premier Division games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Wanneroo City must take the points away at Shamrock Rovers tomorrow if they’re to remain in contention for top honours in Division One. “It will be a tough game against Shamrock, they play a similar type of football to us so it should be a good contest,” said Wanneroo goalkeeper Clint Davies ahad of the three verses four encounter. “These are the types of games you look forward to playing in and even more so when it is so tight at the top of the table. We have gone around twelve games without loss in the league and, after a good win at Dianella White Eagles, everyone is buzzing.”
Motivation certainly won’t be lacking when defeated Cup Finalists Ashfield hosts Division One leaders Canning City. “We are all proud of our efforts in reaching the Cup Final and also our showing on the day, but now we want to finish the league off by winning every game,” commented Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers. “Our goal is to climb the league standings by a couple of places, that and playing some good football for the fantastic support we have received this year.” Ashfield defender Nick Davies (knee) is out of action, likewise Canning pair Laurence Cheyne (overseas) and Emlyn Whetnall (hamstring).
Dianella White Eagles are likely to be minus playmaker Andreas Theodosiades when they host Mandurah City. Rockingham City are without Marlon Ramirez (suspension), Thabiso Ncube (suspension) and possibly Daniel Macklin (injury) when they welcome Western Knights to Lark Hill Sportsplex. The away team have some injury concerns of their own with Vinnie Wiktoria out and Craig Riely in doubt. Chris Holland, Darren Francis, Kevin Beattie and Luke McCord are unavailable for Gosnells City’s home date with Swan United. McGilvray Oval has UWA-Nedlands verses Morley Windmills. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Maddington White City welcomes a host of players back for their home game with Melville City. Goalkeeper Peter Wile, George Tchami and Joshua Tumoe are likely to be handed starting roles for a game which Maddington must-win to stay top of the league. Second-placed Quinns have home ground in the northern derby with third-from-top Joondalup City, while Rosalie Park has the fourth verses fifth meeting of Subiaco AFC and Fremantle United. David Ashworth and Zeph Rolls are in contention to turn out when Kingsway Olympic travel to Forrestfield United. All four Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
STUNNED BUNBURY TO FIGHT NPL SNUB
Bunbury Forum Force are considering all their options after being omitted from the National Premier Leagues WA. Football West stunned the south west football community on Tuesday afternoon by revealing Bunbury were the only existing Premier Division team not to make the cut for the inaugural NPL season. Bunbury president Albert Nascimento is at a loss to explain exactly why his club were not granted entry to the NPL, which from next year replaces the State League as the top tier of football in Western Australia. “Our application wasn’t good enough – that’s the only reason we have been given,” Nascimento commented.
Bunbury representatives travelled to Perth yesterday to meet and discuss with Football West the possibility to bringing regional Western Australia into the NPL. “We put forward the option of adding two teams in Bunbury and Mandurah City,” Nascimento said. “Mandurah have great facilities and, like us, have a large catchment area with a lot of young players. We don’t have the facilities Mandurah have right now but building (at Hay Park) is commencing in November so they are on their way. Unfortunately, our proposal to Football West for a 14-team NPL didn’t go anywhere.”
The south west has a long history of producing quality footballers, including Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon. Bayswater City captain and State representative Patrick Quinn and Callum Richardson, who is part of the academy set-up at English club Burnley, came up through the ranks of Bunbury, while former Glory boy Doug Ithier and State defender Alan Armstrong also started out in the south west. “The NPL is all about development and in the south west we have three and a half thousand young players who’ve just had their career paths cut-off,” said Nascimento.
Nascimento is leaving no stone unturned in the fight to have Bunbury restored to the top flight. “I’ve contacted the presidents of each NPL club are they are not against having Bunbury in the league,” Nascimento said. “Our local member, John Castrilli, is fuming we have been left out. We’ve spoken with National Party member Colin Holt, who got us the grant to develop our home ground under the Royalties for Regions program, along with the minister for Sport and Recreation Terry Waldron and representatives from his office.” It is understood the State League Standing Committee will shortly convene a meeting to discuss the make-up of next year’s NPL.
HUGO BOWS OUT WITH PMH FUNDRAISER
Former State goalkeeper Corey Hugo will take possibly his final curtain call on Wednesday evening when Stirling Lions take on Perth Glory in a fundraiser for Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. Hugo, a veteran of 16 State League winters, has spent much of the past four months at PMH watching his 2-year old, James, undergo treatment for a brain tumour and is calling on the local football community to get along to Macedonia Park to support a worthy cause. “It should always be a priority for us to better the treatment and research into child and infant cancer and if the money raised can eventually help find a cure, then that would be worth more than anything,” Hugo said.
The past twelve months have been a rollercoaster ride for Hugo. “James had been sick for some time from about August last year until he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April,” said Hugo. “He has had the tumour removed and now has a shunt in his head, which he will have this for life. He is doing really well and we are just monitoring to see if the cancer comes back. I don’t think I needed a reminder that life was precious but this certainly put everything into perspective … the last few months have shown me that there is a lot more to life than football.”
Hugo, whose career included three State Cup victories, is content with what he has achieved in football. “I have done some amazing things in football and met some amazing people on and off the pitch,” he said. “I got to play in some big games but I played just because I loved it. I always wanted to be a professional footballer but was never good enough. I am happy with what I’ve done and the people I’ve met, and I am happy that I helped Swan United, in particular, win some silverware. It was great to play with my brother, Justin, for so long and play for our local club with such amazing people.”
As a junior Hugo turned out for Swan, Bassendean Caledonian and Inglewood Falcons (nee United), representing the State at Under13, 15 and 16 levels along the way. His first team debut may have been with Swan but it was with Kingsway Olympic in 1998 that Hugo cemented his place in the first eleven. “The team we had was very young and amazing. We lost most games but we made it to the Cup Final against Joondalup City where Carl McDarby scored with a header in sudden-death extra-time to win it for them,” he recalled. After training the summer with Perth Glory, Hugo joined Inglewood who he helped to Cup victory.
Hugo’s rise was made complete when, in late 2000, he gained the first of seven senior State selections. “It was an honour to be selected in those games and I hope I did Western Australia proud,” said Hugo, who has nothing but fond memories of his State team outings. “The game I remember the most was Red Star Belgrade (in 2001), they were the first professional team to come here in ages and although they hammered us I played probably the best game of my career. I captained the side once, against Perth Glory (2003) when Gary Marocchi was coach, and travelling with the guys to play South Australia at Hindmarsh Stadium (2002) was awesome.”
Swan’s promotion to the Premier Division for the 2000 season saw Hugo return to the club where he started out. “It was the best atmosphere I have ever been involved in,” said Hugo, who played eleven consecutive seasons with the black and whites. “For the majority of the time I played with my brother, Justin, Carlo and Damian Scali, Trevor and Richard Hatton, Paul Lincoln, Elton Holmes, Carols Echeverria, Justin Everley, John and Robert Monterosso and many more. Off the field Cos Coniglio, Cos Scali, Lenny Dundo and all the committee members were always very supporting and made the club feel like home.”
Hugo had the gloves for Swan’s back-to-back Cup triumphs of 2003 and 2004. “We were underdogs against Perth SC and probably Fremantle Spirit but we were such a tight unit we were always up for a challenge. To win the Cup twice was awesome, and meant a lot to me to be able to reward the hard work of my team mates and club staff,” he said. Hugo joined the exclusive group of ‘keeper’s who’ve scored with a booming clearance against ECU Joondalup in May 2004, while the following year his class was further recognised with the State League Goalkeeper of the Year, an award he shared with then-Perth custodian Gareth Deeg.
When Swan were relegation from the top flight in 2010 Hugo considered retirement, however, an offer to relocate to Macedonia Park convinced him to play on. “Stirling gave me another chance. I was really happy to play a few more years when most people probably thought I was passed it and I will always be grateful to Paul Lincoln, Doug Hesketh and Don Evans for that opportunity,” he said. “I might get another game or two with Swans this year and it’ll be great to get to play at Francis Street one more time, but if Wednesday is my last game I am okay with that.”
Although family will come first in retirement, Hugo isn’t discounting the possibility of a return to football somewhere down the track. “I’ve being playing football for over 30 years, it’s been huge in my life and I will really miss the competition and the mateship. I still would like to be involved somehow and maybe I might get a game here and there if my beloved Black and Whites are desperate,” he said. “Being a dad to my three kids and working as a specialist cricket – my other sporting obsession – teacher will be my priorities. And hopefully something in football, people keep telling me to coach but we’ll have to wait and see.”
O’BRIEN “DELIGHTED” TO JOIN GLORY
Teenager midfielder Harry O’Brien is over the moon with putting put pen to paper on his first professional contract. O’Brien signed a two-year deal Perth Glory late last week following a stellar breakthrough winter with Cockburn City where his knack for finding the back of the net has propelled the southern suburbs club into the Premier Division’s top three. “I’m delighted to have signed with Glory and be given the opportunity to further my football career,” said O’Brien, who scored nine times in eight appearances for Cockburn. “It’s a new challenge and one I look forward to starting.”
O’Brien, a member of Perth Glory Youth for the past two seasons, showed he is ready for the full-time demands of professional football by netting twice in the senior sides friendly with Cockburn last weekend. “It was great to make my debut playing against the club that I have grown up and matured as a player at,” commented O’Brien. “My family has been heavily involved at Cockburn since I moved to Australia, with my dad coaching, brother playing, and my mum helping behind the scenes. I get on well with the fans and hopefully they still like me after scoring against them last week.”
Cockburn are riding high in the Premier Division and, with the A-League not starting until October, O’Brien intends finishing what he started with the Cockerels. “To finish in the top five is a great achievement, but we believe we can put in a real challenge to win the finals,” he commented. “We’ve had a really good season, many people thought we would struggle being the newly promoted side. The mid-season change of coach was a hurdle in the campaign, Marc Anthony came in for Scott Miller, but I thought as a team we responded brilliantly to it, as shown by our results.”
Glory assistant coach Scott Miller is well aware of what O’Brien brings to the table. “When I was coaching at Cockburn last year Harry came back to us from the Glory youth team and slotted straight in,” explained Miller. “This year he’s been top goalscorer for Cockburn and he’s a defender’s nightmare. He’s just one of those guys who has the knack of scoring goals. I think just in behind the striker is his best position, although he can also play as a number seven out wide on the right. Like a lot of the young boys we have at the club now, he can do a job in a number of different positions.”
There’s been a heavy emphasis on youth Glory’s recruitment plans for the coming summer, something O’Brien feels bodes well for the future. “The young players that are signed have all got the qualities to be good A-League players, and I think they have the right environment to do so, with the coaches and senior players we have at the club,” O’Brien said. “The squad has the right mix of experienced and young players to do very well. Personally, I’ll be looking to establish myself as a first team player but I know there is a great deal of hard work in front of me.”
WILLIAMS TO FACE BRAZIL
Rhys Williams’ hopes of playing at next year’s World Cup have been revived with the Middlesbrough captain called up for the Socceroos upcoming friendly with Brazil. A form dip last season led to Williams’ omission from Australia’s squad for June’s World Cup qualifiers against Japan, Jordan and Iraq, however, his solid start to the new English season has prompted a recall from coach Holger Osieck. “He’s now ready to join the group again,” commented Osieck. “We have been monitoring him closely and he is back playing regular first team football as the captain of his club.” The game in Brasilia on 7 September will be the seventh between Australia and Brazil, and the first since the South American’s claimed a 2-0 victory at the 2006 World Cup.
The Australia squad to play Brazil is Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Brett Holman (Al Nasr Sports Club), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Mitchell Duke (Central Coast Mariners), Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea), Robert Cornthwaite (Chunnam Dragons), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Lucas Neill (Omiya Ardija), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) and Tommy Oar (Utrecht).
TWELVE CLUBS GAIN NPL ENTRY
Football West has revealed the dozen clubs that will line-up in the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA. Existing Premier Division sides Armadale, Balcatta, Bayswater City, Cockburn City, ECU Joondalup, Floreat Athena, Inglewood United, Perth SC, Sorrento and Stirling Lions will be joined by Second Division outfit Subiaco AFC and a combined Perth Glory/National Training Centre team gaining provisional entry into next year’s NPL. Of the current Premier Division clubs, only Bunbury Forum Force were not granted a spot in the NPL, which will become the new top tier of football in Western Australia.
Football West chairman Liam Twigger congratulated all clubs for the high standard of bids and encouraged unsuccessful applicants to continue towards the plans outlined in their submissions. “The Board learnt the two things most apparent from the submissions and presentations were the level of professionalism shown in developing high-quality applications and presentations, and the extent to which the club committees and members have embraced the NPL and much of what it aims to deliver,” Twigger said. The strength of NPL applications has prompted Football West to consider bringing forward to 2015 expansion plans initially scheduled for 2016.
An initiative of Football Federation Australia, the NPL is a direct outcome of the national competitions review of last year and creates a pseudo second-tier of football under the A-League. It is being implemented to create a more consistent national structure for the State league competitions, and is intended to raise the standard of the game nationwide through structural reform, increased coaching standards and better community engagement. NPL clubs are required to appoint a technical director and field teams in each age group from under-12 to under-16 along with under-18, under-20 and first team.
SAGE VALUES DE SILVA AT $1 MILLION
Teenage sensation Daniel De Silva would command a transfer fee in excess of $1 million according to Perth Glory chairman Tony Sage. De Silva, 16, burst onto the national league scene last year but has been on the radar of several overseas clubs for some time. The attacking midfielder was poised to join English club Everton last year when visa complication led to the deal falling through, while Inter Milan (Italy) and Manchester United (England) have also been tracking his development. De Silva made international headlines at the Under-20 World Cup in June when he became Australia’s youngest ever goal scorer at the tournament.
De Silva is contracted to Glory until 2015 but Sage said he would be willing to part company with the young gun earlier if the price was right. “You wouldn’t sell Danny for less than a million dollars,” Sage said. “That million dollars then goes into the club and then we can develop other younger players coming through. It does go around and go around. The only disappointing thing is the WA public or the Australian public don’t get to see these stars week-in, week-out in our league. They see them in the EPL or the European league. That’s the only difficulty, but it is a very, very transient sport.”
De Silva’s representatives have fielded calls from parties interested in his services since his exploits at the Under-20 World Cup. “There’s been a lot of interest sniffing around from European clubs,” Sage said. “We’ve got him for the next two years, so we’ve got him until he’s 18. He can’t go over there and play anyway (until he’s 18), but there’s been a lot of interest since he played and got that wonderful goal at the World Cup. WA talent is shining through and Alistair (Edwards) has got four of our squad now playing in the Under-20 Australian team. We’re going to have a fairly good young squad going forward.”
GLORY LINE-UP FRIENDLIES WITH MELBOURNE
Perth Glory will take their pre-season up a notch with two outings against A-League rivals Melbourne Heart later this month. Melbourne, whose line-up includes former Liverpool player Harry Kewell, will pit skills with Glory on 11 September at Intiga Stadium, Inglewood, and again three days later at Hyundai Stadium, Mandurah. “These games will take our pre-season preparations to the next level,” coach Alistair Edwards said. “I’m sure our wonderful fans will turn out in great numbers not only to support us, but also to get up close and personal with one of Australia’s finest ever players in Harry Kewell.”
POSSESSION THE NAME OF THE GAME: VUKOVIC
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic says Perth Glory will play more possession football in their first full season under Alistair Edwards. The former Australia international has spent the pre-season implementing a new style of play with the aim of steering Glory to a third finals campaign in four years. “I think you’ll find that we’re a lot more of a passing team now,” Vukovic said on Sport FM’s ‘Beyond Extra Time’. “Alistair came in and he would’ve liked to have changed it straight away, but it’s quite hard coming in halfway through a season and changing the way a team plays. We’ve got the luxury now of having a full pre-season with him and I think you’ll see us value ball possession a lot more.”
Attack is not the only area in which Glory supporters’ will see a change. “We’re definitely going to work hard in defence as well. When we lose the ball, the key for us is to try to regain possession quickly,” Vukovic said. “If we can do that in areas further up the field it will mean we’ve got our front three or four, who are very attacking-minded players, to do some damage against opposing teams. I think the passing game is going to stand out from previous seasons.” Glory’s season begins away to Adelaide United on 13 October in a match that was moved to the South Australian capital because new surface at Perth Oval will not be ready.
DERBY WIN PUTS STIRLING BACK IN THE BOX SEAT
Stirling Lions returned to the top of the Premier Division by neighbours Balcatta 4-2 in the Round 17 catch-up game at Macedonia Park. Braces from each Gareth McGlynn and Phil Arnold ensured the home side took maximum points and climbed above Bayswater City in the race for regular season honours. “We played fantastic today and some of our movement in the first half was exceptional,” said Stirling coach Doug Hesketh. “It’s one game at a time for us and we won’t look any further. Gary (Williams) and I have worked hard to get the club to where we are and if we continue how we are going the rewards will come.”
The afternoon was given a sombre start with a minutes silence in memory of Stirling committee member Gary Lazarides, who passed away last month. With the sounding of the whistle Stirling pushed straight into attack where Josh Booysen brought Alex Dunn into action for the first time. The hosts thirst for the lead was quenched after 28 minutes, Dean Evans picking out McGlynn whose lob from 16-metres was too good for Dunn and entered the net despite Julian Madaschi’s attempted attempt to clear. Balcatta hit back three minutes later with Ashley Rosindale playing in Kris Gate, who finished tidily past Aleks Vrteski.
McGlynn got free again soon after only to have Dunn smother courageously at his feet. But there was little the Balcatta custodian could do in the 37th minute to prevent McGlynn netting from 8-metres on the end of a flowing move which involved Jason Gavin and Evans. All the momentum was with Stirling and seven minutes later Arnold burst inside the 18-yard box and, after playing a one-two with McGlynn, rounded Dunn to make it three-one. There was still enough time for Booysen to tee-up Arnold to add another from close-range.
The addition of Chris Thackray and Roberto Lujan had the desired effect on Balcatta, who pulled a goal back seven minutes after the restart. Lujan played down the right for Rosindale whose cross was fired in by at close-range by an unmarked Adam Tong, albeit at the second attempt. As the rain increased so did chances on goal. Arnold shot past the target from 15-metres before a low Rosindale strike was taken by Vrteski. An alert Dunn tipped over Evans’ goalbound header, and with the days’ final opening Balcatta substitute Sean Troup lashed narrowly wide.
RAMPANT SHAMROCK PILE ON FIVE GOALS
Shamrock Rovers slammed in four unanswered first half goals to pave the way for a 5-1 thrashing on Swan United in their Round 14 catch-up game at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Ciaran Byrne scored twice to take his season tally to 20 goals, Alan O’Mahoney also grabbed a brace with Charlie Kenna getting the remainder for the home side. It took only 8 minutes for Shamrock to open their account with O’Mahoney heading in powerfully from a Mulligan corner. That lead was doubled after 24 minutes when Byrne side-footed in from Kenna’s delivery. And sixty seconds later Byrne had another after skilfully curling around goalkeeper Connor Anderson from 15-metres.
Swan’s plight worsened eleven minutes out from half-time when O’Mahoney headed in goal number four, this time from a Paul Concannon corner. The only bright spot in the black and whites day came shortly after the interval, John Monterosso playing through for Niall Hughes who slotted under the ‘keeper in a one-on-one. With this Shamrock swung back into action, the visitors reasserting their dominance with wave after wave of attack. A fingertip save by Anderson followed by a desperate clearance off the line denied Byrne what would have been a deserved hat-trick. The visitors were unlocked again by Byrne who, unselfishly, squared for Kenna to tap-in the afternoon’s sixth and final goal.
YOUTHFUL GLORY PUT SEVEN PAST COCKBURN
Perth Glory made light work of an experimental Cockburn City line-up by running out 7-0 winners from this afternoon’s friendly at Dalmatinac Park. Sidnei Sciola Moraes, Ryo Nagai and new recruit Harry O’Brien grabbed a brace each after Ljubo Milicevic got the ball rolling with an early opener. “Seven-nil -0 didn’t really reflect the game,” Glory boss Alistair Edwards said. “Cockburn did really well, played some good football and then put a few youngsters in to get some experience at the end. But they caught us on a pretty good day to be fair. We’re getting to the stage now where we are starting to fine tune things and the boys played some really good football.”
Edwards was particularly pleased with the performance of O’Brien, who signed with Glory late last week from Cockburn. “Harry received a standing ovation from the Cockburn faithful. It was his first game since he signed for the club so it was good to see him being appreciated in that way and great for him to mark the occasion by scoring two goals,” said Edwards before paying tribute to his youth brigade. “For the last half hour or so we had an incredibly young side out there with Jack Duncan, Josh Risdon, Jack Clisby, Cameron Edwards, Danny De Silva, Brandon O'Neill, Ryan Edwards and Harry O'Brien all aged 21 or under.”
BURTON STEERS BAYSWATER TO CUP HISTORY
Bayswater City earned their first ever State Cup crown by defeating a gallant Ashfield 1-0 under sunny skies at Litis Stadium. A tight game looked to be heading for extra-time when Burton out-manoeuvred a couple of defenders and steered in from an acute angle with only seven regulation minutes to go. “It was what I planned but it was lucky to come off, if I’m honest,” Burton said of his goal. “We worked hard all game and sometimes you get a lucky break.” Nick Davies efforts in the Ashfield backline were recognised with the Stan Lazaridis Medal as man-of-the-match.
Bayswater settled into the occasion the better and through some tidy movement had their opponents on the defensive. Burton sent the first shot on goal straight at Ashfield custodian John Perkins, who breathed a sigh of relief when Gustavo Giron-Marulanda sprayed wide after being put in behind the defence. Ashfield started to find some rhythm of their own and on 16 minutes Devon Spence paddled an in-swinging Matt Wardle corner over his crossbar. Spence came to the rescue again soon after by tipping away Ruben Tristao’s crisp volley from a partially cleared Wardle corner.
Chances on goal dried up somewhat in the latter stages of the half due to solid defending at both ends of the park. Perkins wasn’t called into action again until the 28th minute, saving Giron-Marulanda’s vicious shot on the turn after receiving a cutback from Burton. A pacey Ashfield counterattack ended with Daryl Warren pulling wide under pressure from Patrick Quinn. With the final action of the half Giron-Marulanda created space by dancing along the top of the box, going past a couple of defenders, only drill beyond the junction of bar and post.
Trent Kay came within inches of putting Bayswater ahead eight minutes after the turnaround but his glancing header from a Ross Cosgrove corner landed on the of netting. The intensity then dropped off and it wasn’t until Burton’s savage tackle on Steve O’Mahoney in the 71st minute that the game sparked back into life. In quick succession Perkins battered away shots from Adrian Caceres and newly introduced substitute Paul McCarthy, while Burton should have done better than rifle wide when faced by a retreating defence.
The defining moment arrived after 83 minutes, Andy Reale launching a long thrown into the area which dropped between O’Mahoney and Davies for Burton, who turned and angled into Perkins’ net from 5-metres. Spence denied Ashfield an equaliser with the very next play by tipping away Tom Kennedy’s strike after Tristao and Branimir Mikulic combined in the lead-up. Ashfield were pushing forward in increasing numbers but neither Ryan Frisina nor Jamie Burns could get the finish they sought. The drama continued right to the end with Spence get to Alex Stamatiadis’ cross just ahead of Frisina.
Ashfield assistant coach Paul Dundo was proud of his team’s efforts. “I think the preparation that we did definitely showed out there today,” Dundo said. “Myself and (coach) Matty (Carruthers) and the rest of coaching staff couldn’t be prouder of the way the boys applied themselves and the way the boys went out there and really worked hard for 90 minutes. It’s a little bit of a disappointment, but I’m happy with the way they played, so no complaints from that aspect.”
Ashfield: John Perkins, Matt Wardle, Steve O’Mahoney, Nick Davies, Tom Kennedy, Karl O’Reilly (Jamie Burns 84), Graham Tough (Ryan Frisina 85), Jay Lang, Daryl Warren (Alex Stamatiadis 70), Branimir Mikulic, Ruben Tristao
Bayswater City: Devon Spence, Andy Reale, Trent Kay, John Kearney, Patrick Quinn, Adrian Caceres (Paul McCarthy 72), Jamie Coyne, Todd Howarth, Ross Cosgrove (James Isaia 59), Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Gustavo Catarcione 92), Steve Burton
Bookings: Burton (71), Davies (90)
Referee: Adam Fielding
SECOND-HALF BLITZ GIVES PERTH THE RESERVES CUP
The State Reserves Cup has returned to Dorrien Gardens for the first time in a decade after Perth SC came from behind to defeat Bayswater City 3-2 in this afternoon’s thrilling finale at Litis Stadium. Second half goals from Mundy Toure, Frank Furfaro and Jarrod Belford turned the game on its head to keep the Azzurri on course for the League and Cup double. “I said to the boys this week – this is going to be where we draw the line, this is going to be our turning point,” said coach Taki Nicolaidis, whose team had lost three on the trot leading into the weekend. “Credit to the guys, they took their chances in the second half and once the first goal went in the second then third were always going to follow.”
There was plenty of endeavour on display from both sets of players from the outset with each team fashioning several good half-chances to take an early lead. It was Bayswater who were first on the board after 25 minutes when Hassan El Yassiri turned the ball past goalkeeper Domenic Savoldelli following a corner. The margin would have been doubled three minutes later had Emmanuel Mansaray been able to keep his header down. Perth responded through Frank Furfaro, who stole the ball from Jordan Brown only for his rasping drive to clear the crossbar. Half-time was just two minutes away when El Yassiri rounded Savoldelli before curling over several defenders and into the net for a two-nil lead.
Perth started the second half on the front foot but Belford’s header was captured by Bayswater custodian Fraser Greenwood. The hour had just passed when Toure pulled a goal back, the attacker stabbing in during a goalmouth scramble. Momentum was growing in the Perth camp and ten minutes later Furfaro lashed in a deserved equaliser. Amir Ajan almost restored Bayswater’s lead with a sweetly struck shot that fizzled past the far post. With 84 minutes on the clock Belford stepped up to deliver a swerving long-range strike into the top corner, giving Greenwood no chance. Furfaro was denied Perth’s fourth goal in stoppage time by Greenwood, however, it mattered little as the final whistle sounded soon after.
Bayswater City: Fraser Greenwood, Gianni Mammone (Emanuel Mammone 86), Justin Caratozzolo, Mitchell Crocker, Emmanuel Mansaray, Amir Ajan, Kaan Karacan, Jordan Brown, Ryan Treacey, Hasan El Yassiri (Kenan Ceric 73), Sebastian Munoz (Declan Hargraves 65)
Perth SC: Domenic Savoldelli, Thomas Southgate, Ogi Lalovic (Adam Blewett 62), Marc Zagami, Frank Furfaro, Jarrod Belford, Tim Robertson (Jordan Colasante 81), Giuseppe Agnello (Mundy Toure 58), Joshua Metzger, Michael Rizidis, Chris Rizidis)
Bookings: Amir Ajan (71), Declan Hargraves (73)
Referee: Steven Gregory
YOUTH CUP GOES HOME WITH WANNEROO
Wanneroo struck twice in the last ten minutes to win their first Youth State Cup title with a 2-0 victory over Gosnells City this afternoon at Litis Stadium. Godfrey Asimwe broke the deadlock with substitute Blake Wright adding a second just before the final whistle, much to the delight of coach Fred Roberts. ““I was always confident. We just told the boys to stick to the game plan; don’t panic and keep playing the way they can play,” Roberts told footballwest.com.au. “We’ve had three great games against Gosnells now, two good league games and they deserved to be in the finals. It’s great for Division One teams and we just pipped them in the end which is unfortunate for them, because they played well.”
First half chances were few and far between in a tight game dominated by the defences. Tony Ton created Gosnells’ best opening only to side-foot wide from 10-metres, while the closest Wanneroo came was a miss-cued Craig Harrison effort which bounced past the target. Gosnells started the second stanza positively with defender Justin Onek heading into the net from a corner, however, goal celebrations were cut short with referee Tom Dowle having already blown for an infringement. Wanneroo recovered an with ten minutes to go Asimwe’s in-swinging corner curled beyond the reach of goalkeeper Braydon McWatters top break the deadlock. Seven minutes later Wright sealed the win and tucking into the bottom corner of the net.
Gosnells City: Braydon Mcwatters, Ryan Benton, Conor Bowes, Hayden Collett, Justin Onek, Feisal Zaw, Steve Ingram (Foxton Colja 67), Tony Ton, Ryan Nickisson (Jackson Chiza 81), Michael Ellis, Jacob Pen
Wanneroo City: Reid Ahrens, Tom Balnaves, Jack McLoughlin, Brett Stables, Harry Hosking, Craig Harrison (Sonny Devine 81), Mitch Arnold, Connor Lynch, Peter Panagiotidis (Blake Wright 63), Godfrey Asimwe (Daniel McCrystal 81), Bradley Ryan
Bookings: McLoughlin (43), Hosking (55), Balnaves (92)
Referee: Tom Dowle
WANNEROO CLOSE THE GAP
Wanneroo City gave their chances of finishing top of the pile in Division One a major boost by claiming a 2-0 win at Dianella White Eagles from their re-scheduled Round 15 fixture. Kevin White had the visitors in front at the break with Stuart Montgomery adding a second from the penalty spot in the second period to narrow the gaps on leaders Canning City to four points. “Our performance was solid if not stylish but we played how we had to to beat them,” said Wanneroo captain Anthony Jones, whose team have a game in hand over Canning. “With only a few games to go it will come down to experience, quality and squad depth, and I believe we have the best in all three departments amongst our rivals.”
Displaying a greater sense of urgency from the outset, Wanneroo were first to threaten through a Montgomery corner which Kevin White met only to have Tom Dixon make the save. The visitors looked particularly dangerous with a dead ball and it was via another Montgomery corner that they broke through, Jones helping the ball on at the near post with White blasting into the roof of the net midway through the half. Dianella’s main avenue to attack was by playing over their opponents defences, however, this approach was more often than not shut down quickly. There best chance came the way of Goran Radinovic who blasted high from 9-metres after Thomas Gooding’s blocked shot spilled his way.
The second half was just ten minutes old when Radinovic unceremoniously hauled down Montgomery inside the 18-yard box, and from the spot the Wanneroo attacker sent Dixon the wrong way to double his teams lead. The addition of Ibraham Hamad gave Dianella renewed hope of salvaging something from the afternoon. A quick break out of midfield put the ball with Robbie Phelan whose shot from 9-metres was punched away by Clint Davies, much to the frustration of the home crowd. Dianella were fortunate to end the game with eleven men on the park ‘keeper Dixon raced out of his area and felled substitute Mark Tenney as he zeroed in on goal.
GLORY HEAD TO COCKBURN
Cockburn City’s association with Perth Glory will reach a significant milestone tomorrow when the teams meet for the first time. Some seventeen years after Glory’s formation, Cockburn will finally take aim at the A-League club in a friendly at Dalmatinac Park. Cockerels coach Marc Anthony, who made six appearances for Glory in the 2008/09 season, says his team are looking forward to the game. “We won’t be preparing any differently,” Anthony said. “The boys will be buzzing because of the quality of the opposition. They’ll be looking forward to it because it gives them a chance to play against some great players.”
Glory assistant coach Scott Miller, who last year steered Cockburn to the Division One title, said the A-league side will not be underestimating their opponents, who are third in the Premier Division. “It’s about giving players game time,” Miller said. “Alistair (Edwards) and Gareth (Naven) haven’t really settled on their first team, so it’s about getting a few kilometres into the legs of our experienced players because we know what they can do. And it’s giving the opportunity to the young boys to have a crack in the Glory outfit and see how they settle in.”
BAYSWATER AND ASHFIELD PROMISES TO THRILL
One of the biggest games on the local football calendar, the State Cup Final, takes place tomorrow when Bayswater City and Ashfield have designs on lifting the prestigious knock-out trophy for the first time. Premier League leaders Bayswater boast a star-studded line-up and, understandably, have been installed as the red-hot favourites to claim victory at Litis Stadium. But for that to happen they’ll need to get past an Ashfield outfit playing in their first ever Cup Final and with aspirations of creating a little bit of history of their own.
There will be key match-ups all over the park with that across the middle perhaps the most intriguing. In Jamie Coyne and Todd Howarth Bayswater have a couple of the most experienced central players on the local scene, but Jay Lang and Daryl Warren are just as capable of controlling the flow of play for the team in red. Ashfield’s Ruben Tristao is rated one of the best players in the second tier and his influence, whether playing centrally or out wide, will be vital, as will that of Bayswater new boy Adrian Caceres.
Team captain Steve O’Mahoney, former Shamrock Rovers (Ireland) goalkeeper John Perkins and their cohorts in the Ashfield backline will be kept on high alert for the duration thanks in no small part to Steve Burton, who has the potential to win the game off his own boot. Down the other end of the park Branimir Mikulic will be doing all he can to unlock what is arguably the State League’s best central defensive combination in Trent Kay and John Kearney. All-in-all it promises to be an intriguing contest.
Bayswater cruised through the opening rounds of the Cup, beating Shamrock Rovers (4-1), Gosnells City (2-0) and Quinns (7-0). Burton bagged a hat-trick, with Adrian Caceres and Hassan Al-Yasir also on the scoresheet in a 5-1 come-from-behind semi-final demolition of Inglewood United. Ashfield eased past South Perth (7-0) and BB United (4-1) early on before pipping Western Knights (5-4) and Stirling Lions (1-0). Goals from Graham Tough, Jamie Burns and Tristao earned a 3-2 round of four win over Swan United. The 2013 State Cup Final between Bayswater and Ashfield takes place from 2.30pm tomorrow at Litis Stadium.
PERTH TIPPED TO TRUMP BAYSWATER FOR RESERVES CUP
Traditional rivals Perth SC and Bayswater City go head-to-head on Saturday afternoon in the decider of the 2013 Reserves Cup Final. Calling the shots from the sidelines for Perth is Taki Nicolaidis and the coach is well aware of the difficult task which lies ahead of his young side, which has lost their last three league games. “Our league form lately hasn't been great, however, our boys have done very well for the majority of the season and I’m expecting them to step up for this week’s final,” said Nicolaidis.
Bayswater enter the game as underdogs and that’s a position coach Alun Vernals is comfortable with. “We’ve played Perth twice this season and they have both been close games and we have dominated for long periods,” said Vernals, whose side took a point from Perth when the teams last met. “Whilst we may be seen as the underdogs on Saturday, we have already proven we can match the benchmark team in the league … this time we need to make it count on the scoreboard.”
Perth were rarely troubles in the early stages of the Cup, downing ECU Joondalup (3-0), Stirling Lions (4-0), Ashfield (5-0), but were forced to dig deep to claim a 4-3 win on penalties over Joondalup United in the semi-finals. “The lads have earned this spot in the final, and I’m sure they will be doing everything they can to bring the Cup back to Dorrien Gardens,” Nicolaidis commented. Perth’s hopes of victory rest heavily on Sep Agnello, Jarrod Belford, Tim Robertson and Josh Metzger.
Bayswater progressed through the opening rounds by seeing off Shamrock Rovers (2-1), Gosnells City (6-0) and Southern Spirit (2-1) before Amir Ajan and Keran Ceric earned a 2-0 semi-final win against Cockburn City. Goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood has impressed this season, while striker Hassan Al-Yassir’s pace will cause plenty of problems for the opposing defence. Manny Mansaray has a habit of stepping up his game for big occasions while Jordan Brown’s form at centre half has been sensational. The Reserves State Cup Final takes place at Litis Stadium tomorrow, kick-off at 12.15pm.
WANNEROO AND GOSNELLS VIE FOR YOUTH CUP GLORY
The 2013 Youth State Cup Final is an all Division One affair in which breakaway leaders Wanneroo City square off with second-placed Gosnells City. “It’s great to be involved in this showpiece occasion of the local football calendar,” said Wanneroo coach Fred Roberts, before tipping his hat to tomorrow’s opposition. “There is no doubt that we will face an extremely tough challenge from a good Gosnells side. The attitude of the players has been first class, we have prepared thoroughly for this game and we are determined to win this trophy.”
Gosnells have enjoyed a terrific season under Jamie Ellis, who is confident his players have what it takes to lift the trophy. “Cup Finals are all about making things happen on the day,” said the coach. “Wanneroo are having a good season and, without doubt, this will be our toughest challenge. We’ve achieved a lot as a young team already this year – we’ve certainly exceeded our expectations – and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing for silverware against Wanneroo.”
Wanneroo’s path to the Cup Final was met with little resistance, the northern suburbs side sweeping aside Swan United (9-2), Melville (8-0), Canning City (7-0) and Joondalup City (4-1). Their first test didn’t arrive until the semi-final when Wayne Yang, Peter Panagiotidis and Connor Lynch netted to see off Stirling Lions 3-2. Craig Harrison, Mitch Arnold and Peter Panagiptidis lead the quest for goals with Harry Hosking and captain Jack McLoughlin tasked with keeping goals out at the other end.
A comfortable win against neighbours Forrestfield United (7-1) opened Gosnells Cup campaign followed by victories over Bayswater City (2-1) and Subiaco AFC (6-1). Gosnells held their nerve in the semi-finals to defeat Cockburn City 6-5 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out. Foxton Colja, Ryan Nickerson and Tony Ton are sure to create a good number of chances on goal, while standing at the opposite end are Hayden Collett and goalkeeper Braydon McWatters. The Youth State Cup Final starts to 10.00am tomorrow at Litis Stadium.
CATCH-UP TIME IN THE LEAGUE
The Cup Finals aren’t the only games on this weekend with four catch-up State League fixtures scheduled. A Stirling Lions win over near-neighbour Balcatta at Macedonia Park on Sunday will move them back to the top of the Premier Division. The home team have a number of injury concerns with Michael Pugliese (groin), Andy Todd (knee) and Phil Arnold (knee) in a race against time with midfielder Daniel Micevski (suspension) watching from the stands. Conversely, Balcatta are strengthened by Adam Tong, Chris Thackray and Sean Troup all up for selection.
Dianella White Eagles hopes of ending on top of Division One will come under threat when third-placed Wanneroo City travels to Dianella Reserve on Saturday (3.30pm). The home side have added Serbian attacker Sergej Gluhovic to the matchday squad, whereas Wanneroo are minus Brad McDonald (injury), Scott Bushby (suspension) and possibly captain Anthony Jones (injury). On Sunday Shamrock Rovers taken on Swan United at Harold Rossiter Reserve, while a heavily depleted Fremantle United make the trip to Maddington White City. Unless noted otherwise, all catch-up games kick-off at 3.00pm.
CAREFUL PLANNING THE KEY TO COYNE’S CUP PLANS
Chris Coyne has left nothing to chance in preparing Bayswater City for this weekend’s State Cup Final with Ashfield. Bayswater have been installed as red-hot favourites to lift the trophy over second tier Ashfield, and Coyne has been doing everything in his power to ensure the critics are correct. “Ashfield have a talented squad with some very good players but we have done our homework,” said Coyne, who has no intention of underestimating Ashfield. “Going in as underdogs, they have everything to play for and nothing to lose so we have to respect how difficult the game is going to be.”
The Cup is one trophy that has so far eluded Bayswater, so what better time to get their hands on the prestigious trophy than on their 50th year anniversary. “The opportunity to make history and win the clubs first Cup Final is something we are all striving for,” Coyne stated. “It is a massive game for both clubs. Ashfield are a talented side and anyone that can get to a Cup Final deserves to be respected. We will prepare for the unexpected and be ready for whatever is thrown at us … the best team on the day will win.”
Coyne goes into Saturday’s game minus influential midfielder Brain Farrell, who was sent off last weekend at Balcatta, but otherwise has a full complement of players to select from. “Losing Brian was heart-wrenching for him personally as he has contributed so much to the team,” said Coyne, who welcomes back a trio of key personnel. “Gustavo Giron-Maralunda, Gustavo Catarcione and Paul McCarthy will all be available for selection, which provides the sort of headache you don’t mind going into a big game. Other than that we have a fully fit squad all itching to get onto the team sheet on Saturday.”
ASHFIELD GET TOUGH ON BAYSWATER
Ashfield intend writing a new chapter in their 43-year history this weekend by lifting the State Cup for the first time. In a true David and Goliath encounter, Division One side Ashfield take on Premier Division leaders Bayswater City in the 2013 State Cup Final on Saturday afternoon at Litis Stadium. Ashfield defender Graham Tough has no complaints with the underdogs tag which has been placed on his team, however, he is adamant the Reds are ready, will and able to cause an upset. “We will go out there to win and with the players we have we’re more than capable of beating Bayswater,” Tough commented.
In backing that claim Tough was quick to point out Ashfield have already claimed the scalps of three top flights sides this year. “We love the big games, the big occasions and playing the so called better teams. Maybe we have underperformed in the league but we have also beaten Sorrento, Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions,” said the Scottish defender. “Everyone involved with Ashfield – from the players to the management team, to the committee and the supporters – are all buzzing for the final. It’s a massive day for the club and all the lads want to show everyone that we can mix it with another of the big teams.”
It’s been a difficult season for Ashfield who, with only a handful of games to go, are hovering mid-table and well outside the title race that many believed they would lead. “The season has been up and down for us,” conceded Tough. “We high expectations and with the squad we have we should be doing better. We’ve got strength and depth, quality ball players from back to front, lads who can mix it up when we have to and everyone plays for the shirt. So yes, we have underperformed in the league but our Cup run has been fantastic and we will be leaving nothing out on the park come Saturday afternoon.”
As way of ensuring they’re primed for Cup Final day, Ashfield have been putting in the hours off the pitch. “We have been doing extra sessions and recovery sessions on Sunday’s after matches …we fully intend being 100% prepared for the game, physically, mentally and tactically,” commented Tough, whose team did a little experimenting in the league last weekend at Mandurah City. “There were plenty of positives to come from the game, things we were trying out for the final, players getting more minutes under their belts and the fact we dominated the majority of the 90 minutes … we very much had one eye on this week.”
Tough is looking forward to stepping out onto Litis Stadium on Saturday afternoon for one of the centrepiece events of the State League calendar. “The final will be quite the spectacle between two teams who play football, it’ll be a competitive, fast-flowing match with chances at both ends,” predicted Tough. “Bayswater are a great side with quality players and we will give them the respect they are due, but once the whistle blows it’s eleven verses eleven for 90 short minutes. We are going there to fight it out to the end and, hopefully, prevail with the Cup at the end of the day.”
DE SILVA BRILLIANCE SINKS STATE TEAM
A sublime piece of individual skill by teenage sensation Daniel De Silva was the highlight of Perth Glory’s 3-1 defeat of Western Australian in this evening’s ‘Call to Arms Cup’ at Intiga Stadium. De Silva, 16, had the big crowd on their feet close to the final whistle after flicking the ball over one defender and rounded another before lashing in from 18-metres. “De Silva, what a player, tomorrow morning I’ll be at work and he will be doing his maths homework,” commented striker Gavin Knight, who out the State team ahead after only a few minutes. “It was a privilege to play against Glory, we matched them for a while but fitness showed in the end.”
The State team could not have dreamt of a better start, Ludovic Boi pouncing on a defensive lapse and threading the ball forward for Knight to deftly chip goalkeeper Danny Vukovic from 16-metres. This clearly was not part of Glory’s plan and they responded by upping the tempo with Ryan Edwards and Ryo Nagai providing plenty of pace out wide. Defender Steve Pantelidis sent his header past the post on the quarter hour before Ryan Edwards’ long-range shot brought State custodian Curtis Aspden into action for the first time. Half-time was on the horizon when Conor Kavanagh released Knight whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box forced a sharp save from Vukovic.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards rang in the changes at half-time and five minutes later Steve McGarry struck the equaliser from the penalty spot following a dubious handball decision against Adam Tong. The pace now quickened with chances coming the way of both sides. Josh Risdon’s effort from 17-metres was taken by Nick Feely, while a long-range strike by State captain Clarke Keltie flashed wide. There seemed little danger when Makeche centred for De Silva with six minutes to go, however, the teenager showed his quality with a stylish goal that brought the 2,000-strong crowd to its feet. The sealed arrived shortly after with Makeche netting at close-range from a Cameron Edwards’ corner which went to feet.
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic (Jack Duncan 46), Brandon O'Neill (Michael Thwaite 46), Steve Pantelidis (Ljubo Milicevic 46), Josh Risdon, Scott Jamieson (Jack Clisby 46), Jacob Burns (Cameron Edwards 46), Steven McGarry, Ryan Edwards (Daniel De Silva 60), Ryo Nagai, Chris Harold (Adrian Zahra 46), Jamie Maclaren (Ndumba Makeche 46)
Western Australia: Curtis Aspden (Nick Feely 46), Adam Tong, Euen Grant, Clarke Keltie (Blamo QuaQua 78), Gavin Knight (Steve Howson 52), Ryan Pearson (Ali Gholami 81), Ludovic Boi, Kris Gate (David Price 55), Paul Lloyd (Bor Bor Sambindi 78), Conor Kavanagh (Eamon McNelis 52), Ashley Corker (Mike Aspin 27)
Bookings: Grant (50), Edwards (61)
Referee: David Bruce
CARRUTHERS VOWS ASHFIELD WILL STEP UP P
Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers says his team are ready to meet whatever challenges Bayswater City thrown their way in this weekend’s State Cup Final. The Division One side have flattered to deceive in the league this year, however, have something of a habit of stepping up to the mark when it comes to big games. “For whatever the reason, we are a better team against the Premier League sides and the top Division One teams,” said Carruthers, whose team knocked Stirling Lions out in the Cup quarter-finals and in pre-season downed Sorrento and Floreat Athena.
The Bayswater line-up is bristling with quality in depth and Carruthers has a good idea of what to expect come kick-off time on Saturday. “It’s a Cup Final and I expect them to get at us as much as we will get at them. They are talented and we will be weary of some of their more dangerous players,” said the Ashfield coach, who also recognises that anything can happen in a one-off game. “The players are aware it’s a two-horse race and the trophy will be ours if we want it more on the day.”
Carruthers is confident his players have what it takes to get the better of a star-studded Bayswater outfit. “It is a fantastic occasion and a great opportunity for us to pick up our first major piece of silverware,” said Carruthers, whose club have not previously qualified for the Cup Final. “We will not be content with being runners-up on the day, we owe it to the many years of hard work by all that have been associated with the club to come away with the trophy. We have no injury concerns, we are fit and prepared for a huge game.”
HOWARTH AIMS TO REWARD THE FANS
Todd Howarth wants to bring the State Cup back to Frank Drago Reserve as way of rewarding the clubs loyal supporters. Founded in 1963, Bayswater City have not yet laid hands on the prestigious piece of silverware but if Howarth has his way that will end at Litis Stadium this Saturday afternoon. “Bayswater have a very long history in the State League and some very proud and passionate supporters who have been through plenty of ups and downs over the past few years,” said the midfielder. “We’ve worked very hard to get ourselves into the position we are in, on and off the field, and it would be extremely satisfying to bring home some silverware on Saturday.”
The Cup Final is one of the centrepiece events of the local football calendar, so it’s no surprise Howarth has notice a bit of extra spring in the step of his team mates in recent days. “There is definitely a buzz around Frank Drago leading up to the Cup Final,” Howarth commented. “There’s plenty of excitement and obviously a few nerves going into such an important game for the club. The fans, management, coaches and players all have very high expectations of the squad this season and its games like these, which will determine our success.”
Howarth feels last weekend’s game at Balcatta – where Bayswater came from behind to score a 4-2 win –provided perfect preparation for the Cup Final. “Mentally it was very important,” he said. “We did not start the game well and struggled throughout the majority of the first half, passes were not reaching their target and we were a yard or two off the pace. The second half was much better, our passing and movement off the ball was faster and more effective. Obviously, if we play like we did in the first half against Balcatta then we are going to be taught a lesson in the Cup Final.”
Ashfield may have endured a difficult home and away series but Howarth is well aware of the talent that lies within Matt Carruthers’ squad. “They have a number of ex-Premier Division players who I have played against in previous years, and there is definitely some quality amongst them,” Howarth commented. “Ashfield’s league form hasn’t been the best of late but they have the players and determination to beat anyone on their day, as we saw in the quarter-finals when they beat Stirling Lions … if we are anything but our best on Saturday it could be extremely difficult for us.
Howarth is tipping an all-action final. “We expect the game to be intense from the outset. They will be raring to go with the majority of the crowd on their side, it’s a one-off game and anything can happen,” he said. “It’s exciting to play in a game that means so much to both sets of supporters. We have some excellent players and if we perform and play with intensity I’m confident we can come away with a win. We have enough experienced players in our side who have been in Cup Finals before to know what it takes to get a team over the line.”
EIGHT CHANGES TO STATE SQUAD ON EVE OF FRIENDLY
A raft of player absences has forced State coach Kenny Lowe to make eight changes to his squad for this evening’s ‘Call to Arms Cup’ friendly with Perth Glory. Lowe last week named a 21-player squad for the friendly but that list has been revised considerably with eight players unable for State team duty. “Everyone’s got their own lives,” Lowe said of the difficulty putting together a squad in the latter stages of the local season. “They aren’t professional footballers; they’re bricklayers, they’re bankers, they’ve got jobs and they’ve got family as well. But we’ve got enough good players in the State League to put together a decent squad.”
Lowe has had his squad together only twice but despite limited preparation time he is confident the State team has enough talent on board to trouble their A-League opponents. “We’ve just tried to work on a little bit of structure but the main thing for our players really is just to go and try and enjoy the day and show themselves in a good light,” he said. “We have good depth in the State League and when you’re in a non-league environment and have the chance to play a league team, it’s an opportunity to show people that you have the qualities to play at that level yourself.”
The revised West Australian squad to play Perth Glory this evening at Intiga Stadium is Kris Gate, Adam Tong (Balcatta), Steve Howson (Bunbury Forum Force), Nick Feely, Euen Grant, Cono Kavanagh, Paul Lloyd, Eamon McNelis (Cockburn City), Ludovic Boi (Floreat Athena), Al Gholami, Blamo Qua Qua, Bor Bor Sambindi (National Training Centre), Ashley Corker, Clarke Keltie (Perth SC), Curtis Aspden, Mikey Aspin, Gavin Knight, Ryan Pearson and David Price (Sorrento). The ‘Call to Arms Cup' is a fundraising event in support of the Cancer Council’s national awareness campaign of cancer amongst men.
MILICEVIC COMES BACK FOR SECONDS
Former Socceroos defender Ljubo Milicevic has signed a one-year deal with Perth Glory, more than a decade after ending his first stint with the club. Milicevic, 32, has attracted interest from other A-League clubs since his return from a short spell with Croatian club Hajduk Split last year. But when the opportunity arose to work under former teammate and Glory coach Alistair Edwards, Milicevic’s mind was made up. “From the first moment I spoke to Ali, that was it,” said Milicevic, who made 29 appearances for Glory between 1999 and 2001. “There is no doubt in my mind that I have come to the right place to continue playing.”
Milicevic, who is expected to line-up in the centre of defence alongside Michael Thwaite this summer, has been blown away by the warm welcome he’s received by Glory. “It was wonderful to walk back into my old club and be welcomed, not with handshakes, but with hugs by Ali, Gareth Naven and Scott Miller,” Milicevic said. “I had to be strong in front of the players because I wanted to cry. I was like ‘Wow, these guys were my leaders and heroes when I first came here.’ It’s like I never left. I feel so blessed to be back. It just feels so right to come back here.”
Returning to Glory brings to a close a rollercoaster few years for the journeyman defender. “To this point, my life has been like a theme park,” said Milicevic, who fell out with Melbourne Victory in 2007, Newcastle Jets in 2011 and Hajduk Split last year. “I’ve been on a rollercoaster all the way through and at times the bloody thing wouldn’t stop. I’d keep going up and then down and eventually I realised ‘I can’t keep doing this’. It was fun the first few times, but after you’ve got around ten times, you’ve got to find stability. I’ve found that in life, now I’m ready to find that in football.”
Depression has been a constant throughout Milicevic’s career but he believes he has successfully adapted to a routine of healthy living – better diet, meditation, yoga and positive thinking. “I honestly believe I have been reborn as a human being. I’m learning not to look too far ahead and I’m in a good place,” he said. “Now I enjoy that moment in the morning when I’m having a coffee. I’m enjoying that moment talking to the barista, I’m enjoying that moment when I get the strange looks because I’m dressed like bohemian vagabond.”
Milicevic says he is fit not only in mind but also in body. ”It’s probably the fittest I’ve ever been. My dad doesn’t smile much but he recently said he was ‘blown away’ at how freely I was moving around the park. For him to be positive, trust me, I’m doing something right,” said Milicevic, who is hopeful a strong season at club level can propel him back into Socceroos reckoning. “I can only worry about Perth but if my performances warrant the attention, the interest will be there ... it’s possible, but let me worry about Perth first.”
GLORY APPOINT BREWER TO THE HELM
Perth Glory has confirmed the appointment of Jason Brewer as its new chief executive. Brewer, 43, boasts a strong business background, as well as degrees in both mine engineering and law, and is thrilled to join the A-League club. “I’ve been a Glory supporter ever since I moved to Australia and have also been heavily involved in the local game,” said Brewer, who relocated to Perth in 1991 from England. “I’ve been handed a great opportunity to build on the fantastic momentum that has been established by the club over the last five or six months.”
Brewer has made strengthening Glory’s relationship with Football West and a greater engagement with the clubs’ supporter base as two of his main objectives. “I’ve worked with Football West in previous positions and the alignment of Glory and Football West is critical to the success of the game in this state,” said Brewer, who has been involved in the local game with ECU Joondalup and Subiaco. “Why we can’t attract 15 to 20,000 fans week-in, week-out for what is the most popular game in this state defies belief in my mind. We’ve got to get out there, we’ve got to re-engage with fans.”
Glory coach Alistair Edwards has assembled a strong squad for the coming season, one Brewer says will serve them well going forward. “With Alistair Edwards at the helm, I really see an opportunity to bring the glory days back … the foundations have been built,” Brewer added. “Alistair has been fantastic in attracting quality young players and it’s a case of building them up over the next twelve months. We are going to compete on the field this season and hopefully if we get the results early on, the great supporter base we have here in Perth will really get behind the team.”
GARCIA SIGNS ON WITH SYDNEY
Sydney FC has strengthened their attacking artillery for the coming A-League season with the recruitment of former Socceroo Richard Garcia. The 31-year old, who last season turned out 24 times for Melbourne Heart, is looking forward to lining up in an already starred studded Sydney side. “Sydney is a big club with big expectations and that’s something I thrive on,” said Garcia. “To be playing alongside players like Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton and Nick Carle will be a fantastic experience for me and something I’m very much looking forward to. I can’t wait to start pre-season training, working hard with the rest of the boys and then helping Sydney push for success this season.”
Coach Frank Farina could not be happier to have secured Garcia. “Richie is a great addition to the Sydney squad,” he said. “He is a proven performer at the highest levels of the game, has played English Premier League and been to a World Cup. He did well last year in the A-League and he fits in with what we are trying to implement and achieve at Sydney this season. Richie is a leader and a winner on and off the pitch and they are important ingredients when looking at who we bring to Sydney. He can play as a striker or a midfielder and I think he will suit our style of game just perfectly.”
BURTON SENDS BAYSWATER BACK TO THE TOP
Bayswater City returned to the Premier Division summit by coming from behind to defeat Balcatta 4-2 at Grindleford Reserve. Striker Steve Burton struck a hat-trick against his former club with substitute James Isaia also on the scoresheet for the second week running to negate first half finishes by Simon Versaico and Ashley Rosindale. “I’m very happy – although it’s against my old club it’s still nice – we’re in the running for the title,” Burton said. “I’m not the kind of player that will score individual goals, I don’t score from outside the box, I haven’t got enough skill to do that, I rely on my teammates.”
Balcatta were first on the scoreboard after 24 minutes when some good lead-up play put the ball at the feet of Versaico, whose shot deflected off Chris Saldaris and looped over stranded goalkeeper Devon Spence. That lead was doubled just two minutes later when Rosindale showed his class with a stunning volley into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. Bayswater dug in and after several promising Burton cut the deficit by racing clear of a static defence to fire low into Alex Dunn’s net.
Parity was restored in the 70th minute via a Todd Howarth corner which Trent Kay flicked on for Burton to nip and send into the net. Bayswater were now on top but it wasn’t until the closing stages that they edged in front. With seven minutes to go Burton converted from the penalty after Brian Farrell was brought down by Simon Elton-Bott, who was issued his marching orders. The game was made safe a minute later when Isaia netted at close-range after Dunn spilled a Howarth free-kick. Bayswater’s day ended on a low note with Farrell harshly sent off for felling Julian Madaschi.
SNORE BORE AT DORRIEN GARDENS
Stirling Lions’ hopes of finishing the regular season in first place suffered a setback when held to a 1-1 draw by Perth SC under leaden skies at Dorrien Gardens. Goals in the opening minutes of the second half by David Onoforo and Gareth McGlynn were the only highlights of an otherwise dull encounter on which neither team made an impression. And despite slipping to second in the Premier Division, Stirling assistant coach Gary Williams is adamant his team will return to the summit. “We’re unbeaten in fourteen games, playing extremely well, and with a game in hand are now in charge of our own fate in regards to winning the league title,” Williams said.
The first half was a disjointed affair which failed to reach any heights. Persistent light drizzle and an uncharacteristically shaggy playing surface made for plenty of scrappy play in which possession was regularly turned over and goalscoring opportunities were at an absolute premium. In fact it wasn’t until the half hour that the first arrived via Frank Furfaro’s low centre which skipped to the far post where Robert Sciascia should have done better than place wide. The only other opening of note came ten minutes later when Daniel Micevski combined with Phil Arnold whose angled finish was battered away by Francis Soale.
Two goals in quick succession made for a crackerjack start to the second stanza. Furfato provided the ammunition for Perth to go ahead by cutting the ball back into the 6-yard box to provide Onoforo the simplest of tap-ins. But within sixty seconds McGlynn levelled proceedings with a tidy finish from 9-metres. By this stage the heavens had really opened up and as the rain tumbled down hopes for the entertainment to continue vanished. Perth should have had a spot kick on the hour when Aleks Vrteski picked up a back pass from McGlynn, however, referee David Costello mystifyingly responded with a drop ball.
With twenty minutes to go Stirling flickered into life. Miki Vujacic rose unchallenged but glanced wide from a McGlynn corner, substitute Sam Fuzik’s long-range attempt found Soale’s gloves and shortly after Rory Grant’s finish met the same fate. This momentum was snapped when Clayton Arnez was forced out by injury and, having used all their substitutes, Stirling were forced to see out the game ten men. Perth responded with some intense pressure but shots from Scaiscia and Antonio Naglieri cleared the crossbar. A miserable day at the office was made complete for Stirling when Micevski was red carded in stoppage time for a late challenge on Furfaro.
KNOWLES SALVAGES JOONDALUP A SHARE
A last minute Joe Knowles strike stole ECU Joondalup a 1-1 draw from the northern derby with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Ryan Pearson broke the deadlock with only eight minutes remaining and looked that that would settle the game when Knowles deflected shot deep in stoppage brought the sides level. “I thought we should have taken more from the game the way it panned out,” Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch said. “But to score in the last minute after going one-nil down so late, we’re happy … That’s five games now we have been unbeaten.”
Joondalup made a good start and thought they’d taken a 7th minute lead when Jon Higgins’ in-swinging corner was flicked goalward by Charlie Comyn-Platt, however, referee Adam Fielding ruled the ball did not cross the line amid strong protests from the home side. The hosts remained in the ascendancy and ten minutes later Curtis Aspden had to respond sharply to rob Tommy Amphlett of a shot after the Sorrento custodian spilled Jon Higgins’ corner. David Caine’s delivery into the area was sent over by an unmarked Jon Stynes, who just before the break blazed high when well-placed.
It was more of the same in the second half with Comyn-Platt flashing agonisingly wide from an Andy Higgins cross. Sorrento finally awoke from their slumber on the hour. Todd Harnwell’s shot was blocked by Andy Banks and Pearson’s follow-up was deflected onto the post, while the latter also placed just past the post. Their persistence paid off on 82 minutes when Wesley Padbury played through for Pearson to out-pace the defence and chip the advancing ‘keeper. Knowles salvaged a point four minutes into stoppage time with a speculative long-range drive which beat the desperate dive of Aspden.
KOVADIO EARNS FLOREAT A POINT
A ten-man Floreat Athena struck late to collect a valuable 1-1 draw from their trip to Armadale. Benny Kovadio hit the back of THE net with just nine minutes to go to cancel out Dannie Richman’s opener, which came midway through the second period. “Top of the shopping list is a new striker,” said frustrated Armadale coach Lee Bamber, who lamented his teams’ failure to convert. “We had one in Jack Salter, who I thought was fantastic, but he had to go back to New Zealand. If he does come back to Australia he told me that we would be his first port of call.”
Genuine chances on goal were few and far between in an even first half. The best opening came the way of the hosts with Rhys Loxley teeing up Ravi Kuppusamy whose shot drifted wide of the target. The game opened up after the interval but a lack of quality in the final third stifled both teams. All that changed on the hour when Alex Clarke stung the gloves of visiting goalkeeper Brad Eiffe, who a few minutes later did well to keep out Kuppusamy’s shot on the break. The hosts focus on attack paid dividends in the 69th minute when Richman netted from 6-metres after Loxley’s miss-hit shot spilled his way.
The visitors’ day darkened just two minutes later when Jack Allen collected two quick two yellow cards from referee Josh Mannella to earn an early shower. But the ten men of Floreat refused to give up and with nine minutes to go were back on level terms courtesy of Kovadio, who was allowed far too much space to fire in from the top of the 18-yard box. Armadale were fortunate not to have conceded again before the final whistle sounded with Bobby Wilson, Ludovic Boi and Kovadio all going close to snatching victory for the away team.
BUNBURY FORCE INGLEWOOD OUT OF THE FIVE
Inglewood United’s play-off hopes are hanging by a thread following this afternoon’s 3-1 home loss to Bunbury Forum Force. Greg Sharland gave Inglewood a dream start but their day very quickly nosedived with Liam Hutchinson and Ryan Francis sending the visitors into the break with the lead to which Steve Howson added late on. “We switched off at the start and we conceded the early goal, but we changed the formation and the boys put in a good shift and got their rewards with three points,” said Bunbury coach Trent Hathaway. The loss drops Inglewood to sixth spot, one point behind Floreat Athena with just two games to play.
The home team needed just 7 minutes to take the upper hand, Alex Caniglia finding space down the left and pulling the ball back to an unmarked Sharland whose low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was into the bottom corner of Ryan Montgomery’s goal. But that lead lasted just six minute before Hutchinson lifted a dead ball over the wall and into the top corner. It got even better for Bunbury in the 24th minute when Francis took possession and from 23-metres curled well beyond the reach of ‘keeper Luke Martino.
Having taken the lead, Bunbury were intent on holding it with their defence standing up well to some intense pressure. In fact they came within inches of increasing the difference just after the half hour via a Hutchinson corner which Oliver McGee nodded down but Jayden Prosser’s flick was straight at Martino. Inglewood didn’t find a way through under late in the half when Caniglia picked out Connor Devlin whose first time shot was wide. Another great chance for Bunbury to strengthened their hold on the game went begging when Howson blazed high after Martino spilled a corner from Hutchinson.
Inglewood saw plenty of the ball after the break only to be let down by poor delivery into the final third. The danger was coming more often than not at the other end where Jon Brooks was a constant menace. Brooks’ through ball on the hour sent clear Howson who, with Martino in two minds, hurried his shot and blazed wide. It wasn’t until late that Inglewood really threatened, Sharland sending a corner to the far post where Simpson nodded past the target. Howson made the game safe in the final minute of regulation by latching onto a long ball and converting past Martino in the one-on-one.
O’BRIEN NICKS TO FOR COCKBURN
Cockburn City were made to work hard by the National Training Centre in order to score a 1-0 win from their meeting at Dalmatinac Park. Superb work between the posts by Jordan Franken and Nick Feely ensured the game would remain on a knives edge after midfield Harry O’Brien’s netted midway through the first half. “Harry’s been flying,” said a pleased Marc Anthony, coach of Cockburn. “It’s important that he keeps going the way he’s going and scoring goals for us. He just brings confidence to our team at the moment.” The three points confirmed Cockburn’s participation in the end of season finals, just twelve months after winning promotion from Division One.
Franken found himself in the thick of the early action, the young goalkeeper making numerous saves and interceptions to thwarted the home attack. They eventually found a way through on 34 minutes with O’Brien netting at the second opportunity after his initial shot was parried by Franken. The NTC should have entered the break on level terms, Mo Beyan sent through with only Feely to beat with the ‘keeper coming up trumps. Both sides enjoyed some good possession in the second half but the nearest either came to scoring was a Borbor Sambini’s free-kick which Feely pushed away.
CANNING ESCAPE WITH THE POINTS
A luckless Gosnells City deserved more than to come away from Burrendah Reserve empty handed after going down 3-2 to Division One leaders Canning City. Daniel Neiderberger was again on-target twice with Sam Carrello getting the remainder to fend off a spirited Gosnells side whose goals came from Chris Holland and substitute Sean Taylor. The visiting side were quickly into stride and Darren Francis signalled their intention with a long-range shot which drifted wide. Michael Logue placed a dead ball over the crossbar and not long after Ben Howe sent another free-kick beyond the target. Canning eventually found their rhythm and just before the break good lead-up play by Tom Gibbons was finished off by Neiderberger for a one-nil lead.
The second half opened with Gosnells again pressing but neither Holland nor Alan Carroll were able to keep their shots down. Their persistence was finally rewarded in the 71st minute, Holland making no mistake this time from the penalty spot following a contentious trip on Howe. There was even greater controversy in Canning’s second goal, the referee overruling his assistant on an offside call to award a bewildering penalty which Neiderberger despatched into the net. And the result looked to have been made safe when Carrello unleashed a vicious shot into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. However, Gosnells continued to attack and with only minutes left Kevin Beattie cut the ball back for Taylor to tuck in.
ONE EACH FOR SWAN AND KNIGHTS
An action-packed contest at the Swan Italian Club has ended with honours shared at 1-1 between Swan United and Western Knights. It looked as though John Monterosso’s calm finish midway through the first half would decide the game but with only minutes left on the clock Johny Mirco lashed in a deserved . The Knights settled into the game well by creating several promising forays into attack only to be turned away by a home backline marshalled by veteran goalkeeper Cory Hugo. But the breakthrough came at the opposite end where Monterosso placed into the bottom corner after Luke Colli punished an error by David Annall. For the rest of the half play moved swiftly from one end to the other with both defences halting attempts to add to the scoreline before half-time.
Chances continued to come and go for both teams upon the resumption. Swan came close to extending their lead through Thomas Black’s explosive drive from 25-metres which passed out agonisingly wide of the bottom corner. Slowly but surely the ledger began to tilt in favour of the Knights with Steve Purton and Luka Jukic causing plenty of problems down the flanks. A number of shots were met by Hugo’s gloves while a clear foul on Julian Teles inside the 18-yard box was allowed to go unpunished. Their reward didn’t arrive until late with Mirco reacting quickest to Hugo’s parry on a Ricks header by smashing into the loose ball. Ryan Shackleton squandered a golden opportunity to steal all three points by blazing high in stoppage time with only Hugo to beat.
RARE HOME WIN FOR MANDURAH
Craig Tone’s late conversion earned Mandurah City just their third home win of the winter, 2-1 over Ashfield. An end-to-end opening was played at breakneck pace with Ashfield going closest to an early lead through Jamie Burns. Once the teams settled it was Mandurah that looked the more likely to score with Monty Grigo and Tom Straker combining well down the left. They were rewarded on the half hour when Matt Stares split the defence with a delightful chipped ball forward which Graeme Matthews complimented by looping his header over goalkeeper John Perkins. The home side continued to hold sway leading into the break with Stares and Craig Young in control in the middle.
The second half was Mandurah’s turn to feel some pressure with Burns and Branimir Mikulic spearheading the visitors’ search for an equalising goal. It arrived just after the hour when Jay Lang bent a free-kick around the defensive wall after Burns was felled by Danny Dyson on top of the 18-yard box. Burns came within inches of putting another on the board with a curling shot destined for the top corner until Matt Hamnett tipped the ball onto the crossbar. The pivotal moment arrived after 75 minutes, Perkins bringing down Matthews and from the spot Tone made no mistake. Ashfield worked tireless to find a way back in only to be turned away time and time again by a well-organised defensive line.
JOONDALUP ROLL ALL OVER SUBIACO
Joondalup City maintained their excellent home record with a 3-0 defeat of Subiaco AFC. Danny Allen, Adam Proctor and Jody Thompson were on target to give the northern suburbs side their seventh win from nine games at Iluka Sports Complex. The highlight of a tight first half was a well-worked team goal starting and finished by Allen, who slotted neatly past the goalkeeper. The second stanza opened positive for Subiaco only for Proctor to double the hosts’ advantage after being set-up by Thompson. It should have been three-nil after 71 minutes by from the penalty spot Thompson crashed against the crossbar. Thompson made amends for that miss, and was rewarded for his tireless contribution with Joondalup’s third goal late on.
TWO IN A ROW FOR MELVILLE
Melville City make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season by out-shooting neighbourhood rivals Fremantle United 4-2 on a wintry afternoon at Len Shearer Reserve. Both teams battled hard across the early exchanges and although they was plenty of endeavour clear cut chances on goal were scarce. That changed midway through the half when Mark Lucas drove a corner to the near post where Ashley Savage nodded into the path of Aaron Bahadori, who headed in at close-range. This sparked a blistering fifteen minutes spell from the hosts, whose lead was doubled when Bryce Conway converted at the back post from a Jack Mawdsley cross. Fremantle’s day went from bad to worse with Fletcher Tracy deflecting another Conway centre into his own net for a three-goal difference at the break.
Fremantle returned to the field determined to atone but the closest the came to reducing the deficit was a Madison Holman effort which rolled past Elliot Duncan’s upright. That miss was compounded a few minutes later with Mawdsley slaloming his way inside the 18-yard box to chip the ball up for Bahadori to nod in his second of the day. The result looked safe but when Dave Hennessey was shown a straight red card for swearing, Fremantle saw a way back in. Andrew Morrow should have posted the visitors first goal but blasted high of an open net after Duncan misjudged a long ball. With five minutes to go the port side finally found the target through Marc SIm, with Morrow adding another to bring some respectability to the scoreline.
REINERS HOPS INTO JOEYS SQUAD
National youth team coach Tony Vidmar has finalised his 20-player squad for next week’s ASEAN Football Federation Under-16 Championship in Myanmar. Jamal Reiners is the sole West Australian in the squad which was selected following a series of training camps over the past three months. “The main purpose of this tournament is to give the players an opportunity to experience a different environment, playing conditions and styles of football,” said Vidmar. “Our main is to play six matches under our belts leading into the AFC Under-16 Championships qualifiers which we will play in late September.”
Australia’s squad for the AFF Under-16 Championships in Myanmar is Jackson Bandiera, Joe Kato Caletti, Caio De Godoy, Perry Fotakopoulos, Cameron Joice Daniel Maskin, Gian Mendez, Kosta Petratos, Zachary Speth (New South Wales), Nicholas D’agostino, Jamie Dimitroff, Duro Dragicevic, Danny Kim, Nicholas Panetta, Toan Pham, Kye Rowles (Queensland), Riley Mcgree, Christian Verbi (South Australia), Brandon Osipov (Victoria) and Jamal Reiners (West Australia). The Joeys campaign opens against Cambodia (20 August) followed by outings with Myanmar (22 August), Brunei (24 August) and Vietnam (26 August). The top teams from each group progress to the semi-finals with the final scheduled for 2 September.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
There’s sure to be plenty of thrills and spills when neighbours Sorrento and ECU Joondalup square off at Percy Doyle Reserve tomorrow afternoon. Sorrento entered the game in fourth spot with aspirations to go higher, however, the absence of several regulars has given coach Paul Price reason for concern leading into the derby. “Joondalup will be a tough test and, even though their season has not gone to plan, they will be desperate to beat us,” commented Price. “We are in a good position in the league and, hopefully, we’ll get players back and fit for the finals … if we qualify.”
Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch believes if his players can turn in a full 90 minute performance then they’ll stand a good chance of upsetting their northern rivals. “We have played well in patches this season but we need to be more consistent. That said, we are heading in the right direction,” said McCulloch, whose side is unbeaten in their last four outings. “Any local derby is a big game and this one is no different. We need to stay focused and continue our improvement and I’m confident if we do that we can a result.”
Balcatta are planning to back up last week’s shock defeat of Floreat Athena by claiming the scalp of Bayswater City at Grindleford Reserve. “We look forward to all games but especially ones against the top sides, Bayswater being one of them,” commented Contera. “We’re confident that if we continue to play in the manner we have been we can cause another upset.” The loss of defender Adam Tong (suspension) has been offset by Ashley Rosindale’s return to the Balcatta line-up, while Bayswater are likely to bring Steve Burton and Andy Reale straight back into the eleven.
Defensive pair Jason Gavin and Clayton Arnez comes back in for Stirling Lions’ visit to Perth SC where James Marocchi (overseas) and Jarrod Belford (injury) will be missing. Any slip-up could be fatal to the finals hopes of Inglewood United and Floreat Athena, who have equal points in the race for fifth spot. Inglewood may have home ground advantage over Bunbury Forum Force but will be without the services of James Sammut (holidays) and Matt Danskin (injury). Striker David Heageny comes back in for Floreat’s journey to Armadale, where Callum Potton has been added to the matchday squad.
Cockburn City are expected to pick up all the points when the National Training Centre travels to Dalmatinac Park. “The coaching staff have gave us a realistic goal to work towards – win the last three games and make the finals,” said Cockburn youngster Alex Castiello. “We have a full squad with players coming back from injury, and a quality player like Harry O'Brien back from his trip with Perth Glory. Places in the starting line-up will have to be earned.” All six Premier Division games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Dianella White Eagles goalkeeper Tom Dixon says anything less than three points away to Shamrock Rovers will not be acceptable. “We know the next four games will determine if we win the league or not, so every game is a final for us,” said Dixon, who side trail leaders Canning City by one point. “We are very close and we have one foot in the door, as (coach) John Castrilli likes to say, so it’s up to us.” The Dianella coaching staff have some welcome selection headaches with Milan Vulin, Michael Salsano and Jon Stripe back in action and new signing Sergej Gluhovic pushing for his first start.
Canning City regains the services of Paul Van Dongen and Simon Correia, but are minus Michael Van Dongen (suspension), for the home date with Gosnells City. Visiting coach Alan Dunlop will also make a few changes with youngster Luke McCord (suspension) and John Hunter (injury) unavailable. Morley Windmills welcome defender David McNally back into the side for Wanneroo City’s trip to Wotton Reserve. Nick Tatasciore come back into calculation for Swan United’s game at Western Knights, who are without Ivan Zuvela (overseas) and probably Vinnie Wiktoria (injury). Rockingham City has been boosted by the return of Danny Macklin, Rafael Insaurralde and Marco Dos Santos for the game at UWA-Nedlands.
Not a lot has gone right this year for Mandurah City but midfielder Monty Grigo is confident of coming home with the points from Ashfield. “We’re in a bad patch of form and at the wrong end of the table, that is pretty the story of our season,” said Grigo. “But we’re confident we can get a result this weekend against Ashfield. They’re a decent side and it’s not going to be easy but we have been playing some good football and need to do that for the full 90 minutes to get anything from this game.” All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Subiaco AFC will move into the top half of the table for the first time this year by claiming victory tomorrow away at Joondalup City. “We dug in to grind out the win last weekend and are looking to get as many points as possible on the board from our remaining games,” commented Subiaco’s Joey Dixon, who was on-target in that win over Kingsway Olympic. “We know we’ll have to be at our best against Joondalup, they are a good team who always provide a strong test. If we play to our full capacity then we are confident we can come away with a result.”
Division Two leaders Maddington White City will be without in-form striker Joshua Tumoe for the home fixture with Forrestfield United. Second-placed Quinns are expected to pick up maximum points from their visit to Kingsway Olympic, where Craig Cunningham is back in contention. Melville City are likely to field an unchanged line-up for the first time this year when they host Fremantle United, who regain Ben West, Ben Harding, Nathan Findlater and Andrew Morrow. All four Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
STATE SQUAD FINALISED FOR GLORY FRIENDLY
State coach Kenny Lowe has named his squad for next week’s ‘Call to Arms Cup’ showdown with Perth Glory. The 21-players selected are drawn from eight Premier Division clubs and include former Glory players Todd Howarth and Greg Sharland, Ryan Pearson and Ludovic Boi. “The lads are in great spirits and were very sharp in training,” said Lowe. “We are missing a few due to work and other club commitments, but they are all going to be up for the challenge. Having just one training session together makes it difficult, but they just want to go out there and show Glory the quality they’ve got and enjoy the game.”
The West Australian squad to play Perth Glory next Wednesday, 21 August, from 7.00pm at Intiga Stadium is Kris Gate, Ashley Rosindale, Adam Tong, (Balcatta); Brian Farrell, Todd Howarth, John Kearney (Bayswater City), Euen Grant, Conor Kavanagh, Paul Lloyd, Eamon McNelis (Cockburn City), Ludovic Boi, Cisco Jorquera (Floreat Athena), Greg Sharland (Inglewood United), Clarke Keltie (Perth SC), Curtis Aspden, Mikey Aspin, Gavin Knight, Ryan Pearson, David Price (Sorrento), Andy Brown and Moses Kalau (Stirling Lions). The ‘Call to Arms Cup' is a fundraising event in support of the Cancer Council’s national awareness campaign of cancer amongst men. Entry on the night is $10 for adults and $5 for children and concession holders.
PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION PROMPTED TO CONTACT SPORTS MINISTER
The newly formed Footballers Association of Western Australia have gone to the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Terry Waldron, to raise their concerns over the National Premier Leagues WA. “The players are really concerned about what is going to happen next year,” commented Robbie Gaspar, whose group put their concerns in writing to Waldron on Monday. “Football West are bringing new rules in with the NPL and the players are disappointed they haven’t been asked to contribute toward it, even though they are a stakeholder in the game.”
A key component of the NPL model for Western Australia is a Player Points System which, while encouraging youth development, discriminates against players on the basis of age and background. The system requires each club to nominate a 20-player squad which fits under a points cap. Each player is allocated ten base points with points removed or added dependent upon the characteristics of the individual player. The positive here is for locally developed players who will have one point removed from their tally for each youth team they have played.
However, players will effectively be punished when they reach the age of 25 with one point added for each year they are over that figure. “The Player Points System is the biggest issue with players over the age of 25 being penalised … I think we’re going to lose a lot of players with this points system,” commented Gaspar, a former State player. “The NPL is the top competition (in the State) and the best players have to play. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, if you’re good enough you are going to breakthrough.”
Another concern players have is in relation to the penalties applied to visa players, those who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents. The NPL model restricts the number of visa players each club is allowed, with four permitted in 2014 and that number decreasing to three in 2015 and two in 2016. The likelihood of the NPL featuring any visa players is further hampered by the fact via players will have ten points automatically added to their ten base points, making it very difficult for clubs to stay within the overall points cap.
The players’ association, which is in regularly contact with Professional Footballer’s Australia, met with Football West chief executive Peter Hugg recently to highlight the concerns they have around the NPL. “We met with Peter Hugg two and a half weeks ago,” said Gaspar, whose group also requested a written response to the meeting. “We sent him an email asking for his replies about what we discussed but he hasn’t got back to us. There’s a whole range of issues that we have put to Football West that we haven’t received any feedback on.”
Effecting change to the NPL model is only the beginning of where Gaspar hopes to take the players association. “We want to work towards having a player on the Football West board, which is in the constitution,” said Gaspar, who wants to draw on the knowledge available within the game. “Why do we not have a players’ standing committee? We’ve got a lot of experienced players out there who have a lot to give back to the game, guys like Andy Todd, Jamie Coyne and Todd Howarth, so let’s use them.”
Gaspar, who has sat on the board of players’ association in Indonesia for the past two years, feels the time is right for the Footballers Association of Western Australia. “When I saw the NPL was starting I thought ‘football’s going to start moving forward’. But when I took a closer look I thought ‘this doesn’t look too friendly towards the players.’” said Gaspar, whose group has so far met with players from 26 of the 31 State League clubs. “The players weren’t being engaged, we’ve got a dialogue going now and they’re all getting engaged."
HIGGINS LOOKING FORWARD TO DERBY DAY
ECU Joondalup midfielder Jon Higgins can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon to roll around. Higgins’ team have hit a rich vein of form right in time for their trip to northern rivals Sorrento, who look all but assured of a spot in the finals. “It’s always a good game against Sorrento, they’re not near the top of the league for no reason,” said Higgins, whose side have come a long way since being edged out 1-0 earlier in the season by Sorrento. “Our form lately has been quality and it’s really something other teams should be worried about. We have a couple of real threats in our team and, hopefully, we can cause them a few problems on Saturday … I can’t wait.”
It’s been an odd season for Joondalup, who slid from fifth to last on the back of a shocking nine-game run from which they claimed just a single point. That form slump has been reversed in the past month with Higgins’ side picking up eight points, three of which came last weekend against Armadale. “It was a funny game,” Higgins said of the 2-0 win in which he and Tommy Amphlett found the net. “The first half was probably one of our worst performances of the season. We got a spray at half-time from the gaffer (Dale McCulloch) and the second half was a complete different story. We had loads of opportunities, even Tommy Jones nearly scored!”
Higgins feels the appointment of McCulloch in late June provided the turning point in Joondalup’s season. “The club and players just needed something new, we were in a bad place and when you’re losing games things are ten times worse,” Higgins said. “There were a few options as to who the club would appoint but Dale, for me, was the only one. In this league the coach needs to have the respect of the playing group and he certainly has it with us. To be fair I thought it might be a little weird going from teammate to coach but it’s been a real good transition, plus I don’t think he was going to last the season on the pitch anyway.”
MAROCCHI READIES FOR AMERICAN ADVENTURE
Promising young defender James Marocchi has played his last competitive game of football for the year. Marocchi, one of very few constants in the Perth SC line-up this winter, heads to Pennsylvania tomorrow evening on a study break which, despite his best attempts, does not include football. “I’m headed to Penn State University on an academic scholarship,” explained Marocchi. “I want to play college football over there, however, under the conditions of my exchange program I do not qualify for NCAA eligibility. I’ll be able to train with the team but cannot participate in official games.”
The Marocchi family name is synonymous with Perth SC. Saverio and Doris Marocchi, James’ grandparents, were key figures in the clubs’ foundation with each of their four sons – Bruno, Eric, Leo and Gary – wearing the Azzurri. “I love playing for Perth as my name and family have been at the club for 65 years,” said James, whose father, Gary, captained the Perth, West Australian and Australian teams. “I could not be more proud than seeing all the photos of my grandparents, uncles, cousins and brother representing the club in the clubrooms upstairs.”
Marocchi came up through the junior ranks at Perth to join the National Training Centre, where a badly broken leg temporarily halted his progress. Upon making a full recovery he worked his way into the Perth Glory Youth team before heading back to Dorrien Gardens. “First team football is a lot faster, physical and better technically then say the reserves competition,” he said of his transition to senior football this year. “The coaching staff of Taki Nicolaidis, Ante Kovacovic and Robbie Puca seems to have quite a lot of confidence in me, and this has been reflected in the way I’ve been playing.”
Nicolaidis rates Marocchi as one of the best young players he’s coached, saying the defenders influence will be sorely missed over the closing stages of the home and away series. “Having worked with James for two years now I have found him to be the most intelligent player I have coached for his age,” commented Nicolaidis. “He has the ability to read the game two or three passes ahead of it happening. He is self-motivated, extremely disciplined, has a great work ethic and is good passer of the ball. We will miss him on the pitch for the rest of the season.”
Perth struggled for consistency across much of the first half of the season but the return of David Onoforo, Antonio Naglieri and Dom De Felice, coupled with imports Clark Keltie and Ashley Corker, provided the stability that had been missing. “Clark’s experience and professionalism has taught me loads this season, and Ash is also a left-sided defender so I’ve learnt a lot from how he plays the game,” commented Marocchi. “The ‘old brigade’ coming back also gave the team that bit of experience I believe we were lacking at times.”
GLORY DOWN MALAYSIA’S JOHOR
Perth Glory collected a 2-0 win from this evening’s friendly with Malaysian Super League side Johor Darul Takzim in front of a packed house at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru. The away side looked to have taken an early lead through Ryo Nagai but an offside flag ruled out his effort, then Aidil Zafuan’s long-range thunderbolt whistled past the post in a cagey opening. Half-time was nearing when Glory went ahead, Steven McGarry converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Nagai. The hosts were twice denied an equaliser by Danny Vukovic, who tipped away goalbound shots from Safiq Rahim and Nunez. Ndumba Makeche sealed the win with a stoppage time header after being found unmarked at a corner.
SCHOOLBOYS PUT IN THE EFFORT WITH LITTLE REWARD
The State Schoolboys have good reason to hold their heads high following a tough week at the national championship. West Australian manager Tony Campbell says the team performed well at last week’s week-long tournament in Canberra despite going winless from their five games. “The lads were excellent, they could not be questioned on their effort. But overall we just lacked that little bit of technical and tactical know-how,” said Campbell, who was pleased that three players gained national selection. “David Stokoe, Sean Troup and Lyon Varney were consistently good and deservedly made the Australian Schoolboys shadow squad.”
West Australia’s campaign opened with a heavy loss to traditional powerhouse New South Wales (7-0) but bounced back by holding eventual winners the Australian Capital Territory to a 1-1 draw. “It was a great response from the lads,” Campbell said of the Day Two result. “We made a flying start, in fact the ACT barely touched the ball in the first ten minutes. They gradually got back into the game but did not cause too many problems until a long shot was spilled by our goalkeeper and in the ensuring scuffle the ball was drilled in. The WA boys pushed back and from a quality Jesse Lazzaro corner David Stokoe equalised with a towering header.”
Victoria claimed a narrow 1-0 win the following day to knock West Australia out of medal contention. “Our defence stifled their attack but unfortunately an individual mistake gave them the goal, scored by former WA Schoolboy Ioasa Saemo,” said Campbell. Another solid performance on Day Four was rewarded with a 1-1 against then tournament leaders South Australia. “It was a superb performance, the boys gave their all, hassled, harassed and overpowered SA. One-down from a great header, we fought back to equalise through Gareth Crawley, who was later sent off for a second yellow. But even with ten players we looked the stronger team.”
The tournament ended on a now note for West Australia in the form of a 5-1 loss to Queensland. “We made another cracking start and could have been two-nil up but our finishing woes continued. Defender David Stokoe, who barely missed a minute the whole week, was given ten minutes up-front and bagged his second goal of the week,” said Campbell. “It was interesting speaking to the New South Wales guys, they had 3,000 boys try out for their team, had full backing of their federation and had eight A-League youth players in the set-up … if only that could happen here.”
SAINSBURY TO KICK ON WITH MARINERS
Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury has vowed to better last season’s stellar campaign after casting off the disappointment of missing out on a move to Europe. An off-season move to English club Bolton Wanders or Swiss heavyweights FC Basel may have failed to materialise but Sainsbury is far from downcast, the 21-year old instead focusing his energies on the coming summer. “I have had to re-focus and set new goals and now I can’t wait to get back into it at the Mariners," he said. “I know this (Central Coast) is a great place for me to continue to progress and hopefully go to a European club in the future.”
Sainsbury, whose career began at Armadale, admits he was never entirely happy with the role Bolton manager Dougie Freedman had in mind. “One of the worries I had with Bolton was they saw me as full-back and I see myself as a centre back for now and the future,” he recalled of the discussions back in May. “Having spoken to Dougie Freedman he is convincing and I believe he is a man manager like Arnie (Graham Arnold). I think going across there he could have helped my performance as a right-back, but then again I would have had to start again but it fell through.”
Having been part of Australia’s recent East Asian Cup squad, Sainsbury said he was also wary of making a move to the wrong club and jeopardising his national team ambitions. “In camp I got to learn what I need to achieve and what I need to do to become a national team player,” said Sainsbury. “If you are going overseas it has to be to play or at the very least to be on the bench as it is a World Cup year and everyone is fighting for that spot. I also know I need to be at a club where the coach wants to develop me and coach me not just have me as a player in his squad.”
ASSESSMENTS FOR INAUGURAL NPL NEARLY COMPLETE
The major milestone on the path to the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA will be reached this week when Football West completes the initial assessment phase for entry to the new competition. Applications for the NPL closed at the end of June and for the past six weeks officials from the peak body have been reviewing the applications received and meeting with club officials. “Twenty applications were received for season 2014 and this is the number of clubs that we are currently assessing,” said Peter Hugg, Football West chief executive. “We are currently providing these applicant clubs the opportunity to present face-to-face and speak to their original NPL application. This process will conclude on Tuesday, 13th August.”
Although Football West will gain a clearer understanding of the make-up of the inaugural NPL by the middle of the week, there is still some way to go before the successful clubs are publicly revealed. “After the Assessment Panel concludes its presentations the Probity Committee will verify all processes and outcomes,” explained Hugg. “We have two external bodies overseeing the processes and recommendations as well as an independent consultant reviewing applications and presentations. A Recommendations Paper will be provided to the Football West Board meeting on Thursday 22nd August and, following their approval of the recommendations, both the successful and unsuccessful clubs will be personally notified, after which a public announcement will be made.”
The NPL, an initiative of Football Federation Australia, will from next year replace the State League as the top tier of local football. It understood all twelve existing Premier Division clubs have thrown their hats into the ring along with seven clubs from Division One, four clubs from Division Two and one club from the Sunday League. The twenty applicants for the inaugural NPL are believed to be Armadale, Balcatta, Bayswater City, Bunbury Forum Force, Canning City, Cockburn City, ECU Joondalup, Floreat Athena, Fremantle United/East Fremantle (joint), Inglewood United, Maddington White City, Mandurah City, Perth SC, Perth Glory/National Training Centre, Rockingham City, Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Subiaco AFC, Swan United and Western Knights.
STATE TEAM TO PLAY IN CANCER FUNDRAISER
The West Australian State team will be back in action later this month when they take on Perth Glory for the ‘Call To Arms Cup’, a fundraising event in the fight against cancer. The pick of the State League crop will be under the tutelage of Kenny Lowe when they meet Glory under lights at Intiga Stadium on Wednesday 21 August. It will be the tenth meeting between the State team and Glory with the ledger titled firmly in the latters’ with eight wins to one.
The State team and Glory previously played off for the ‘Call To Arms Cup’ in 2010 when more than 3,000 fans turned out to see Glory score two late goals and snatch a 3-1 win. “We are delighted and very grateful that the WA football family is supporting the Cancer Council,” said Susan Rooney, chief executive of Cancer Council WA. “We aim for a cancer free future for all West Australians and continue to always work hard to tackle this disease and reduce its devastating effects on our entire community.”
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg said the sport’s governing body was thrilled to be involved in a tremendous initiative. “Football West is pleased to once more support this worthwhile cause and I commend the ongoing commitment of Perth Glory and Alistair (Edwards) to associate with the local football landscape and the wider community,” Hugg said. “This match will see the best players in the State challenging for the ‘Call To Arms Cup’ and hopefully it will be an exciting contest that the football community will come out and support.”
Perth Glory general manager Anthony Radich urged the football community to support the upcoming friendly. “The prevalence of cancer amongst men is a very serious issue, and it is very pleasing that we can all join the Call to Arms together to help the Cancer Council raise awareness and much-needed funds,” he said. “There is isn't anyone who hasn't been affected in some way by cancer such is its prevalence, and I strongly urge Glory and all football supporters to be part of helping to make a difference.”
LIONS TEAR INTO SORRENTO (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Stirling Lions took another step towards finishing top of the Premier League for the first time in almost two decades by thrashing Sorrento 4-1 this afternoon at Macedonia Park. A first half Rory Grant double got the ball rolling with Daniel Micevski and Phil Arnold sealing the win after the interval. “I would have taken four-one before the game but I thought we played some great football,” said Stirling coach Doug Hesketh, whose have a game in hand over joint-leaders Bayswater City. “We want to finish as high as we can but we are being realistic – it’s consistency we want to produce and I think we have been doing it for most of the season.”
There was an abundance of chances at both ends of the park early on. Grant came close to breaking through on a couple of occasions while at the other end it was Ryan Pearson and David Price who were threatening. A 22nd minute foul on Andy Todd amidst a goalmouth scramble prompted referee Matt Cheeseman to point to the penalty spot from where Grant blasted past Curtis Aspden. Sorrento were almost back on terms soon after when Danny Cain’s curling free-kick crashed into the far post. Play continued to swing from one end to the other with both sides failing to make the most of their chances. That pattern was snapped three minutes from the break, Grant lashing in on the end of Dean Evans’ superb cross.
Stirling returned for the second half determined to increase their tally, and on 59 minutes Micevski did just that by beating the offside trap to slide in goal number three. Anthony Skorich gave Sorrento a glimmer of hope five minutes later by ghosting in behind the defence to nod past Vrteski. Gareth McGlynn uncharacteristically wasted a chance to seal the win when sent through with inly Aspden to beat. Referee Cheeseman stepped into the spotlight with quarter of an hour to go when he failed to spot a handball inside the area by Todd, earning the wrath of the visiting supporters. The result was put beyond doubt with the very next play, Moses Kalau dazzling down the left before cutting back for Arnold to sweep in.to the net.
LLOYD THE ARCHITECT AS COCKBURN CLAIM VICTORY
Cockburn City’s impressive season continued with a 4-1 win over Inglewood United at Dalmatinac Park. A Paul Lloyd brace was complimented by singles to Devon Gibson and Matt Salmon which cemented the Cockerels place in the top five. “The lads are on my case, they want me off penalties,” joked Lloyd, who would have ended the afternoon with a hat-trick had he converted from the spot in the first half. “I am mid-20’s now and my game has sort of come of age – a bit of experience on the field. I feel like I am making better decisions in the games, I am getting in the games more and having a bigger influence.”
It was a tight opening with Inglewood carving out the better chances on goal. David Perich’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box drifted just the wrong side of the post on the quarter hour, and moments later a long-range attempt by James Sammut also whistled past the target. Cockburn had an opportunity to take the lead on the half hour when referee Trent Fleskens pointed to the spot for a handball against Shaun Kilkelly, however, Lloyd’s spot kick crashed into the post and away to safety. Before the break Conor Kavanagh played a superb through ball to Lloyd but he fired wide with only goalkeeper Like Martino to bea..
The second half was given a crackerjack start with both teams threatening to break the deadlock. Michael Baczynski blazed high from 6-metres following good work on the left by Alex Caniglia, while down the opposite end Gibson flashed wide. The breakthrough arrived after 61 minutes when Kavanagh played a superb pass through the defence for Lloyd, who this time made no mistake finding the back of the net. Inglewood hit back eight minutes later with Greg Sharland converting from the penalty spot after Paul Natale was adjudged to have handled. Sharland almost gave the visitors the lead soon after with a dipping free-kick from 16-metres that was a tad high.
But any hopes Inglewood had of taking home the points were snuffed out when Gibson and Salmon netted in the space of a few minutes. A well-flighted corner by Lloyd found the head of Gibson, whose powerful finish from inside the 6-yard box edged the home side in front after 75 minutes. Salmon had been on the park just four minutes when he sealed the win by skipping past a couple of defenders before drilling low into Martino’s net. Inglewood were on the ropes and in the 85th minute Lloyd delivered the knock-out blow by getting in behind the defence to take an Ian McMurray’s pass which he duly sent past Martino.
GATE CLOSES ON FLOREAT
Balcatta provided Floreat Athena’s top five aspirations a massive jolt by claiming a 3-0 victory this afternoon at Litis Stadium. Kris Gate scored twice and Adam Tong once to give Balcatta their first win in nine games. “It’s fantastic to get a result at Athena,” said Balcatta coach Saul Contera. “No one would have expected us to get three points and the boys have come out and played it like a final. We want to continue with the good attitude that the players are showing, and if they do that then maybe we can get a little roll on and also upset Bayswater City or Cockburn CIty.”
It took the away team only 5 minutes to open their account, Roberto Lujan and Patrick Sara combining with the latter squaring for Gate whose shot crashed down off the crossbar and was ruled to have crossed the line. Balcatta would have had another ten minutes later had Tong not lifted high in a one-on-one with Brad Eiffe, who later saved well from Lujan. Although struggling to get out of first gear, Floreat did manage to get the ball in the net via Ben Steele, however, it was disallowed for offside. Eiffe was called up on again leading into half-time, this time to keep out Simon Versaico’s powerful shot.
Balcatta needed just three second half minutes to double the lead, Tong applying a clinical finish from 15-metres after Callum Fransz’s attempted clearance deflected his way. Mark Pritchard looked destined to bring Floreat back into the game with a free-kick which was heading for the top corner when Alex Dunn pushed it around the post. This sparked Floreat into a flurry of activity. Aryn Williams’ long-range volley slammed against the bar, then from a good positioned Jack Allen sprayed wide. The game was made safe by an in-swinging corner by Gate which crept into the bottom corner three minutes from the end.
CHARACTER-FILLED PERTH TURN IT AROUND
Perth SC made the most of the long trip south by coming from behind to defeat Bunbury Forum Force 2-1 on a sunny afternoon at Payne Park. Oliver McGee had the hosts in front at the break but second half finishes by Clarke Keltie and Rob Sciascia ensured it was the team in blue that took out the points. “It’s a bit of a relief to win after a number of losses,” said Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis. “After missing a few chances in the first half, then going behind right on half-time, I thought it was going to be another of those days. However the boys never gave up and showed some good character.”
The early going was tight little in the way of clear-cut chance on goal. Perth did manage to find the net after 13th minutes but Frank Furfaro’s effort was ruled out for offside. Antonio Naglieri was then put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery who got enough of a touch to send the shot wide. Jayden Prosser was a constant threat for a home defence in which James Marrochi and Josh Wilkins were working overtime. A late half surge from Bunbury paid dividends in stoppage time when McGee rose highest to head in from a corner.
Steve Howson was within inches of doubling Bunbury’s lead soon after the restart when Francis Soale tipped away his shot. Perth lifted and on 65 minutes drew level, Keltie tucking in from the penalty spot after Naglieri’s shot struck Liam Hutchinson on the arm. The game was there for the taking and both teams stepped up to the challenge. The decisive goal arrived with ten minutes to play, an elegant move between Wilkins, Keltie and Naglieri was finished into the net by Sciascia at close-range. Perth almost added a third late when Furfaro racing clear only to be foiled by Montgomery.
JOONDALUP REVIVAL CONTINUES
ECU Joondalup extended their unbeaten run to four games with a hard-fought 2-0 triumph over Armadale at the Edith Cowan University campus. Second half finishes by Jon Higgins and Tommy Amphlett were enough to get the points for Joondalup, however, the margin would have been greater if not for the heroics of Reds goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. “After a scrappy first half on our part we knew we needed to change tact and pressure Armadale higher up the pitch,” winning coach Dale McCulloch commented. “I brought on young Joe Knowles to work their back four hard and it paid dividends.”
The first half was a largely dull affair dominated by the defences. The only genuine chance on goal came the way of the visitors when Louie Bake released Mitch Castrilli who placed straight at Andy Banks in a one-on-one. Amphlett signalled the hosts desire to be first on the scoreboard soon after the interval with a vicious shot which was brought a superb one-handed save from Sharrock. The breakthrough came after 64 minutes, David Caine picking out Jon Higgins whose was allowed time on the edge of the 18-yard box to unleash a sweetly shot low into the net.
Armadale were lucky not to concede again soon after when Amphlett’s close-range effort was blocked by Sharrock, who recovered in time to deny Knowles at the follow-up. With fifteen minutes left Rhys Loxley took the Reds forward but his low cross was beyond the reach of Lance Louvie at the far post. Amphlett, Tommy Jones and Knowles sent shots past the target as Joondalup pressed for a second goal. The wait wasn’t ended until the final minute of regulation time when Knowles on the ball trickery sent clear Amphlett to score from 8-metres.
BAYSWATER UNTROUBLED BY NTC (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
The National Training Centre suffered their biggest loss of the season when thrashed 5-0 by top of the table Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Todd Howarth each grabbed a brace with James Isaia scoring the remainder to keep Bayswater on level points with Stirling Lions, who have a game in hand. “They’ve not been in this position so we’ll see if they can cope with the pressure,” Bayswater coach Chris Coyne said of his title contenders. “A game on paper isn’t three points on the scorecard so they can score whatever. We’ve gone and scored five today and put them under pressure, and it’s whose backside doesn’t tweak too much.”
Giron-Marulanda opened the scoring after only 8 minutes, the striker rounding goalkeeper Jordan Franken and stroking into an empty. Four minutes later the margin was increased when Howarth surged inside the 18-yard box and beat a couple of defenders before lashing in via the underside of the crossbar. Bayswater may have eased off after this initial onslaught but the NTC remained a team under pressure. They were opened up again in the 36th minute with Giron-Marulanda tapping in at the back post after Howarth nodded his way from an Adrian Caceres free-kick. That was pretty much the final action for Giron-Marulanda who soon after exited the game with a knee injury.
The pace dropped off for the second half with Bayswater content to sit back and allow their opponents more time on the ball. And even though there were flashes of hope from Blamo Quaqua and Nick Ambrogio, the NTC by and large struggled to break down a backline under the command of Trent Kay and his captain John Kearney. Bayswater jumped back into action by adding two more goals in the closing stages. In the 81st minute Howarth’s diagonal ball into the area from 22-metres looped over Franken and snuck inside the far post. Substitute James Isaia rounded out the scoring by slotting past an exposed ‘keeper on the counterattack in stoppage time.
KNIGHTS CHARGE PAST CANNING
Canning City’s hopes of finishing top of Division One were dealt a massive blow with this afternoon’s 4-0 thrashing at Western Knights. Goals inside ten minutes from Julian Teles and Johny Mirco set the tone of the afternoon before Jamie Ricks helped himself to a double. “The lads really stood up and showed just how good they can be,” said Knights coach Robbie Dunn, whose side sits in fifth place, some six points behind leaders Canning. “A few last minutes losses have cost us a chance of a top two finish and all the lads want to finish off the season as best they can … today they showed everyone that you write them off at your own peril.”
The Knights came out firing and by the 4th minute were already one-nil up, Luka Jukic chasing down a deflected shot and from the left threaded a precision pass in for Teles to convert from close-range. The lead was doubled just two minutes later when Mirco showed his class by controlling a Brendon Craig cross and, with is back to the goal, exquisitely volleyed past goalkeeper Steve Grant. Canning were gifted a way back in when Daniel Trevisiol was felled by home custodian goalkeeper Sam Hutchison, who redeemed himself by pushing away Daniel Neiderberger’s spot kick. A swift counterattack just before half-time sealed the win, Craig racing the length of the left flank before picking out Ricks whose close-range blast had too much on it for Grant.
A few tactical changes and the introduction of Simon Corriea brought Canning more into the game for the second half. Hutchinson made sure the difference stayed at three goals by thwarting Mark Trevisiol in a one-on-one, while at the other end Ricks lifted high of the crossbar as the Knights sought to increase their advantage. Mark Trevisiol rose well to meet a corner only to be foiled for a second time by Hutchinson, who later put his body on the line to rob Michael Van Dongen of a shot on goal. The home side were also creating and with ten minutes to go Ricks tamed a long ball and, having spotted Grant off his line, clipped a measured shot from 25-metres /into the net.
PERKINS STARS AS ASHFIELD STEALS VICTORY
Ashfield rode their luck to claim a dramatic 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers at Ashfield Reserve. The visiting side created by far the greater number of chances on goal but failed to get the better of John Perkins, whose heroics between the posts was as important to the hosts as goals scored by Jamie Burns and Karl O’Reilly. Burns opened the hosts account after 9 minutes by punishing a defensive error and driving into the bottom corner of Josh Shepherd’s net. Shamrock held sway over the rest of the half but could find no way past Perkins, who pushed Barry Mulligan’s free-kick away from the top corner and thwarted Charlie Kenna in a one-on-one.
It took until the 52nd minute for the visitors dominance to be rewarded, Mulligan’s cross on the counterattack finding an unmarked Paul Concannon who tapped in amid cries of offside. The match officials again came under the spotlight when Matt Wardle’s attempt to clear struck Jay Lang on the hand with appeals for a penalty waved away. Mulligan crashed a dead ball into the upright before Perkins kept out shots from Concannon, Michael Lawson and Will Pender as the visitors pushed to take what would have been a deserved lead. The decisive goal arrived five minutes into stoppage time and at the opposite end, Steve O’Mahoney’s long throw finding the feet of O’Reilly who neatly lobbed the ‘keeper.
MCDONALD HAT-TRICK SENDS WANNEROO TO THIRD
Wanneroo City’s unbeaten run was extended to twelve games this this afternoon’s 5-1 defeat of UWA-Nedlands at Kingsway Reserve. The high-pressure approach employed by Wanneroo paid dividends early with Guy McDonald sweeping in the loose ball created by Ranjeet Sekhon’s parry on a Stuart Montgomery shot. It didn’t take long for Scott Bushby to double the hosts’ advantage by out-pacing the defence and coolly finishing the one-on-one opportunity into the net. With a strong breeze at their backs, UWA worked tirelessly to cut the deficit but other than a few strikes from distance there was little cause for concern in the Wanneroo camp.
Guy McDonald made it three-nil shortly after the restart with an in-swinging corner which Sekhon got a glove to. Wanneroo went forward again with Anthony Jones playing through to Montgomery who neatly finishing inside the near post with only the ‘keeper to beat. Wasteful finishing denied the home side several more goals before Guy McDonald completed a richly deserved hat-trick with a powerful header from a corner. UWA refused to give up the chase and close to the end Andrea Terni curled brilliantly into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Clint Davies. The win moves Wanneroo into third spot, five points behind leaders Canning City.
THE LONG WAIT IS OVER FOR DUNLOP
Gosnells City helped themselves to three much-overdue points by out-gunning Mandurah City 2-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Alan Dunlop was given his first taste of victory since taking over as coach of Gosnells courtesy of Chris Holland’s first half brace, which also ended an eight-game winless run for the eastern corridor side. “This was most important win of our season as it gets us off the bottom of the table and keeps us in touch with teams around us,” enthused Dunlop. “The attitude of players and the commitment they gave was outstanding. We changed our style a bit and tweaked the line-up a bit over the last few weeks we were confident it was just a matter of time before we got a win.”
A cagey affair began with neither side looking particularly threatening when going forward. But Mandurah’s failure to clear the ball of their 18-yard box on 22 minutes was punished by Holland, who stabbed in at close-range. Holland could have had another but shot wide after meeting John Hunter’s nod down from a Luke McCord free-kick a few minutes later. Mandurah didn’t fashion an opening until the half hour when Alex Randall’s corner found Graeme Matthews whose header was tipped away by Struan Herd. Holland had luck on his side when he struck Gosnells’ second goal, the attacker’s 32nd minute shot deflecting off a defender and wrong-footing goalkeeper Matt Hamnet. Herd came to the rescue again just before half-time by punching away a Randall’s free-kick.
Mandurah wasted little time going forward after the break but Herd got the ball ahead of Randall. A long-range attempt by Craig Tone flashed narrowly wide of the upright with the ‘keeper beaten, the same player again got into a good position only shoot straight at Herd. The pressure on Gosnells was intense and there was little relief in sight. Liam Hurst’s shot had too much on it for Herd to take cleanly but Daiten Twyman was on hand to hack the loose ball to safety. Gosnells went forward through Feisal Zaw whose effort was too close to Hamnett. As the clock ticked down Mandurah stepped up the pace but the closest they’d come to scoring was a Hurst header which went over the top.
SWAN PICK UP THREE VALUABLE POINTS
A couple of early goals laid the foundations for Swan United to claim a 3-1 win away at Rockingham City this afternoon. Goals from Thomas Black, Stuart Long and Michael Tronchin jumped the black and whites five points clear of last placed Rockingham, who have lost their last seven games. The day could not have started better for Swan with an unmarked Black tapping in after Niall Hughes’ flick on was cut back into the danger zone box by John Monterosso. A similar move produced a second goal for Swan, Trent Wood playing down the line for Monterosso whose low centring pass was lashed in from 14-metres by Long.
The tide began to turn late in the first half and few were surprised when Rockingham pulled a goal back, Lee Hayward converting from 8-metres after being found unmarked by Reece Frank’s flicked pass. Fired up by coach Damian Scali’s half-time address, Swan upped the tempo to totally dominate the second 45 minutes. Monterosso, Luke Colli, Nughes and Mark Miraudo all had chances to increase the difference but were thwarted by goalkeeper Phil Herschell and his defence. Rockingham were hitting on the counterattack and one such move had Josh Senior go clear only to be denied by veteran Cory Hugo. The result was put beyond doubt by Tronchin, who crashed in a loose ball at close-range.
KINGSWAY REVIVAL SNUFFED OUT BY DIXON
A last gasp Joey Dixon goal at Rosalie Park has stolen Subiaco AFC a 3-2 win from an entertaining encounter with Kingsway Olympic. Subiaco controlled the bulk of the first half and deservedly went ahead through Ger Fitzgerald, who expertly tamed Frank Galvin’s lofted pass over the defence and slotted into the bottom corner of the net. Josh Rolls was unlucky not to bring the sides level with a deft chip which came down off the crossbar and, after a goalmouth scrabble, was eventually cleared. The hosts lead was doubled leading into the break, Fitzgerald flicking the ball through for Robert Knoefel to stream down the wing before crossing to John Molloy, who finished past the goalkeeper.
Kingsway clearly wanted to cut the deficit as soon as possible. Rolls came close with a blistering strike into the underside of the bar but the rebound landed just the wrong side of the goal line. The visitors were now the dominant force and with fifteen minutes to go Craig Cunningham found the back of the net from a corner whipped in by Lee Thomas. Poor defending at another Thomas corner allowed Liam Hurley to bring the teams level. The closing stages were frantic with play swinging wildly from one end to the other. With the final play of the afternoon Dixon latched onto a Greg Slater long ball and lobbed the oncoming ‘keeper to get Subiaco three hard-earned points.
MELVILLE JUMP BACK IN THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE
Melville City claimed victory for the first time in eight games with a deserved 2-0 defeat of Forrestfield United at Len Shearer Reserve. The home side settled brightly and twice went close to going in front. Ashley Savage sent the ball goalward in a goalmouth scramble only to have it blocked by a defender, and ten minutes later Aaron Bahadori brought goalkeeper Nathan Cipriani into action for the first time. As the half progressed Forrestfield began to get a hold on the game but the visitors failed to get the better of goalkeeper Elliot Duncan. Jordan Hart really should have broken the deadlock but side-footed wide with an open goal at his mercy.
When the teams returned for the second half it was Melville that had the greater hunger to breakthrough. Mark Lucas volley forced a good save from Cipriani, who breathed a sigh of relief when Savage placed wide after getting clear of this defence. Forrestfield looked like grabbing a goal against the run of play but Duncan moved sharply to keep out F.Cuttitta’s shot. Eventually Bahadori showed them how it’s gone, the Melville captain holding up the ball before working space inside the 18-yard box and firing into the bottom corner. Minutes later Bahadori spotted the ‘keeper off his line and from distance unleashed a dipping shot which snuck under the crossbar to secure all the points.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Macedonia Park will be the centre of attention tomorrow when third-placed Sorrento attempts to bring to a halt Stirling Lions’ 12-game unbeaten run. “We were disappointed to get only a draw last week (against Bunbury Forum Force) but we always bring out our ‘A’ game against the top sides,” commented visiting striker Anthony Skorich. “If we stick together and play like we did against Bayswater City (4-1 win) and Inglewood United (2-1 win) then we can get the points.” A difficult task facing Sorrento has been made all the more so with the absence of Steve McDonald (work) and Jesse Fuller (injury), and the inclusion of Andy Todd and Dean Evans in Stirling’s squad.
Conor Kavanagh expects there to be little between Cockburn City and Inglewood United when the final whistle sounds at Dalmatinac Park. “It will be a tough game, no doubt. We drew last time round but the added pressure of both teams seeking a top five finish makes this game a little bit more nervy,” said the Cockburn midfielder. “Confidence is high, we played really well in our last game (against Bayswater) and we’ve the squad to make it to the finals, and then to progress far.” Youngsters Harry O’ Brien and Alex Castiello are knocking on the hosts’ selection door but the news is not so rosy for Nick Carroll, who’ll miss the game with injury.
Coach Chris Barbas has a few tough selection decisions to make leading into Floreat Athena’s Litis Stadium meeting with Balcatta. Coming back into the home squad are goalkeeper Brad Eiffe plus defensive pair Cameron Yorke and Mark Walsh, however, David Heagney remains absent through suspension. Bunbury Forum Force could be without Steve Howson and Chris Blackburn when they welcome Perth SC to Payne Park. The visitors regain the services of Daniel Coletta but lose Jarrod Belford (ankle). It’s going to be a long afternoon for the National Training Centre when they venture to Bayswater City, who have Gustavo Catarcione, Damien Catalano and James Isaia coming back into the line-up.
Round Nineteen concludes with the bottom of the table meeting between ECU Joondalup and Armadale in the northern suburbs. “Getting the result against Armadale is always difficult, they are a hard-working outfit which is hard to break down,” said Joondalup captain Jon Higgins, who feels his side have what it take to pick up the win. “We’re starting to play some good football, we’re playing as one unit again which is something we’ve not done for most of the season.” Armadale have promoted striker Ravi Kuppusamy to the squad but missing through injury are Billy Quinncroft, Ian Maguire and Mark Peers. All six Premier Division games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Canning City can take another step closer to the Division One crown by picking up a win away at Western Knights. “The boys know the importance of this game to our league title hopes,” commented joint coach Michael Van Dongen. “Our strikers are hitting their straps, our defensive record is one of the best in the league and we travel well, but these facts are irrelevant if we don’t turn up on Saturday. The Knights are a quality side and their position on the ladder (fifth) doesn’t do justice to the standard of football they are capable of playing.”
Shamrock Rovers defender Alan O’Mahoney intends for his team to return from Ashfield with all the points on offer. “Ashfield are a very good side and have upped it against the better teams, justifying why they’re in the Cup Final,” said O’Mahoney. “But we’re on eleven-game unbeaten streak and plan to keep that going until the end of the season.” Shamrock striker Ciaran Byrne has been ruled out of Saturday by suspension, however, Mark O’Brien and David Murphy are pushing for selection. Back in for Ashfield are Branimir Mikulic and Matt Wardle as Ruben Tristao and Tom Kennedy go in the other direction.
Dianella White Eagles will be missing Goran Radinovic (suspension) when Morley Windmills venture to Dianella Reserve. Goalkeeper Clint Davies returns to Wanneroo City’s line-up for their home game with UWA-Nedlands, who remain without captain Tom Sellers (knee) and Kyle King (overseas). Gosnells City are in a buoyant mood ahead of Mandurah City’s visit to Walter Padbury Reserve. Rockingham City and Swan United go head-to-head at Lark Hill Sportsplex from where the winner will put some distance between themselves and last spot. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Two of the third tiers form sides, Subiaco AFC and Kingsway Olympic, come face-to-face with eachother on Saturday afternoon at Rosalie Park. “They have won three out of the last four games and we have won three on the spin so it should be a good entertaining game and a good advert for the league,” said Kingsway coach Nathan Chapman. “Despite the absence of key players due to illness or holidays, spirits are high in the camp but we know it will be a tough game … I’ll happily take a scruffy 1-0 win to make it four in a row.”
Quinns must take all the points at home to Maddington White City if they’re to hold any hope of finishing top of Division Two. A Maddington win may well see their lead blow out to seven points by rounds’ end, and with only five games to go that’s a lot of ground to make up. Fremantle United and Joondalup City each has a lengthy list of absences for the game at Hilton Reserve. Robert Mariano (hamstring), Ben West (suspension) are out for the hosts, likewise Joondalup’s Rhys Booth (ankle) and Danny Beattie (suspension). Cellar-dwellers Melville City have home ground advantage over Forrestfield United. All four Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
“ANYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG HAS GONE WRONG”: CONTERA
Balcatta coach Saul Contera will long remember his rookie season, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Contera held high hopes of his first senior coaching appointment when he took up the reins six months ago, however, not a lot has gone to plan. “Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” said Contera, whose side have not won in over two months and are placed fourth from bottom with four games to go. “We have been very unfortunate with injuries and players leaving unexpectedly, and on too many occasions have conceded last minute goals which have cost us valuable points.”
There’s no doubt player injury and absences have hit Balcatta hard. Callum Roberts, Bajo Savic, Jason Barrera have missed the entire campaign through injury while Ashley Rosindale has played even though he’s also injured. Adam Bachiller, John Migas, Julian Madaschi and Simon Elton-Bott have spent considerable time on the sidelines while resources were further stretched by the mid-season departure of Mikey Aspin and Ben Say. “These are all players who are crucial to our side,” Contera commented. “You can deal with three of four negative situations but nine starting players leaves you with an uphill battle.”
Balcatta have also paid a heavy price for a series of concentration lapses at vital times throughout the season according to Contera. “Through naivety and inexperience we’ve let the opposition score last minute goals, that’s happened six times,” explained the coach. “When you add up the points we could have had if we’d held on for another minute or two, then we could conservatively have up to ten more points. And that doesn’t count us hitting the post in the last minute one-on-one against ECU Joondalup … that pretty much summed up our season.”
Contera, who stepped into the top job at Balcatta following Michael Roki’s departure, admit 2013 has been a steep learning curve. “As a coach I’ve developed a lot, especially in terms of my confidence in what I’m doing and delivering key messages,” he said. “I’ve learnt coaching is not just about training and preparing for games, there are a lot of other things that come with coaching that are extremely time consuming … sometimes you feel you have a second full-time job. But it’s all been a positive experience and it will set me in good stead for whatever happens in the future.”
Despite the on-field setbacks, there have been plenty of positives to come from the season for Balcatta. “Some of our young players have gained very good first team exposure, we’ve had eight players under the age of 20 make debuts this season and that can only benefit the club moving forward,” Contera said. “For the final month of the season we will continue to be competitive, as we have been all season. I want the players to leave everything out on the park and see if they can upset some of the sides who are battling for a top five spot.”
Floreat Athena are one of those sides in finals contention and on Saturday have home ground advantage over Balcatta. “On paper Floreat are one of the top three teams in the state, they’re a very quick and mobile side so to see them sitting where they are (sixth) is a little surprising,” Contera said. “It’ll be a good opportunity for our young side to play on a good pitch, which we don’t get to do often, against a strong side. We just want to give a good account of ourselves, it is not really about the points for us although jumping up one or two spots would look better.”
MALAYSIA NEXT UP FOR GLORY
Perth Glory has confirmed they’ll travel to Malaysian next week for a pre-season hit-out with Johor Darul Takzim. The friendly at Larkin Stadium, Johor Bahru, on Wednesday will carry special significance for Glory coach Alistair Edwards, who wore Johor colours during a successful playing spell in Malaysia. “I spent many years in Malaysia and had two very enjoyable seasons playing for Johor, where we won the league and Malaysia Cup double in 1991,” said Edwards, who took out the Golden Boot award during an earlier stint with Sarawak. “It’s going to be great returning to a place that holds such fond memories.”
Johor finished the recent season in third spot, edged out of second only on goal difference by Selangor, and are expected to provide a stern test for Glory. “This game is a wonderful bonus to our club and our pre-season schedule. We are expecting a packed house which is very exciting for all involved,” Edwards said. “On the back of our recent trip to South Africa, it will provide us with another very tough and high quality opponent in what still is the very early stages of our pre-season program. I’m sure the hit-out will prove very beneficial as we build up to the start of our A-League campaign.”
WILLIAMS EXCITED BY OXFORD MOVE
Australian youth international Ryan Williams hopes his move to Oxford United can end 18-months of frustration. Williams, 19, joined Oxford on a six-month loan agreement from Fulham late last week and determined the switch can get his career back on track. “It’s really exciting for me to be playing first team football,” Williams told BBC Radio Oxford. “Hopefully, I will get a chance here and things will work out for me and the club. I didn’t come here to make up the numbers. I want to fight for my spot and that is what the gaffer has asked me to do.”
Williams, whose junior days were spent at ECU Joondalup, Williams joined Portsmouth in August 2011 and made half a dozen appearances for the club before joining before Fulham four months later. “I would have loved to stay at Portsmouth because I was involved in a first team environment but when a Premier League club comes knocking, who knows, I might not get that opportunity again,” said Williams, who made his Oxford debut earlier in the week against Charlton Athletic in the League Cup. “I now want to stay in the team and show them what I’m about.”
TOMBIDES ON-TARGET FOR WEST HAM
Scoring in a pre-season friendly against non-League opposition would normally not count for a lot but to West Ham United starlet Dylan Tombides it means the world. Tombides, 19, has played very little competitive football in the past two years due to his battle with testicular cancer, so early strike in the Hammers’ 4-2 win against Hornchurch on the weekend was certainly a moment worth celebrating. “To get back on the pitch was brilliant,” Tombides said. “I have missed playing and everything else around it ... the banter in the dressing room, getting nervous before kick-off, scoring and celebrating goals.”
Tombides, a former Stirling Lions junior, recently put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension but admits he was worried a new deal may not have been forthcoming. “There were some doubts because the management have not seen me play many minutes of football,” Tombides commented. “Saying that, the club has stood by me tremendously over the last two years. They said right from the start that anything I needed was mine. Although I wasn’t training, every time I came in the other players would all rush over to see how I was feeling … that was really fantastic, I never felt left out.”
SMELTZ OUT FOR THREE MONTHS
Perth Glory will be without marquee man Shane Smeltz for the opening month of the new season following surgery to fix an ongoing hip problem. Smeltz, the A-League’s top goalscorer with 73 goals from 122 games, is expected to miss three months after undergoing the procedure which had hindered him for the better part of a year. Coach Alistair Edwards said it was important for Smeltz to address the issue now rather than try to manage through another season. “He’s had it for a little while and we thought having the rest over the pre-season would alleviate the problem,” Edwards said. “So when they went in and had the surgery, they did a bit of extra stuff as well.”
Smeltz’s absence opens the door for Chris Harold, Ndumba Makeche, Ryo Nagai and new recruit Jamie Maclaren to step into the spotlight. “It’s a great opportunity for younger players to get some game time and experience,” commented Edwards. “The positive is that people like Jamie Maclaren step into the first team and you see them rise to the next challenge. Ryo, Chris Harold and Ndumba can also play number nine, so we’ve got four guys there. We’ll see what works best, but at the moment we’re very pleased with the progress of the players that we brought in.” Glory’s opening game of the 2013/13 campaign is against Adelaide United on 13 October.
NOTTS COUNTY ADD OXTOBY TO COACHING TEAM
Tanya Oxtoby has played at the highest level of club football in Australia and England and, in retirement, is now forging a successful coaching career. Inaugural Perth Glory Women captain, Tanya Oxtoby has joined the coaching team at English Women’s Super League side Notts Country after guiding rivals Nottingham Forest to second spot last season. Despite having the opportunity to continue as a player, Oxtoby says the time was right to hang up her boots and focus on coaching. “There were opportunities presenting themselves (in coaching) I felt more passionate about than playing,” Oxtoby told beyond90.com.au
Although on the other side of the world, Oxtoby still keep a close watch on her former team and was thrilled Glory Women reached the semi-finals in 2012/13. “After a lot of hard work and some good investment financially from Football West, the results have finally come,” said Oxtoby. “I’m so happy for the girls, especially the ones who have been there right from the start and are home-grown talent. I will always consider the Glory to be ‘my team’ no matter where I am in the world, and I’m so glad they proved so many people wrong with their performances last season.”
Oxtoby, an ever-present across her four seasons with Glory Women, says everything she is learning in England will eventually be put to good use when she returns to Perth. “I’ve always been so passionate about women’s football in Western Australia, and hopefully I can bring back everything I would have learned over an extended period here in the UK and continue to grow the game when I return home,” the 31-year old said. “That’s definitely where I see my long-term future, and hopefully there will always be a place there for me when I return.”
WEST AUSTRALIAN STARLETS HEAD FOR SPAIN
Four West Australians have gained selection in the Young Socceroos squad to play in Spain. Australia will take part in next week’s COTIF Under-19 International Tournament in L’Alcudia where they’ve been grouped alongside Mexico, Spain and Qatar. Perth Glory pair Riley Woodcock and Matt Davies had only recently returned from their clubs’ pre-season tour of South Africa when they learnt of their call-up, while Mitch Oxborrow (Newcastle Jets) and goalkeeper Luke Radonich (Melbourne Victory) have been hard at work with their A-League clubs.
Woodcock, who features on the latest episode of Football West’s junior online video show Shoot, was thrilled to be involved. “We’ve got some great games to look forward to and they are being played in a really short space of time, which is good as it’s the start of pre-season and it’ll definitely help with fitness,” he said. “These games will give us a chance to see where we are at in terms of the under-20 World Cup qualifiers, which we’ve got coming up later this year. I was involved with the last group of Young Socceroos but this is the new crop and we’re just starting out.”
Davies is set to get his first taste of Young Socceroos action and, not surprisingly, the teenage right back is looking forward to testing himself against high-quality opposition in Spain. “I’ve been in previous national team camps but they have been more of an under-18s thing,” he said. “This is my first involvement with the Young Socceroos and I’m really excited about it ... I just can’t wait to get over there. I’m glad Riley’s been selected as well because it’s always nice to have another Perth boy there to chat to.”
The Australia squad for the COTIF Under-19 International Tournament in Spain is Awer Mabil, Jacob Mellin (Adelaide United), Christopher Ikonomidis (Lazio), Ben Garuccio, Stefan Mauk (Melbourne Heart), Christopher Cristaldo, Dylan Murnane, Luke Radonich (Melbourne Victory), Nicholas Cowburn, Mitchell Oxborrow (Newcastle Jets), Matthew Davies, Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory), Peter Skapetis (Queens Park Rangers), Peter Makrillos (Stoke City), Anthony Bouzanis, Hagi Gligor, Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC), Rafa Jimenez (Villarreal), James Baldacchino and Nicholas Olsen (Western Sydney Wanderers).
CLUB, THEN COUNTRY FOR MIDDLESBROUGH’S WILLIAMS
Rhys Williams will use the painful memory of missing out on World Cup selection three years ago to propel him back to the top of his game. The Middlesbrough captain was forced out of Australia’s squad for South Africa by injury at the eleventh hour and he knows if he can perform consistently for his club then international recognition will take care of itself. “My priority lies with Middlesbrough. That’s the most important thing – I owe it to them and I owe it to my team-mates to come back and give more to the cause than I did last year,” he said. “Of course I’d love to play in it (the World Cup) but first things first – I need to perform and get back into the Middlesbrough team.”
Williams has plenty to prove this season after injury and a loss of confidence led to him being dropped earlier this year by both club and country. “I can honestly say last year was a year to forget for me,” he admits. “First up the injury was a bad one and I think I came back too soon. It affected me and as one of the players who should have had higher standards, it affected the team as well. Being dropped by Australia was really just the tip of it, but the good thing for me is that it can’t get much worse. I have to use that as a stepping stone for a much better year now. I’ve got to work harder and be better.”
Middlesbrough have steadily slipped down the English Championship since being relegation from the Premier League four years ago and Williams freely admits he is concerned the club are at risk of becoming second-tier staples. “Everyone says that the longer you are out of the Premier League the harder it becomes, and we’ve made it harder for ourselves over the last few seasons,” he says. “I think this is still a Premier League football club in everything but status… we have to go out there and actually prove it. We don’t want to be known as a mid-table Championship club, but we have to be honest and admit that’s what people outside the football club probably view us as now. We have to prove them wrong.”
GARCIA IN LIMBO AFTER MELBOURNE CALL OFF TALKS
Richard Garcia says he has been left in the lurch by Melbourne Heart’s decision to break off contract talks. Garcia enjoyed a strong season on the right side of the Melbourne attack last season, winning the clubs’ Player of the Season award, after calling time on a 15-year career in England. The 31-year old had been in negotiations over a new contract with Melbourne when he was left stunned by the club’s decision to halt those talks. “At the moment I’m not too sure what’s going to happen with me,” Garcia told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “Negotiations are on hold so I’m looking for a club, really.”
The timing of Melbourne’s U-turn came totally out of left-field for Garcia, who played 24 games and scored six goals for the club last season. “We were in the middle of negotiations, which were going well, and then I think they had to reschedule their budget and I believe they also tried to sign another player in another position,” he said. “I cannot even tell you where I would like to play next. I’ve got to put some feelers out and we shall see if any club is prepared to take me on. Asia is out of the question because the window is closed, for example.”
Garcia, who had been linked with Perth Glory as well as a move to China, said he was only ever interested in re-signing with Melbourne, although recent developments had forced him to look elsewhere. “I thought the deal would have been wrapped up by now and I would have already been back in training,” Garcia said. “From my point of view it was always a case of when I was returning to Melbourne not if. But the about-turn became a spanner in the works and it all happened because apparently they had an opportunity to sign another player … and now I’m back to square one.”
GIRON-MARULANDA INSPIRES BAYSWATER
A couple of first half Gustavo Giron-Marulanda goals has guided Bayswater City to a 2-0 victory over Cockburn City on a sunny afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve. Giron-Marulanda’s double lifts Bayswater back to the top of the Premier Division, courtesy of a superior goal difference over Stirling Lions, with the Colombian striker reasserting his teams desire for a clean sweep of this year’s silverware. “We’ve been training very hard we know that we have to keep the pressure on Stirling, so we fought hard and we got the result,” Giron-Marulanda told footballwest.com.au. “We definitely are here to achieve it all … we’re looking forward to trying to win everything.”
Bayswater hit the ground running and were unfortunate not to open up a sizeable lead inside the opening few minutes. Goalkeeper Nick Feely managed to get enough of a touch on the ball to thwart Giron-Marulanda in a one-on-one. And with 5 minutes gone Adrian Caceras beat three opponents before teeing-up Giron-Marulanda but his shot form 7-metres passed wide. Giron-Marulanda was not to be denied and on 14 minute opened his account by gliding past two defenders to open up space and fire into the bottom corner from 17-metres. Twenty minutes later Bayswater’s number nine slotted into an empty met after beating the offside trap and rounding Feely.
Cockburn saw more of the ball in the second half but had difficulty picking holes in a defensive line marshalled by captain John Kearney. Matt Salmon’s deflected shot from distance brought a smart response from ‘keeper Devon Gibson, and Ian McMurray’s header looked destined for the net before Trent Kay intervened. There were chances also for Bayswater to put the result beyond doubt, however, they better shots on goal were met by Feely’s gloves. Jack Eades looked set to grab the visitors a late consolation but his shot was partially blocked and Spence saved comfortably.
MICEVSKI ON TARGET IN STIRLING WIN
A first half Daniel Micevski strike has kept Stirling Lions in contention for regular season honours by securing a 1-0 win away at Armadale. Stirling assistance coach Gary Williams was pleased with the outcome given that it had been three weeks since his players’ last competitive outings. “It is difficult, we’ve had three weeks off and you do lose a bit of match sharpness,” commented Williams, whose side sit on equal points with Bayswater City at the top of the table. “We know that if we win the last five games then we’re champions (but) we’ve got some difficult games coming up.”
The games’ only goal arrived after 33 minutes when Moses Kalau’s free-kick curling into the upright with the rebound falling to the feet of Micevski, who duly tapped in. Armadale were unlucky not to be level at the break, Sam Loveless rattling the crossbar with a fine long-range strike and Jason Pottier lifting high when in a good position inside the 18-yard box. Stirling put their foot down in the second half, dominating both possession and territory. A scorching Sam Fuzik drive came back off the post to Kalau, whose first-time volley was acrobatically saved by goalkeeper Ellis Hawksworth.
Armadale assistant coach Kevin Brophy admitted his frustration at his teams’ inability to turn chacnes into goals. “We’re missing a goal scorer. We’ve lost Jack Salter (and) if he’d still been here we’d have won today,” said Brophy, who also lamented Armadale’s defending. “We didn’t take our chances in the first half and conceded a scrappy goal. It is tough to lose to that goal. The one thing that we’re missing in our performance is that we’re not picking up the pieces at the other end. When the same thing happens to us we’re not reacting and it’s not going in.”
BUNBURY DELIVER KNOCK-OUT BLOW TO SORRENTO’S TITLE HOPES (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Sorrento coach Paul Price conceded his side’s challenge for regular season honours is effectively over after being held to a 1-1 draw by Bunbury Forum Force on a sunny afternoon Percy Doyle Reserve. Liam Hutchinson had the visitors ahead at the break but parity was restored soon after the interval by Anthony Skorich, whose team remains third but six points behind the leaders. “With four games left, it’s really two points lost rather than one point gained,” Price said. “You’d think now it was really between Bayswater and Stirling for the minor premiership ... but we still have to play both of them and we won’t give up.”
The first shot in anger came after only a few minutes with Skorich’s attempt from 17-metres fizzling just wide, however, that was about as good as it got in the opening half for Sorrento. Right-winger Jayden Prosser was impressive throughout for Bunbury and on 11 minutes his cutback was met by Ryan Francis who lifted over the crossbar. Howson fired the away side into a 24th minute lead with a clinical finish from the penalty spot after his run inside the 18-yard box was illegally halted by Wes Padley. Bunbury came within inches of extending their advantage before the break when Jon Brooks’ curling cross from the left evaded everybody except Steve McDonald, who made the clearance.
A half-time pep talk from Price reaped dividends for Sorrento five minutes after the restart, Skorich tapping in the rebound from Gavin Knight’s shot which came back off the upright. McDonald almost put the hosts ahead just before the hour but his header bounced back into play off the post. Sorrento maintained the pressure with a series of attacking raids. Knight and Padley put shots past the target while Ryan Pearson’s fierce strike was turned away by Ryan Montgomery in the Bunbury goal. Francis almost stole victory deep in stoppage time with a superb long-range effort that was stunningly headed off the line by Pearson.
SHARLAND GROUNDS PERTH
Inglewood United striker Greg Sharland demonstrated his dead ball talents by netting the solitary goal in this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat of Perth SC at Intiga Stadium. A foul on David Perich after only 2 minutes was all the invitation Sharland needed to swing the free-kick past goalkeeper Francis Soale from 22-metres. Perth immediately set about finding an equaliser and Josh Pereira would have had one if not for a superb fingertip save by Luke Martino. But it was the home team that held sway across the first 45 minutes with Perich denied a goal by an offside call, while Soale touched over a long-range thunderbolt from Sharland.
The second half had barely started when Soale’s goal again came under threat, Colli spearing a cross into the 18-yard box to Sharland whose header was off-target. A booming Soale goalkick sent play straight to the other end where Robbie Sciascia cut in from the left but placed wide with only Martino to beat. Another swift attack, this one stemming from the right, orchestrated by Frank Furfaro ended with a neat David Onoforo flick which came back off the upright. Inglewood fashioned a few more openings of their own but had to be content with the single-goal margin when the final whistle sounded.
NO GOALS AT BALCATTA BUT CONTERA HAPPY
A youthful Balcatta outfit acquitted themselves well by holding ECU Joondalup to an entertaining if scoreless draw at Grindleford Reserve. With Balcatta out of finals race, rookie coach Saul Contera took the opportunity to bring several youngsters into the squad and was pleased with the results. “We’re not in contention for top five so now all we’re looking at is putting in good performances and letting some of the younger lads gain some experience” said Contera. “We’ve had eight first team players missing (today), two debuts and five reserve players, so I have to be pleased with a point.”
Balcatta enjoyed the better of first half chances with Kris Gate and Ashley Rosindale featuring more often than not. Gate twice put Rosindale in behind the defence but on both occasions was thwarted by goalkeeper Andy Banks. The majority of Joondalup’s attacks stemmed from the left where Andy Higgins and Tommy Amphlett were linking to terrific effect, however, Tanner Selyer was unable to apply the finish the visitors desired. At the opposite Patrick Sara teed-up Rosindale whose shot flashed over Banks only to crashed into the crossbar.
Tensions remained on edge throughout the second half with both teams going for the win. Matt Brooks should have done better than head wide of an open goal from 5-metre after being found by Gate’s in-swinging a corner. Amphlett fashioned a great opening at the other end but scooped the shot high, and a spectacular overhead by substitute Tommy Jones flashed just past the junction of crossbar and post. It looked as though Gate had found a way through in the final minute but his low drive on the end of a mazy run cannoned back off the upright.
TWO MORE FOR KOVADIO
Floreat Athena kept themselves in the mix for a top five finish by despatching the National Training Centre 3-1 at Litis Stadium. Benny Kovadio helped himself to a brace with Callum Fransz also on target in the first half to see off the development squad, whose goal came from the boot of Nick Ambrogio. The NTC were on the back foot from the outset so it came as no surprise when they fell behind to Kovadio, who lashed low into the bottom corner on the turn after taking a pass from captain Mark Pritchard. Just a few minutes later Pritchard whipped in a corner which Bobby Wilson knocked down for Fransz to tap in goal number two at close-range.
It looked as though Floreat would tally up a cricket score when their third goal went in, Ludovic Boi stealing the ball from a defender and drawing goalkeeper Jordan Franken off his line before unselfishly squaring for Kovadio to tap into an empty net. However, the hosts then eased off and just before the break the NTC pulled a goal back with Ambrogio lobbing Jordan Barbas after motoring onto Sahr Musa’s ball over the top. The pace dropped for the second half and, unsurprisingly, so too did genuine openings on goal. Borbor Sam Bindi had the NTC’s best chance to further cut the deficit, while Ben Steele failed to extend Floreat’s tally when played through one-on-one with the ‘keeper.
CANNING STRENGTHEN CLAIM TO DIVISION ONE TITLE
Canning City surged four points clear at the top of Division One after coming from behind to claim a 4-1 triumph over Swan United at Burrendah Reserve. Luke Colli grabbed the first goal of the afternoon but Michael Van Dongen sent the sides into the break on level terms before Canning pulled away in the second half with Josh Findlater, Lawrence Cheyne and Daniel Trevisiol on-target. Swan enjoyed the better of an open first half and deservedly went ahead through Colli, who threaded in from a narrow angle after being played through by Trent Wood. Mark Miraudo then came within inches of doubling their lead with a deflected shot which crashed into the post.
It took until late in the half for Canning to begin to spark and just before the break Michael Van Dongen lashed in the equaliser after meeting Sam Carello’s corner to the far post. That momentum was carried over into the second period with Findlater rising highest to head in from a Michael Van Dongen. Next it was Findlater’s turn to provide, cutting the ball through the 18-yard box for Cheyne to tuck in from 4-metres. A fine display of athleticism by Trevisoil put the icing on Canning’s cake, the midfielder winning successive headers and out-muscled two defenders before sending the ball past goalkeeper Mat Battigelli at close-range.
PHELAN AND PLOWMAN FINISH LEVEL WITH THREE APIECE
A spirited second half revival has seen UWA-Nedlands overturn a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 with Division One title contenders Dianella White Eagles at McGilvray Oval. A frantic start had Robbie Phelan put Dianella one-nil up with only a few minutes gone, the striker punishing in an error by the home side in defending Bojan Radinovic’s long ball. This set the stage for the visitors to dominate the first half with Andreas Theodosiades the pivotal figure in midfield. Phelan doubled their advantage by heading in an Igor Novakovic cross. And half-time was not long away when Ross Douglas’ low centre was slammed in by Phelan for his hat-trick.
UWA returned for the second period determined to make their mark on the game. Their high intensity approach paid off just after the hour when substitute James Plowman sent the ball into the net following a corner. Plowman then brought the game back to a single goal difference by putting away his second just eight minutes later. Dianella responded by picking up the pace and although they enjoyed the greater share of possession clear-cut chances on goal were limited by a hard working defence. With ten minutes to go Plowman make it three-all with a stunning shot on the run from 27-metres. Opportunities came and went in a tense closing spell but at the end of 90 minutes each side had to be content with a point.
FIVE-STAR DISPLAY FROM SHAMROCK
Shamrock Rovers stretched their unbeaten run to eleven-games with this afternoon’s 5-0 thrashing of bottom-of-the-table Gosnells City at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Mike Lawson hit the back of the net twice along with Alan O’Mahoney, Ciaran Byrne and Will Pender to keep Shamrock in third place, six points behind leaders Canning City but with a game in hand. The hosts were in control from the outset but had to wait until the 26th minute to open their account, Lawson arrowing in from a tight angle after clever build-up play between Byrne, Charlie Kenna and Paul Concannon. Half-time was only minutes away when O’Mahoney rose strongly to head in a precision corner to the far post by Concannon.
Gosnells’ best period came after the break, however, Josh Shepherd remained untroubled in the home goal. The momentum eventually swung back in favour of Shamrock and on 70 minutes Byrne put the result beyond doubt with an excellent individual goal, the striker brilliantly turning his marker and curling in from the edge of the 18-yard box. The difference only really blew out in the closing stages when Shamrock pilled on two goals in six minutes. Pender made it four-nil by tapping in at the back post after Byrne helped on Rory Kiely’s cross from the left. And in the second to last minute of regulation time Byrne was again the provider for Lawson’s second of the afternoon.
WANNEROO EASE THEIR WAY BACK IN
Wanneroo City honoured their long-awaited return to league football by dumping Rockingham City 4-2 in warm conditions at Kingsway Reserve. Goals from Brad McDonald, Stuart Montgomery, Guy McDonald and substitute Kevin White ensured Wanneroo took full points from their first game in four-weeks. Rockingham were under all the early pressure but would have taken the lead had Thabiso Ncube not finished weakly after getting go the end of a pass clipped over the defence. Almost immediately Wanneroo returned to the attack where Brad McDonald’s looping cross evaded goalkeeper Phil Herschell and went in via the far post.
The hosts’ Guy McDonald, Chris Pugh and Scott Bushby were dictating the flow of play out of midfield and a tidy piece of combination work by the trio released Montgomery, who duly tucked in goal number two. Rockingham responded with a period of sustained pressure. Having gained a succession of corner, Rafael Insaurralde pulled a goal back by converting from the penalty spot after Ross Edwards was ruled to have handled a shot by Recce Frank. However, Wanneroo’s two-goal buffer was quickly restored by Guy McDonald, who volleyed in after Lee Hayward’s deflected clearance fell into his path.
Rockingham returned for the second half firing on all cylinders. Efforts from distance by Hayward and Franks drifted off-target while Ncube forced a smart response from Kevin Miller. Ncube got the goal his performance deserved by rising highest to head in from Ryan Kennedy’s delivery. Galvanised into action, Wanneroo hit back with a string of chances which were spurned by Rowdy Yates, Bushby and Montgomery. Rockingham’s hopes of continuing on with the job were snuffed out when Insaurralde was issued his second yellow card to raising an elbow to David Timmins. With ten minutes to go White turned his marker before striking into the bottom corner for his first goal for Wanneroo.
MARCELO GIVES MORLEY THE DOUBLE OVER NEIGHBOURS
Morley Windmills claimed neighbourhood bragging rights by defeating Ashfield 3-2 in an entertaining derby at Wotton Reserve. Bernard Marcelo netted twice with David Houston getting the remainder to secure Morley victory over Ashfield for the second time this year. The day started encouragingly enough for the away with team Jay Lang slotting in a knock down from Ryan Frisina after 14 minutes. But that lead lasted just five minutes before Marcelo tucked in the follow-up from a Houston shot blocked by the goalkeeper. Ian McKean and Graham Tough both went within inches of restoring Ashfield’s advantage by rattling the crossbar.
The game was turned just after the half hour when Tony Vinci played to the feet of Marcelo, whose precision shot from 22-metres curled into the top corner. A few minutes later Houston latched onto a loose ball and got his angles right to fire between goalkeeper and upright to double Morley’s lead. Ruben Tristao pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time with a tap-in on the end of a nice move between McKean and Ryan Frisina. The second half was very much one-way traffic with Ashfield well in control but held in check by a disciplined defensive unit in which ‘keeper Daniel Agudelo was calling the shots.
RICKS STARS AS KNIGHTS CRASH THROUGH MANDURAH
A stunning four-goal display by Jamie Ricks underpinned Western Knights 5-2 demolition of Mandurah City this afternoon at Hyundai Stadium. The early exchanges were dominated by the Knights but their failure to convert was punished after 28 minutes when Monty Grigo despatched a low shot into the net on the counterattack. The Knights resumed the attack and five minutes from the break Johny Mirco’s free-kick found the head of young Julian Teles, who nodded in the equaliser. A few minutes later Teles stung the gloves of David Keenan and in the scramble which ensued Ricks poked in the first of his haul from a metre.
The second half opened with the Knights chasing further goals, and it didn’t take long for them to arrive. A barnstorming run down the flank by Vinnie Wiktoria saw him lay the ball into the path of Ricks, whose finish was beyond the grasp of the ‘keeper. Although two goals behind, Mandurah were by no means beaten and after several near misses Craig Tone cut the deficit with a well-placed header. Ricks completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute by turning his marker and slamming into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. Five minutes later Luka Jukic expertly picked out Ricks who was allowed time to control and pick his spot in the back of the net.
MADDINGTON WIN BUT LEFT FEELING ROBBED
Contentious decisions robbed Division Two leader Maddington White City of a great winning margin than the 3-1 achieved this afternoon at home to Subiaco AFC. Joshua Tumoe scored twice with Yves Mwila rounding out the scoreline, however, the hosts had the ball in the net on two further occasions but each was disallowed for offside. The game started at a quick pace with Maddington posting their first goal just prior to the quarter hour through Tumoe. Subiaco spent much of the half on the defensive and shortly before the break Mwila stroked into an empty net after rounding the goalkeeper.
This same pattern carried over in the second half, however, some stubborn defending prevented Tumoe and Mwila from adding to their hosts tally. Subiaco were given a glimmer of hope with fifteen minutes to go when Robert Knoefel punished George Tchami’s slip by tucked past ‘keeper Peter Wile in a one-on-one. Almost immediately Mwila sent the ball into the net only to have his effort disallowed, and a few minutes later that same fate befell Sahra Konomanyi. The result was made safe with 86 minutes on the clock, Josam Muwowo finding the feet of an unmarked Tumoe whose finish was too good for the ‘keeper.
BOOTH KEEP JOONDALUP IN TITLE CONTENTION
Joondalup City struck twice in the first half to claim a 2-0 win over Melville City at Iluka Sports Complex. Rhys Booth struck a controversial opener before sealing victory and keeping the northern suburbs side in the mix for the Division Two title. Melville were up in arms when Booth’s first goal was allowed to stand after the referee booked Matt Divry for diving after he went down attempting to round goalkeeper Elliot Duncan. But there was no doubting the quality of the hosts second goal which Booth tapped in at close-range following a driving run down the right by Adam Proctor. Booth was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick five minutes later when his clipped shot from 25-metres hit the upright.
The momentum swung in the second half as Melville sought to claw their way back into the game. Aaron Bahadori came within inches of cutting the difference by meeting a well-flighted free-kick but his header drifted beyond the far post. Joondalup responded by tightening up their defences and, with Melville equally as determined not to concede, clear cut chances were a rarity. Mark Lucas came close to providing Melville a spark with a long-range strike which cannoned back off the crossbar. And close to the end home custodian Joe Smith was forced into a good save by Jack Mawdsley. Otherwise the home backline stood firm to every challenge to ensure they would be the ones celebrating at the final whistle.
BLAIR BRILLIANCE SETS UP KINGSWAY WIN
Fremantle United’s hopes of climbing to the top of Division Two suffered a major setback when beaten 3-1 away at Kingsway Olympic. The home side spent the majority of the opening half hour on the defensive and had it not been for goalkeeper Anthony Salpietro then Fremantle would have been a few goals the better. The game was turned by a superb solo run which took Alistair Blair half the length of the pitch and allowed Liam Hurley to tap Kingsway into the lead. Another piece of Blair magic doubled the difference just minutes after, the midfielder cutting past a couple of defenders and applying a stylish finish.
Cameron Hayes gained the port side a lifeline with the very last play of the first half by placing a long ball in the back of Salpietro’s net. There was little change to the overall pattern of the game after the break, Fremantle maintaining the lion’s share of the ball but unable to finish their chances. The frustration that created ended up getting the better of Ben West, who gained an early shower for a second yellow card. It was only now that Kingsway started to create chances of the own thanks to the central influence of with Lee Thomas. The sealer arrived with five minutes to go, Josh Rolls cutting in from the right and nutmegging his marker before smashing into the corner of the net.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All eyes will be on Frank Drago Reserve tomorrow for the second verses fourth showdown between Bayswater City and Cockburn City. With John Kearney and Todd Howarth available, the home side are close to returning to full-strength and ready for a battle. “There’s no denying Cockburn are a good team,” said captain Patrick Quinn, who intends leading Bayswater back to the top of the table. “We’ve had to deal all year with teams treating games against us as a Cup Final so we’re used to pressure. All we need to do is keep winning, we’re confident Stirling will slip-up.”
Perth SC winger Frank Furfaro is adamant his can end a three-game losing streak on home soil to Inglewood United. “There is no doubt it will be a difficult game but we have progressed of the last couple of weeks and believe a win is getting that much closer,” said Furfaro. “Everyone is staying positive and working hard, the team is really starting to bond together and work as a unit. We have more than enough talent to achieve our goal of winning against Inglewood on Saturday.” Perth midfielder Josh Periera has recovered from injury and is pushing to come back into the line-up.
The return of Michael Pugliese and Dean Evans has given the coaching staff at Premier Division leaders Stirling Lions’ a few selection dilemma’s leading into their game with Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Sorrento has home ground advantage against a Bunbury Forum Force side plotting four wins on the trot. Andy Higgins, Jon Higgins and Scott Blackmore come back in for ECU Joondalup’s visit to Balcatta, who are without Sean Troup (State duty) and Matt Italiano (injury). Litis Stadium has Floreat Athena verses the National Training Centre. All six Premier Division games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Morley Windmills will attempt to do the double over near-neighbours Ashfield when they meet at Wotton Reserve. “It’s always great to play in derby's, everyone seems to perform that little bit extra,” said home custodian Daniel Agudelo. “We have been performing really well in the past month but, unfortunately, our results don’t show that as we’ve been unlucky in the final third. If we can keep playing to the same intensity then it’ll only be a matter of time before results start going our way. We showed what we are capable of achieving when we sealed the three points in our earlier encounter at Ashfield.”
Division One pacesetter Canning City are likely to go with an unchanged line-up for their Burrendah Reserve meeting with Swan United. It looks like being a long afternoon for UWA-Nedlands who have home ground advantage over second-from-top Dianella White Eagles. With Scott Bushby and Garin Collins out, Wanneroo City will be put to the test at home by a Rockingham City side that regains the services of Oscar Thompson, Rob Crerar and Darren Lawler. Shamrock Rovers are tipped to take the points at home over Gosnells City, and Western Knights travel south to play Mandurah City. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
A good run of results has put Subiaco AFC in a positive frame of mind for their trip to Maddington White City, who sits atop Division Two. “We’ve played well in our last few fixtures, taking seven points from three games, and we’re confident that if we continue to play as we have then we’ll give ourselves every chance of getting the win,” said Subiaco goalkeeper Tom Barratt, who expects there to be little separating the sides at the end of 90 minutes. “We’ve played Maddington twice this season and both times have been close, tough games with both sides creating many chances.”
A win by second-placed Quinns away at Forrestfield United will keep the pressure on the leaders. Kingsway Olympic have good reason to fancy their chances of upsetting the visitors from Fremantle United who remains without a host of players, amongst them Luke Doyle (knee), Andrew Ambrogio (travel), Marc Sim (suspension) and Nathan Findlater (suspension). Will Kinsey and Ryan Russell are back in the mix for Melville City’s game in the far north against Joondalup City, whose absences include captain Danny Beattie and Adam Miller (suspended) and Jason Rubridge (State duty). All four Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
FLOREAT WILL QUALIFY FOR FINALS SAYS BOI
Midfielder Ludovic Boi is tipping an “interesting” finish to the 2013 Premier Division season, one which will see Floreat Athena sneak into the play-offs. With five games to go Stirling Lions and Bayswater City are all but assured of making the finals while it’s a safe bet Sorrento and Cockburn City also look likely to qualify. Boi, who helped Floreat to last seasons’ Grand Final, says the remaining play-off berth will go to Floreat, who are currently locked together on equal points with Inglewood United. “We plan to put ourselves in the top five,” said Boi. “But on their day any team can beat anyone so it should be an interesting five weeks.”
The fact Floreat are even in finals contention this year is something of a minor miracle. A poor start to the home and away series saw the inner city club pick up only three points from their first six games, leading some to speculate that the wheels had well and truly come off Floreat. But those critics have been proved wrong with Floreat scooping seven wins and a couple of draws in a nine-game burst to turn things around. “We didn’t have the best start to a season,” conceded Boi. “We dropped points where we shouldn’t have and had a horrible time with injuries. So for us to be sixth shows just how competitive the league is this year.”
Floreat’s fighting spirit was on display last weekend when they were edged out 2-1 by a star-studded Bayswater City side, that despite playing a third of the game with only nine men. “It was always going to be a hard game and the send-offs (of Cameron Yorke and David Heagney) didn’t help,” said Boi, whose team also lost Mark Walsh to injury early in proceedings. “I thought the boys did well. We had to be disciplined, sit back and defend as a team and, hopefully, get an equaliser on the counter attack but that wasn’t the case. We were all tired and down after the game but the coaching staff told us we should hold our heads high.”
A Floreat win on Saturday afternoon over the National Training Centre should be a forgone conclusion, however, Boi recognises the danger in underestimating the development squad. “The NTC won’t be easy ... they are talented young players that are well-drilled and organized, and they want to prove a point,” said the midfielder. “We know how they like to play and we will have to be very alert and not let them play the game at their pace. Saying that, we are in good form and I’m confident we will get the win. We need the three points this week and every week for the next five to make sure we secure our spot in the top five.”
SCHOOLBOYS SIGHTS SET ON TOP THREE: CAMPBELL
The State Schoolboys have made it their number one priority to end a four-year medal drought when they line up at next week’s School Sport Australia National Championships in Canberra. For the past couple of months the squad has been honing their skills under the watchful eyes of coach Alf Debono and manager Tony Campbell, who says the time has come for Western Australia to return to the medal placings. “We haven’t won a medal for four years and have never won the gold, so if we can get into the medals it will be a fantastic achievement,” Campbell said.
While a top three finish is the ultimate goal, Campbell says every one of the Schoolboys squad will return from Canberra better for playing at the championship. “We want the boys to experience what a top level tournament is about and teach them how to be professionals,” explained Campbell. “We really push the professional element of preparation, recovery, etc. The ability to relax, prepare, switch-off, get focused, keep morale up, etc it is a skill that has to be taught and if we can instil that in the squad then they will come back better players.”
Campbell feels the State team are positioned well for the tournament. “We’ve played a few friendlies with the first being against Ashfield, who really took us apart. In our final preparation game two months later we again played Ashfield and were a lot more competitive, playing some decent football,” said Campbell. “We have an excellent striker in Pearse McKee and there’s good depth to back him up. There’s some physicality at the back with four players 6-foot plus and who are all decent ball players, so we shouldn’t be intimidated there.”
The 2013 West Australian Schoolboys squad consists of Lyon Varney (Ashfield), Jackson Darnell, Sean Troup (Balcatta), Alexander Bridges, Jesse Lazzaro, Brian Lim (Cockburn City), MohdIrfan MohdShafii (Dianella White Eagles), David Stokoe (Floreat Athena), Gareth Crawley, Pearse McKee (ECU Joondalup), Ross Duigan, Jason Rubidge (Joondalup City), Daniel McGuckin (Quinns), Ryan Haslett (Rockingham City), Yannick Livingstone (Scotch College) and Samuel Riak (club unknown). The team officials are Alf Debono (coach), Tony Campbell (manager) and Peter Rickers (tour leader).
SUPERSPORT TOO STRONG FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have ended their pre-season tour of South Africa with a win after conceding late in each half to go down 2-0 to SuperSport United in Pretoria. A stunning finish by Sibusiso Khumalo just before half-time and Thabiso Nkoana’s clever late finish condemned Glory to a third straight defeat, however, assistant coach Gareth Naven took plenty of positives from the game. “It was a good game and we had some decent chances through Ryo Nagai and Harry O’Brien,” Naven said. “It was a little bit different from our first two games … SuperSport mixed it up and were very good in terms of both their long game and their short game. They were definitely the strongest of the teams we’ve played.”
The 2013/14 A-League season doesn’t start for another two months and Naven is happy with how things are going for Glory. “Pre-season games are all about discovering where your team is at, what they need to improve upon, what they need to keep doing and what they need to stop doing,” he explained. “As a coaching staff, we can see that our players are beginning to understand our structure and style of play and they are getting better at producing the performances that are required. We are building slowly, we’re only really into week four of our pre-season preparations and the players are taking on board everything that’s being asked of them.”
TAGGART TO SHOWCASE HIS SOCCEROO CREDENTIALS
Striker Adam Taggart is not happy that his Newcastle Jets goal tally has been overtaken by that for the Socceroos. A goal in the weekend loss to China took Taggart’s international haul to three in four outings, one more than what he has achieved in 19 appearances for Newcastle. That statistic does not sit well with the 20-year old, who recognises it’s time for him to step up to the mark for his club. “It’s a big season for me,” he told theherald.com.au. “You have to go back to the A-League and show everyone why you are a Socceroo … you have represented your country and there is a responsibility you have to carry in the A-League.”
Taggart was used predominantly off the bench last season but coach Gary Van Egmond is hopeful the former ECU Joondalup will be feature more regularly alongside one-time England international Emile Heskey when the new campaign kicks-off in October. “Taggs had a chequered start to the season last year with commitments to the Young Socceroos, injuries and a few personal issues,” the coach explained. “He has gotten over all that and is very, very focused for this year. It is a year where he needs to play regular football and really cement himself as a player who has made the leap from juniors to seniors.”
In all likelihood Van Egmond will field a 3-4-3 formation this summer, bringing Taggart in from the wide role he occupied for the majority of 2012/13. “As soon as I heard about it I was excited,” Taggart said for the tactical switch. “It is a position I would be more suited too. With someone like Emile, and now we have Nathan Burns, they are great players. If there is a spot available to slip into that front three it would be fantastic and a massive opportunity to really perform. I am feeling pretty confident about this season, especially with the squad we have. For me personally, I want to establish myself in the A-League and state something.”
WILLIAMS ON THE VERGE OF OXFORD MOVE
Oxford United are close to finalising a loan deal for Fulham winger Ryan Williams. U’s manager Chris Wilder has been looking to add depth to the right flank and it seems 19-year old Williams, who started Saturday’s 1-0 friendly defeat of Coventry City, fits the bill. “The one thing I always thought we needed was a quick right winger, that’s something that hopefully we have sorted out,” Wilder said following the weekend game. Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior, played four games in the Championship for Portsmouth before switching to Fulham last year. He is yet to make a senior appearance for the Premier League side but last month represented Australia at the Under-20 World Cup.
BIRIGHITTI GRABS HIS CHANCE
A solid work-out on his senior international debut has brightened Mark Birighitti’s prospects of eventually becoming the Socceroos’ number one. The Newcastle Jets custodian made a series of fine saves for a young Australian line-up in their weekend loss to China at the East Asian Cup. “I was lucky enough to make my debut for Australia, it’s my first cap and it’s a dream come true,” said Birighitti, who played juniors at Perth SC. “I’ve dreamt of playing for my national team since I was a young kid. I was lucky enough to represent the Joeys, Under-20s, Olyroos, but to do it for the Socceroos is definitely a dream come true.”
It was a young Australian side which went down to China 4-3, a margin which would have been greater if not for 22-year old Birighitti. “Disappointing result, losing by one goal, but on an individual note I was happy with my performance. I made a few crucial saves, it could have been a lot more,” he commented. “We did a lot of video analysis on China during the week and we knew they were going to be tough to break down. They were a well-organised group. But full credit to the boys, to score three goals and make the score-line a bit more reasonable was a good effort by the whole team.”
Birighitti knows he’s got plenty of hard work ahead if he’s to force his way up the Socceroo’s pecking order. “It’s always nice to be in the mix and with my performance (against China) it’s definitely a good step,” he said. “Mark Schwarzer is a great goalkeeper (and) there’s a lot of good goalkeepers out there. Mat Ryan who just made his debut a Brugge, you’ve got Mitch Langerak at Dortmund and Eugene Galekovic who is also fantastic. I’ve just got to bide my time, keep performing well and when I do get the chance to represent my country I’ll make sure I grab it with both hands.”
KERR LIVING THE DREAM IN NEW YORK
Striker Samantha Kerr says playing alongside Abby Wambach, a true legend of the women’s game, is a dream come true. Kerr has been rubbing shoulders with Wambach, the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, for the past few months at Western New York Flash and the Fremantle-born teenager is making the most of the opportunity. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Kerr told beyond90.com.au. “Seeing Abby do what she has done and see how she lives only makes me want to work harder. If I could be half the player Abby is I would be happy.”
Kerr has been a W-League regular with Perth Glory Women and Sydney FC since the formation of Australia’s national league in 2008. The 19-year old, who represented Australia over 20 times, felt the time was right to cast her net further abroad earlier this year after helping Sydney to victory in last seasons’ Grand Final. “I love it over here in the States,” Kerr said. “It’s a really cool team to be involved in not only on the field, but off the field too. Good teammates are all that matters to me and I love my teammates here.”
The past eighteen months have been something of a rollercoaster ride for Kerr, who returned from a knee reconstruction to star for Sydney last summer. “I knew I had done the work to be fit enough and play I just didn’t know if I still had the skill level,” said Kerr. “I was just happy to play well and score a few goals, the whole Grand Final thing just topped it off and was a reward for all the work I had done in the past year. I had put a lot of time into my rehab and sacrificed a lot, so when it pays off it’s a huge relief.”
Western New York are currently placed fourth in the National Women’s Soccer League and very much on contention for the finals, which take place over the last two weeks of August. After that Kerr is a free agent and the youngster isn’t ruling out a return to her home town side for the sixth instalment of the W-League. “Perth did well (last season) and it was nice to see,” said Kerr, Glory Women’s joint top goal scorer in 2010/11. “I’m still not sure what I’m doing this year with the W-League, but I wouldn’t say it’s a definite no – maybe.”
DECISION TO POSTPONE BAFFLES SCALI
Swan United coach Damian Scali is still trying to fathom the reasoning behind yesterday’s decision to call off his teams’ home clash with Mandurah City. Match officials deemed the Swan Italian Club surface waterlogged and unsuitable for play around an hour before the Division One game was scheduled to commence, a decision which stunned Scali. “I cannot understand what logic went into making this decision,” the Swan coach said. “The pitch was not even worth discussing. There was a 1-metre square area that had a very small amount of surface water – the rest of the pitch was absolutely fine.”
Scali paid tribute to the Swan officials who worked tireless to kept the pitch in match conditions. “I am very upset for the people at the club who got there at 7.30am yesterday to get the ground ready,” added Scali. “Perhaps people need to take stuff like that into account rather than grandstanding by walking around for 35 minutes inspecting a few wet spots on the ground.” The game at Swan was one of four postponed on Saturday, the others being the Stirling Lions-Balcatta derby, Dianella White Eagles verses Wanneroo City and Maddington White City’s home fixture with Fremantle United.
TRAFFIC JAM BRINGS GLORY UNSTUCK
A strong second-half showing was not enough to prevent Perth Glory from going down 2-0 to University of Pretoria in the second game of their South Africa tour. With their pre-match preparations disrupted by a major traffic delay, Glory conceded a couple of early goals before going on to dominate much of the remainder of the contest. In fact University of Pretoria were indebted to their goalkeeper who produced a string of outstanding saves to maintain his side’s advantage. Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards were both foiled in one-on-one situations while triallist Harry O’Brien twice went close late in the second period.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards was generally satisfied with his teams’ efforts. “We were a little bit sluggish in the first half, possibly because we had a four hour bus trip to get the game and had to undertake a massive detour due to a 20-car pile-up on the freeway,” he explained. “As a consequence of that, the players were a bit lethargic (but) having recovered from that slow start, we were on top for long periods in the second half and just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net … (University of Pretoria) were very, very physical and definitely the most direct team we’ve played against for some time.”
EXPERIMENTAL SOCCEROOS DOWNED BY CHINA
Australia has ended a disappointing East Asian Cup campaign in last place after losing their final game 4-3 to China this evening. However, coach Holger Osieck will have few complaints after getting a good look at the next generation of Socceroos over the tournaments three games. “We came to this tournament with a developmental team (and) that was definitely the purpose to be here, to play against good Asian teams who are in full swing and in their season,” commented Osieck. “The first 20 minutes China surprised us because they played very flexible football in the midfield. But we managed to get our team together and from then on we played a really open game.”
China took a 5th minute lead when Sun Xiang cut the ball back for Yu Dabao to side-foot past debutant goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Australia responded on the half hour when Aaron Mooy unleashed a thunderbolt from 25-metres which gave Yang Zhi no chance. It took China just eleven second half minutes to regain control, Yu’s fierce shot parried by Birighitti who was helpless as Sun Ke tucked in the rebound at close-range. Substitute Yang Xu and Wu Lei weighed in with further goals to balloon out the difference. However, late finishes from Adam Taggart and Mitchell Duke brought some respectability to the final scoreline. Birighitti played a full game on debut with Taggart entering the action after 73 minutes.
BAYSWATER BACK ON TOP
A depleted Bayswater City reasserted their claim on the Premier Division crown with a 2-1 victory over Floreat Athena, who finished the game at Litis Stadium with only nine men. Chris Coyne’s side have travelled a bumpy road of late but finishes by Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Ross Cosgrove, both in the first half, propelled them back to the top of the Premier Division standings, level with Stirling Lions. “We’re missing a few very key bodies like John Kearney, Gustavo Catacarione and Todd Howarth, so I’m very proud of my boys and I’m happy with how we work,” Coyne told footballwest.com.au
It was evident early that this was not going to be Floreat’s day. An ankle injury forced Mark Walsh out of the action on the quarter hour, and a few minutes later defensive partner Cameron Yorke collected a straight red card for a miss-timed challenge on Adrian Caceres. That foul was further punished as Giron-Marulanda coolly converted the resultant penalty kick past young goalkeeper Jordan Barbas. Bayswater’s second goal arrived shortly before half-time, Steve Burton getting in behind the defence and cutting the ball back to Cosgrove who had the simple task of tapping into the net.
The difference was halved eleven minutes into the second period when Ludovic Boi placed into an empty net from distance after Devon Spence’s attempt to clear under pressure from Benny Kouakou deflected to the Floreat playmaker. However, the hosts comeback plans were shattered two minutes later when referee David Costello flashed a straight red card to David Heagney for lashing out at Jamie Coyne. Bayswater twice came within inches of stretching their advantage in the final minutes, Brian Farrell crashing a stinging drive into the crossbar before substitute Paul McCarthy also rattled the woodwork at close-range.
Coyne feels his players efforts today, as well as those in the State Cup semi-final defeat of Inglewood United seven days ago, indicate Bayswater are back to their best. “We were in (pre-season training for) seven weeks before everyone else so we always knew we were eventually going to get fatigue kicking in,” he said. “We were always going to have a bit of a blip and we were very close in the games we lost. It was only really Sorrento who took points off us that we didn’t deserve, so after last week and the performance today, I am pleased.”
A series of heavy downpours over recent days led to the postponement of this afternoon’s Stirling Lions-Balcatta derby. In excess of 30mm of rain was dumped on the Perth metropolitan area in the 48 hours leading into the game, leaving the Macedonia Park surface flooded and unsuitable for play. “A lot of the pitch nearest to the stand was under water,” explained Gary Williams, assistant coach of Stirling. “The under-18s and reserves games were called off and around 1 o’clock the decision was made to also call off the first team game, the weather was unpredictable.”
SORRENTO EDGE OUT INGLEWOOD (by Al Martin, Football West)
Coach Paul Price’s game plan paid off as a youthful Sorrento line-up claimed a 2-1 win over Inglewood United this afternoon at Intiga Stadium. Goals from Anthony Skorich and Todd Harnwell put the visitors in the driving seat but they were forced to fight to the end after Greg Sharland pulled one back in the second half. “We looked to force them to play narrow because we know about the dangers of their wide men and it has made life easier for us today,” Price said. “The pace of Alex Caniglia can be a real handful but our stand-in right back Brodie Martin, who usually plays midfield, has been terrific in keeping him quiet.”
It took Sorrento only 18 minutes to open their account through Skorich, who profited from a lapse in concentration to slot past stranded goalkeeper Luke Martino in a three-on-one situation. Another mix-up in the Inglewood backline was punished on the hour with Harnwell threading into the net after being found unmarked by Gavin Knight’s cross to the far post. Sharland brought the hosts back into the game three minutes later by bending a dead ball around the defensive wall and into the bottom corner. Caniglia and David Perich worked tirelessly as Inglewood set about salvaging a point from their afternoon, however, their better advances were fended off by a resilient Sorrento backline.
Inglewood coach Bobby Despotovski acknowledged post-game the difficulty his side faced in adapting to an opponent which successfully nullified their usual style of play. “We didn’t have enough chances to use the wings and our attacking play has suffered for it,” he said. “But at the same token we only have ourselves to blame for defensive errors, which allowed them to win. I have been away the past week so maybe we were trying things out that worked in training but haven’t been effective today. My job now is to look at the system and tactics then try and rectify these issues in the coming week.”
FINALS FACTOR IN COCKBURN’S PLANS
Cockburn City maintained a steady course towards the end of season play-offs following this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat of Perth SC at Dalmatinac Park. An Aidan Da Luz goal after just 12 minutes was enough to see the Cockerels picked up all three points for the fifth successive game. “Our main aim is to get to the finals and get as far up the league as we can,” said Cockburn coach Marc Anthony of his teams goals for the season. “We have still got Bayswater City ahead of us, and we have pressure from Floreat Athena and Inglewood United below us, so we just have to keep winning.”
The opening ten minutes belonged to Perth with Frank Furfato’s pace causing no end of problems for the home backline. Nick Feely was in no mood to have his goal breached, battering away shots from Liam Boland and Clarke Keltie as the pressure mounted. Cockburn eventually found their rhythm and on 12 minutes Devon Gibson’s throw-in found Nick Carroll whose clipped ball forward was expertly controlled by Da Luz before dinking into the net over an advancing Francis Soale. Going a goal up head a settling effect on the home side who went on to dominate possession and dictate the tempo thanks largely to Paul Lloyd and Matt Salmon.
The game threatened to boil over eight minutes into the second half following a tussle between Boland and Euan Grant, the ensuing melee keeping tensions on simmer for the rest of the afternoon. And although Cockburn continued to control the game they were unable to increase their tally on the scoreboard. Salmon crashed into the crossbar after being teed-up by Lloyd, whose later shot was well saved by Soale having been slipped through by Ian McMurray. Perth, too, had their chances but neither Luka Njegich nor Antonio Naglieri was able to capitalise. The final whistle to near when a full-stretch Soale tipped over Da Luz’s late long-range drive.
PROSSER MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW FOR BUNBURY (with Lincoln Bertelli, Football West)
Bunbury Forum Force continued their last season revival with a third successive win, this 1-0 over Armadale at Payne Park. Jayden Prosser’s goal midway through the first half was all it took to earn victory for Bunbury, who leapfrog over both Balcatta and Armadale to move into eighth spot. “It’s a nice little roll that we’re on now,” said Bunbury assistant coach John Szeliga. “The game was played on our terms, we had a lot of chances early and we were disappointed not to have walked away with four or five goals. The guys played really consistent football and kept a good structure.”
A subdued start to proceedings was ended after 20 minutes when an unmarked Prosser side-footed in from all of a metre to punish some very poor defending to John Brooks’ centre from the left. Steve Howson was unfortunate not to double Bunbury’s lead ten minutes later after dancing his way around a couple of defenders. Armadale came agonisingly close to equalising just after the half hour with Billy Quinncroft’s header cannoned off the post. But for the better part it was the Reds who were under pressure. Goalkeeper Ellis Hawksworth came out trumps in a one-on-one with Jon Brooks, while shortly before the interval Howson headed against the crossbar as the away side rode their luck.
Tempers threatened to boil over after the break with Howson, Oliver McGee and Jackson Bealey all having their names taken by the referee for some no-nonsense challenges. A one-two between Ryan Francis and Kenny Taylor sent the latter clear but a perfectly time Mitch Castrilli tackle robbed the Bunbury dangerman of a shot at goal. Taylor then turned provider by driving down the left and centring to Matt Spurling, however, Nathan Costello did enough to prevent a shot before Quinncroft hoofed the ball to safety. Armadale mounted several late counterattacks and although there were some nervous moments for the home supporters, Ryan Montgomery remained unchallenged between the posts.
MCCULLOCH SPIES BRIGHTER DAY AHEAD
Rookie coach Dale McCulloch is determined for ECU Joondalup to build on today’s fighting 3-2 home defeat of the National Training Centre. Goals from Ryan Townsend, substitute Tanner Selyer and Tommy Amphlett snapped a ten-game winless streak for the northern suburbs side and gained McCulloch his first victory. “We’re hoping to get better and better (and) we’re also looking at giving more game time to the younger boys,” said McCulloch, who admitted his disappointment at allowing the NTC back into the game. “To go 2-1 up and give away a sloppy penalty is pretty disappointing but at the end of the day it’s three points, so I’ll take that.”
The opened exchanges went pretty much as planned for Joondalup, albeit without finding the back of the net. Dave Caine was through with only Jordan Franken to beat but the NTC goalkeeper struck out a leg to deny his opponent. Franken came up trumps again soon after with a terrific reflex save to keep out Tommy Jones’ shot at close-range. Against the run of play NTC captain Borbor Sambini cut in from the left and lashed into the far bottom corner of Andy Banks net for a surprise lead after 27 minutes. However, parity was soon restored by Townsend, who cleverly poked the ball over Franken after the visiting side failed to clear an Amphlett free-kick.
Selyer’s introduction early in the second period ensured Joondalup would continue to create openings. The hosts’ attacking approach was rewarded with a second goal just after the hour, Selyer punishing his markers slip by slotting calmly past the Franken. Like earlier the lead lasted only a few minutes, Jack Oldham’s foul on Sambindi prompting referee Hugh Best to point to the penalty spot from where Mohammed Beyan made it two-all. Joondalup snared the deciding goal with only ten minutes to spare, Selyer accelerating in behind the defence before cutting the ball back for Amphlett to thread into the net from 12-metres.
EASY WIN TAKES CANNING TO THE TOP
Daniel Neiderberger scored twice to lead Canning City to a comfortable 4-1 win over Rockingham City on a blustery afternoon at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Gerardo Soto and Michael Van Dongen were also on target for Canning who, with Dianella White Eagles’ game cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch, moved to the top of Division One. “We’re starting to find our rhythm at the right end of the season,” said winning coach Paul Van Dongen. “If I had one criticism it would be our finishing, we’re yet to really punish a team by taking more of our chances. We’ve got a few big games coming up and one of those would be the ideal time to really batter our opposition.”
The crowd was still settling into their seats when Neiderberger played a tidy one-two with Paul Van Dongen and calmly slotted past advancing goalkeeper Phil Herschell for a one-nil lead. Rockingham were lucky not to concede again. Michael Van Dongen steered wide after getting clear of the defence, and Niederberger was denied by Herschell before lifting another shot high following nice exchanges with Soto and Laurence Cheyne. So it was against the run of play that Rafael Insaurralde brought the sides level from the penalty spot following a foul on Thabiso Ncube. 90 seconds later and Canning were back in front, Michael Van Dongen delivering a superb cross which Soto tucked in from 5-metres.
Steve Grant prevented the home side from equalising early in the second half, the ’keeper tipping away Lee Hayward shot which deflected off Tom Gibbons. That was as good as it got in the second half for the hosts. Neiderberger managed to get enough of his boot on a back pass to deflect the ball past the ‘keeper for Canning’s third goal. A string of passes between Steve Kane and Paul Van Dongen culminated in the latter whipping the ball into the 18-yard box where Niederberger’s lay off was put away by Michael Van Dongen. Further openings came the way of Soto and Kane but with neither able to convert Canning had to settle for only a three-goal winning margin.
LUCKLESS KNIGHTS UNDONE BY BYRNE STUNNER
Ciaran Byrne struck deep in stoppage time to pinch Shamrock Rovers a 3-2 win from their encounter with Western Knights at Nash Field. Alan O’Mahoney and an own goal put Shamrock in a seemingly comfortable positions before the Knights came back into contention through finishes by Luka Jukic and substitute Jamie Ricks. Sandwiched between those was a penalty save by Josh Shepherd which, ultimately, provided the inspiration behind Byrne’s sensation long-range winner. Shamrock enjoyed the better of the first half but clear cut opportunities on goal were rare due to some resilience defending at both ends of the park.
It was only after the interval that the game really sparked into life. Vinnie Wiktora appeared to have given the Knights into the lead by heading in but it was disallowed for a push as Dean Thurston’s flighted in from the corner. O’Mahoney grabbed the go-ahead goal by tapping past a stranded goalkeeper after swooping on a John Hogan free-kick. The margin was doubled just after the hour when Knights captain David Annall looped a header over his own ‘keeper in attempting to defend at a booming goal kick by Shepherd. A nasty clash of heads led to O’Mahoney and Brendan Craig exiting the game with concussion.
The Knights pegged a goal back through Jukic, who had little difficulty hitting the target after receiving a cutback from Julian Teles on the right. Johny Mirco was presented a great chance to level the game but, after being felled inside the 18-yard box, his spot kick was pushed away by Shepherd. That miss was forgotten with ten minutes remaining, Steve Purton delivering an inviting cross from the left which Ricks controlled with his thigh before lashing past the ‘keeper to bring the sides level. With 96 minutes gone Byrne decided the outcome with a crisp strike into the bottom corner from 25-metres.
ONE EACH FOR GOSNELLS AND MORLEY
Attack may have been at the forefront of the minds of both Gosnells City and Morley Windmills but each had to be content with the single point gained from an entertaining game at Walter Padbury Reserve. Home goalkeeper Struan Herd was in the thick of the early action, coming quick off his line to thwart Joey Woodin and turning wide another shot from David Houston. Gosnells’ first opening came on 19 minutes when Kevin Beattie placed beyond the far post when faced by only Daniel Agudelo, who soon after saved from Darren Francis. It would be the hosts that went into the break with the lead, Chris Holland turned his man to slot in after a fine lead-up that involved Ben Howe and Ali Paredes.
Holland was unlucky not to have a second goal after the break, the striker shooting wide in a one-on-one before netting only to have the effort disallowed for offside. Morley eventually got back into gear and on 65 minutes Sean Morrell put away the equaliser by meeting Houston’s cross the far post. The action was end-to-end with both sides squandering their chances, Paredes heading at Agudelo and James McPhail thwarted by Hard. Houston wasted a golden opportunity to put Morley ahead by striking wide from the penalty spot after 84 minutes. The hosts looked the more likely to snatch a late winner but John Hunter shot straight into the arms of Agudelo, who close to the final whistle pushed over substitute Wade Farmer’s header.
MELVILLE PUSH QUINNS ALL THE WAY
Quinns jumped back into the winners circle by fending off cellar-dwellers Melville City 2-1 amidst heavy wind and rain at Gumblossom Park. Both teams struggled early to get to grips with the conditions with passes often going astray on an increasingly muddy pitch. The opening goal came when an attempt to clear from within the 18-yard box struck David Irwin and ricocheted past Melville custodian Elliot Duncan. The away team now stirred into life, Jack Mawdsley having a shot cleared off the line and Aaron Bahadori, heading against the crossbar. Drama erupted just before half-time when Melville gained a penalty for handball but Daniel McAinish kept out Bahadori’s spot kick, as well as the retake due to encroachment.
As the teams emerged for the second half the heavens opened up, making an already heavy surface even more so. Gareth Hamilton managed to get free of the Melville defence only to place wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. John McNeil showed his team mate how it’s done by turning over the ball and striding forward to shoot beyond Duncan. Like earlier Melville responded with a flurry of attacks during which Bahadori cut the deficit with a long-range finish into the bottom corner. The visitors pushed to equalise but Mawdsley denied by a superb last gasp tackle, Bryce Conway’s shot was deflected narrowly over and Stefan Cvijanovic’s effort from 16-metres sailed high.
KINGSWAY CAPITALISE AFTER JOONDALUP IMPLOSION
A minute of madness has come at a heavy price for Joondalup City, who went down 3-2 this afternoon away at Kingsway Olympic. Finishes by Alistair Blair and Sota Iwasaki plus an own goal gave all three points to Kingsway, however, it was the quick succession dismissals of visiting team mates Danny Beattie and Adam Miller which turned the game early in the second period. Joondalup’s day opened bright enough with their early dominance rewarded with the lead via Alex Connor after 25 minutes. The ledger was balanced just before the break by Blair’s penalty conversion awarded for handball on a Rolls’ cross.
The early stages of the second half were cagey with the teams seeing an equal share of the ball. Joondalup’s afternoon took a turn for the worse in the 54th minute when Beattie was sent off for lashing out at Wayne Culverwell, and moments later Miller followed his captain from the field by copping a red card for dissent. Kingsway went in front when another Rolls’ ball into the 18-yard box was turned in by a Joondalup defender, and that error was compounded when Iwasaki bagged the hosts a third goal. The game was close to an end when substitute Mark Thornton scored Joondalup a consolation from the spot.
SUBIACO CONTINUE TO CLIMB
A trio of second half goals earned Subiaco AFC a deserved 3-1 win over Forrestfield United this afternoon at Hartfield Park. Nathan Steel, Sud Nair and Joey Dixon finished into the net to reward a strong all round performance by the visitors. “We had all the play in the first half so to go in nil-all seemed a bit harsh, but turned it around and our persistence shone through,” said Subiaco coach Darren Yates, who team are now just seven points off top spot. “It’s no real surprise that our form has improved as we’ve been playing well all year without getting the luck you sometimes need.”
It took until the early part of the second half for Subiaco to get the goal they sought, Steel finishing at close-range after getting on the end of a fine John Molloy cross. Having entered the action at the break, Nair made his mark by getting free of his man and slotting goal number two through the legs of the goalkeeper. The result was made safe game when Robert Knofel found Dixon whose fierce strike from 18-metres flew into the bottom corner. Forrestfield’s late consolation came from a long-range strike which flashed over ‘keeper Tom Barratt.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Victory tomorrow at Intiga Stadium will go a long way towards booking a finals berth for either Inglewood United or Sorrento. Inglewood enter the weekend in fifth spot, five points behind third-placed Sorrento, and with only six games to it really is time for both teams to get show what they’re made of. “This week’s game is massive,” admits Inglewood defender Shaun Kilkelly. “If we get the win we catch-up to them and keep the pressure on. We are on a good run but we have not been happy with our overall performances. So if we can put 90 minutes together I think we can give the top five a bit of a shake-up.”
Sorrento custodian Curtis Aspden expects to be in the thick of the action tomorrow afternoon. “Inglewood have been on a good run in the league so we’re expecting a tough game, especially as it’s at their place,” he said. “Of late we’ve struggled to field the same side two games in a row with injuries, suspensions, work commitments and players going back to the UK, but that’s no excuse. We’re sitting in third place and a win will put a big buffer between us and Inglewood.” Amongst those missing for the Gulls on Saturday are defensive pair Steve McDonald and Ryan Pearson.
Also in the finals mix are Cockburn City who have home ground advantage over Perth SC. “We are playing well at the moment and are winning, but we realise that if we get complacent things can change quickly,” said Cockburn striker Ian McMurray. “After this there’s another five games and, with the way the league is this year, they will all be just as important.” Cockburn young gun Harry O’Brien misses the game due to being on tour in South Africa with Perth Glory, while Perth welcome Clark Keltie, Robbie Sciascia and Josh Wilkins back into their squad.
Top-of-the-table Stirling Lions welcome neighbouring Balcatta to Macedonia Park. New signing Kris Gate is likely to go straight into a Balcatta line-up which will be minus Julian Madaschi (suspension) and Matt Italiano (knee). Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Paul McCarthy are expected to return to the Bayswater City line-up but captain John Kearney (suspension) will miss their trip to Floreat Athena, where Mark Pritchard and Aryn Williams are pushing for first eleven berths. Tommy Amphlett, Tanner Selyer and Ryan Lowry come back in for ECU Joondalup’s home fixture with the National Training Centre.
Trent Hathaway is confident Bunbury Forum Force can extend their winning run when Armadale calls in at Payne Park. “It will be great to get three wins in a row. The lads are training hard and putting the effort in,” said the Bunbury coach. “We are playing with confidence. The lads know their roles and have been executing them on game day.” Jayden Prosser and Kenny Taylor are in contention for starting roles for the hosts, while youngsters Jack Bamber and Dennis Gaye Jr have been added to the Reds squad. All six Premier Division games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Motivation won’t be something Wanneroo City are lacking when they take on Division One leaders Dianella White Eagles tomorrow afternoon. Wanneroo have surged into third place on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run and victory at Dianella Reserve will very much put them in the for regular season honours. “We’re going to be right up there come seasons’ end,” stated Wanneroo’s Guy McDonald. “Dianella are a quality outfit with some technically gifted players, last time we met they gave us a proper footballing lesson … you don’t need much motivating to get you up for a massive match like this.”
Western Knights defender Vinnie Wiktora is tipping his team to get the better of Shamrock Rovers at Nash Field. “Shamrock have had a good run but it is very important for us to win this game, not only to put us up the ladder but also to take us closer to our ultimate goal of being number one,” commented the teenager. “Our team spirit is high and if we stick to our game plan and don’t lose sight of it we will get the win we are after.” New goalkeeper Sam Hutchinson is pushing to start for the Knights while Shamrock have Dave Murphy and Rory Kiely back from injury.
The experience offered by Rob Crerar and Marlon Ramirez will be invaluable to a young Rockingham City side for the Lark Hill Sportsplex clash with second from top Canning City. Ashfield are without Aaron Colli but regain the services of Ryan Frisina, Daryl Warren and Branimir Mikulic for the home outing with UWA-Nedlands. John Monterosso and Stuart Long missed Swan United’s State Cup game last week but both are expected to return when they host Mandurah City. Gosnells City are in a buoyant mood leading into their meeting with Morley Windmills at Walter Padbury Reserve. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Tomorrow looms as a major test of depth when Division Two leaders Maddington White City take on joint-second placed Fremantle United at Nicola Tesla Reserve. The home team are without over a dozen players for the occasion, amongst them captain Ty Fenwick (calf), Liam McLaughlin (suspension), Danny Clapham (work), Chris O’Donnell (wedding) and striker Paolo Pacitti, that latter having returned to Scotland. Resources will be similarly stretched in the Fremantle camp with their absences including top scorer Joe Middleton (knee), Sam Ambrogio (work), Nathan Findlater (suspension) and Andrew Morrow (overseas).
Quinns and Joondalup City, who are level on points with Fremantle, are both expected to return to winning ways and keep the pressure on Maddington. Quinns should snap a three-game winless run when they host bottom of the table Melville City, who have had Ashley Savage added to an ever-increasing absence list. Kingsway Olympic may have home ground advantage but Alistair Blair (flu) and Zeph Rolls (groin) in doubt for the outing with Joondalup. Hartfield Park is the venue for Forrestfield United verses Subiaco AFC. All four Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
GLORY BEATEN BUT EDWARDS HAPPY
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has taken plenty of positives out of his teams’ 1-0 loss to MP Black Aces in yesterday’s opening game of their South Africa tour. “It was a really good performance from the boys against a team that is just about to start its league season. We effectively played two different teams in each half so that everyone got at least 45 minutes,” explained Edwards. “There were a lot of learning moments this afternoon for everyone in the squad. We were expecting a good hit-out from a top-quality South African side and I was pleasantly surprised how we matched them in every department.”
Glory looked the brighter of the sides for much of the first half with Ryo Nagai and new Brazilian recruit Sidnei regularly troubling the Black Aces’ defence down the flanks. The Black Aces remained on the back foot during the opening part of the second period but eventually found their rhythm and bagged what proved to be the only goal of the contest on 69 minutes. Undaunted, Glory continued to create plenty of chances of their own and came agonisingly close to claiming a deserved share of the spoils with Chris Harold rattling the crossbar five minutes from the end.
VUJACIC REVEALS STIRLING "HAVEN'T PLAYED ANYWHERE NEAR OUR POTENTIAL"
Midfielder Miki Vujacic has sounded an ominous warning to the rest of the Premier Division field by revealing leaders Stirling Lions have not yet found top gear. Stirling are unbeaten in eleven games and recently moved to the top of the table by defeating previous leaders Bayswater City. Vujacic is understandably pleased with how things are going for his club but feels their best is still to come. “We’ve been playing really well in small portions of games, but haven’t played anywhere near our potential,” he explained. “It is a major positive as we have managed to get over the line week in week out without really playing the type of football we are capable of.”
The secret to Stirling’s success has been an appreciation that football is a game of 90 minutes, and that every one of those has a bearing on the final outcome. “You can’t dominate a match for 90 minutes, but if you can limit what your opposition does when they are on top then that goes a long way towards winning the game,” Vujacic reasoned. “The main reason we have done well this season is that we have capitalised when we have dominated matches and scored goals at crucial times. Then, at the other end of the pitch, we have managed to nullify the opposition when we have been on the back foot.”
Vujacic admits he is somewhat surprised with how well Stirling’s season has gone. “I thought we were a decent chance this year but, honestly, I didn’t think we’d be top of the ladder with six games to go,” said Vujacic, who relocated to Macedonia Park from Swan United last summer. “When I came down to pre-season training I looked at the squad as well as the players that were still to come in and knew we’d be in for a good year. Doug (Hesketh) and Gary (Williams) have managed the squad really well, giving us the right balance of youth and experience which has been a major factor in our current league position.”
While happy with what he has personally contributed so far this year, Vujacic says he has a lot more to offer. “I know I can do so much more. I worked really hard in the off-season to get myself in decent condition so that I could give football a good go this year,” he explained. “Doug and Gary put a lot of faith in me and have given me time to get back into the swing of things, especially after a few years of not really looking after myself physically. Hopefully I can repay that faith by providing a solid foundation for our younger players to really excel … and a Top Five champions medal wouldn’t go astray either!”
Vujacic has tasted a fair degree in his career, scoring the winning goal in Swan IC’s 2004 State Cup victory and a member of Floreat Athena’s undefeated Premier Division side of three years later. So when he says Stirling’s 2013 side is amongst the best his played with then you know it’s time to listen. “We had a phenomenal squad at Floreat in 2007 and, player for player, the Stirling squad at the moment is close to being on par,” Vujacic said. “The belief and determination we have, and the feeling that we can beat anyone is the same we had at Floreat. It not something that can be taught or instilled, it just happens.”
Stirling’s next assignment has them on home soil this Saturday to near-neighbours Balcatta, whose last win was almost two months ago. “They have only lost by the odd goal each week so their results don’t necessarily reflect the performances or the quality within the team,” Vujacic asserted. “We have some quality teams breathing down our neck and we can’t afford any slip-ups. Bayswater (second) and Sorrento (third) have tough games against Floreat and Inglewood United so if either drop points we need to capitalise. It’s not often you get the chance to finish top of the league and we don’t need any more motivation than that.”
WILE FIRED UP FOR FREMANTLE
For Maddington White City goalkeeper Peter Wile, Saturday afternoon cannot come around fast enough. A key figure in Maddington’s rise to the top of Division Two, Wile joined the eastern corridor club last summer from Fremantle United and it’s those former team mates that he comes face-to-face with this weekend. “I spent the last three seasons with Fremantle so I know they’re a tight knit group which is capable of playing some good football,” commented Wile. “That certainly fired me up when we played them last time, and I’m itching to get on the pitch for round two!”
Maddington have opened up a four-point buffer over joint second-placed Fremantle, Quinns and Joondalup City, and a weekend win may just give them the breathing space they’re after. “With so many teams within reach of first place, Saturday’s game is essentially a six-pointer,” commented Wile. “Not only do we want the full points for ourselves, we want to prevent those teams around us from adding to their own tally. Every week someone is looking to play spoiler and potentially take top spot for themselves but we’re fortunate enough to be in a position where we can control our own destiny from here on out.”
Wile kept a clean sheet when Maddington scored a 3-0 win at Fremantle earlier in the season but expects this weekend’s encounter to be a much closer affair. “Even though we shut them out they played us hard and I’m certain the Fremantle coaches won’t let any of the players forget that game and they’ll be looking for a little payback,” he said. “But I know we’re capable of getting the result against Fremantle. We’ve been quite stingy in terms of goals against but in recent weeks our goals for has been a bit lower than usual, so we’ll be looking to get that back on track.” Maddington takes on Fremantle from 3.00pm on Saturday at Nikola Tesla Reserve.
SOCCEROOS BEATEN BY JAPAN
Australia have been knocked out of the running for the East Asian Cup after succumbing 3-2 to Japan in an action-packed clash at Hwaseong Stadium. Manabu Saito and Yuya Osako had Japan in a seemingly comfortable position before a late flurry of goals saw substitutes Mitchell Duke and Tomi Juric level proceedings only for Osako to decide the game with is second of the evening. The loss, coupled with a scoreless draw against Korea Republic a few days prior, leaves Australia bottom of the pile in the four-nation tournament.
Japan created the better first half opportunities before being rewarded with the lead after 25 minutes when Saito sliced his way through the Socceroos defence. The margin was doubled ten minutes into the second half, Yohei Toyoda flicking the ball on for Osako to apply a cool finish. Juric pulled a goal back against the run of play after 76 minutes, and soon after Juric equalised with a sensational strike. But with eleven minutes to go Osako struck again to kill of Australia’s hopes of winning the tournament.
LOVELESS POSITIVE OF ARMADALE’S REVIVAL
Armadale will be rewarded for a positive outlook by getting a few more wins on the board before the Premier Division season is out. That is the honest assessment of defender Sam Loveless who says the Reds have put a mid-season slump behind them and are finally producing the style of football they always knew they were capable of. “In the last few weeks we’ve started to play the way we would like and our results are reflecting that,” commented Loveless. “Getting some results and a few points has been great for our confidence and a credit to Lee (Bamber) and Kevin (Brophy) for drilling us with a positive style of football.”
If evidence was needed of Armadale’s revival look no further than this month’s 3-0 win at Perth SC and a spirited draw with Inglewood United seven days later. “We shut down Perth’s style of play and dictated the tempo for long periods of the game,” stated Loveless. “Jack Salter had a good day in front of goal by scoring twice, but it was a team performance where everyone did their own jobs. With some better finishing against Inglewood we could have scored three or four, we rode our luck a bit in the first half but we were always in the game.”
The early signs were positive this year for Armadale, the eastern corridors club progressing to the last four of the Night Series and claiming eight points from their opening five regular season games. “We picked up a few wins and draw early in the season and then a few key players suffered long-term injuries, which made the middle of the season tough,” said Loveless of the Reds nine-game barren stretch in which they took just a solitary point. “As a team we have played well in patches throughout the season, we’re looking to do that with greater consistency in the next few weeks and continue with our positive style of football.”
This weekend Armadale make the long trip south to play Bunbury forum Force, a side which has also turned things around with back-to-back wins. “It’s not going to be an easy game at all, especially at their place,” said Loveless. “Bunbury are a good team and a lot of sides have struggled against them this year. We just need to go down there and do what we have done for the last few weeks and play our game and win our individual battles. All the boys know if we play like we have been then the end result will be a positive one.”
FLOREAT TO HOST CUP FINAL
Floreat Athena’s Litis Stadium has been chosen to host the 2013 State Cup Final between Bayswater City and Division One side Ashfield. Football West chief executive Peter Hugg said the Mount Hawthorn venue was awarded hosting duties after careful consideration of several options. “Dorrien Gardens, Frank Drago Reserve and Macedonia Park were the venues for last season’s big matches, which, unfortunately meant that Floreat Athena was unsuccessful in its submission,” Hugg said. “It seemed fair and sensible to take this season’s Cup final to Litis Stadium.” Bayswater and Ashfield will battle it out for Cup glory on the afternoon of Saturday, 24 August.
“I’LL BE FIT” DECLARES LIVERPOOL’S JONES
Goalkeeper Brad Jones is confident he’ll be fit to take part in what will be one of the biggest games of his career when Liverpool faces Melbourne Victory tomorrow night. An ankle injury forced Jones to miss Saturday’s friendly win over Indonesia but expects to be ready to face the two time A-League champions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. “It was more precautionary,” Jones said of his weekend absence. “I went over on my ankle while we were back at Melwood, so I’d been carrying it for a few days … we thought it was best to skip that one and have a few more days to rest. I’m hopeful I’ll be 100 per cent (to play in Melbourne).”
Jones, who played juniors for Sutherlands Park, Lynwood and Bayswater City, is relishing the prospect of representing Liverpool on home soil. “It’s really special to be part of the first Liverpool squad to play in Australia,” he said. “I’ve got family flying in from Perth for the game and it’s going to be a great experience … I’m not surprised it’s a sell-out. I knew all about Liverpool’s fan base here because growing up I was one of them myself. The other players and the staff will realise over the next few days just how big football is in Australia. Sometimes the perception is that it’s not our game. But everyone is into their football and the Premier League is the biggest league in the world.”
More than 90,000 supporters are expected to fill the MCG and Jones is confident it’ll be an occasion to remember for everyone involved. “It’s an unbelievable stadium. I don't think you get a real perspective of how big it is until you’re stood in the middle of the pitch,” he said. “I was lucky enough to play there for the Socceroos a few years ago before the World Cup and it’s massive. We drove past it today and the lads saw how big it is, but I don’t think you get a full perspective of it until you are stood out there in the middle. Packed out with Liverpool fans, it’s going to be some sight … It’s another experience the players will remember for a long time.”
‘EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES’ RENDER TRANSFER DEADLINE NULL AND VOID
Football West’s competitions manager Keith Wood has revealed the registration windows laid down by FIFA do not apply to the majority of players in the State League. Clubs have long been of the understanding that players could only move clubs until the expiration of the transfer deadline at the end of June. However, following a spate of player moves in the past week, has shown this not to be the case. “It’s important to know that those (FIFA) registration windows are only for professional players, and in the State League there are only five professional players,” explained Wood tonight on ‘Let’s Talk Football’. “Everybody else in the State League is an amateur and amateurs are not bound by registration windows.”
Even so, Football West’s 2013 ‘Competition Rules’ states a player – amateur or professional – that wishes to change clubs mid-season must do so before the 28 June deadline, in accordance with the National Registration Regulations. But it seems even that is not strictly correct, as many clubs has have been led to believe. “There is an ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause in our rules which allows clubs to apply for an exemption for any rule under exceptional circumstances,” said Wood. “One of the aims of this clause is to prevent players from being forced out of the game for any period of time, either by the interval decisions of a club or coach, or maybe personal acrimony between individuals.”
Wood admits that what constitutes ‘exceptional circumstances’ is a grey area. “Everybody has their own ideas on what constitutes exceptional circumstances, even when we discuss these things in-house we come to the table with different views,” Wood commented. “The phrase ‘exceptional circumstances’ is vague but it’s deliberately vague. It’s supposed to be something that isn’t all encompassing, it’s designed to meet situations that haven’t been predicted. Things happen all the time in football that are unexpected and this clause is specifically designed for that. But by its very nature, because it’s vague or its definition is broad, we can’t assign specific criteria to it. By assigning specific criteria to it we would limit the effectiveness of it.”
What has become clear is that a players’ de-registration, either by the club or the player himself, is reason enough for him to move clubs. “Adrian Caceres was de-registered by Floreat so had we not had an exceptional circumstances clause he would have faced the prospect of not playing again this season,” said Wood, referencing Caceres switch to Bayswater City late last week. “We make these decisions on a case-by-case basis and we consider them on their merits. They’re made after considerable consultation within a small group of senior people in Football West. If a club came to us with a strong case for exceptional circumstances we would consider that case on its merits, discuss it internally and make a decision accordingly.”
GRANT SEEKS GAME TIME WITH STOKE
Teenage defender Alex Grant is aiming to be a Premier League bolter this season after signing on with Stoke City. Grant is viewed as a potential challenger to the likes of the regular centre-back pair Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth but the 19-year old insists his first year in England’s top flight will be a steep learning curve. “This is a big opportunity for me,” Grant told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “I signed at the end of last and the new gaffer (Welsh international Mark Hughes) has said he wants to promote youth at the club, so who knows what might happen this season.”
Grant, who was part of Portsmouth’s academy squad before joining Stoke on a two-year deal, says he wouldn’t be where he is today without his junior club, ECU Joondalup. “Perth is where I really learned everything and it’s where I developed my game,” he said. “I was there with (Fulham winger) Ryan Williams and I know (Middlesbrough captain) Rhys (Williams) well. I am also mates with Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Shane Lowry (Millwall) and Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa) and there’s a big West Australian connection there … Joondalup is a great breeding ground and now we’re all trying to make out way over in England.”
Loan spells last season with non-league sides Eastleigh and Havant & Waterlooville brought Grant some much-needed experience but he is now focused on mixing it with the big boys. “My goal is to progress my game to Premier League level and of course there’s still a lot to learn but hopefully I can get there,” he said. “My game is all about getting the ball down and playing it out. I’m not really from the old-school of hit and hope … possibly going out on loan at the Championship or League One might do me the world of good but we will see what the club wants to do.”
GLORY OFF TO SOUTH AFRICA
Perth Glory has ramped up preparations for the coming summer by embarking on a two-week tour of South Africa. It’s the third successive year Glory have been to South Africa and coach Alistair Edwards said the tour, which has been funded by club owner Tony Sage’s mining connections, would help the club gain an advantage on its A-League rivals. “It’s something that the other A-League clubs are envious of,” Edwards said. “You see Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and all the top clubs going away in the pre-season and taking their brands to other countries. It’s great for us because we get some top-quality games.”
Glory are due to play friendlies against Mpumalanga Black Aces (25 July), University of Pretoria (28 July 28) and SuperSport United (31 July) while in South Africa. “SuperSport just beat Manchester City 2-0, so that’s the kind of quality opposition that we’ll be up against,” commented Edwards. “We’ve been back in training for three weeks and it’s been a fairly easy introduction so far. We’ve now got three top-quality games over in South Africa and with some of the senior players unavailable as they return from surgery, it’s a great opportunity for the young boys to gain more first-team experience before the A-League starts.”
Injured trio Shane Smeltz (hip), Travis Dodd (knee) and Isaka Cernak (hip) will miss the trip along with teenager Daniel De Silva, who has been told to take a month off after a busy period. “Danny has been told to go away for a month so he can become a kid,” Edwards explained. “He basically has to go and have fun and finish his school work. He’s got a lot of things to catch up with because he hasn’t had a break because he’s had back-to-back seasons for quite some time.” Glory commences the 2013/14 campaign with a home fixture against Adelaide United on 13 October.
PERKINS STARS AS ASHFIELD MAKE HISTORY
Ashfield will line-up in the State Cup Final for the first time after scoring a thrilling 3-2 win from this afternoon’s round of four meeting with Swan United at Ashfield Reserve. Second half goals by Graham Tough, Jamie Burns and Ruben Tristao books the Reds a historic Cup Final appearance but had it not been for goalkeeper John Perkins, whose made a trio of brilliant saves, then the outcome may well have been very different. “That’s what I get paid for (but) it’s not about me, it’s about the team and I thought we had to dig deep today,” Perkins said. “Swan gave us a hell of a game and it was tough out their today. We made hard work of it, but we’re all delighted to reach the Cup Final for the first time in our history.”
The first half was a fairly dour affair in which Ashfield dictated play but were restricted to shooting from distance. Burns fired wide on the quarter hour and shortly after Jay Lang flashed past the target. The next opening didn’t present until the 38th minute, Karl O’Reilly stealing possession from Mark Miraudo before crossing to the far post where Burns nodded wide. Swan’s first serious attack arrived five minutes later, Luke Colli’s centring ball finding Matthew Beyer whose effort from 18-metres flew over the top. Two minutes later Spiro Nenadic went down under the challenge of Jay Lang and, after careful consideration, referee Adam Fielding pointed to the penalty spot from where Nick Tatasciore put the black in whites in front.
Ashfield were quick out of the blocks upon the resumption. Hugo thrust out a boot to deflect away Tristao’s vicious low strike, a powerful Tough header flashed across the face of goal and Burns should have done better than fire straight at the ‘keeper. All this pressure was rewarded in the 65th minute, Matt Wardle playing a free-kick to the far post where Tough rose strongly to looped his header over Hugo and into his net. Perkins prevented Swan from going back in front with a stunning one-handed save which kept out Michael Tronchin’s curling 71st minute shot. Ashfield waited just two minutes before grabbing the lead, Tristao hitting a diagonal cross into the 18-yard box which Burns elegantly glanced just inside the upright.
Swan refused to concede the game. Trent Wood’s deep cross found substitute Niall Hughes whose bullet-like header was kept out of the top corner by Perkins at full-stretch. The momentum was now with the visitors and on 83 minutes they were back on level terms via a Tatasciore free-kick which deflected off Aaron Colli and wrong-footed Perkins. The deciding goal came just two minutes later, Stephen O’Mahony’s long throw was punched away by Hugo but only as far as Tristao who, from 15-metres, threaded low through a crowded goalmouth and into the bottom corner. Swan worked tirelessly to conjure a third goal in the closing stages but when referee Fielding whistled for the final time it signalled the beginning of a long night of celebration in the Ashfield camp.
Winning coach Matt Carutthers was understandably delighted with how his players responded following a poor first half. “We were not ourselves in the first half and we addressed that at half-time,” Carrutthers said. “We played well in the second half and got the rewards. There were a few close moments late in the game when Swan came at us but it was a typical Cup-tie and we’re delighted to reach the final. “The club will enjoy today and look forward to the game against Bayswater. We seem to play better against the bigger clubs. We have nothing to lose so we will be looking to continue our good run of form and bring the Cup home to Ashfield.”
BURTON HAT-TRICK ENDS INGLEWOOD’S CUP DREAM
Bayswater City put their foot down in the second half to thrash neighbouring Inglewood United 5-1 in this afternoon’s State Cup semi-final at Frank Drago Reserve. Steve Burton grabbed a hat-trick with new signing Adrian Caceres and Hassan Al Yasir also hitting the target – all in the second period – to negate Shaun Kilkelly’s opener midway through the first half. “We didn’t think we needed to change things too much (at half-time),” said Burton. “We just said keep doing what we’re doing, be a bit more positive and the goals would come.”
An attacking start almost produced Inglewood an opening minute lead, Daniel Thomson lifting just high after finding space on the edge of the 18-yard box. Bayswater fashioned an opening of their own after 12 minutes via Ross Cosgrave’s in-swinging corner which a defender hacked to safety off the goal line. The deadlock was eventually broken in the 25th minute, Kilkelly heading into Devon Spence’s net after being picked out by Matt Danskin’s free-kick to the back post. Caceres had a chance to level just before half-time but his powerful shot was superbly saved by Luke Martino.
Whatever Chris Coyne said to his troops at the break sunk straight in, Martino having his gloves stung by Patrick Quinn within minutes of the restart. It was left to Caceres to restore parity, the attacker allowed far too much space to half-volley into the top corner with 52 minutes on the clock. The tide had turned and six minutes later Burton side-footed in at close-range from a Brian Farrell cross. Inglewood would have been back on level terms had it not been for Spence who pulled off a fantastic double save to keep out Greg Sharland’s free-kick as well as the follow-up by substitute David Perich.
Any hopes Inglewood held of clawing their way back into the game were quickly snuffed out. In the 82nd minute newly introduced substitute Al Yasir was on hand to blast Damien Catalano’s centring ball in via the upright. Bayswater showed absolutely no mercy in ripping into their opponents as the final whistle neared. A defensive error by Kilkelly was punished as Burton smashed goal number four into Martino’s net as the margin began to really blow out. Burton was not yet done and in the 88th minute he completed his hat-trick by converting Al Yasir’s cut-back from the bye-line.
NEIDERBERGER SEES OF MANDURAH
Canning City recovered from conceding early to run out 2-1 winners from their game with Mandurah City at Hyundai Stadium. The hosts were first to have the ball in the back of the net through Gerard Burke, however, Daniel Neiderberger then turned the game with a match-winning double. The early possession with reasonably evenly shared with both sides in an attacking frame of mind. A nice move down the right gave Mandurah the upper hand, Burke finishing at close-range after Monty Grigo’s shot on the run was parried by Steve Grant. The away side wanted a quick reply but Gerardo Soto’s angled strike crashed into the crossbar. A bit of Niederberger magic brought the game level, the striker brilliantly bending into the top corner from 25-metres and wide the right.
The start of the second half was one-way traffic with Soto, Tom Gibbons and Neiderberger each having chances to put the visitors in front. That honour was left to Neiderberger, who sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot after being felled inside the 18-yard box by Danny Dyson. Grant prevented Mandurah from getting back in the game by pushing Matthews shot onto the post. Neiderberger was unable to get his angles right after rounding David Keenan at on the end of a slick move, and late on Paul Van Dongen’s low volley was pushed away by the ‘keeper. Mandurah’s miserable day at the office was compounded following the final whistle with Matt Stares issued a straight red card for dissent.
KNIGHTS GET OVER THE LINE THANKS TO CRAIG STUNNER
A spectacular Brendan Craig goal minutes from half-time was enough for Western Knights to take home maximum points from their visit to Morley Windmills. The Knights’ dominated proceedings from the outset but had to be content with a 1-0 win when the final whistle sounded, much to coach Robbie Dunn’s disappointment., “It was a frustrating game for me to watch as we peppered the Morley goal constantly to no avail with many crosses and shots going agonisingly wide of the mark,” said Dunn. “We did a lot of shooting (at training) on Thursday night but you wouldn’t think it after watching that game.”
The Knights didn’t wait too long before pressing into the final third for the first time. Veteran attacker Johny Mirco had several opportunities to reward the visitors’ all-attack approach while Dean Thurston was thwarted by Daniel Agudelo’s acrobatic save. Morley, too, had their chances with the best coming when David Houston pounced on an error by Alfie Brincat but the striker shot just wide of the target. Half-time was on the horizon when Craig took it upon himself by stepping around a trio of defenders before curling into the bottom corner, and well beyond the reach of Agudelo, with his non-preferred foot.
The second half followed much the same pattern. The ball had been in motion only a minute when Mirco found himself within sight of goal only to again be denied by Agudelo. The introduction of Jamie Ricks Luka Jukic added further impetus to the Knights quest for a second goal. Ricks twice shaved the outside of the post before lobbing a third shot into the net, only for the referee to disallow it for offside. The Knights continued to work for openings right up to the final whistle but a resilient backline led by Agudelo, Jean-Marc D’Avray and David McNally prevented further addition to the scoreline.
ERRORS PROVE COSTLY FOR UWA AND GOSNELLS
The points were shared at McGilvray Oval with UWA-Nedlands and Gosnells City playing out an entertaining, if error-strewn 2-2 draw. The home side gained an early advantage with Aaron Barnett swinging a free-kick into the top corner from 17-metres. Chris Holland punished a poor defensive clearance by lashing in from the top of the 18-yard box to level the game after 17 minutes. Another defensive lapse, this one to a Feisal Zaw cross, allowed Holland to turn in Gosnells second goal of the afternoon. Half-time was nearing when the sides were brought level for a third time, Jack Rycroft slotting in after Gosnells failed to deal with a cross.
The second half was played out in a similar vein, although without further goals. Gosnells custodian Struan Herd did well to prevent Kyle King’s header from entering the net, while at the opposite end Feisal broke clear of the defence only to be denied by Ranjeet Sekhon. Kevin Beattie also brought a good save from the UWA goalkeeper, and Barnett nodded high after getting on the end of a Marco Warmt-Murray cross. There was no let-up as the game edged towards a close. A Gosnells corner landed on the head of Allan Carroll who was unable to steer into the net before King grazed the wrong side of the upright.
SOCCEROOS HOLD OUT RAMPANT KOREA
Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was the Socceroos hero as Australia clung on for a 0-0 draw with Korea Republic in their opening game of the East Asian Cup in Seoul. Cheered on by 31,000 passionate fans, the hosts nation laid siege to Australia's goal for the majority of the game but could not find a way past the inspired Galekovic. Despite the Socceroos failure to create any meaningful attacks, coach Holger Osieck was quick to take positives out of his teams’ performance. “I knew I would be very difficult for us, as our fitness wasn't as good as it is normally,” said Osieck. “But I want to give full credit for the boys for character, effort and fighting spirit.”
Korea Republic came inches away from opening the scoring after 15 minute when Galekovic was forced into a low save to deny Yun Illok. In the space of a few minutes Galekovic kept out shots from Lee Seung-Ki and Yun, while just before the half hour Kim Young-Gwon was also left frustrated by the Socceroos custodian. All Australia could muster in response was a Ryan McGowan half-chance that went wide following Dario Vidosic’s free-kick. The tempo dropped after the break, largely as a result of the oppressive humidity, but the hosts continued to press. Jade North got enough of a boot on Lee’s effort to send the ball wide, and Yeom finally beat Galekovic only for his shot to hit the post.
STATE CUP SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW
The State Cup steps back into the spotlight tomorrow with the semi-finals of the prestigious knockout competition. Bayswater City’s hopes of lifting the Cup for the first time rests on them getting the better of neighbours Inglewood United in the all-Premier Division clash at Frank Drago Reserve. The battle for midfield ascendancy will be worth the price of admission alone with former A-League pair Jamie Coyne and Todd Howarth pitting their skills with Scottish import Daniel Thomson and playmaker James Sammut. The absence of captain John Kearney (suspended) is a massive blow for Bayswater but otherwise both Chris Coyne and Graham Normanton have full compliments to select from.
Swan United are the most recent of the semi-finalists to hoist the Cup, back in 2004, but when they step out at Ashfield it’ll be as underdogs. The teams met just over a month ago with the Reds running out 3-1 winners on that occasion and if they’re to qualify for their first ever Cup final then big efforts are required from Stephen O’Mahony, Ruben Tristao and Scottish import Jay Lang. With John Monterosso and Stuart Long Cup-tied, how much Luke Colli, Thomas Black and Niall Hughes can influence proceedings will determine the black and whites Cup fate. Both semi-finals kick-off tomorrow at 2.30pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Rockingham City plan to atone for a second half fade-out last week by bringing down Dianella White Eagles when the sides meet at Dianella Reserve tomorrow. “The boys are really disappointed by our second half performance in the local derby (against Mandurah City) and will be looking to make amends against a talented Dianella side,” said Rockingham defender Rob Crerar. “Our form over the last four to six weeks has improved from where it was earlier in the season and we know that if we stick to our game plan and maintain our discipline anything is possible.”
Mandurah City and Canning City have a raft of absences for their meeting at Hyundai Stadium. Craig Young, Matt Stares, Tom Straker, Craig Tone and Robbie Hamm are in doubt for the home side while Canning’s absences include Emlyn Whetnall, Simon Correia and Mark Trevisiol. Daniel Agudelo will resume his spot between the posts when Morley Windmills host Western Knights, who have Ben Coulter and Luka Jukic back in contention. Coach Alan Dunlop has promoted Michael Ellis and Tony Ton to the senior list for Gosnells City’s visit to UWA-Nedlands. All four Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
SWAN PRIMED FOR CUP GLORY SAYS NENADIC
A hard-fought win in the league has provided Swan United the perfect preparation for a State Cup semi-final outing with Ashfield according to defender Spiro Nenadic. It was smiles all around in the black and whites’ camp last Saturday after Mark Miraudo netted late to secure a 2-1 victory over Morley Windmills, snapping a seven-game winless streak in the process. “It’s always important to get a win before a semi-final, it gives you that much-needed confidence for such a big game,” commented Nenadic. “Even though we went a goal down we never gave up, we played as a team and were rewarded with the result we were after.”
Swan will be looking to carry the momentum gained from last weekend into Saturday’s make-or-break Cup semi-final with Ashfield. “Qualifying for the Cup final is important for everyone at Swan. The club have always enjoyed a good run in the Cup and it provides the players an opportunity to achieve some silverware,” commented 23-year old Nenadic, scorer of the decisive goal in last month’s 2-1 quarter-final defeat of Mandurah City. “The team performed great that day, apart from the first ten minutes when our goalkeeper, Mat Battigelli, kept us in the game with some great saves.”
The upcoming Cup semi-final provides Swan a welcome distraction from their poor league campaign, which has the black and whites placed fourth from bottom in Division One. “We’re not happy with where we’re sitting at the moment but it hasn’t all been negative,” explained Nenadic. “Yes, there have been games were we haven’t shown up but there have been games where we were unlucky not to get some points. I’m sure things will turn around soon. We’ve been training hard and as long as we play with some heart and intensity we will get a few more wins on the board in the second half of the season.”
Nenadic recognises Swan will have their work cut out if they are to progress to their first State Cup final since 2006. “Ashfield are always hard to play at their ground and they’re in some good at the moment, the fact they drew with (Division One leaders) Dianella White Eagles last week shows they are a quality team,” commented Nenadic. “It’s going to be difficult but the boys are confident of getting the win and that’s what we will be going there to do. When the game kicks off we know we can do it when we are on our game.” The State Cup semi-final between Ashfield and Swan gets underway at 3.00pm on Saturday at Ashfield Reserve.
SEMI-FINALS “A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT” BUT SAMMUT WANTS MORE
Exiting the State Cup at the semi-final stage is something which has not entered the thoughts of Inglewood United midfielder James Sammut. Inglewood, who last lifted the prestigious knock-out trophy in 1999, make the short trip to Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday for a round of four meeting with Bayswater City. “It’s a massive game for the club and to reaching the semi-finals is a great achievement in itself,” commented Sammut. “But having got this far has made us realise just how much we want to go on and win the trophy.”
For Sammut and his team mates to have a shot at Cup glory then they must first nullify what is potentially the State League’s most lethal line-up. “Bayswater are a quality side and have a lot of depth all around the park. It’s going to take a lot more than keeping one or two players quiet,” commented Sammut. “That said, we need to make sure we don’t give players like Todd Howarth and Paul McCarthy too much time on the ball in the midfield as well as making sure we close down the Gustavo's (Catarcione and Giron-Marulanda) and Steve Burton quickly in their attacking third.”
Inglewood have a good idea of what it takes to stop Bayswater having claimed a 2-1 win when the sides met in the league four weeks ago. “It was a great match and we need to make sure we come out with the same intensity,” said Sammut, whose team went ahead early through Greg Sharland before Scottish import Daniel Thomson sealed the win with a stunning strike from distance. “We’ve played well in patches over the past month but we need to string that together for 90 minutes … if we can do that then we will be playing in the Cup final.”
CUP WIN CAN TURN BAYSWATERS’ SEASON AROUND: ISAIA
A Bayswater City win in this weekend’s State Cup round can be the catalyst for the inner city club to get their season back on track according to James Isaia. Bayswater greeted the regular season with a ten-game unbeaten run but of late have gone off the boil, recently conceding the leadership to Stirling Lions. On Saturday they host Inglewood United in the Cup semi-finals and Isaia victory will be the only objective come kick-off time. “The team is extra motivated to get the win on Saturday, not only for a place in the Cup final but also to get our season back on track,” commented the defender.
The ledger is evenly balanced between Bayswater and Inglewood so far this year with each team chalking up a 2-1 win on their own soil. “In the first game (Inglewood goalkeeper) Luke Martino was superb, he kept the scoreline close,” commented Isaia. “When we went to their place they came out with a real intensity and desire to win, and I thought Daniel Thomson’s (match-winning) strike was the goal of the season. On Saturday it will be another tight contest and the team that desires it more will come away with a finals berth.”
Bayswater are without John Kearney and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, both through suspension, while Gustavo Catarione is doubtful with injury for Saturday. Despite these absences, Isaia feels his team have what it takes to keep alive their pre-season goal of making a clean sweep of all trophies this year. “Graham Normanton has got a very disciplined side that is going to be very hard to break down and going to try catch us on the counter attack,” said Isaia. “Although we have a few key players missing, we have more than enough depth in the squad to get the win against Inglewood and take our place on Cup final day.”
DAVIES INTENDS TO REWARD ASHFIELD LOYALISTS
Ashfield defender Nick Davies says a State Cup final appearance will bring a bit of sparkle to what has been an otherwise disappointing winter for his club. Ashfield entered the year with high hopes but their only chance of lifting a trophy now hinges on getting the better of Swan United in Saturday’s round of four Cup game. “Our season hasn’t gone according to plan so the Cup is a great chance for us to pick up some silverware,” commented Davies. “It’ll be a great day for the club if we can get the win on Saturday, making the final will be a reward for all the people at the club who put in their time and effort.”
Not a lot has gone right for Ashfield in the league with their hopes of finishing top of the pile seemingly gone. “We wanted to challenging for the league at this stage but early in the season we conceded some soft goals at crucial times and dropped too many points,” explained Davies, whose side are placed sixth, eleven points behind the leaders. “I don’t feel we have been outplayed by anyone this season. Our results over the last month have been pretty good and I’m hoping we can push on for the rest of the season and get ourselves higher up the table.”
Davies, 31, could not have played a bigger role in Ashfield turning their season around, the defender scoring the solitary goal of last months’ Cup semi-final win over Premier Division leaders Stirling Lions. “It was nice to get on the score sheet but I was more pleased with the clean sheet against a team as dangerous as Stirling,” said Davies. “The whole team defended well, we kept compact and made it hard for them to play through us and, ultimately, they couldn’t find a way through. We also created a few chances ourselves and could’ve had one or two more goals.”
Davies says there will be no room for complacency when Ashfield hosts Swan, who have won only three of thirteen league games, on Saturday. “It’s a cliché I know but league form goes out the window when it comes to the Cup. Swan will see this as a chance to salvage something from their season so I’m sure they will throw everything at us,” said Davies. “It’ll come down to who works harder and who wants it more. I’m confident if we work as hard as we have in recent weeks, and play the football we know we are capable of then the result will take care of itself. It definitely won’t be easy though.”
GLORY TAKE EDWARDS ON LOAN FOR THE SEASON
Perth Glory has secured the services of Reading midfielder Ryan Edwards on a season-long loan deal. Edwards, the son of Glory coach Alistair Edwards, returned to Perth this week and will join his new team mates on their pre-season tour of South Africa which begins on the weekend. The 19-year old was awarded a professional contract with Reading last year but has been loaned to Glory to gain first team experience. “I’ve been in the under-21s with Reading but I’m 19 now and I should be playing first team football,” said Edwards. “This is a good move for me to get that experience and bring it back to Reading next season.”
Edwards, an Australia Under-20 international, isn’t bothered by any added pressure that might come his way while playing under his father. “It’s good to have an old Socceroo and ex-Perth Glory player as a coach,” said Edwards, whose younger brother Cameron is also part of the Glory squad. “I’ve never had any pressure from my dad. He’s coached me in the junior set-ups and national set-ups as well so there’s no problems there. I’m just like every other player at the club and I’m going to work harder than everyone else to make sure I’m in that starting team and earn it. There’s no pressure – he’s just a coach on the football field.”
HEALTHY NEW DEAL FOR GLORY
Perth Glory has confirmed State Government-funded Healthway as a major sponsor for the next two A-League seasons. The new partnership means Glory will be the ambassadors of LiveLighter, which Healthway promotes in conjunction with the Heart Foundation, and will be actively communicating key health messages aimed at reducing the incidence of obesity. The agreement ends a seven-year hiatus when Glory missed out on Healthway funding it had previously received after entering into a sponsorship deal with fast-food chain Chicken Treat and Schweppes soft drink Solo.
Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua is delighted to have Glory carrying the LiveLighter message. “They deserve credit for being prepared to leave junk food promotions behind to promote the LiveLighter health message, which aims to encourage West Australians to live a healthier lifestyle,” Capolingua said. “Recent research at the University of WA has found that more than seven out of ten people who attends a Healthway-sponsored event are aware of the health message promoted there. On that basis, I am looking forward to seeing many Perth Glory fans making changes to their diet to maintain a healthy weight which will help them avoid serious health issues.”
Glory general manager Anthony Radich hopes the new sponsorship deal can influence West Australia’s life a healthier lifestyle. “Perth Glory sees itself as being an important part of the WA community, and we want to help make a difference, not only as a sporting club seeking results on the field but also as an influential role model off it,” said Radich. “As an organisation geared around the optimisation of performance we clearly understand that there is no place for an unhealthy diet and that being active and having a healthy diet is the best course for success.”
YOUNG SOCCEROOS HEAD TO EAST ASIAN CUP
National team coach Holger Osieck has named a young and inexperienced squad for next week’s East Asian Cup tournament in the Korea Republic. The provisional 24-player squad includes eight uncapped players while nine others have less than ten Socceroos caps to their names. Local products Trent Sainsbury, 21, and Mark Birighitti, 22, are in line to make their senior international debuts at the tournament with fellow West Australian Adam Taggart, 20, likely to add to his three appearances. Australia opens their East Asian Cup campaign against Korea Republic (20 July) followed by outings with Japan (25 July) and China (28 July).
The reluctance of Asian clubs to release their players led Osieck to contemplate withdrawing Australia from the tournament. “Why should we go there anyway when we get discriminated (against) in a way? But after some internal discussion and in the spirit of fair play, we decided to go,” said Osieck. “The foreign clubs created a lot of problems,” said Osieck. “I understand the games are not FIFA protected but there is a gentleman’s agreement between the competing countries that players from the respective leagues should be released to play. If you host a tournament like this for me it’s a no brainer that players are released.”
Australia’s provisional squad for East Asian Cup is Eugene Galekovic, Dario Vidosic (Adelaide United),
Ivan Franjic, Jade North (Brisbane Roar), Mitchell Duke, Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Matt McKay (Changchun Yatai), Robert Cornthwaite (Chunnam Dragons), Nathan Coe, Mark Milligan, Mitch Nichols, Connor Pain, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Mark Birighitti, Joshua Brilliante, Craig Goodwin, Adam Taggart, Ruben Zadkovich (Newcastle Jets), Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Erik Paartalu (Tianjin Teda), Tomi Juric and Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Wanderers).
EDWARDS EXCITED BY BRAZILIAN SIGNING SIDNEI
Perth Glory has added a touch of Brazilian flair with the signing of winger Sidnei Sciola Moraes for the coming summer campaign. Sidnei, 26, paid his own way from Brazil to join Glory for pre-season training and sufficiently impressed the clubs’ coaching staff in friendly outings with Kwinana United and Gosnells City to be offered a one-year deal. “He’s very exciting, he plays on the left-hand side as a number eleven but he can also play on the right and as a central striker,” said coach Alistair Edwards. “He brings a bit of sparkle and if I wasn’t the coach of the team, I’d be buying a membership to come and watch him play.”
Sidnei counts Portuguese side Boavista and Rio Ave among his former clubs and most recently spent time in the Cypriot league with Alki Larnaca. “I’d heard some really good things about him before he came to the club, but I wanted to see what he was like off the field, how he would fit into the culture of the group,” commented Edwards. “His footballing ability was unquestionable and now we’ve found out what he’s like as a person and he most definitely fits into our culture. He’s a brilliant guy. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but he’ll bring some Brazilian flair to the side, that’s for sure.”
KNEE INJURY LEADS HARNWELL INTO RETIREMENT
Local legend Jamie Harnwell has hung up his playing boots for the last time. Harnwell, 35, has been plagued by knee problems for a couple of years but a visit to the doctor on the eve of last weekend’s game with Perth SC confirmed the veteran defenders worst fears. “I’ve had problems with my knee for about the last two months,” Harnwell explained. “I finally got to see the doctor, got an MRI and there’s a fair amount of wear and tear in the (right) knee and he strongly recommended I give up playing football … I walked out of the doctor’s office and thought ‘Jesus, this is the last game of football I’ll ever play’.”
Harnwell rose up through Sorrento’s junior to make in excess of 250 professional appearances for hometown team Perth Glory, English club Leyton orient and Swiss league side FC Vadez. “Playing football has been a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old and it is hard to say goodbye,” said Harnwell. “The times playing for Glory in front of 40-odd thousand people, scoring a last minute equaliser last year in the Grand Final for my home club, you just can’t replace those things. There have been fantastic highs and some pretty gut-wrenching lows, but I am very proud of what I achieved over the course of my career.”
Although retired, Harnwell won’t be lost to football with the former State player looking forward to coaching Perth Glory Women. “Given it’s my third year in the role, I have had a lot more time to plan for the upcoming year and hopefully provide the players a platform so they can build on last season’s success,” said Harnwell, who guided Glory Women to the semi-finals last summer. “The majority of the players have said they want to come back and try and go a step or two further. It will be difficult, all the other sides will be looking to improve, but its great to hear some of the names being linked to the W-League.”
BORO WILL RIGHT THE WRONGS OF LAST SEASON: WILLIAMS
Middlesbrough are determined to right the wrongs of last season insists captain Rhys Williams. In a frank and honest assessment of Middlesbrough’s slide down the Championship standings last season, Williams said he was embarrassed by some results while admitting his own form left a lot to be desired. “The season can’t come quickly enough for all the boys,” Williams told gazettelive.co.uk. “It was bad what happened last season and it got to the point where it was embarrassing for us as players. No one likes to lose, but to go on a run like that was terrible, it was horrendous … we want to put things right.”
Williams is adamant Middlesbrough can bounce back this term and regain their place in England’s top flight. “We can definitely challenge again,” said the former ECU Joondalup junior. “If you look back to the first half of last season, we’ve still got the majority of the players we had then and we’re going to have Muzzy (Carayol) from the start, Lukas (Jutkiewicz) from the start, Scott (McDonald) and myself as well all trying to fight for places. Also with the gaffer bringing in some more faces it’s going to be good and hopefully we can start like a house on fire like we did last season but this time finish the same way.”
Williams, who turned 25 yesterday, feels being omitted from the Socceroos squad for last month’s trio of World Cup qualifiers was “a blessing in disguise”. “The break was good for me just to clear my head and see what went wrong and what went right,” he explained. “Not getting picked for Australia summed up my season, it was a bit hard to take but it may have been a blessing in disguise. I had a nice break with my family, got married, so it’s good to have a long break. It’s the longest I’ve had for a while and I’m back raring to go, I feel really good.”
STATE-13’S COME OUT ON TOP AT NATIONALS
The future of women’s football looks bright in the west after the State Under-13 side topped their group at last week’s National Youth Championships for Girls. Coach Elisa D’Ovidio was understandably thrilled with her teams’ performances which saw them end the week-long tournament undefeated. “I’m very overwhelmed by their performance this week,” D’Ovidio said. “They have played exciting and consistent football each day. The depth of the squad was evident this year with every player performing at their best.” The State Under-15 side also acquitted themselves well, winning twice to place third in their group.
The Under-13s opened their campaign with an emphatic 9-0 thrashing of Tasmania, Kizanne Mulder netting twice with Georgie Cawley, Isabella Foletta, Katie Grayson, Sofie Osborne, Alexia Moreno, Liana Cook and Megan Green netting one apiece. Mulder bagged four more goals in the following mornings’ 7-1 mauling of Capital Football with Tessa De Leo, Cook and Moreno getting the remainder. Northern New South Wales provided a bit more resistance only to succumb 3-0 to a Megan Green double plus another by Moreno. An 8-2 win over Victoria Country came about through finishes by Moreno (4), De Leo, Cawley and an own goal.
A 6-0 loss to Capital Football was far from the start the Under-15 side was hoping for. Thankfully, day two of competition was brighter with Abbey Meakins and Shauni Reid netting two each and Taylor Maguire, Maddison Schofield and Ellie La Monte also on target in a 7-0 win over the Northern Territory. Early goals by Maguire and Schofield laid the foundations for a 3-1 triumph over Tasmania, Roisin Connolly sealing the result late on. Schofield again found the net in a 4-2 loss to South Australia, the remainder being an own goal. The Under-15’s ended their tournament by going down 4-0 to Victoria.
The West Australian Under-13 Girls squad featured Kizanne Mulder, Cheyenne Wise Jarvis (Balcatta), Morgan Aquino (Dianella), Liana Cook, Megan Green (East Fremantle), Isabella Foletta (Inglewood), Sasha Edwards, Katie Grayson, Sofie Osborne, Daniella Simatos (Melville), Tessa de Leo, Ella Manso-Vukovich, Alexia Moreno (Perth SC), Isadorah Rakich, Georgina Teakle (UWA-Nedlands) and Georgia Cawley (Westside). Team officials were Elisa D’Ovidio (coach), Ciara Conway (assistant coach), Leanne Hill (manager) and Alessia Floyd (physiotherapist).
The West Australian Under-15 Girls squad consisted of Baxter Thew, Logan Walton (Bunbury Forum Force), Abbey Meakins (Perth SC), Charlotte Teakle (UWA-Nedlands), Roison Connolly, Georgia Donaldson, Courtney Hall, Sophie Hobson, Sarah Kenny, Ellie La Monte, Taylor Maguire, Steffi Nadilo, Shauni Reid, Sara Riou, Maddison Schofield and Alyssa Van Heurck (National Training Centre). The side was jointly coached by Darren Young and Salv Todaro with the other team officials being Faye Chambers (manager) and Alessia Floyd (physiotherapist).
COCKERELS FLYING HIGH
Cockburn City consolidated fourth spot on the Premier Division table after downing Floreat Athena 2-0 this afternoon at Litis Stadium. Harry O’Brien struck early with substitute Aden De Luz sealing victory late for coach Marc Anthony. “That was one of the toughest games we’ve played all season … wer’e happy to come away with the three points,” Anthony said. “At one-nil up they had a great chance to level and Nick (Feely) pulled off a great save. They were pressing at the end but Euen Grant, Alex Castiello and Paul Natale were outstanding, there was no way we were going to give a goal away.”
Cockburn began the game well with O’Brien calling goalkeeper Brad Eiffe into action after only a couple of minutes. Another attack by the visitors produced the breakthrough they were after in the 6th minute, Conor Kavanagh feeding Paul Lloyd whose cross from the left was fired in at the back post by an unmarked O’Brien. Floreat, who were on a nine-game unbeaten run, pressed and on the quarter hour Feely saved well from Ludovic Boi. A slip by Eamon McNelis soon after let in Adrian Caceres but the attacker’s shot was too close to Feely.
Floreat were presented the perfect opportunity to draw level midway through the half. Cockburn’s failure to clear a corner saw Mark Walsh’s shot crash back off the post, the rebound falling kindly for Benny Kouadio who, with the goal at his mercy, somehow screwed the ball wide of the target. Both sides had chances before the break. David Heagney’s long-range attempt was taken by Feely, who also claimed a cross-shot by Cisco Jorquera The final play of the half took place at the other end where Eiffe had to be alert to save Matt Salmon’s free-kick.
The second half opened with Eiffe under siege, saving from Grant and McNelis in quick succession. David Heagney got off a low shot which Feely took at the second attempt, the Kouadio stuck the ball in the net only for his effort to be disallowed for offside. Cockburn made the game safe with a second goal in the 78th minute, O’Brien flicking the ball on for Da Luz to lash under Eiffe from the edge of the 18-yard box. Floreat pressed late but the closest they came to a consolation was a Heagney header which flashed over the top in stoppage time.
SECOND HALF BLITZ GETS SHAMROCK HOME
Shamrock Rovers announced themselves as a serious contender for the Division One crown by thumping Canning City 4-1 at Burrendah Reserve. Ciaran Byrne scored twice with Charlie Kenna and Paul Concannon also on target in a second half goal blitz which negated Daniel Neiderberger’s opener. The first half was a thrilling ride with some quality play from both teams as they sought the lead. Kenna had a trio of early chances to put Shamrock ahead but was unable to convert. Those misses were punished when Paul Van Dongen’s cross-field pass was tamed by Neiderberger, who side-stepped his marker and smashed into the bottom corner. Canning were unlucky not to have another before the break with Neiderbgerger and Josh Findlater denied by the frame of the goal.
The momentum remained with Canning upon the restart, Paul Van Dongen volleying just high from distance. The turning point came just before the hour when Byrne’s crisply struck free-kick from 20-metres came to rest in Steve Grant’s net. Kenna dealt the hosts another blow by lobbing in after beating the offside trap, and when Byrne unleashed a 25-metre strike into the net the game was effectively decided. Canning, though, had other ideas and only a diving save by Shepherd prevented Michael Van Dongen from cutting the difference to a single goal. There was a fair dose of controversy in Shamrock’s final goal, Concannon slotting under the ‘keeper after the ball appeared to go out of play in the lead-up.
COMYN-PLATT MAKES THE POINT FOR JOONDALUP
A goal deep in stoppage time by defender Charlie Comyn-Platt earned ECU Joondalup a deserved 2-2 draw with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Todd Howarth and Steve Burton handed the hosts a two-goal buffer before Ryan Townsend pulled a goal back early in the second half. Comyn-Platt grabbed a dramatic equaliser just moments after Bayswater captain John Kearney was issued his marching orders. “We have been there or thereabouts for the last couple of weeks so to get something from the game gives us confidence going forward,” said Comyn-Platt. “In the first half they tore us apart, the movement was frightening and to be fair they could have scored a couple more.”
Bayswater came out like a bull at a gate. Brain Farrell nodded over the top from a 4th minute Todd Howarth corner and shortly after Gustavo Giron-Marulanda crashed his header into the crossbar, again from Howarth’s delivery. It was all hands on deck as Joondalup soaked up wave after wave of attack. Ross Cosgrave and Giron-Marulanda combined to find Burton whose first time shot whistled narrowly past the post. Farrell was allowed far too much space but his low shot from 15-metres was saved by debutant goalkeeper Todd Hoyle. Amid this referee Adam Fielding turned down two penalty appeals, both for handball.
The pressure value was finally released in the 36th minute, Howarth’s free-kick deflecting off the defensive wall and although Hoyle got a glove on the shot he was helpless in preventing it from entering the net. Home custodian Devon Spence ensured Joondalup were to stay a goal behind with a stunning double save just before the break. Joe Knowles skipped past Andy Reale but Spence was positioned well to block his shot, the rebound came straight back to the Joondalup attacker who was again left frustrated with Spence keeping out his low follow-up.
The game looked over on 56 minutes when a long ball over the top by Kearney sent Burton racing clear with the striker finishing clinically from 10-metres. Joondalup began to get into the game and on the hour Knowles picked out David Caine whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box flew narrowly past the post. Seven minutes later Caine got down the right to deliver a pin-point cross onto the head of Townsend who made no mistake from 4-metres. Joondalup were now flying and Knowles’ diving header flashed wide from a Joe Smith centre.
As Joondalup pushed men forward, Bayswater twice went close to killing off the game. A Farrell shot from 14-metres fizzed just past the target and a couple of minutes later Damien Catalano’s strike on the turn hit the side netting. The game was well into stoppage time when Kearney earned an early shower for his second yellow card. 94 minutes were on the clock when Jon Higgins played out wide to the right where Caine whipped the ball into the middle for Comyn-Platt to fire in at close-range, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.
HARNWELL SIGNS OFF WITH VICTORY
Sorrento farewelled club legend Jamie Harnwell by taking a 2-0 win from their home meeting with Perth SC. Gavin Knight and Jesse Fuller found the back of the net to give Harnwell a day to remember. “It was a well-deserved win although we could have made things a lot more comfortable for ourselves if we had taken more of our chances in the first half,” said Harnwell, who opted to end his career after ongoing injury. “I got advised by the doctor that I have got a lot of problems with my right knee, I have had problems for about two months … he just said ‘if you want to be walking in 15 or 20 years, then it could be the time to go.’”
Sorrento was quick out of the blocks to take a 6th minute lead, Knight controlling a Todd Harnwell centre with his chest before rounding Perth goalkeeper Francis Soale to score. The visitors went close to levelling midway through the half via Frank Furfaro whose low strike passed out before the near post. Sorrento’s double their lead on the half hour, Jamie Harwell flicking a long ball into the path of Fuller whose long-range shot flew into the top corner. Perth were determined to work their way back in after the break. David Onoforo stroked just wide in a one-on-one with Curtis Aspden, Liam Boland lifted high when well-placed and Chris Rizidis blazed over. Jamie Harnwell came within inches of grabbing a goal in his final appearance but headed a touch wide.
BAMBER HAPPY AS ARMADALE COME BACK TO HOLD INGLEWOOD
Armadale and Inglewood United have played out an entertaining 1-1 draw under lights at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Craig Simpson gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half only to have New Zealand import Jack Salter level close to the end. “We’re a bit stronger now, we’ve got a bit of character and a bit of belief about the team,” Armadale coach Lee Bamber told footballwest.com.au. “Three weeks ago if we’d have gone one-nil down our heads would’ve dropped and the floodgates would’ve opened.”
The evenings’ first chance on goal came after Dannie Thomson and Jason Colli combined down the right with the latter crossing for Alex Caniglia, whose crisp finish crashed into the crossbar. Inglewood continued to press and on 20 minutes went ahead, Matt Danskin’s free-kick was headed back by Shaun Kilkelly and Simpson was on hand to fire past Ellis Hawksworth. Dannie Richman dragged wide after being played through by Louie Bake to go one-on-one with Luke Martino. Inglewood almost add a second goal just before half-time, Shane Pickering driving just high from distance.
The second half was dominated by the defences whose tireless work kept shots on goal to a minimum. Armadale pinched they goal they were after in the 74th minute, substitute Alex Clarke getting down the left before pulling the ball to the far post where Salter’s close-range finish gave Martino no chance. Inglewood almost retook the lead five minutes later, David Perich pouncing on a poor back pass only to lose his footing as he was lining up the shot. Substitute Jamie Newby squandered a similar chance at the other end by miss-kicking from Richman’s delivery.
STEWART TO THE RESCUE FOR BUNBURY
Bunbury Forum Force scored back-to-back wins for the first time this league season by downing Balcatta 2-1 at Grindleford Reserve. Lee Stewart came off the bench to score Bunbury a late second goal, adding to Steve Howson’s first half finish which itself cancelled out Jarrad Smith’s early opener. “I’m not bothered that I scored – it was just great for the team,” Stewart told footballwest.com.au. “We really all moulded together now and (new coach) Trent (Hathaway) has been great for the boys. We haven’t really changed the formation, it’s just a matter of moral and the boys have really got around him being a local guy.”
Balcatta got off to the best possible start, Smith punishing Jon Brooks poor back pass by finishing low past exposed goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Despite this set-back Bunbury pressed forward and Alex Dunn had to be alert to deny Ryan Francis a few minutes later. However, there was nothing Dunn could do in the 24th minute when Howson side-footed in at close-range from Francis’ centre. The second half action was plentiful, Bright Ababio somehow lifted over the top at close-range and Montgomery parried a goalbound header by Matt Brooks. It was looking as though the points would be shared when Oliver McGee played in Stewart, who kept his composure to send a low shot into Dunn’s net after 88 minutes.
NTC TORN APART BY RAMPAGING LIONS
Stirling Lions skipped three points clear at the top of the Premier Division following this afternoon’s 4-1 thumping of the National Training Centre at Macedonia Park. The home side’s dominance of the 90 minutes was rewarded with goals from Phil Arnold, Rory Grant, Daniel Micevski and Jason Gavin. Despite the comfortable nature of the win, assistant coach Gary Williams felt Stirling’s could have posted a few more goals. “The performance, I don’t think was the greatest, but we’re happy to win 4-1,” said Williams. “When we talk about motivation, in ordinary circumstances, it is hard (when playing the NTC) … our motivation really was, let’s win, let’s keep the pressure on the teams below us.”
The early pace was frantic pace with Dean Evans, Gareth McGlynn and Miki Vujacic dictating the flow of play through the middle of the park. It took just 10 minutes for Stirling to edge in front, Vujacic’s precision corner met strongly by the head of Phil Arnold. The NTC hit back two minutes later, Blamo Quaqua wriggled through the home defence to tee-up Darcy Cosgrove who made no mistake from point-blank range. Good work by Evans sent McGlynn down the left with the midfielder’s perfectly weighted cross nodded in by Grant with 14 minutes gone. Micevski industrious work was rewarded with a goal after 45 minutes, the midfielder jinxed past two defenders before curling beyond the outstretched dive of Jordan Franken.
Stirling continued to control the game into the second half. A brilliant piece of one-touch football between Jason Gavin, Josh Booysen and McGlynn put the latter in the clear but his rasping shot cannoning back off the bar. An NTC counterattack put Quaqua in the clear only for Aleks Vrteski to come out on top of the challenge. Man-of-the-match Vujacic had the crowd gasping with an audacious 40-metre blast that Franken managed to turn around the post. The brave youngsters of the NTC were standing up well to the endless pressure being exerted on them. But with 78 minutes gone they were breached for a fourth time, Gavin slicing through the defence by playing a series of wall passes with Evans before fire past Franken.
RESILIENT UWA OVERPOWERED BY KNIGHTS
Western Knights re-entered the winners circle with a commanding 2-1 triumph over UWA-Nedlands at McGilvray Oval. Goals from Brendan Craig and substitute Johny Mirco earned the Knights maximum points for the first time in a month before Tom Sellers grabbed the hosts’ a late consolation. The ball had been in motion just 10 minutes when Craig made his mark, then striker latching onto an Ivan Zuvela through ball and out-manoeuvring his marker before thumping beyond the reach of goalkeeper Ranjeet Singh. The Knights immediately set about finding another, Craig turning provider for Jamie Ricks whose volley flashed agonisingly high of the target. As the half progressed UWA saw increasing more of the ball without seriously threatened their opponents net.
The second half opened with UWA again asserting themselves but unable to break down the Knights defensive line. The introduction of Julian Teles coupled with some tactical changes brought the visitors back into the contest. Teles had been on the park just a few minutes when he crashed a shot into the crossbar, while at the other end Mark Cahill came close to levelling in a goalmouth scramble. With the game in the balance Mirco expertly intercepted the ball from Singh and calmly lifted into the net to double the Knights advantage. UWA refused to give up the chase and in stoppage time captain Sellers slipped past two opponents before slamming into the top corner of Alfie Brincat’s net.
MANDURAH COME OUT TOPS IN SOUTHERN DERBY
Mandurah City overcame numerous setbacks, including goal behind, to pick up their first win in over a month by downing arch-rivals Rockingham City 3-1 at Hyundai Stadium. Midfield pair Craig Young and Matt Stares exited the game early through injury before Rafael Insaurralde claimed Rockingham the lead. In response Graeme Matthews grabbed a brace with new signing Papa Kpatar also on target against his former club. “It was a big win against all odds, the young boys stepped up and showed they deserved to be there,” Matthews said. “Mandurah-Rockingham games are always full blooded affairs, a fair few of the boys have played for both sides so it always adds a bit of spice to the game.”
The early signs were somewhat ominous for Mandurah as Stares, then Young limped from the field inside the opening quarter hour. Even so, the bulk of possession was with the home side. So it came as a surprise when Rockingham grabbed the lead after 28 minutes, an attempted clearance ricocheting off Insaurralde and into the net from 20-metres. Mandurah were fortune not to go further behind a few minutes later, Insaurralde rattling the crossbar with a vicious shot. Kpatar provided the inspiration for the equalising goal after 38 minutes, the midfielder driving inside the 18-yard box before laying off to Gerard Burke whose cross was slammed in at close-range by Matthews.
It took only five second half minutes for Mandurah to go a goal the better, Kpatar surging down the right and cutting in past two defenders before rounding goalkeeper Richard Lacey to slot in. Rockingham’s outlook darkened five minutes later when substitute Oscar Thompson was issued his marching order for lashing out at Kpatar right in front of the referee. There was no let-up from Mandurah as Matthews, Kpatar and Burke rained shots down on Lacey, who time and time again proved the hosts’ stumbling block. The pressure value was finally released after 72 minutes, Matthews finishing into the net from 11-metres after fine work out wide on the right by Daniel Brockwell.
SWAN FINALLY RETURN TO THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Mark Miraudo netted a late free-kick as Swan United snapped a seven-game winless streak by seeing off Morley Windmills 2-1 at the Swan Italian Club. The away side held the upper hand at half-time courtesy of Bernard Marcelo but at the final whistle it was the black and whites who were celebrating with goals from John Monterosso and Miraudo. “I was proud of our endeavour, intensity and desire to win today. We played hard, we played well and everybody did their job,” said coach Matt Debarro. “The past week has been a real turning point for us and we are looking to continue this form into the rest of the season.”
An action-packed first half had Swan seeing the better of the ball but unable to capitalise on their opportunities. Half-time was fast approaching when Marcelo got the breakthrough, sneaking his shot past Corey Hugo after the Swan custodian brilliantly blocked an initial attempt. Swan returned for the second period determined to equalise and on 65 minutes that’s what they did, substitute Trent Wood cutting the ball in for Monterosso to tuck past goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. The game was now end-to-end with both teams guilty of wasteful finishing. There were only three minutes left on the clock when Miraudo stepped up to a free-kick and curled past the defensive wall and into the net via the post.
JOONDALUP HOLD MADDINGTON TO A POINT
An under-strength Joondalup City kept their title hopes alive with a fighting 1-1 draw with Division Two leaders Maddington White City at Iluka Sports Complex. Substitute Josh Tumoe looked to have gained Maddington all the points by netting in the closing stages but it took only a few minutes for defender Mathew Divry to grab the home side a deserved equaliser. “It’s a great result for us considering we’ve had seven or eight first team players missing for the past few weeks,” Joondalup assistant coach Terry Booth said. “The commitment and attitude of the players who’ve come in today was first class and it’s going to give us a real headache for selection when we’re back to full strength.”
All the early pressure was on Joondalup as Stevan Sibincic and Ty Fenwick probed for openings in a well-drilled backline under the command of captain Danny Beattie. The hosts were hitting on the counterattack with Jason Rubridge using his pace to terrific effect. Joondalup’s best opening came the way of Mark Tebbutt, who connected well with a corner only to have the defence scramble the ball away. The second half followed much the same pattern, both teams stringing together some promising moves only to have them broken down in the final third. The deadlock was eventually broken after 78 minutes when Tumoe struck a loose ball through a crowded goalmouth from 15-metres. Parity was restored six minutes later via Divry’s towering header from an Adam Proctor corner.
CULVERWELL HAT-TRICK SEALS KINGSWAY MUCH-NEEDED WIN
Kingsway Olympic hoisted themselves away from the bottom of Division Two by defeating cellar-dwellers Melville City 5-2 at Len Shearer Reserve. Wayne Culverwell led the way by scoring three times as Alistair Blair and Sota Iwasaki also hit the target to get Kingsway maximum points for just their fourth time this season. “It was pleasing to get the result with such a great team performance,” said coach Nathan Chapman. “We’d lost three games by a single goal but the lads stayed positive and, in truth, we could have had ten goals today. Wayne Culverwell was our hat-trick hero but David Ashworth was man-of-the-match by a mile.”
It didn’t take long for Kingsway to open their account, Lee Thomas deep free-kick finding an unmarked Blair who guided the ball into Elliot Duncan’s net with just 10 minutes gone. Going a goal down spurred on the home side but Sasa Gojic lifted narrowly high and a David Palin skewed across the face of goal from a couple of metres. This misses would prove costly as Culverwell curled into the net after Melville failed to properly deal with a corner. As the half wound down Thomas delivered an out-swinging ball into the 18-yard box which Iwasaki headed in powerfully at the near post. And there was more to come from the Green Machine with Culverwell finishing emphatically from 7-metres after meeting Blair’s cutback.
Blair looked like further extending the visitors with a curling shot on the run which was just wide of the post. Kingsway’s fifth goal arrived via the boot of Culverwell who, after being clipped by Duncan, put the ball in the net from the penalty spot. It was only now that Melville came to life and with twenty minutes to go Aaron Bhadori cut the deficit by converting a penalty awarded for handball against Zeph Rolls. The home side continued to press with substitute Stefan Cvijanovic, Bhadori and Bryce Conway leading the way. The final whistle was close when a trip on Gojic gave Melville a second spot kick which Bhadori sent past ‘keeper Anthony Salpietro to bring a modicum of respectability to the scoreline.
SUBIACO TAKE A DESERVED POINT FROM QUINNS
Ger Fitzgerald’s eighth goal of the season secured Subiaco AFC a 1-1 draw with Quinns at Rosalie Park. The home side enjoyed by far the better chances on goal before falling a goal behind to a Brian Cairney header, however, justice was seen to be done when Fitzgerald nabbed a late equaliser. “A draw was probably a fair result but I feel we should have won, we had more chances,” said Fitzgerald. “Our defence played brilliantly again as did the midfield, and our forwards worked tirelessly the whole 90 minutes. Credit also to the Quinns ‘keeper, he had a great game.”
First half possession was relatively evenly shared with the home side fashioning the better chacnes on goal. Frank Galvin’s free-kick from 23-metres was somehow kept out by Daniel McAinish, John Molloy finished just wide and Alan Biletic also placed past the target. Quinns were quickly into rhythm upon the resumption and with 55 minutes gone Cairney’s diving header on the counterattack looped over home custodian Tom Barrett. The loss of captain Aaran Maplestone through injury had a major effect on Quinns momentum, allowing Subiaco to take the upper hand. Their deserved equaliser arrived when Fitzgerald threaded through a crowded goalmouth after Galvin’s blocked shot bounced his way.
GLORIOUS DAY IN GOSNELLS
Perth Glory may have cruised to a 9-1 in this afternoon’s pre-season hit-out against Gosnells City but the on-field action was only part of a hugely successful community football event. More than 1,500 fans ventured to Walter Padbury Reserve where Glory players guided local youngsters through short-sided games, signed autographs and posed for photos. “It’s been a fantastic day,” said former Gosnells junior and now Glory assistant coach Gareth Naven. “I’ve met up with a lot of people that are still at the club from when I was a young bloke and it’s nice to speak to them and bring Glory here to play.”
Central defender Brandon O’Neill got the ball rolling with a sweetly struck long-range effort after only 2 minutes. Ryo Nagai added another shortly after with Brazilian midfielder Sidnei Sciola Moraes taking the difference to three goals inside the quarter hour. Gosnells rallied to pull a goal back after 25 minutes, Darren Francis rising highest to nod in from a Michael Logue free-kick. A deflected Scott Jamieson effort and an own goal by Logue saw Glory enter the break four goals the better. Substitute Ndumba Makeche snared himself a second half double with Chris Harold and Adrian
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Two of the top flight’s form sides, Floreat Athena and Cockburn City, square off on Sunday afternoon at Litis Stadium. Floreat are unbeaten in their last nine league encounters and defender Cameron Yorke intends that run to extend into double figures. “We got the better of them last time in the Cup and we’ll be looking to get a result at home again this weekend,” said Yorke. “Cockburn have just come off a big win against Sorrento and we’re also on an unbeaten run in the league … it’s going to be a massive game.”
Defender Euan Grant rates Cockburn’s performance in last week’s four-goal thrashing of third-placed Sorrento as amongst their best of the campaign. “Against Sorrento we played really well, it was probably the best performance of the season but we can’t dwell on the past,” commented Grant, who returns to the line-up this weekend following suspension. “We beat Floreat earlier in the season and I’m sure they will be looking to turn that around. This is by far our biggest game of the season – if we win we could go third, but if we lose we could drop to sixth.”
Premier Division leaders Stirling Lions have no intention of surrendering to the National Training Centre for a second time this year when they meet again at Macedonia Park. Bayswater City has home ground advantage over ECU Joondalup, who have Tommy Jones and Tanner Selyer out injured while David Caine and Andy Banks are in doubt. Captain Todd Harnwell and Brodie Martin come back in for Sorrento when they welcome Perth SC to the northern suburbs. Inglewood United could be without Shaun Kilkelly, David Perich, Matt Danskin and Andrija Jukic for their night game with Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval (7.00pm).
Bunbury Forum Force moved off the foot of the Premier Division table last weekend so it’s no surprised spirits are high in the camp leading into their meeting with Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. “We are confident going into this week’s game after a good win on the weekend,” Bunbury defender Oliver McGee said. “The last time we played Balcatta we were very unlucky not to take all the points, like in many other games this season. But we’re looking forward in making it back-to-back wins.” Unless otherwise stated, all games kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Southern neighbours Mandurah City and Rockingham City lock horns in what promises to be a close encounter at Hyundai Stadium. “It’s always a huge derby game, bragging rights are on the line as well as three big points,” said Mandurah midfielder Robbie Hamm, who will miss the game for work reasons. “We’ve been playing well the last few weeks and a win here will give us the confidence to go on a bit of a run and climb the table. It’s guaranteed to be a tight hard fought contest and, hopefully, the Mandurah boys can come out on top.”
Western Knights will be out to snap a three-game losing streak when they travel to UWA-Nedlands. Playmaker Luka Jukic is out through suspensions for the Knights, however, captain David Annall is again available and young centre back Vinnie Wiktoria is in contention to start. Ashfield striker Jamie Burns put away five goals for the reserves last week and it’s hard to see how he won’t be promoted to the senior side for their home fixture with joint leaders Dianella White Eagles. Swan United and Morley Windmills meet for the second time in four games, this time at the Swan Italian Club.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Subiaco AFC are planning to stretch Quinns losing streak to three-games when the sides meet at Rosalie Park. “We have a point to prove and we’re confident we can get a good result,” said Subiaco’s Alan Biletic. “We’ve been playing some good football and after a solid win at home last weekend (4-0 over Melville City) we want to keep this form running. We deserve to have a few more points on the board for the way we have played this season and on Saturday if we work hard we’ll get the result we want.”
Just how serious Joondalup City are about challenging for top honours will be put to the test when they host Division Two leaders Maddington White City. Fremantle United welcome back Angus Vos following suspension but remain without Andrew Morrow for their meeting with Forrestfield United at Hilton Reserve. Len Shearer Reserve has the battle of the cellar dwellers between Melville City and Kingsway Olympic, who head into the weekend minus Josh Rolls (away) and Aaron Platten (thigh). All four Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
SCOTLAND MOVE ON THE CARDS FOR CLARKE
It’s looking increasingly as though Ryan Clarke has played his last game for Inglewood United. A key feature of Inglewood’s attacking artillery for the past four years, Clarke has decided the time is right to take his game to the next level by seeking a professional contract in Scotland. First Division club Greenock Morton have already put an offer on the table but the 25-year old wants to look at what else may be available before deciding his future. “The club have offered me something for next season but I will be going to Queen of the South this week, and I’m in talks with a few other teams,” said Clarke.
Clarke, who thanks housemate Rory Grant for teeing up trials, feels he put his best foot forward at Morton. “I played in a friendly against Sheffield United and I thought the game went well,” said the versatile midfielder. “Everyone at the club has been great. It’s pre-season at the moment and the training is tough. We train twice a day, running in the morning session and ball work in the afternoon. The standard isn’t that much higher than in Western Australia, the only difference is we train full-time.” As a teenager Clarke played youth team football for Genoa (Italy) and spent a season with Universitatea Craiova (Romania) before three seasons at Marconi Stallions.
NAVEN, WOODCOCK LOOKING FORWARD TO GOSNELLS RETURN
Perth Glory assistant coach Gareth Naven and highly-rated young defender Riley Woodcock will find themselves on familiar ground this weekend. Glory’s second pre-season outing takes them to Gosnells City, the club at which both Naven and Woodcock came through the junior ranks. “I played there from when I was six until I was about 12 or 13,” said Naven. “My dad at that stage was secretary of the club and the president at that time, Tom O’Donnell, is still a good family friend. My dad coached us and I had a really nice time there. We lived around the corner so we could walk to training and games.”
Woodcock wore Gosnells colours for four years and is looking forward to coming face-to-face with some of his former teammates. “I was brought up just down the road in Kelmscott and my dad was the assistant coach for our team at that time,” said the Australian youth international. “We were a strong side in that southern area and we won the league, the state cup, and the top four cup as well. I think there might be a couple of lads that I played with who are still playing there, but we also had lads in our team like Scott Galloway who’s playing at Melbourne Victory now.”
Gosnells president Ron Costanzo is hoping the full house will go up on Saturday afternoon at Walter Padbury Reserve, where the on-field action commences at 3.00pm. “It’s a great community event that will bring the local community together for a big occasion,” Costanzo said. “It’s a fantastic initiative by the Glory. They want to bring their club back to the community and this is a great example of them doing exactly that. “I’d be delighted if we get all our members and their kids and parents down, hopefully we can get more than 1,000 people there.” A full day of family activities, including bouncy castles, player signings and giveaways, commences at 11.00am.
ONE EACH FOR MORLEY AND SWAN
An action-packed meeting between Morley Windmills and Swan United has ended with honours shared at 1-1 under lights this evening at Wotton Reserve. Andy O’Neill’s early opener was negated after the turnaround by substitute Niall Hughes, however, it was the men between the posts that shone in the re-scheduled Division One game according to Swan assistant coach Matt Debarro. “Daniel Agudelo was impressive, he made some crucial saves to keep the game tied, as did our own Corey Hugo,” said Debarro, whose side hosts Morley in the return fixture this weekend. “We’ll need to lift our performance to go one better on Saturday .. it’s becoming quite an interesting little rivalry between the two clubs.”
Morley came out strongly to take a 13th minute lead, O’Neill nodding in from Chris Bradley’s delivery. And the margin would really have blown out had O’Neill or Bradley been able to make something of one-on-one opportunities with Hugo. Swan slowly came into the game but despite heavy involvement from John Monterosso, Trent Wood and Nick Tatasciore there was little of concern for Agudelo before the half-time whistle sounded. The resumption saw Swan back on the attack and with an hour played Hughes levelled the game with a glancing header into the bottom corner. Monterosso was unlucky not to put Swan in front with a header which Agudelo deflected away, while in stoppage time a full-stretch Hugo kept out David Houston’s chip shot.
FREMANTLE HAVE TURNED THE CORNER: FUSARI
Fremantle United will push their way to the top of Division Two before the season is out according to club stalwart Fabio Fusari. It was with mixed results that the port side opened the winter campaign but a run of wins has propelled Fremantle to within touching distance of the summit, and with the promise of more to come. “Up until three rounds ago we were running hot and cold, but having now won three games on the trot I feel we have turned the corner,” said Fusari. “Ideally we would like to be placed higher as we have only really been beaten convincingly once, that at home to (leaders) Maddington White City.”
The momentum Fremantle have been building culminated in last weekend’s 4-3 defeat of Quinns, a performance Fusari rates as their best to date. “We’ve played some good football over the last few weeks and it all came together against Quinns,” he commented. “We knew it would be a tight, physical game and the poor pitch condition went against our preferred style of play. But we had a point to prove to ourselves and the rest of the league. Two quick goals in the opening ten minutes and one right after half-time was a sign of our team’s determination to take all three points away. Quinns did peg us back in the second half but our fighting spirit prevailed.”
Fusari, 31, has worn Fremantle’s black and white stripes for the past decade and considers the current squad as good as any he’s been part of. “We have a very talented squad across all three teams – the Reserves are currently unbeaten and top of the table – and a great coaching team led by Jason Smith and Rob McVey,” said the midfielder. “We’ve had a lot of absences this season, we’ve got five players out at the moment with three others just returning from injury, and still Jason is able to put a strong side out each week. Every player has to earn their spot as there are players in the Reserves that deserve to be playing first team.”
The Division Two title race looks like going down to the wire with four teams – Maddington, Quinns, Fremantle and Joondalup City – separated by just four points at the halfway stage. “It shows the quality of each team in the league, no one is considered an easy beat” Fusari said. “Melville City were seen as early title favourites along with ourselves, however, Maddington, Quinns and Joondalup have all come out firing. When you look at those sides you can’t look past Maddington as the current title favourite. They were the only team to convincingly beat us and from all reports they continue to put out a strong squad and get results.”
For Fremantle to stay in the mix they will need to get the better of lowly Forrestfield United on Saturday afternoon. “Forrestfield came from behind to beat us 2-1 earlier in the season so we’ve got a point to prove, and Jason doesn’t tend to let us forget the games where we slipped up,” Fusari commented. “Every game is now a must-win, there is no more room to slip-up. We know what Maddington and the other top sides are capable of so we must keep the pressure on them by winning. We are finally playing to our ability and we love winning at home, if our recent form continues we will be taking all three points on Saturday.”
DUNLOP TO GUIDE GOSNELLS UP THE TABLE
Former State goalkeeper Alan Dunlop has made it his number one priority to get Gosnells City’s season back on track. Dunlop took up the reins at the struggling Division One club last month, replacing Mike Brazil, and the rookie coach says he is ready for whatever challenges the job throws his way. “I’m really excited about being given the first team coaching job,” said Dunlop, who steps up from coach of Gosnells’ youth side “Obviously being bottom of the league isn’t the perfect situation to take on your first head coach role but I’m ready for the challenge of guiding Gosnells back up the table.”
Dunlop is yet to saviour his first win with Gosnells but all signs point towards that changing sooner rather than later. “I’ve been reasonably happy with our performances against Dianella White Eagles and Ashfield,” commented the coach. “We were very competitive against two very strong sides and introduced into the squad some young players, who played very well on the day. I feel we could have taken something out of either game. As a team we need to iron out a few silly errors and improve our concentration, if we can do that then we’ll be picking up points in no time.”
The first half of the season has been a bumpy ride for Gosnells, who have just two wins from thirteen games. “It’s been a mixture of poor performances and bad luck, and the loss of a few important players when results weren’t going our way didn’t help,” explained Dunlop, who has one eye on the future in his promotion of players from within the club. “We have brought in a lot of young players and it will take time for these boys to adjust, but they are improving every week and will really set us up for the next few seasons.”
The goals Dunlop has set for his players over second half of the winter are simple – avoid relegation. “Gosnells is a proud club and our current position on the table is not acceptable. The players know this and know they have to work hard to turn things around,” Dunlop said. “I feel we are positioned well for a great second half to the season. We have added a few players and there is a lot of competition for places. We have a friendly with Perth Glory this weekend, then we have a good run of teams that we are confident that we can take points off to kick-start our season.”
STALLARD CAUGHT IN THE MARINERS NET
Scottish defender Kieron Stallard admits he was torn between being part of Cockburn City’s finals push and the offer of a new challenge with Central Coast Mariners Academy. It was after much soul searching and with a heart that Stallard, 23, opted to go with the latter. “I absolutely loved my time at Cockburn, they are probably the best club I’ve been at in terms of players being looked after and team spirit,” Stallard commented. “I lived with a couple of the boys and was really good mates with most of them so was a hard decision to go somewhere where I knew no one. But it was just too big of an opportunity to miss out on.”
Stallard gained his first start for the Mariners Academy, who are a feeder club to Central Coast Mariners, on the weekend. “I played at centre-back against Sydney United on Saturday, we lost 4-2 but I thought I did well,” said Stallard, who is hopeful of catching the eye of Graham Arnold, coach of the A-League side. “We have eight games left in the season and the Mariners have just started their pre-season. There is an opportunity there, if I do well I’ll at least get to train with them. The fact I am a visa player is a huge stumbling block, but I think they want to have a look at me in the next few weeks so you never know.”
Stallard, who played for Falkirk and Airdrie United in his homeland, wishes Cockburn all the best for the remainder of the season. “We played some of the best football in the league this season. There are some quality players in the squad and I believe they will easily make the finals. I can’t speak highly enough of the club and everyone involved with it,” said Stallard before admitting there is one thing he won’t miss about being a Cockburn player. “In one way I am relieved to be leaving as my sore back will get better not having to carry Eamon McNelis, Paul Lloyd, Conor Kavanagh and Euen Grant through every game.”
DE SILVA HAPPY TO BE WITH GLORY
Teenage sensation Daniel De Silva has confirmed his desire to make a name for himself in Australia before setting his sights on Europe. De Silva set tongues wagging with his glittering displays at the recent under-20 World Cup in Turkey, highlighted by a man-of-the-match effort against Colombia. But the 16-year old is remaining grounded, saying he will consult his family and take guidance from coach Alistair Edwards before heading abroad. “I’m in no rush to go anywhere really,” De Silva said. “I’m happy to play two seasons here with Glory and then we’ll see what happens when I’m 18. We always decide things as a family and Ali’s a great mentor in helping us to make those decisions.”
De Silva is enjoying a break after returning home from Turkey and will resume full training when the Glory squad returns from a pre-season tour of South Africa later this month. The youngster hopes to one day play in Spain’s La Liga but before that happens he knows a regular spot in the line-up is a must. “I want to have a good season with Glory and do my very best, work hard and hopefully score a few goals,” De Silva said. “Obviously I want to be playing every week but it pays off in training. That’s what I really want to work on, train hard and break into the first team and be able to start.”
ROUX SNAPPED UP BY MARINERS
Central Coast Mariner’s squad for season nine of the A-League continues to take shape with the recruitment of Storm Roux. The 20-year old defender is considered one of New Zealand football’s brightest prospects, and joining Central Coast for their title defence has got the former Perth Glory Youth player excited. “I got a big confidence boost when I found out a big club like the Mariners and a coach like Graham Arnold wanted me,” said Roux, who agreed a two-year deal with the club. “I am obviously very excited to be joining the Champions. I’m aiming to establish myself as an A-League player during my time at the club.”
Coach Arnold says the addition of Roux and fellow newcomers Tom Slater are consistent with Central Coast’s successful philosophy of grooming elite young talent for the big stage. “It’s about getting some good young players in and giving the opportunity to young players,” Arnold said. “I watched him (Roux) play against the Australia Under-20 side down in Wollongong and he was excellent.” Roux, who played in all three of New Zealand’s group games at the recent Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, played locally for Sorrento and the National Training Centre before spending three summer with Glory Youth. He made his A-League debut is January’s loss to Brisbane Roar.
SAINSBURY AT HOME WITH THE SOCCEROOS
Most players will go their whole career without tasting grand final glory or have the chance to pull on their national kit but at the age of 21 Trent Sainsbury has achieved many of his football dreams. Three month ago Sainsbury was a major figure in Central Coast Mariner’s first ever A-League Grand Final victory, where his efforts were rewarded with a spot in the Socceroos training camp for the upcoming East Asian Cup. “The call-up was definitely a nice surprise,” said Sainsbury, who stands the verge of his senior international debut. “I found out when I was on holiday in England with my girlfriend. It worked out perfectly for me as I got home, had an hour to pack and then went straight into camp.”
Despite coming straight off some rest and recuperation in Europe, Sainsbury made the most of the chance he was given by coach Holger Osieck. “The camp has been really good. It has been good to see all the boys faces again after a bit of time off and good to get back into things,” the former Armadale junior told footballaustralia.com.au. “It’s been an interesting experience because you go out in the A-League and everyone is your enemy but now you are best mates … You know you need to be at the level of those guys that have been in the Socceroos squad. You have to step up your game, think quicker, play quicker.”
Sainsbury had the opportunity to line up for the Socceroos at youth levels and would relish the chance to step out with the senior side. “Playing for Australia no matter what level is a big achievement,” he said. “I immensely love Australia, I have a tattoo on my back showing my love of the country, and playing for my country was such a proud moment for myself and family and friends. I never thought I’d get back to this stage after having a bit of a rough patch after the under-20s. If I were able to break into the squad and match it with the boys I would be speechless.” Sainsbury has been invited to join this week’s Socceroos training camp in Sydney.
MATILDAS STUN FRANCE
The Matildas finished their European tour with a promising 2-0 win over a highly-fancied France side in the overnight friendly in Angers. The host nation controlled first half possession and created numerous opportunities to go in front but it was Australia that held the advantage thanks to Tameka Butt’s finish late in the period. Australia remained under pressure after the break before substitute Katrina Gorry sealed a memorable victory on the counterattack with twenty minutes to go. West Australian striker Lisa De Vanna was replaced at the break while Katanning-born goalkeeper Lydia Williams made her international return after a 22-month absence by joining the action for the second half.
Australia’s first half goalkeeper Brianna Davey displayed a confidence and experience beyond her 18-years with a series of first half saves. The Matildas unexpected lead arrived after 35 minutes when Butt brilliantly volleyed into the top corner after ‘keeper Sarah Bouhaddi failed to get a hand on Elise Kellond-Knight’s corner. The second half started much like the first and when the hosts gained a penalty just before the hour it seemed Camille Abily would equalise, however, Williams dived low and to her left to keep out the spot kick. So it was against the run of play that Australia doubled their advantage through Gorry’s swerving strike from 25-metres which gave the ‘keeper no chance.
THOMSON DOUBLE SEES OFF BALCATTA
Scottish midfielder Daniel Thomson scored a double in the opening fifteen minutes to help Inglewood United to a 3-1 win against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. The former Heart of Midlothian player was instrumental in the victory, while Andrija Jukic added the third just after half time. New signing Matt Italiano added a consolation goal for the home side, whom had Julian Madaschi sent off late in the game. “We’re still improving and at the right end of the season,” United coach Graham Normanton said. “We’re increasing in confidence and as you know, victories always do that to you. We’ve worked hard at it and the fruits of the labour came today.”
It was a perfect start for the visitors and they were ahead on five minutes. Thomson burst clear, before rounding Alex Dunn, and firing home into an empty net. The home side were struggling to keep tabs on Thomson, and they were punished again on the quarter hour. Jukic played the livewire midfielder in again, and as Balcatta looked for the offside flag that never came, he calmly rounded Dunn and finish with aplomb. The home side, which were missing eight regular starters, held out till half time, but it was soon to get worse.
Ten minutes into the second half it was 3-0. A poor back pass from Madaschi was intercepted by Greg Sharland, and he unselfishly cut the ball back to Jukic who rolled the ball in to the net. Balcatta then came into the game and had the ball in the net on the hour. A corner from Ashley Rosindale was flicked on by Adam Tong, and Chris Thackray bundled the ball home at the back post but the assistant’s flag was raised and the goal was disallowed.
But nine minutes later they did pull one back. Simon Versaico found space down the right and his cross found substitute Italiano who volleyed home from six meters. This was the best spell of the game for the home side; and moments later Tong raced into the penalty area, after a one-two with Rosindale, but Luke Martino produced a smart save to deny him. But their fight back ended on 77 minutes, when they were reduced to ten men. Referee Paul Anderson showing Madaschi a second yellow card, after a clash with United’s David Perich and he was sent off.
STIRLING TAKE TOP SPOT
Stirling Lions claimed top spot in the Premier Division after defeating Bayswater City 1-0 in front of a bumper crowd at Macedonia Park. The only goal of the afternoon arrived just after the hour when Bayswater goalkeeper had the misfortune of deflecting Moses Kalau’s shot into his own net. “It was a real arm wrestle of a game with both teams having long spells of domination,” said Stirling captain Andy Brown. “Both ‘keepers did well to keep the game scoreless at half-time. It was a great performance by the team, a win and a clean sheet that takes us to the top of the ladder.”
An even opening to proceedings delayed the first real chance on goal from arriving until the 20th minutes when Steve Burton found space inside the 18-yard box but his angled strike was taken low by Aleks Vrteski. Ten minutes later Brian Farrell chanced his luck with a powerful drive from distance which deflected off Brown’s boot and wrong-footed Vrteski, who was relieved to see the ball drift past his post. Stirling’s too were pressing and half-time was close when Kalau carved out their best opening, the midfield cutting the ball inside for Gareth McGlynn whose low attempt was pushed onto the post by Spence.
There remained little change after the break. Brown and English veteran Andy Todd were outstanding for the home with Bayswater’s net well-guarded by John Kearney and Andy Reale. Farrell should have done better than head straight at Vrteski in the 55th minute after meeting Todd Howarth’s centre. That miss was punished nine minutes later when Kalau sent the ball in from the left and Spence palmed into his own net. Bayswater wanted a quick reply but hadn’t counted on Vrteski, who showed his quality with a superb save from Burton after the striker was allowed far too much space in the area.
The addition of Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Ross Cosgrove freshened up the visiting attack in Bayswater’s attempt to hold onto top spot. Farrell pulled wide of the target from a good position, then Cosgrove sent the ball past Vrteski only for McGlynn to get back and save the day. Stirling weren’t without their chances but shots on the counterattack from Dean Evans, Kalau and McGlynn failed find their target. The final play of the afternoon had Arnold speed away from the defence but, like his teammates, the striker’s finish was the wrong side of the post.
THOMSON DOUBLE SEES OFF BALCATTA
Scottish midfielder Daniel Thomson scored twice in the opening quarter hour to set-up Inglewood United’s 3-1 over Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Thomson, a former Heart of Midlothian player, was instrumental in the victory which was capped by an Andrija Jukic goal early in the second half. “We’re still improving and at the right end of the season,” said Inglewood coach Graham Normanton after the game. “We’re increasing in confidence and victories always do that to you. We’ve worked hard at it and the fruits of the labour came today.” New signing Matt Italiano grabbed Balcatta’s consolation goal before Julian Madaschi was issued his marching orders.
Inglewood could not have wished for a better start. Just 5 minutes were on the clock when Thomson burst clear and rounded goalkeeper Alex Dunn before tucking in an empty net to leave Balcatta stunned. Thomson was causing no end of problems for the home defence who, ten minutes later, were punished for waiting for an offside flag as the livewire midfielder raced onto a Jukic through ball and again waltzed past Dunn to double the difference. After that the game settled into a pattern of much toing and froing with Balcatta, who were missing eight regulars, the more focused on defensive duties.
The second half had been underway ten minutes when Madaschi’s attempt to back pass was intercepted by Greg Sharland, who unselfishly cut the ball back for Jukic to roll into the net. It was only now that Balcatta came to life and although Chris Thackray bundled the ball in the assistants’ flag was already up. The hosts did manage to pull a goal back on 69 minutes, Simon Versaico picking out substitute Italiano to volley in from 6-metres. Moments later Adam Tong was denied by ‘keeper Luke Martino after playing a one-two with Ashley Rosindale. But hopes of a comeback were ended with Madaschi’s 77th minute dismissal for a second yellow card.
SALTER BACK ON THE TABLE AT ARMADALE
Armadale made the most of their chances to claim a 3-0 victory over Perth SC from a game of very few opportunities at Dorrien Gardens. A goal in each half by Jack Salter set the Reds down the road to success before defender Ashley Corker confirmed a miserable days at the office for Perth by turning into his own net. “Goals change games, and that is what happened today,” said Armadale coach Lee Bamber before acknowledging Salter’s influence. “We have missed him, he had been out for a while … his goals, we have missed his goals.”
Perth saw the better of possession across the first half with Antonio Naglieri influential in the centre as Friday Zico and Frank Furfaro provided pace out wide. But the first shot in anger was fired by Salter who stung teenager Dom Savodelli’s gloves after 11 minutes. The home side resumed the attack but other than a Liam Boland headers which came back off the post goalkeeper Ellis Hawksworth remained untroubled. Armadale’s were hitting on the counterattack and in the 28th minute that ploy worked a treat with Salter heading into the bottom corner from Rhys Loxley’s looping cross.
The second half was barely 30 seconds old when Boland’s bullet-like head flashed past the junction of post and crossbar from Furfato’s cross. Five minutes later Salter demonstrated how it’s done by expertly heading into the corner of Savodelli’s net from Ian Maguire’s precision delivery. Furfato continued to cause problems down the right and from one attacking foray Kris Gate drilled wide. That was one of the few occasions Perth got the ball into the 18-yard box without it being intercepted by Billy Quinncroft or Nathan Costello, who were superb in dealing with any danger.
The result was made safe with nine minutes to go when Corker stabbed in under pressure from Loxley as the pair tussled for Jamie Newby’s low diagonal ball into the area. Perth refused to surrender. A Naglieri corner was met Boland whose towering header cannoned back off the bar and substitute David Onoforo’s close-range follow-up was blocked by Sam Loveless. The game was four minutes into stoppage time when Onoforo tapped back for Gate whose vicious shot brought a sharp response from Hawksworth. It was smiles all round in the Reds camp shortly after when the sounding of the final whistle.
O’BRIEN SHINES AS COCKBURN BRING DOWN SORRENTO
Young gun Harry O’Brien played the starring role in Cockburn City’s 5-1 thrashing of Sorrento at Dalmatinac Park. O’Brien, who recently turned 19, scored twice and set up goals for Ian McMurray and Conor Kavanagh with the Cockerels remainder being an own goal by Craig Robson, who had given Sorrento an early lead. “They had a number of players out today, but they did take the lead early,” commented Cockburn captain Paul Natale. “Credit to the lads, once we levelled I thought we dominated the game. Our midfield was excellent and Harry was outstanding.”
Cockburn opened brightly with Matt Salmon placing just wide and Eamon McNelis hitting the post. So it was against the run of play that Sorrento who an 8th minute lead via a Gavin Knight free-kick which Robson who headed past goalkeeper Luke Stonebridge. The momentum was now with Sorrento and a few minutes later Knight rattled the crossbar with a vicious strike. It took a while for Cockburn to regain their composure before parity was restored in the 22nd minute by Robson, who had the misfortune of slicing Devon Gibson’s cross past his own ‘keeper.
With this Cockburn swung into action. On the half hour McMurray delivered the ball into the 18-yard box where Salmon flashed just wide of the far post. O’Brien stepped up to the plate four minutes out from the break, cutting in from the right to lash low through a crowded goalmouth and past Aspden to put the visitors in front for the first time. There was worse to come for Sorrento as O’Brien jinxed past a couple of opponents before turning provider for McMurray, who made no mistake after breaking free of the a square defence.
The second half was all one-way traffic with Cockburn by far the dominant force. O’Brien should have had his second goal but blazed high after pouncing on Danny Cain’s under-hit back pass. That miss was forgotten just after the hour when O’Brien’s sweetly struck half-volley flew into the top corner of Aspden’s net. Sorrento were struggling to make inroads against a well-organised backline with a couple of Knight half chances the closest they came. Cockburn’s fifth goal arrived with nine minutes to go, O’Brien sending a low ball to Kavanagh who made no mistake hitting the target at close-range.
HEAGNEY BRACE SINKS JOONDALUP
Floreat Athena coach Chris Barbas feels there is still work to be done despite Floreat Athena carving out a 2-1 win at ECU Joondalup. David Heagney netted twice for the away side before Jon Higgins reduced the deficit late, and while the result stretched Floreat’s unbeaten run to nine games Barbas wasn’t entirely happy with the performance. “It was pity we couldn’t continue our first half effort in the second,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “I warned the boys at half-time not to be complacent and go out in the second half the same, but something went wrong in the second half which was disappointing.”
It was a tight opening and the first chance came the way of the home side after 8 minutes when Charlie Comyn-Platt’s back post header was saved by goalkeeper Brad Eiffe. Two minutes later and with their first foray forward, Floreat took the lead. Callum Fransz’s long diagonal ball sent Heagney racing down the right to curl his shot up and over Andy Banks. Joondalup’s position worsened twelve minutes later with Heagney adding a second goal, firing in after good work down the left by Benny Kouakou. Joondalup pressed late in the half and Andy Higgins’ shot from distance flashed wide of the target.
It was only after the addition of Genaveo Human and Tanner Selyer early in the second period that Joondalup really began to spark. Tanner had a shot deflected wide by Fransz, and from the resulting corner Ryan Townsend headed wide. A 70th minute Floreat counterattack almost ended the game, Cisco Jorquera crashing into the crossbar from 16-metres. Joondalup gained a lifeline in the 78th minute when Jon Higgins curled a free-kick from wide on the right into the top corner. Further opening presented at either end of the park but substitute Scott Blackmore nodded just wide for the hosts before Heagney drilled last and post the post in stoppage time.
BUNBURY HOME AT LAST
Bunbury Forum Force picked up their first home win of the season with a 2-0 defeat of the National Training Centre. Returning striker Matt Spurling opened the hosts account with Steve Howson sealing victory on a sunny but bitterly cold afternoon. “I was just in the right spot at the right time, it was a bit fortunate with a bit of luck involved,” Spurling said of his first goal since rejoining Bunbury from Floreat Athena. “We kept our shape and the discipline at the back was good today … we deserved the win.”
Spurling needed just 17 minutes to make his mark by side-footing in at close-range from Liam Hutchinson’s free-kick. Lawrence Shuruma threatened to equaliser six 23 minutes later but shot straight at goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Bunbury quickly reasserted themselves with Jon Brooks and Chris Blackburn both having shots cleared off the line by Jacob Collard. Spurling was denied by Jordan Franken following good approach work from Brooks and Oliver McGee, and just before the break Howson’s chip drifted agonisingly wide of the target.
Bunbury continued to take the game up to their young opponents after the turnaround. Franken was at full-stretch in keeping out Spurling’s attempt, which came about good work by Ryan Francis. It was only ever a matter of time before the margin was doubled and on 69 minutes substitute Jayden Prosser sent clear Howson who slotted into an empty net after rounding Franken. Bunbury had several more opportunities to add to their account but at the end of the day coach Trent Hathaway was just happy to come out with all the points.
BARNETT DOUBLE GETS UWA THREE VALUABLE POINTS
UWA-Nedlands pulled away from the foot of Division One with this afternoon’s 4-2 victory over fellow strugglers Swan United at McGilvray Oval. Aaron Barnett opened and closed the scoring for the home side with Mark Cahill and Kyle King also hitting the target to move UWA four points clear of last place. “It was must-win game for us as we needed to push away from the teams around us,” commented Barnett, who feels the win owed as much to a solid defensive unit as the goals scored. “Tom Sellers and Tommy O’Connor, our centre back pairing, were solid as a rock and goalkeeper Ranjeet Singh made some great saves.”
A scrappy first half was punctuated only by Barnett’s opening goal just before the hour half, the attacker finishing into the bottom corner after meeting Jack Rycroft’s cross from the right. It was with their focus sharpened that the teams returned to the field for the second half. UWA doubled their advantage soon after the hour with substitute King delivering the ball deep into the 18-yard box where Cahill finish well across goalkeeper Corey Hugo. It took only a few minutes for Swan to hit back through Mark Miraudo’s through ball which Nicolas Tatasciore chipped over Singh.
Swan were now in the ascendency and although John Monterosso found the net it counted for nothing due to an offside flag. With this UWA swung back into action. A quick break orchestrated by Brian Maybin put the ball with King, who raced clear and rounded Hugo before finishing into the net. Again Swan wasted little time in replying, Hugo launching a long ball which cleared the defence and was motored onto by Tatasciore to stroke into the bottom corner. There were only a few minutes left when Barnett fired converted a penalty, awarded for a foul on Andrea Terni, to get UWA just their third win of the season.
PHELAN STARS IN DIANELLA WIN
Irish import Robbie Phelan scored twice and set-up another to guide Dianella White Eagles to a 4-2 home triumph over Gosnells City. The early action was plentiful with Wade Farmer’s shot blocked by Jon Stripe and Phelan’s long-range strike having goalkeeper Struan Herd at full-stretch. Dianella grabbed the lead via a quick attack in which Phelan tamed a high ball and released Abdul Sesay to fire into the top corner of Herd’s net. The Gosnells custodian was seeing more of the ball than he wanted, capturing a looping Ibrahim Hamad header and watching Milan Vulin flash wide. The referee’s consultation with his assistant six minutes from the break led to the awarding of a penalty to Dianella, which Phelan converted for a two-nil lead.
Feisal Zaw came on at the break with immediate effect for Gosnells, the attacker felled inside the 18-yard box with Luke McCord making no mistake from the spot. The hour had just passed when Dianella’s two-goal buffer was restored, the away defence failing to respond to a Sesay cross before Phelan stabbed into the net. Any hopes Gosnells held of a comeback were snuffed out twelve minutes later when Thomas Gooding slotted past Herd’s out-stretched arms after meeting a ball in from Branimir Radinovic. Dianella continued to turn the screws and Hamad was unlucky not to add another to the tally. Gosnells flickered back into life late and with four minutes to go Ali Paredes netting after cutting in from the left.
CANNING COME BACK AFTER MORLEY LOSE KEEPER
Morley Windmills coach Jason Van Rooy was left to lament what might have been after Canning City scored twice in the second half to claim a 2-1 win at Wotton Reserve. The home side went ahead through Gavin Brady only to suffer a major blow when goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo forced out by injury. Canning capitalised in the second half with Paul Van Dongen and Michael Van Dongen sending the ball past stand-in ‘keeper Andy O’Neill. “Considering we had an outfield player in goals for the second half, the lads did well,” said Van Rooy. “We were extremely unlucky to not come away with the win, unfortunately the incident with our ‘keeper changed the game.”
Chances came and went for both teams before Brady broke the deadlock with a superb finish into the top corner from 20-metres after 34 minutes. The turning point arrived ten minutes later, Agudelo injured in a collision with a team mate and with no replacement on the bench O’Neill took over between the posts. Morley defender resolutely after the restart but eventually the pressure eventually proved too great. On 61 minutes Daniel Neiderberger weaved his way to the line and pulled back for Paul Van Dongen to tap in the equaliser. Two minutes later Michael Van Dongen volleyed in from the top corner of the 18-yard box after meeting Sam Carrello’s quick throw to determine the outcome.
KNIGHTS UNDONE AS WANNEROO’S RUN CONTINUES
Wanneroo City stretched their unbeaten run to nine games with a 3-2 defeat of Western Knights at Wanneroo Reserve. Rowdy Yates, Scott Bushby and veteran Stuart Montgomery finished into the net to keep Wanneroo in third spot, two points behind the leaders. “We have a team that’s fighting for each other,” commented Wanneroo coach David Tough, who feels an improved discipline record has played a big part in their revival. “Every game we played we got beat at start of the year (and) we would have a player or two players sent off.” The Knights, for whom Jamie Ricks and Julian Teles scored, slip to fifth spot on the back of successive losses and seemingly out of title contention.
The home side were quick to gain the upper hand but a combination of poor finishing and goalkeeper Alfie Brincat denied them an early lead. As it was they did hit the front midway through the half when Garin Collins’ long diagonal pass found Yates, who outmuscled his marker and advanced inside the 18-yard box before lifting into the roof of the net from an acute angle. Galvanised into action, the Knights returned fire in the 26 minute, Ricks’ restoring parity by lashing into the bottom corner of Clint Davies’ net after speeding onto a through ball. Wanneroo continued to carve out chances with the best being a David Timmins header which flashed just high from Yates’ corner.
Wanneroo got the goal they were after five minutes into the second half when Bushby took one touch and blasted in from 5-metres after Yates laid off Collins ball to the far post. This was followed by a period of sustained pressure from the Knights but no matter how hard they tried there was no way past Davies. A 74th minute Wanneroo counterattack looked to have made the game safe, Guy McDonald playing an inch-perfect reverse path in to the path of Montgomery whose clever flick with the outside of his boot snuck under the advancing ‘keeper and inside the far corner. But six minutes Teles ensured the crowd would remain on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle by tapping in at close-range.
SHAMROCK, MANDURAH SHARE THE SPOILS
Michael Lawson hit the target just minutes from the final whistle to earn Shamrock Rovers a 2-2 draw from a bruising encounter with Mandurah City at Harold Rossiter Park. Paul Concannon and Matt Stares featured prominently in an early tussle for midfield ascendency from which the hosts slowly emerged with the upper hand. Defender Shane Cassidy opened their account after 22 minutes with a looping header into the top corner. Mandurah’s response was swift but it took until a few minutes before half-time for the equaliser to arrive via Blake Diggins, who fired in at close-range after goalkeeper Joshua Shepperd failed to hold Craig Simms’ free-kick.
Shamrock were quick to reassert themselves after the break but were left frustrated time and time again by a stubborn defence. So it was against the run of play, and with a good deal of luck, that Mandurah gained the lead on the hour when Monty Grigo headed in at close-range following a series of goalmouth deflections. The home side continued to push forward with Lawson and Charlie Kenna leading the way. The persistence paid off with eight minutes remaining, Lawson powering in at close-range at the third attempt after Tom Straker blocked two previous shots. Ciaran Byrne twice went close to snatching Shamrock victory but on both occasions David Keenan proved equal to the challenge.
THREE IS ENOUGH FOR ASHFIELD
Ashfield were made to work hard before returning from Lark Hill Sportsplex with a 3-1 win over Rockingham City. The scrappy nature of the early exchanges ensured a constant turnover of possession and nothing in the way of clear cut opportunities on goal. That began to change midway through the half when, in the space of a few minutes, David Gordon called Richard Lacey into action for the first time before Rafael Insaurralde bounced a long-range effort off the crossbar. Rockingham were enjoying the better of play but it was Ashfield who looked more likely to score with Darryl Warren and Karl O’Reilly testing Lacey. The visitors’ persistence was rewarded in the 37th minute when O’Rielly’s first time strike from 20-metres was too good for Lacey.
Ashfield were quick in returning to the attack after the break. Just before the hour a back-tracking Lacey was ruled to have carried the ball over the line after catching Tom Kennedy’s speculative effort from 30-metres. Rockingham responded by bringing Thabiso Ncube off the bench and within minutes the lively striker had the ball in the back of the net after out-pacing the defence. Spurred on, the hosts pressed to get back on level terms and Insaurralde almost delivered with a long-range shot that crashed into the bar. Luke Woodfin then came to the rescue with a stunning save to keep out Ncube’s vicious shot. The game wasn’t put out of the hosts reach until the 85th minute with Warren latching onto a deflected through ball and calmly placing past Lacey.
SUBIACO WHIP MELVILLE
A depleted Melville City had no answers to a rampant Subiaco AFC outfit which triumphed 4-0 on a warm winter’s afternoon at Rosalie Park. The home team made the best start possible, Frank Galvin swinging a dead ball over the defensive wall and into the net from 20-metres, only 5 minutes after kick-off. Ger Fitzgerald looked set to increase the difference when he rounded goalkeeper Elliot Duncan but Jack Haldane was back in time to clear off the line. Frank Galvin provided the hosts’ second with a glancing header at the near post from a John Molloy corner. Melville were by this stage sparking and soon before half-time had every right to feel aggrieved after the referee ignored calls for a penalty when David Palin was felled.
Melville returned to the field swinging but the closest they came to pulling a goal were long-range efforts by Palin and Aaron Bahadori, neither of which bothered the ‘keeper. The result was effectively sealed when Fitzgerald broke away from his marker and squeezed the ball past Duncan’s out-stretched gloves. Even so, Melville continued to press. Mark Howell came within inches of scoring one of the goals of the season by driving the full length of the pitch, evading a trio of challenges along the way, before drilling just wide of the mark. Rory McGowan completed a good day at the office for Subiaco by steering into the bottom corner from Molloy’s free-kick. Despite getting the win Subiaco stay in fifth spot as Melville languish at the bottom of Division Two.
LONG JOURNEY NORTH PROVES WORTHWHILE FOR FREMANTLE
Fremantle United returned home from the northern suburbs with maximum points after downing Quinns 4-3 at Gumblossom Park. Nathan Findlater, Joe Middleton, Ben West and Sam Ambrogio found the back of the net for the port side on a pitch that coach Jason Smith rated as below sub-standard. “It’s not a surface that you can really play football on but we handled the conditions fairly well,” said Smith. “The scoreline did not reflect the balance of play and dominance that we showed but it’s more about collecting the points.” The points gained move Fremantle level with Quinns and Joondalup City in second spot, four points behind Division Two leaders Maddington White City.
Fremantle signalled their intention with Sam Smith flashing an early shot across the face of goal. It wasn’t long after that the visitors hit the front, Andrew Ambrogio driving a dead ball to the far post where Findlater rose strongly to nod in. Quinns goalkeeper Daniel McAinish remained under fire with Middleton, Craig Christie and Sam Smith raining down shots. There was a brief moment of respite when Gareth Davies broke away but his effort was palmed away by Carlos Bervenotti. Fremantle resumed the attack through Middleton, who danced his way in from the left to curl past the ‘keeper and into the net via the far post for a two-nil lead at the break.
An early second half free-kick gave Fremantle a third goal, Andrew Ambrogio delivering the ball to the far post where Findlater nodded back across goal for a diving Ben West to complete the training ground move. With this Quinns finally awoke from their slumber. Arran Maplestone pounced on a stray mass in the middle of the park to stroke into the bottom corner and the same player brought it back to a single goal difference by converting a soft penalty. Sam Ambrogio killed off the hosts hopes of salvaging a point by lashing in after starting a move down the right which also featured Marc Sim and Christie. The game was deep in stoppage time when Quinns conjured a third goal, Davies heading in unmarked at the back post.
KWINANA GIVES GLORY A GOOD WORK-OUT
Perth Glory opened their pre-season campaign by defeating Sunday League side Kwinana United 3-0 in front of 1000 fans at Kelly Park in Medina. Brazilian triallist Sidnei Sciola Moraes had the A-League club in front before the break after which Steven McGarry and Shane Smeltz also found the net against a spirited Kwinana line-up. “We’ve only had three training sessions and the players got two sets of 40 minutes today which made this a really important part of our pre-season,” said Glory coach Alistair Edwards, who praised the efforts of home goalkeeper Chad Freund. “He was outstanding … we might have to have a look at him.”
Freund announced himself after just 8 minutes by diving full-length to keep out a Smeltz penalty after Chris Harold had been upended in the 18-yard box. Moraes got the breakthrough after 16 minutes by outpacing the defence and sliding his shot inside the far corner. Smeltz could have doubled the different just before the half hour but Freund again foiled the New Zealand international. The second half was just three minutes old when McGarry pounced at close-range to put away Glory’s second goal after being picked out by Smeltz. With fifteen minutes to go Smeltz finally got the goal he craved, the striker dancing his way inside the area and calmly stroking past the advancing ‘keeper.
NAGAI EXTENDS GLORY STAY
Japanese winger Ryo Nagai will return to Perth Glory for the 2013/14 season after the club agreed to a season-long loan deal with J-League outfit Cerezo Osaka. Nagai made 17 appearances for Glory last season, playing a key role in the club’s late surge into the A-League finals, and coach Alistair Edwards is confident the former Japan youth international will again come up with the good this coming summer. “I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to bring Ryo back to the club for the whole of next season,” Edwards said. “Ryo finished last season extremely well and became very much a crowd favourite. From the time myself and (assistant coach) Gareth (Naven) came in, he improved with each game.”
Nagai, 22, had been the subject of a tug-of-war between Glory and Cerezo since returning to Japan at the end of last season. Cerezo were willing to loan Nagai to Glory again this season, but wanted the player to return to Japan in February, well before the end of the A-League campaign. “Ryo himself loves it here and he’s the one who really pushed for the move,” Edwards said. “I explained the situation to him and he really wanted to come back. He knows it’s a great place for him to be at this stage of his football development and he loves life in Perth as well.” Nagai returned to Perth from Japan during the week and joined his team-mates for pre-season training yesterday.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All roads lead to Macedonia Park tomorrow for the top-of-the-table clash between Stirling Lions and Bayswater City. Stirling trails the leaders by two points and Aleks Vrteski is well aware his team cannot afford to falter. “Bayswater are the team to beat this season, they seem to comfortably get results, and we need to be on top of our game,” said the Stirling custodian. “We will approach the game like we do each week and are confident we will come away with the right result.” New signing Andy Todd is expected to make his home debut for Stirling, who has Gareth McGlynn available following suspension.
Bayswater won the early season meeting of these clubs by a single goal and Devon Spence is tipping the return tie to be just as close. “Every game in this league is tough and if you don’t turn up with the right attitude you can get beat,” said Spence. “We will be looking to regain our buffer at the top of the table, but we know they are a good side and we will have to be at our best.” Gustavo Catarcione is doubtful with a knee injury whereas ankle problems will prevent Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Trent Kay from taking to the field.
Saul Contera has plenty to think about ahead of his teams’ fourth successive home game, this one against Inglewood United. New recruit Matt Italiano is expected to come straight into the eleven and 16-year old Sean Troup is also knocking on the door, however, not all the news is good with Matt Adam Bachiller, Simon Elton-Bott, John Migas and Ben Say unavailable. Inglewood will be without Michael Baczynski through injury but coach Graham Normanton has plenty of replacements with David Perich, James Sammut and Koji Yamada back in contention.
Sorrento must take home all the points from Cockburn City if they’re serious about finishing top of the table according to striker Anthony Skorich. “If we keep our winning league run going then I feel we can still find ourselves being number one for the season,” Skorich commented. “We still have Bayswater and Stirling to play so beating Cockburn will be a small stepping stone on getting there.” Sorrento head south without Brodie Martin (injury), Steve McDonald (suspension) and Todd Harnwell (suspension), whereas Cockburn are missing Euan Grant (suspension) but gain newly signed Moe Atak.
Floreat Athena are tipped to claim victory from their game at ECU Joondalup. Attack-minded David Caine is in consideration for the hosts after his shock move from Western Knights, but an ankle complaint will keep Ryan Lowry on the sidelines. Perth SC boss Taki Nicolaidis will take an unchanged line-up into the game at Dorrien Gardens against Armadale, who regain the services of defender Billy Quinncroft. The National Training Centre makes the long trip south to play Bunbury Forum Force. All six Premier Division games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Wanneroo City’s eight-game unbeaten stretch is in danger of ending when they host a Western Knights outfit still smarting from a last minute loss last time out. “Our confidence is high due to our unbeaten streak but we know the Knights are a very good team who, until recently, were on a bit of a run themselves,” said Wanneroo attacker Garin Collins. “It will be a game with a bit of everything, both teams can play great football but can mix it physically too. I think it will be an exciting game to watch and, hopefully, one that we come out on top.”
The return of captain Alan Carroll and goalkeeper Struan Herd has given Gosnells City a big boost ahead of the trip to Dianella White Eagles. Thierry Bernard comes back in but Chol Laul is suspended for Morley Windmills’ home fixture with Canning City, where Simon Correia, Emlyn Whetnall and Dean Apelgren are knocking on the selection door. Mandurah City captain Craig Young is suspended for the trip to Shamrock Rovers, who are unbeaten in seven games. Home coach John O’Reilly has a few selection headaches with Will Pender and David Murphy back from injury.
Three valuable points are up for grabs at McGilvray where Division One strugglers UWA-Nedlands and Swan United come face-to-face. Tom Sellers and Mark Cahill have key roles to play at opposite ends of the park for the home side, likewise Corey Hugo and John Monterosso for the black and whites. New signing Marlon Ramirez could go straight into the starting eleven for Rockingham City’s Lark Hill Sportsplex date with Ashfield. Rockingham have won two of their last three games but with Brendan Birney (holiday), Ryan Kennedy (back) and Thabiso Ncube (knee) unavailable it looks like being a long afternoon. All six Division One games, Saturday and Sunday, kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Saturday provides Melville City a perfect opportunity to move off the bottom of Division Two in the form of an away game with Subiaco AFC. “This league is very competitive, all the teams are capable of taking points off each other and a run of good results could see us move up the table quite quickly,” said Melville’s David Palin, whose team defeat Subiaco 4-1 earlier in the season. “The commitment and attitude of the players is good and our young players are growing with experience every week so, hopefully, we will see our fortunes change in the near future.”
Top-of-the-table Maddington White City have Peter Wile, Sahar Konomanyi and new signing Okwy Diamondstar coming into the squad for their home clash with Kingsway Olympic, who are without Josh Rolls (away), Alistair Blair (back) and Liam Hurley (illness). Second-placed Quinns have home ground advantage against fourth-placed Fremantle United, who head into the weekend without Andrew Morrow (suspension), Angus Vos (suspended), Fletcher Tracy (overseas) and goalkeeper Harry McCann (ankle). Danny Beattie and Neal Jones are available for selection when third-placed Joondalup City visit Forrestfield United. All four Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
ARMADALE ARE READY TO RISE SAYS CASTRILLI
Defender Mitch Castrilli feels it is only a matter of time before Armadale rediscover their early season form and starting climb the Premier Division ladder. The Reds began the home and away series with a bang, taking maximum points from their first two games, but it’s since been slim pickings with the eastern corridor club picking up just a single win in a dozen outings. Despite his teams’ slide down the standings, Castrilli remains confident things are about to change. “If we play more like the way we did against Sorrento on the weekend then we’ll start to move up,” explained the defender.
Castrilli is referring, of course, to the spirited performance Armadale turned in last weekend at Sorrento. Unfortunately, that strong showing was undone by a series of defensive lapses which allowed the home team to run our 3-0 winners. “That scoreline is not a fair reflection on the game. We played very well and were on top for long periods but just couldn’t punish them,” said Castrilli. “When you consider the players we were missing and the fact we had a very young side out there I think there were a lot of positives we could take … we definitely deserved a point.”
Armadale’s poor run has them sitting in ninth position, just four above last place, with two thirds of the season played. “Our position on the ladder is reasonably fair but, saying that, we had had a lot of trouble with injury,” conceded Castrilli, who feels Armadale can be more than a match for anyone on their day. “When we have a full squad we can give any team a run for their money. Our strength this year is our determination, the whole squad is filled with players that are willing to put their body on the line to get as much out of the game that they can.”
Castrilli recognises that steely determination will need to be at the fore when Armadale visits Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. “Perth SC are very hard to play at their place, but if we apply ourselves right we are definitely in with a chance of taking home the three points,” said Castrilli. “I’m very confident that we can do that, we always lift when the going gets tough and lately we have been playing some very good football. Our goal is to make the top five but to do that we need to turn things around, and I can’t think of a better place to start that than at Perth.”
KWINANA HOST GLORY IN PRE-SEASON OPENER
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards will take a trip down memory lane when Perth Glory steps out against Kwinana United this weekend. In a move that illustrates the clubs’ ongoing commitment to engaging with the local football community, Glory take on the team Edwards’ played for as a junior before embarking on a sparkling career highlighted by 19 ‘A’ appearances for Australia. “It’s a place which has very fond memories for me,” said the Glory boss. “The house where I grew up was literally three houses behind Thomas Oval where Kwinana play, so that was basically my back garden.”
Kwinana president Luke Higgins is delighted at the prospect of hosting Glory at Kelly Park, Medina, on Saturday. “It is fantastic to see Alistair bringing Perth Glory to Kwinana and returning to the club where his career all began,” said Higgins. “It’s sure to be a great day not only for Kwinana United, but also the local community. We hope to see a big crowd cheering on both teams and make this day a great success for all involved. There’ll be bouncy castles, face painting and small-sided games as well as giveaways and player signings throughout the day.”
Edwards says Saturday’s friendly, which kicks off at 2.00pm, is all about engaging with the local football community. “All the top clubs in Europe do exactly the same thing in terms of their first week back in pre-season training. Instead of us having a session at our regular training ground, we’re going out and having a training session that incorporates playing a community team … The main point is to get out and about and show some gratitude to the community clubs and grassroots football.” The family activities, including memorabilia and merchandise signings by Glory players, commences at 11.00am on Saturday.
APELGREN READY TO STEP OUT AFTER LENGTHY INJURY BATTLE
A three-year battle with injury is fast coming to an end for one-time State player Dean Apelgren. One of the stars of the State League last decade, Apelgren tasted considerable success with Fremantle City, Inglewood United and Floreat Athena before an unfortunate series of foot, knee and back injuries brought his career to a grinding halt in 2010. Now back to full fitness, the defensive midfielder is understandably thrilled to have made his playing return for Canning City last weekend. “I’m excited to be out on the park, I’m just happy to be playing at all,” said Apelgren.
Apelgren, 28, ended a two-year absence from the playing arena by stepping out in Canning’s 2-2 reserve team draw with UWA-Nedlands on the weekend. “I got through about 70 minutes in the centre of the park and felt quite good considering it was my first game for just over two years,” he said. “I’m still a little way off where I’d like to be personally, but that level is within reach. My first goal was to get back out onto the park. From here I just want to work my way into the first team and enjoy playing as many consecutive games as possible.”
It was the early stages of the 2010 that Apelgren’s injury woes began. “I broke my foot, specifically the fifth metatarsal, when I was at Floreat. It required an operation to have a screw placed inserted and a bone graft, that kept my out for a year,” reflected Apelgren, who was with Perth SC when disaster again struck in June 2011. “I’d been back a couple of months when I tore my ACL, and also tore my LCL and my hamstring off the bone playing against the National Training Centre. I recovered from that but battled on-going foot pain and back fractures.”
Apelgren had always planned on returning to the playing arena this year so when Canning came calling, he answered. “The Van Dongen boys (Paul and Michael) are good friends of mine and they had been asking me to come down for a while. I had little interest from Premier Division sides and couldn’t see myself playing for another Division One side,” explained Apelgren, who has nothing but praise for Canning’s co-coaches. “They’ve assembled such a competitive side on a small to non-existent budget and have got the right type of players for the style they want to play.”
Morley Windmills are likely to experience the full force of Canning when the side meet at Wotton reserve on Saturday afternoon. “The boys almost seemed a little down after the game against UWA, we won but the playing group felt they could have done a bit more,” commented Apelgren, who views every game from now as a must-win for his club. “We’re equal top and need to keep winning to keep pressure on (joint leaders) Dianella White Eagles and, hopefully, add some space between ourselves and the rest of the pack … I’m confident we’ll come out firing this weekend.”
TROUP ON VERGE OF BALCATTA BREAKTHROUGH
Teenage defender Shaun Troup is in the mix for his Balcatta first team debut when his club hosts Inglewood United this weekend. Troup’s form for the youth team was rewarded with a spot on the bench last week and, if selected on Saturday, he’s focused on making a lasting impression. “I’ve started to come into form and was delighted when elevated to the first team squad,” said Troup. “I’m hoping to make my starting debut for the first team this week. I’ve work hard at training and putting in the effort and hope it’s enough to get the nod.”
Saul Contera has been delighted with what he has seen so far of Troup. “We watched Shaun in the 18’s earlier in the season and were impressed with ability, and decided to bring him into the first team squad at training,” commented the Balcatta coach. “We have some quality players coming through the ranks at the club, and I believe if you’re good enough it doesn’t matter how old you are. Technically Shaun is absolute class. He is good on the ball, very composed and his decision making for a 17-year old is very impressive.”
Scotland-born Troup started his football journey with his local club, Ellon Meadows, at the age of 5. His skills were honed through six years in Celtic’s youth development squad and a few more in the same clubs’ academy set-up before his family relocated down under. “Playing for the Celtic Youth Academy and completing in tournaments for them was amazing,” said the young defender. “I moved to Australia as a 12-year old and played for Rockingham City, I made my made my first team debut last season as a 16-year old.”
It may have been month since Balcatta last savoured victory but Troup is adamant he can play a part in bringing down Inglewood on Saturday. “It’s a big game and if we play well and do things right, then we can get the three points,” said Troup. “The first team and Saul have been great, they’ve made me feel welcome and have really encouraged me. Training is always a challenge as the players are pushing me to improve … I feel the standard and intensity of training with the first team made me a better player, and that will help come match day.”
NPL CLUBS REVEALED
footballwa.net can reveal exclusively which clubs have applied for the National Premier Leagues WA. Football West received 24 separate applications to enter the NPL which, from next year, replaces the State League as top tier of local football. It has been confirmed all twelve existing Premier Division clubs have thrown their hats into the rings along with seven clubs from Division One, four clubs from Division Two and one club from the Sunday League.
The 20 applicants for next year's inaugural NPL are Armadale, Balcatta, Bayswater City, Bunbury Forum Force, Canning City, Cockburn City, ECU Joondalup, Floreat Athena, Fremantle United/East Fremantle (joint), Inglewood United, Maddington White City, Mandurah City, Perth SC, Perth Glory/National Training Centre, Rockingham City, Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Subiaco AFC, Swan United and Western Knights. An additional four clubs – Ashfield, Ellenbrook, Quinns and Shamrock Rovers – have put their hands up for the proposed NPL expansion in 2016.
MCLAREN SIGNS ON FOR GLORY
Young Socceroos forward Jamie Maclaren will join his international team mates Daniel De Silva and Jack Duncan at Perth Glory next season. Maclaren, 19, joins Glory in search of regular first team football following four seasons in the academy and reserve teams at English club Blackburn Rovers. “I’m thrilled to be joining Perth Glory for the next three years,” said Maclaren, who expected to play an attacking role in behind Shane Smeltz. “I learnt a lot in England, but ultimately, at this stage of my career, I’d love the opportunity to be playing regular first team football.”
Coach Alistair Edwards says the capture of Maclaren is a genuine coup for his club. “I’m absolutely delighted that Jamie has chosen to sign for Perth Glory,” said Edwards. “He clearly feels that he can progress with us and his signing is another clear indication that our club is establishing itself as a place where the best young Australian talent will be given the opportunity to play regular first team football and develop. He’s equally comfortable playing in a central position or out wide and I’m sure he’ll prove to be a major asset for Perth Glory going forward.”
Maclaren rejected overtures from a host of European and Australian clubs before putting pen to paper with Glory. “(Coach) Alistair Edwards was a major factor in my decision to join Perth and I believe he’ll help develop my football at club level which will hopefully allow me to fulfil my ambition to keep progressing through the national team setup,” commented Maclaren, who will arrive in Perth in time for their pre-season tour of South Africa. “I’ve got plenty of hard work ahead of me and now I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates and beginning pre-season.”
Melbourne-born Maclaren featured for Sunbury United and Green Gully, along with the Victorian Institute of Sport, before joining Blackburn at the tender age of 15. He flourished in the full-time environment of Ewood Park, rising up through the ranks to top the goalscoring charts for the club’s academy side last season. Maclaren made his international in last year's Under-19 AFC Championship qualifiers in which he bagged a memorable hat-trick against Indonesia. It was his impressive efforts within the Australia set-up that first brought him to the attention of Edwards, then coach of the national youth team.
A-LEAGUE AN OPTION FOR FULHAM’S WILLIAMS
Fulham winger Ryan Williams is contemplating an A-League move as way of igniting his English career. Williams, 19, has a year to run on his contract at the Premier League club but a lack of first team opportunities last season has prompted the former ECU Joondalup youngster to consider his options. “I love Australia and the A-League has gone through the roof, there’s loads of (overseas) clubs watching so it’s something I’m thinking pretty strongly about,” said Williams. “I spoke to Fulham and we think the best thing for me to do is go on loan, so we are just having a look around to see what’s available and who needs what.”
GRANT HOPEFUL OF CAREER TURNABOUT WITH STOKE
For the second time in his young career, Alex Grant has joined an English Premier League club on the verge of dramatic change. Grant, 19, recently ended three frustrating seasons at Portsmouth by signing on with Stoke City for the 2013/14 campaign. And although the Potters have since replaced manager of seven years Tony Pulis with Mark Hughes, Grant remains hopeful that this change will be for the better. “They’ve got a new manager in and he wants to take things forward with the youth side of things,” Grant told Nick Rynne of the ‘West Australian’. “Hopefully he has good intentions and can bring a few of the young lads through. We’ll just have to see how it goes, take the time and focus.”
Grant played his formative years at ECU Joondalup before taking up a two-year scholarship at Portsmouth in mid-2010. He progressed from academy football to the senior squad in two years and last August made his professional debut by starting a League Cup game with Plymouth Argyle. An unfortunate knee injury put Grant on the outer over the closing months of the English season, which the defender spent on loan to Eastleigh then Havant and Waterlooville. “I did feel towards the middle of the season that I had to get out of there,” Grant said. “I stood behind them for a while and wasn’t getting much in return so I thought maybe it was time to get out.”
Although grateful to Portsmouth for giving him an opportunity, Grant says he jumped at the chance to return to England’s top flight once Stoke showed an interest. “Stoke had been trying to get me for a while [but] because of my knee they weren’t sure whether I was 100 per cent. I went up there for two days, the first day was with the youth squad then the day after that was with the first team … that was a big step up,” said Grant, who will start the coming season in Stoke’s under-21 side but plans on pushing into the senior set-up soon. “You’ve got to be realistic and concentrate on where you are at the moment. But you’ve got to dream big as well, haven’t you?”
DE SILVA STAYING PUT DESPITE EUROPEAN INTEREST
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards insists young talent Daniel De Silva is not for sale. 16-year old De Silva has been the centre of plenty of interest from Europe after starring in Australia’s recent Under-20 World Cup campaign. However, Edwards says his young gun is happy at Glory and has no desire to move abroad just yet. “They can call all they want and they can express their interest but, until he’s 18 years old he won’t be going anywhere,” Edwards said. “He’s really looking forward to the next two seasons at the club. His family wants to stay here and we want him to stay here.”
De Silva came close to signing with Everton last year but when that deal collapsed due to visa problems he joined Glory. Edwards, who rates De Silva as having the potential to be one of best players Australia has produced, says it is important the youngster make a name for himself in Australia before attempting to break into Europe. “We all want him to play overseas,” the coach commented. “But it’s better for players to go over as experienced A-League players – and hopefully experienced international players – as opposed to going over as promising youngsters … History will show that it’s better for our talented young players to stay and develop in Australia.”
Back to the www.footballwa.net Archived News Index
This page was last updated on the 4th July, 2013