GLORY TUMBLE TO THE BOTTOM
Brisbane Roar rediscovered their attacking prowess condemn Perth Glory to a 3-1 loss this evening at Suncorp Stadium. Ivan Franjic broke the deadlock just before the hour before further goals from Liam Miller and Broich put the result beyond doubt. Shane Smeltz grabbed a late consolation but it was too little too late for a Glory side that now stumps up the A-League table, winless in their last seven outings. “We had a game plan and thought it was working all right in the first half, but they’re a good team and that’s why they’re top of the table,” said Smeltz, whose team are six points outside the top six, with six games to play. “We won’t give up. We know we’ve got a tough run, but there’s plenty of points to play for.”
Glory came out with all guns blazing to create a host of chances in the opening minutes. Sidnei’s shot was deflected past the near post after pouncing on an error by Franjic. Brandon O’Neill was given too much space at the resulting corner but couldn’t hit the target with his close-range header. And a few moments later goalkeeper Michael Theo moved sharply to deny Sidnei after making his way in from the left. Brisbane slowly found their rhythm and on 22 minutes Dimitri Petratos put a dead ball just over the crossbar. A quick move down the left ended with Broich delivering a low centre that needed the simplest of finishes but instead passed across the face of goal.
It took until the second half for Brisbane to trouble visiting custodian Danny Vukovic, who was forced to palm away a searing Matt McKay shot from wide on the left. Brisbane’s increased vigour eventually paid dividends when Franjic headed it at the back post from Broich’s 57th minute free-kick. It was now all one-way traffic with Petratos and Berisha having chances to double the hoists lead. Miller did exactly that on 81 minutes with a close-range blast after Vukovic was left exposed by O’Neill’s error. Soon after Broich sealed the game with a superb curling shot into the top corner. Glory’s consolation came in stoppage time when Matt Smith passed across his own goal straight into the path of Smeltz, who finished past Theo.
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
The first piece of silverware of 2014 is up for grabs on Saturday when Bayswater City and Floreat Athena meet in the Night Series Final at Dorrien Gardens (8.15pm). Brian Farrell has figured prominently in Bayswater’s pre-season campaign and the attacking midfielder is confident his team can lift the trophy for the second time in twelve months. “We go into the final confident we can win it given our experience of reaching and winning finals last year,” said the former Shelbourne player. “Floreat have had a good run in the Night Series and we know they are a strong side … we just hope we can get across the line and lift the trophy.”
Floreat midfielder Ludovic Boi is comfortable with the underdog tag which has been placed on his team. “Bayswater will be a good test for us to see where we are at. They have a lot of quality players and are dangerous all over the park,” said Boi, who acknowledges Floreat will need to be on top of their game to cause an upset. “We are playing well and have the players to do the job on the night. All of us will have to be at our best on the day and win our individual battles and the rest will come.” The curtain-raiser features Bunbury Forum Force and Inglewood United in the minor place play-off from 6.00pm.
LOWE SEES NO REASON WHY GLORY CAN’T DUMP BRISBANE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe is adamant Perth Glory are capable of causing an upset when they take on A-League leaders Brisbane Roar side this weekend. Glory have won just twice in 13 trips to Suncorp Stadium but Lowe’s spirits have been buoyed by the fact Brisbane are coming off back-to-back losses. “90 minutes, eleven verses eleven, same arms and legs as us … we’re more than capable,” Lowe said of his team’s chances. “I think if you ask Melbourne Heart and Newcastle going into the last two games, they would’ve answered the question exactly the same way. We’re in the same boat as those guys. We can go there and do well.”
Glory may have slipped to ninth on the table following a six-game winless run but Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey expects to be confronted by a desperate opponent tomorrow evening. “It’s always a keen, competitive game when we play against Perth and I don’t expect it to be any different tomorrow night,” Mulvey said. “They’re scrapping for points.” Jack Clisby and Brandon O’Neill have been added to Glory’s travelling party in the absence of suspended stopper Michael Thwaite and young left-back Riley Woodcock, who has been rested. Brisbane attacker Dimitri Petratos has been recalled at the expense of Henrique in what is likely to be the home side’s only change.
CORKER PLANS TO RETURN PRE-SEASON TROPHY BACK TO FLOREAT
Summer signing Ashley Corker will be doing all he can this weekend to return the Night Series trophy to Floreat Athena for the first time since 2011. But the former Northampton Town defender knows it will take an almighty effort to prevent Bayswater City from claiming pre-season honours for the second time in as many years. “Bayswater are a strong side, they’ve been in good form and it’s definitely going to be a tough game for us,” said Corker. “But we are playing well ourselves and there’s more than enough quality within the group to go out and get a result … our main focus is to become winners of the Night Series.”
Floreat earned their shot at the Night Series title by out-shooting Division One side Bunbury Forum Force on penalties last weekend. “We always knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” said Corker. “A penalty shoot-out isn’t the way any team wants to win a game, but you’ve got to be prepared to deal with what comes your way and that’s exactly what the boys did on Sunday night. Overall it was a strong performance from the team as a whole – we created chances throughout the 90 minutes and kept it tight at the back – and we’ll be looking to carry that through into the final this weekend.”
JETS MUST BE FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS SAYS BIRIGHITTI
Newcastle Jets need to start strongly against Western Sydney Wanderers this weekend in order to capitalise on their opponents' recent heavy schedule according to goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Sunday's game will be Western Sydney's third in eight days, following outings with Perth Glory and Ulsan Hyundai, and Birighitti is hoping the A-League heavyweights will be a little worse for wear for their journeys. "You never know how they're going to react to it," Birighitti told newcastlejets.com.au "Hopefully they'll have a few tired legs and we can roll over them this weekend. We just have to go at them from the start, don't give them any time or space."
With Newcastle sitting four points outside the top six and only seven games to go, Birighitti said each of his teams' remaining fixtures were gaining added importance on a weekly basis. "It's a massive game," Birighitti said. "We're playing on their home pitch and the atmosphere is going to be incredible. If we can get into half-time without conceding a goal, we'll definitely give them a real crack and hopefully get three points. From now until the end of season, we have to start picking up points and that starts this weekend against Western Sydney."
Newcastle may have won only twice in nine games but Birighitti feels they are not far from reaching the level required to qualify for the A-League finals under interim coach Clayton Zane. "We have full belief in Clayton and the way he wants to play and we're playing some good football in patches," the 'keeper said. "I watch the games over again and we're getting into some good positions, but it's just the final cross or the final pass that's killing us at the moment, but if we get that right, we're definitely going to be a real threat."
Birighitti gained his Socceroos debut last year and, while omitted from the squad for next week's friendly against Ecuador, he's not given up hope of making Australia's World Cup squad. "I was lucky enough to represent my country last year at the East Asian Cup and it was an amazing experience," Birighitti said. "I definitely have the World Cup at the back of my mind, it would be a massive boost for my career if I do get a call-up as one of the three goalkeepers that do make the squad to go to Brazil. Anything is possible, I just have to keep doing my thing and the rest will take care of itself."
HERD THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE SAYS POSTECOGLOU
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou admits he has made an exception by including Aston Villa defender Chris Herd in his squad for the upcoming friendly with Ecuador. Postecoglou has stressed his players must be featuring regularly at club level in order to be considered later this year for the Socceroos World Cup squad. But Herd, who has battled a troublesome hamstring over the past couple of months, has gained selection based on previous - not current - form. "We make the exception for him," Postecoglou said. "He's had a hamstring injury, he's fit now and training, but he's not match fit."
Herd had seen plenty of first team action at Villa prior to his injury-interrupted 2013/14 campaign. "He's very highly rated at Aston Villa and we don't have many players playing in the top league. He's certainly very hungry for an opportunity," added Postecoglou. "He has that versatility and hopefully in the back half of the year he can break into the Villa side and play some games. If he does that, he's definitely one that can be an asset for us moving forward." Herd's claim for run against Ecuador has been helped by injury to Rhys Williams (Achilles) and the non-selection of experienced defensive duo Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski.
PLAYERS ON THE SAME PAGE SAYS GLORY'S JAMIESON
Injured defender Scott Jamieson has hosed down suggestions Perth Glory are a club in crisis, saying recent coverage claiming infighting among players and coaching staff has been blown out of proportion. Jamieson, who has been sidelined with a torn Achilles tendon since November, has been ever-present at training while following his rehabilitation program in recent weeks. He has seen Glory slip to ninth on the back of a six-game winless streak but is adamant his teammates remain committed to a common goal. "I can say on behalf of myself and I think most of my teammates that we are," he said. "We're a club that is going through a tough time due to results, nothing else."
Veteran defender William Gallas and assistant coach Andy Ord were involved in a heated exchange after the weekend's loss to Western Sydney Wanderers, which came only days after a training ground incident between Jacob Burns and Ryan Edwards. "You'll find that if teams aren't winning games, people get more competitive, training gets more heated and things happen," Jamieson, 25, commented. "Each and every one of us needs to be old enough and mature enough to leave it on the pitch. We've talked about things and we've moved on. It's about working towards winning games and trying to get this club off second bottom."
Jamieson recently resumed light running and is targeting a return to action in the National Premier Leagues WA, which kicks off next month. "You never quite realise how much you appreciate and miss the game until you get an injury like this," he Jamieson. "I have never really had a long-term injury before this one, so it makes you sit back and really look at how much playing means to you. My goal now is to return to action for the new Perth Glory NPL side at some point before fighting for my place in the team for the start of the 2014/15 A-League season."
POSTCOGLOU NAMES NEW-LOOK SOCCEROOS FOR ECUADOR
Coach Ange Postecoglou has signalled where the future of the national team lies by naming a young Socceroos squad for next week's friendly with Ecuador. The game in London is Australia's final outing before Postecoglou submits his provisional 30-man list for the World Cup in May, and the coach has handed a fresh group of players the opportunity to stake a claim for inclusion. Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry is one of five uncapped players called up to play Ecuador while fellow West Australian Brad Jones, who plies his trade for Liverpool, returns to the squad after an 18-month absence.
National team captain Lucas Neill, Brett Holman, Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy were all overlooked as Postecoglou plumped for a younger batch of players he wants to form the backbone for Australia's World Cup campaign and beyond. "If players do well in this game and back it up with a strong second half of the year, certainly they will be in pole position (for the World Cup)," Postecoglou said. "There is no point waiting any longer. It doesn't necessarily mean the door is shut on the other players. But good form in a good competition will not be ignored."
Australia's 23-player squad to play Ecuador on 5 March is Chris Herd (Aston Villa), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Franjic, Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Matt Ryan (Club Brugge), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Curtis Good (Dundee United), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Brad Jones (Liverpool), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Milligan, Tommy Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Tommy Oar, Adam Sarota (Utrecht) and Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers).
CONSISTENCY, AND GOALS, IN TAGGART'S SIGHTS
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart would like find the back of the net with greater regularly but, by his own admission, he is in hurry to do so. Taggart is among the A-League's leading scorers but his goals have come in bunches, six in three games between rounds five to seven and another three in the past four games. And while he'd like goals to flow more freely the 20-year old admits he is still getting used to playing in the national league on a weekly basis. "I'm still young and I'm still learning," Taggart said. "This being my first year of regular first team football, consistency is a thing I'm trying to focus on and get better at."
Taggart's importance to Newcastle saw him recently handed penalty duties, ahead of much more experienced players. "I've always wanted to be on penalties," said Taggart, whose spot kick earned Newcastle a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar. "I know I'm young and obviously it's not a regular thing with young players, taking penalties, but I'd spoken to Ruben (Zadkovich) about it and that was while Emile (Heskey) was out injured. Burnsy (Nathan Burns) had our first penalty this season and missed it, so Ruben spoke to me and said 'would you like to take pens?' - 'I said 'of course'. Luckily enough, it went in. I'll be putting my hand up for the next one."
With seven games to play, Newcastle are placed eighth on the ladder but only five points off fourth spot. "It shows just how tight the league is," Taggart said. "You get a couple of wins on the trot and you're right back in the mix. We're trying not to focus too much on the table. I think it's important to focus on the game coming up. We don't want to be going into the last couple of rounds having to win to get into the finals. It would be really nice to go into the last few games knowing you're in the top six and trying to get to a higher position and have a better chance in the finals."
SAGE UNFAZED BY BICKERING
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has assured the squad remains united despite more infighting among players and coaching staff. Marquee defender William Gallas and assistant coach Andy Ord were involved in a heated exchange following the loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, which came only days after captain Jacob Burns and on-loan attacker Ryan Edwards clashed at the club's training ground. There was also well-publicised unrest among senior players late last year which culminated in the sacking of then coach Alistair Edwards.
Despite the recent friction, Sage is confident there is no lingering disharmony. "It can happen in the heat of the moment and you expect these things," Sage said. "You'd be more concerned if they (the players) weren't passionate and they didn't give a shit about the club. The best thing that happened for me witnessing some of it at the end was Gallas fuming. If he didn't care about Perth Glory he wouldn't have done anything or said anything. But it shows it means a lot to him and his professional pride that he actually did step up and say a few things."
Gallas has been the subject of much scrutiny since signing a season-long deal worth $600,000 in November. Sage readily concedes Gallas, who has made only eight appearances and spent seven weeks sidelined by a calf injury, has not provided an adequate on-field return. But the club owner the international exposure created by Gallas' signing has given Glory value for money. "We're getting a lot of recognition," said Sage. "Every club in Europe now knows Perth Glory. It's just like what Alessandro Del Piero has done for Sydney and that's what you buy."
MATILDA'S TO BENEFIT FROM CANBERRA'S ARTIFICIAL PITCH: WILLIAMS
Canberra United player of the year Lydia Williams is hoping a new artificial pitch at the Australian Institute of Sport will give the Matilda's the edge the 2015 Women's World Cup. Installation of the new $600,000 surface - which is similar to that German giants Bayern Munich train on - in Canberra will begin next week and is expected to be completed by the end of April. It will form a vital cog in the Matildas' preparation for next year's tournament in Canada, which will be predominantly played on synthetic turf.
And while Williams would prefer to play on grass, she feels artificial turf could well be the way of the future. "It's a little bit bizarre I guess (playing on an artificial pitch) but . a lot of fields are getting changed to synthetic so maybe the next couple of years we might all be playing on synthetic pitches," Williams told canberratimes.com.au "It would be nice to play on grass since all the league is on grass. The newer the pitch the better it is. Hopefully, it will give us the edge we really need to start focusing in on the (World Cup) competition."
Katanning-born Williams was today named in Australia's 23-player for next month's Cyprus Cup, less than 24-hours after collecting her second player of the year award with Canberra. The 25-year old marked her return from knee surgery by keeping a club record six clean sheets in 11 regular season appearances to ensure on Canberra finished top of the W-League ladder. Williams and her Matilda's teammates leave for Europe on Wednesday with their first game a week later against the Netherlands (5 March) followed by outings with France (7 March) and Scotland (10 March).
Australia's squad for the Cyprus Cup is Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar), Michelle Heyman, Lydia Wiliams (Canberra United), Stephanie Catley (Melbourne Victory), Emma Checker, Brianna Davey (Melbourne Victory), Hannah Brewer, Gema Simon (Newcastle Jets), Katie Gill (Perth Glory), Nicola Bolger, Casey Dumont, Caitlin Foord, Sam Kerr, Leena Khamis, Chloe Logarzo (Sydney FC), Teigen Allen, Alanna Kennedy and Emily Van Egmond (Western Sydney Wanderers)
CUP FINALISTS REWARDED WITH FFA CUP BERTH
This year's State Cup finalists will get the opportunity to take on A-League opposition in the inaugural Football Federation Australia Cup, which was launched today. The draw for the long-awaited national knock-out competition comes with a 'giant-killer' guarantee with a minimum of one non-A-League club assured of a semi-final berth and three in the quarter-finals. "I'm sure there are players across the country already dreaming of getting their chance to take on A-League opposition," said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg. "Just as significantly, the FFA Cup should also excite local fans, who have waited for many years to witness a competition of this reach and importance."
The FFA Cup adds new texture to Australia's football tapestry according to federation boss David Gallop. "The FFA Cup has taken on an almost mythical status among football fans who have longed for a national knock-out cup competition to fill a void in the football calendar," Gallop said. "Today, the FFA Cup comes to life as a very tangible link between community football and the professional tier. It's a unique sporting link from the locals to the legends. We all grew up with the romance of the English FA Cup and well remember the history of upsets. I'm sure the FFA Cup will bring the same fascination to fans across Australia."
Preliminary FFA Cup games featuring over 600 clubs from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. The competition will be slimmed to 22 State-based clubs by late July, when the ten A-League clubs come into play. The inaugural FFA Cup Final will be decided on 16 December. Round One of the State Cup will be held on the weekend of 12 April with final set down for 19 July. In 2015, Football West will broaden the scope of its FFA Cup qualification to include more teams from amateur ranks and regional areas.
FLOREAT SNEAK PAST BUNBURY
Floreat Athena’s Ludo Boi was gracious in victory after his team edged Bunbury Forum Force 4-2 in a tense penalty shoot-out to earn their place in the 2014 Night Series final. Callum Fransz opened the scoring for Floreat only for Oliver McGee’s equaliser to send the game to penalties. “Bunbury were very hard to break down, they sat back and we couldn’t penetrate so credit to them as well,” said Boi, whose attentions quickly turned to next weekend’s final. “Bayswater have quality everywhere on the pitch, so it’s going to be twice as hard as today. But we’ve got to do what we do best and try to play our football.”
The opening half hour was a battle for possession and territory with the majority of play taking place in the middle third of the park. Floreat got the all-important breakthrough in the 36th minute via a Fransz free-kick from 22-metres to which goalkeeper Jamie Oakey got a glove to but was unable to prevent the ball from entering his net. Bunbury’s response was positive and their hard-work paid off in the 61st minute when McGee towered over everyone to powerfully head into the top corner. The final half hour was tight and, although there was plenty of endeavour shown, neither side was able to conjure the second goal they so desperately sought.
Speaking after the game, Bunbury coach Trent Hathaway said his side had done everything he had asked of them. “The whole Night Series the boys have stepped up and defensively we’ve been brilliant, so losing on penalties is a hard way to go out,” said Hathaway. “We’ve got third versus fourth next week so we’ll be out there doing the same thing and hopefully we get third spot.” Bunbury will face Inglewood United in the minor place play-off next Saturday, 1 March, at Dorrien Gardens. This is followed by the Night Series finale which pits Floreat against trophy holder Bayswater City.
BURTON’S TRIPLE TREAT
Bayswater City will have the opportunity to reclaim their Night Series title after coming from behind to defeat Inglewood United 5-1 in this evening’s semi-final at Macedonia Park. Greg Sharland’s stunning free-kick gave Inglewood the upper hand before Steve Burton turned the game with a hat-trick amid finishes from Adrian Caceres and Adam Bachiller. “We were a bit out of sorts in the first half but after a few harsh words at half time from the coach, I thought our second half was fantastic,” said Burton. “Although we were up at the break, Chris Coyne said the two late goals had covered up the cracks but didn’t hide them. We came out after the break and were more clinical and we scored some great goals and should have had a few more.”
Inglewood made a positive start with Ryan Clarke flashed past the post from distance. That attacking approach paid dividends on 11 minutes when, following a foul on Ryan Francis, Sharland curled a dead ball over the defensive wall and just beyond despairing reach of goalkeeper Devon Spence. Bayswater hit back on the half hour with Burton finishing at close-range after being found by Brian Farrell’s cross from the right. Excitement levels rose as play streamed from one end and then to the other with Spence and his opposite number Luke Martino making crucial saves. Bayswater finally found a way through in stoppage time with Danny Dixon and Paul McCarthy combining to play in Burton, who made no mistake from 4-metres.
The second half was largely one-way traffic. McCarthy played a superb through ball for newly introduced substitute Caceres to fire low past Martino after 50 minutes. Goal celebrations had barely subsided when goal number four entered the Inglewood net, James Isaia’s cross-field ball releasing Burton to apply a clinical finish for a deserved hat-trick. Jon Stripe hit the post as Inglewood attempted to claw their way back into the game, however, the night belonged to Bayswater. Bachiller put the icing on the cake in the second to last minute of regulation time by tucking in the follow-up from Jamie Coyne’s long-range shot which Martino could only parry.
MACLAREN FIRES GLORY YOUTH TO VICTORY
Perth Glory Youth completed their 2013/14 home schedule this morning by dumping Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1 at Intiga Stadium. Jamie Maclaren orchestrated the win by netting midway through the first half and adding two more goals in quick succession after the interval. Substitute Joshua Barresi scored a late consolation goal for the away team, but that was quickly cancelled out when Adrian Zahra found the back of the net in the final minutes. It was ninth-placed Glory’s third win from their past four National Youth League games, but only their fifth of the season with one round to be played.
The opening exchanges were relatively even before Glory began to assert themselves. Ryan Edwards almost broke the deadlock in the 21st minute but his volley was just wide of the target. A few minutes later Maclaren weaved his way through the Western Sydney defence and effortlessly placed past goalkeeper Thomas Manos to put Glory on-nil up. Manos ensured there would no addition to the scoreline before the break by robbing an unmarked Zahra of a shot, and later halting a Ryan Edwards header on the line. Jack Clisby was a dominant figure in defence for Glory with Daniel De Silva also impressive wide on the left.
Glory's dominance continued into the second half with Ryan Edwards and Zahra each going agonisingly close to scoring. Maclaren capitalised on a loose ball in the 58th minute to net his second of the day, and shortly after curled over Manos to complete his second hat-trick. Baressi pounced on rare defensive blunder in the 80th minute to give Western Sydney the goal they so desperately sought. However, Zahra put the icing on the cake by claiming possession on the halfway line and driving forward to casually finish past Manos in the final minute of regulation time.
LOWE WON’T GIVE UP THE CHASE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe refuses to accept Perth Glory’s slim A-League finals chances are over. Last night’s home loss to Western Sydney Wanderers put Glory seven points adrift of the top six and means they’re likely to need maximum points from all remaining seven matches to have any hopes of playing in the finals. “There’s plenty of games left and there’s plenty of points to play for,” said Lowe in talking up his team’s chances. “We’ve got a good environment and there’s a good vibe about the place, but the unfortunate thing is we’re not winning games – which means everything – and we need to do that quickly.”
Lowe rued Glory’s failure to turn up in the first half, something that has been an unwanted trend for the club since he took the coaching reins in December. He also admitted some players, including new recruits Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas, were underdone and that was not helping the team’s cause. “You’ve got to manipulate what you’ve got, we can’t moan about it,” Lowe said. “This is the situation I came into and this is the condition of the players. Ultimately we’ve got to use our environment and our conditions and get where we want to go.”
PLAY-OFFS FADING FROM GLORY’S VIEW
Perth Glory’s top six chances suffered a major blow with this evening’s 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers at Perth Oval. Mateo Poljak opened the scoring early before substitute Tomi Juric doubled their lead midway through the second half following a horrendous error by William Gallas. Glory failed to register a shot on target in the first half and have taken just two points from their last six games. “First half, no one turned up,” said interim coach Kenny Lowe, whose team sit seven points outside the play-offs spots. “I’m disappointed, they’re disappointed but you roll onto the next day and dust yourself down and get on with it.”
Poljak’s opener after 12 minutes was all too easy, the midfielder turning inside the 18-yard box and driving into the bottom corner after receiving a ball from Kwabena Appiah, who was allowed to make his way in from the right without any pressure. This set the tone for a first half dominated by the away side which was driven forward time and time again by wide players Labinot Haliti and Appiah. Haliti should have doubled their lead but placed too close to Danny Vukovic while Appiah stroked across the face of goal late in the period. By contrast, Glory struggled in the final third with their only threat being a misjudged Chris Harold header.
It was only after the half time introduction of Jacob Burns and Darvydas Sernas – replacing Steve McGarry and Chris Harold – that Glory began to compete. Their best chance of the game came in the 69th minute when Rostyn Griffiths’ header was brilliantly saved on the line by goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson. A minute later Gallas’ failure to connect as he attempted to clear from 18-metres allowed in Juric, who coolly dribbled around Danny Vukovic to slide into an empty net. Adding to Glory’s woes, Michael Thwaite picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign and will miss next weekend’s visit to Brisbane.
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
The Night Series reaches fever pitch with a semi-final double-header at Macedonia Park on Sunday. Bayswater City defender Chris Saldaris is anticipating a difficult 90 minutes against neighbouring Inglewood United (5.00pm) but, nonetheless, remains confident the trophy holders will progress. “This week will be very tough,” Saldaris said. “Inglewood just came off another good win, but the way the boys are performing it should be a really good game for the crowd.” With Todd Howarth and Paul McCarthy in top form it’s Bayswater that heads into the game as favourite, however, Ryan Clarke and Ryan Francis will be pulling out all the stops to cause an upset.
Bunbury Forum Force defender Oliver McGee is looking forward to matching skills with the best Floreat Athena has to offer in the late game (7.15pm). “It will be a tough game, but that’s what we want,” McGee commented. “We want to test ourselves, as we do in all of our games. We are going to work hard all over the park, keep a good structure and try to take the game to them with the hope of reaching the final.” McGee, Jayden Prosser and Kenny Taylor will need to be on top of their games for the Division One side to qualify for the final, but with Jamie Eames, Ludovic Boi and Cameron Yorke performing well it is Floreat that is tipped to go through.
LOWE UPBEAT DESPITE POOR RUN
Western Sydney Wanderers make the long journey west this weekend to play a Perth Glory side which is winless in its last five outings. But, despite Glory’s poor run and Western Sydney’s lofty position on the ladder, interim coach Kenny Lowe is adamant they can take something from Saturday’s game at Perth Oval (6.45pm). “It’s not rocket science. You prepare as best as you can and you work even harder,” Lowe said of Glory’s winless run which has slipped them four points outside the top six. “We just need to keep doing what we are doing, except score some goals. The positives are that we are creating chances …. we just have to keep rolling on and keep believing.”
Western Sydney has never lost to Glory and another success will allow Tony Popovic’s team to close the gap on A-League leaders Brisbane Roar. However, Popovic admits he is concerned his players may be distracted by Western Sydney’s upcoming Asian Champions League debut. “It’s a new experience for us here at the club but its one step at a time,” he said of next week’s game with South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai. “We’ve got to take care of Perth first then we’ll shift our attention to a tournament that is very prestigious ... we want to represent the A-League well.” Western Sydney heads west minus goalkeeper Ante Covic (groin), Jerome Polenz (suspension) and Japan midfielder Shinji Ono (illness).
NO NEED FOR PANIC SAYS VUKOVIC
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic says the club isn’t reaching for the panic button despite slipping to ninth in the A-League. Glory are winless in five games and tomorrow evening host second-from-top Western Sydney Wanderers at Perth Oval. They have won just twice in nine outings under interim coach Kenny Lowe but Vukovic maintains his team are capable to making the end of season play-offs. “It’s not desperation stakes just yet,” Vukovic said. “There are still eight games to go, so there are still quite a few points there to be picked up. We know that if we can string a few good results together we will shoot back up the table.”
Vukovic will make his 200th A-League appearance against Western Sydney. The 23-year old shot stopper goalkeeper has consistently come up with the goods since signing with Glory in 2011, starting all 78 games in that time. “It only feels like yesterday that I made my debut for the Mariners against Melbourne Victory (in 2005),” said Vukovic, who has also played for Wellington Phoenix. “It’s been a great 199 games, I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the 200th against Western Sydney.” Glory have promoted Adrian Zahra, Danny De Silva and Brandon O’Neill to an extended squad, however, young striker Jamie Maclaren was omitted.
MCNALLY KNOCKS ON WOOD
Inglewood United young gun Jarrod McNally is pulling out all the stops to convince coach Graham Normanton he is ready for first team football. McNally, 20, was used mostly off the bench last year but with a strong pre-season under his belt the talented striker appears set for a big year. “Things have been going really well,” said McNally, who put away his sixth goal of the Night Series in last weekend’s quarter-final win over Ashfield. “Just being a part of the squad last year was great, learning from quality experienced players was a good learning curve for me. Everyone has worked hard this pre-season, a couple of injuries gave me my chance and I’ve managed to score a few goals.”
There may have been considerable change to Inglewood’s squad over the summer but McNally has no doubt they’ll be one of the inaugural National Premier Leagues’ teams to beat. “The quality that left the club has been replaced,” commented McNally, whose new team mates include Rory Grant, Ryan Francis, David Sesay and Jon Stripe. “We’ve signed some quality players and together with the experience already at the club plus the blend of youth Normo (coach Graham Normanton) Graham has brought into the squad, we’ll be in the mix come the end of the season. Normo is very demanding. He has high expectations and expects his players to have the same. He is creating a positive, winning mentality that is generating right through the club.”
Inglewood’s Night Series campaign appeared to be on bumpy ground last weekend when they went a goal down to Ashfield in the round of eight. “We started a bit slow and Ashfield were really up for it, it gave us a real kick up the backside when we went one-nil down,” said McNally, who brought the teams level late in the first half. Inglewood then powered away from their Division One opponent, Francis scoring either side of the break after which Sesay and Stripe also found the net. “When we got the ball down and knocked it around the confidence grew and in the end we got our just rewards.”
Night Series trophy holders Bayswater City will present a new-look Inglewood with their biggest challenge of the year to date when they come face-to-face in this weekend’s Night Series semi-finals. “Bayswater are a quality side. They proved that last season by winning everything, and they’ve started this season in the same fashion,” commented McNally, who is eagerly anticipating the game. “It will be a very good test for us to see where we are at but I think on our day we are a match for anyone.” Macedonia Park is the place to be on Sunday with Inglewood and Bayswater locking horns from 5.00pm, followed by Floreat Athena against Division One side Bunbury Forum Force at 7.15pm.
MRCELA HOPES FOR SOCCEROOS CALL-UP
Little-known defender Tomislav Mrcela could be one of the new faces in Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad to play Ecuador next month. The towering 23-year old has been garnering rave reviews for his defensive prowess with Croatian side Hrvatski Dragovoljac, and overnight revealed national team manager Gary Moretti had made contact regarding a possible call-up. “He praised my performance, congratulated me on the goal and he surprised me with a statement that they have for some time followed my game and it could easily happen that soon get a call from Ange Postecoglou,” said Mrcela, scorer of his team’s consolation goal in the weekend loss to Hajduk Split.
Postecoglou will next week name his squad for the 5 March friendly against Ecuador in London. With Rhys Williams injured and team captain Lucas Neill still club-less, Postecoglou is lacking options at centre-back playing regularly at a high level. Mrcela says while he’s not packing his bags for Brazil just yet he feels he could be in line for his first outing with the national team. “I’m just on a broader list at the moment," he said. “But I read in the Australian media that the coach said there will be some surprises, so who knows? I hope I get the chance.”
SALDARIS JUMPS AT CHANCE TO JOIN SOUTH MELBOURNE
Goalkeeper Jason Saldaris can hardly contain his excitement after landing a deal with one of Australia’s most successful football clubs, South Melbourne. It will be 23-year old Saldaris’ second stint with the eight-times champions of Victoria following his previous stay in 2012. “I’m excited to be re-joining the historic club for the inaugural National Premier Leagues Victoria season,” said Saldaris, who has played much of his senior career to date for Perth SC. “I’m very thankful to South for giving me the opportunity and I want to repay the faith they have put in me to create history and be major contenders in the NPL.”
Saldaris had been intending to play the coming season with Bayswater City when he got word South Melbourne were knocking. “It came a little bit out of the blue,” he explained. “I received an unexpected phone call the Friday before Bayswater’s game with Perth from (South Melbourne coach) Chris Taylor and things started to snowball from there. I told Chris Coyne about the opportunity the next day and he said ‘go for it’ … four days later I was in Melbourne. It turns out Perth Glory goalkeeping coach Neil Young, who I trained with last year, gave me a recommendation to South Melbourne.”
Victoria has been a popular destination for West Australian football in recent times and Saldaris has a fair idea just what that is. “It’s a bigger shop window in Victoria with more opportunity,” he stated. “The last time I came to Melbourne I was training both with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart. The league is very competitive and there are a lot of former and fringe A-League players looking to get a good season under their belt. My goal for this season is to be consistent in the NPL, and who know what doors may open up. Ultimately, I want to play professionally but its little baby steps until then.”
GLORY TO CALL INTIGA STADIUM HOME
Perth Glory will play their home games at Intiga Stadium, home of Inglewood United, throughout the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA season. The two clubs today signed an agreement that secures Intiga Stadium as the venue for Glory’s home games at first team, Under-20 and Under-18 levels. “It’s great to be able to have Perth Glory play at a recognised and well-established venue in the new National Premier Leagues competition” Glory chief executive Jason Brewer stated. “Our involvement in the NPL not only strengthens our player development pathway but also allows us to broaden our role in the wider football community in Western Australia.”
IRELAND’S BRAY SNAP UP SHAMROCK STARLET BYRNE
Former Shamrock Rovers Perth striker Ciaran Byrne has signed on for three-time League of Ireland champions Bray Wanderers. Byrne set the local scene alight during his two seasons with Shamrock, amassing 44 goals and topping last year’s Division One goal scorer charts. But the 20-year old is now looking forward to opening a new chapter in his career. “Bray play in the highest league in Ireland and it’s going to be a new challenge for me,” said Dublin-born Byrne. “Bray seems the best place for me to continue my development and get more a bit more experience.”
Byrne openly admits he wouldn’t be the player he is today if not for his two-years in Perth. “Shamrock Rovers Perth played a big part in my development … I know I’m a better player now,” he said. “I always knew I could put the ball in the back of the net but it’s getting in the right position to score that you have to teach, and Shamrock taught me that. They have a great team and great coaching staff, even the boys behind the scenes, play a big part in it getting everything ready for match day. I loved every minute of playing in Perth.”
Competition for spots in the Bray line-up is expected to be red-hot this season and Byrne is determined to make his mark. “There are good players in this Bray team so getting a starting position is my first aim,” he commented. “If I can get in the first eleven and do what I always do – put the ball in the net every chance I get – then I’ll be helping the team out the best way I can. It’s going to be tough and I know I’ve got to train hard, but it should be fun at the same time … I can't wait to get started.”
FFA GRANT 20-YEAR A-LEAGUE LICENSE EXTENSION
A-League club owners will now have more certainty regarding their investment in the game after Football Federation Australia agreed to extend the length of club licences until 2034. The FFA made the decision yesterday after prolonged consultation with the owners that had stretched over twelve months. “FFA and the clubs have made the stability and sustainability of the A-League the top priority,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said. “Today’s decision is consistent with our long-term strategy. The extension will give the clubs the certainty they need over a 20-year timeframe to invest, and will also underpin and enhance the value of the licence.” The current A-League club licences agreements were due to expire in 2020.
TOUGH DECISION TO RESIGN
Wanneroo City’s championship winning coach David Tough says it would have been unfair for him to continue on with the club into season 2014. Tough, who lead Wanneroo to the top of Division One last year, recently tendered his resignation from the northern suburbs club citing a combination of increasing family commitments and a mid-year return to Scotland. “My wife Kirsty and I are expecting our second child in May, and we’ve also decided to relocate back to Edinburgh soon after,” Tough explained. “It’s only fair that I step aside now, six weeks before season 2014 commences, for the coaching team to have time to put their stamp on the team.”
Wanneroo finished third in their first season under Tough before claiming the Division One trophy last year with a dramatic final day win over Canning City. “The goal for last season was to simply win the title,” said Tough, whose team sputtered into 2013 by losing three of their first four games. “We went from being second bottom of the league to going 18 games undefeated, being two-nil down (to Canning) at half-time and scoring two goals in the last ten minutes to win the league decider. We were only on top of the league once over the whole season but did it when it mattered … it was one hell of a rollercoaster of a season.”
The fact Wanneroo were not offered promotion to the top flight remains something of a sore point for Tough. “The only thing that took a bit of a shine off winning the title was there was no promotion to the Premier League due to the new National Premier League coming in,” he said. “It would have been great for me and the club to compete in the top division. We lost a large number of the title winning squad over the off-season but we still have a very strong core, and I had a number of top players lined up for the start of season proper. I truly believe Wanneroo are capable of going two in a row.”
Tough will always be grateful to Wanneroo for handing him his first senior coaching appointment. “When I took on the job I was told the expectation was for Wanneroo to be up there challenging for promotion,” he commented. “The club had always been there or thereabouts but just couldn’t get across the finish line. I was delighted that the club had shown faith in me as a young coach. I had a successful time taking ECU Joondalup’s reserves to back-to-back Cup Final wins but felt I needed a fresh challenge. With the new ground development at Wanneroo, an already strong squad and living in the area, I thought it was a perfect fit.”
So what does the future hold, football-wise, for Tough? “Football is going to take a back seat until we get settled back in Edinburgh,” said Tough, who by no means intends to walk away from the game he loves. “A break from coaching a team might not be a bad thing but I am planning on attending the Scottish Football Association coaching courses to further my coaching education. I won’t discount returning to Perth one day but at the moment it’s certainly not something we’re considering. I wish Wanneroo all the best in the future and, hopefully, the club will be ready for the NPL is two years’ time.”
MARTIN HAS HIGH HOPES FOR REAL STAY
Inglewood United defender Joel Martin hopes his hard work during trials with Spanish club Real Valladolid can lead to a youth team contract. Martin, 17, impressed during a seven-day spell at the club in late 2012 but declined an invitation to return last year due to study commitments. Now he is preparing for a longer stint in Spain’s north after taking up a two-month trial with Valladolid in April. “I’ve wanted to be a professional footballer since I was kicking a ball – I haven’t thought about anything else,” Martin told footballwest.com.au. “I’d love to get a place in the youth squad – that’s definitely the goal.”
Martin’s initial trial came about when his father, Inglewood president Luke Martin, contacted Valladolid as a result of a family connection in the city. The trial served two purposes for Joel, who got to know some of his extended family at the same time as immersing himself in a new football experience. “I didn’t have high expectations when I first went there,” he said. “It was really just for the experience and hopefully to be a better player out of it. It was awesome. I had training sessions every day at the club and sometimes twice a day and I stayed with my family. Everything I did was around football.”
BAYSWATER WIN BIG, AGAIN
Bayswater City’s Night Series title defence appears on track following a 5-0 demolition of Balcatta in this evening’s early quarter-final at Percy Doyle Reserve. Paul McCarthy struck the sole goal of the first half before Bayswater put their foot down with Todd Howarth, Steve Burton, Danny Dixon and substitute Adrian Caceres put the game beyond doubt. “I’m happy with the result, but if you rest on your laurels you’re never going to improve,” said Bayswater coach Chris Coyne following his teams’ second five-goal win in eight days.
For Balcatta, the early signs were ominous. Dixon was presented a golden opportunity to open Bayswater’s account when picked out at the far post but goalkeeper Damien Stanoevski produced a stunning reaction save to deny his opponent. Patrick Quinn provided Balcatta’s response by getting in behind a static defence to go one-on-one with Devon Spence, who come out on top of the challenge. The deadlock was eventually broken on the half hour when McCarthy fired beyond Stanoevski from a few metres.
Bayswater upped the ante with a minute of the second half starting via a Howarth free-kick from the edge of the penalty area which gave the ‘keeper no chance. Burton tapped in goal number three at close-range in the 53 minute, and when Dixon added another two minutes later the game was as good as over. The pick of the goals arrived in the 66th minutes via Caceres, whose brilliant volley from distance put the icing on the cake of what was a comfortable win, and tee-up a semi-final date with neighbouring Inglewood United next week.
INGLEWOOD MARCH INTO SEMI-FINALS
Inglewood United moved through to the last four of the Night Series by coming from behind to defeat Division One side Ashfield 5-1 this evening at Percy Doyle Reserve. Ryan Francis scored twice amid goals from Jarrad McNally, David Sesay and Jon Stripe, but only after Tom Kennedy fired Ashfield into an early lead. “I was disappointed with our early performance, but we came out much better defensively in the second half and killed the game off,” Inglewood coach Graham Normanton said. “Next week it’s Bayswater, who are the benchmark in this competition, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we perform against them.”
Ashfield waited just 12 minutes before taking the lead, Kennedy afforded space on top of the penalty area to lob brilliantly over goalkeeper Luke Martino. Things went from bad to worse for Inglewood when defender Matt Danskin exited the game with a hamstring injury a few minutes later. With David Perich pulling the strings in midfield, Inglewood rebounded. Ryan Clarke’s deep 36th minute cross picked was met by McNally who headed in the equaliser from 5-metres. Then, with half-time just moments away, Francis’ unleashed a powerful shot that flashed past John Perkins to give Inglewood the upper hand.
Whatever Normanton said at the break worked a treat as Inglewood piled on three rapid fire goals to put the result beyond doubt. Francis showed his class with another fine strike from outside the penalty area in the 48th minute. Goal celebrations had barely subsided when Sesay cut in from the right and, despite stumbling, curled into the top corner of the net. Ashfield were by this stage punch drunk and on 53 minutes Stripe delivered the knock-out blow with a quickly taken free-kick which hit the back of the net while Perkins was still setting up his defensive wall.
GLORY YOUTH SUN IT UP ON CENTRAL COAST
Perth Glory Youth picked up just their fourth win of the summer by defeating bottom-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners 3-0 this morning at Pluim Park in Lisarow. Adrian Zahra netted twice with substitute Gian Albano netting the remainder on a day when the home side finished with nine players on the park. The team in purple had the better of first half chances with Ndumba Makeche’s pace causing no end of trouble for Central Coast’s defence. The deadlock was broken in the shadows of half-time when Zahra made no mistake from the penalty spot after Slobodan Vulin was on the receiving end of a studs-up challenge from Brent Griffiths, who was duly issued his marching orders.
Glory should have increased their lead just before the hour but Vulin’s header was blocked by goalkeeper David Bradasevic and Matt Sim cleared his follow-up. Five minutes later Josh Bingham went down inside the area but referee Lachlan Daniels waved away appeals for a home penalty. It wasn’t until the 87th minute that the visitors were able to make something of their extra player, Albano sending a sweet first time shot into the back of the net. Things then went from bad to worse for Central Coast when Nathan Verity picked up his second yellow card. The game was deep in stoppage time when Zahra’s curling shot from the edge of the area flew beyond the ‘keeper’s reach.
SMELTZ SEEKS REWARD FOR GLORY’S EFFORTS
Perth Glory will go back to the drawing board after their winless run extended to five games with Saturday’s away loss to Sydney FC. Striker Shane Smeltz admitted his frustration with Glory’s recent results, saying the team’s performances have been worthy of more than the two points they’ve taken in the past month. “It’s obviously a pretty frustrating feeling for the playing group to experience a fifth straight game without a win,” said Smeltz. “It feels like we’ve put in a decent effort with no reward, and it’s starting to feel like it’s been that way for the past few games. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board during the week and crack on to the next game.”
Smeltz believes Glory’s problems stem from both ends of the park. “We’ve had a very good defence all season, but now we’re starting to leak a couple of goals each game, which you can’t do. The two goals we let in — and probably last week (against Melbourne Heart) – is something we can easily fix, and we’ve got to do that if we’re to get back to our winning ways,” he said. “At the other end we’re creating half-chances but we need to set up clear-cut opportunities and put them away. The focus has got to be on quality and the effort has got to stay the same, if not get better.”
Despite Glory slipping four points behind sixth placed Sydney, Smeltz remains confident his team can made the finals series. “There’s eight games to go and everyone’s trying to scrap to get into that top six. We’re certainly not pressing any panic buttons just yet. We definitely still feel we can do it,” said Smeltz. “We’ve got the toughest run in the league to get there, we know that, so the scheduling hasn’t favoured us. But we’ve just got to stay positive and look to each week and start picking up points again. We won’t be looking past next weekend. The full focus is on Western Sydney (Wanderers) now and how we can get back on track.
EAMES BLITZ ENDS KNIGHTS’ SERIES
Import signing Jamie Eames hit a hat-trick to guide Floreat Athena to a comfortable 5-1 win over Western Knights in this evening’s Night Series quarter-final at Hartfield Park. Zdenek Bezdek opened Floreat’s account early with Ludovic Boi adding a second before former Stevenage Borough player Eames tucked in his three goals. “We were pretty pleased with the performance and just looking forward to being involved in the semi-finals now,” said Floreat defender Cameron Yorke. “There are a few things we’d like to work on and obviously it would’ve been nice to keep a clean sheet, but we played some really nice stuff so we just want to keep that momentum going now.”
Floreat were on the front foot from the outset and with 16 minutes gone their attacking approach reaped rewards, Bezdek firing low on the turn past goalkeeper Samuel Hutchinson. That lead was added to four minutes from half-time, albeit with a little help from referee David Bruce. The Knights were pressing forward when a pass struck the match official and fell kindly to Boi, who took one touch and from near the halfway line lobbed over the stranded ‘keeper. There was still enough time for Eames to add a third goal to his teams tally, the midfielder’s deflected strike beating Hutchinson to effectively end the game as a contest.
The second half opened with the Knights desperate to reduce the deficit. Jamie Ricks’ flashed narrowly wide before Jacob Aquino forced a superb save from Yousri Gharasallah. But the Knights comeback hopes were crushed with the 64th minute sending off of captain David Annall for a second yellow card. The ledger was balanced when Aryn Williams was dismissed with seven minutes remaining, also for a second bookable offence. Eames put the icing on the cake by netting a one-on-one with Hutchinson, and a few minutes later angled in his third. Luke Jukic grabbed the Knights late consolation by converting a penalty awarded after Nick Carroll was brought down by Gharasallah.
BROOKS FORCES BUNBURY INTO THE LAST FOUR
Jon Brooks came off the bench to send Bunbury Forum Force into the Night Series semi-finals with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. Bunbury created by far the better goal scoring opportunities and would have won by a much greater margin if not for Forrestfield custodian Brad Eiffe, who time and time again frustrated his opponents. “It was not the best performance but in games like this you only need to win,” said Bunbury coach Trent Hathaway. “Jon came off the bench after 60 minutes and soon after showed if you want to get on the end of a cross you will score.”
The first half was a tight affair dominated by the defences. Kenny Taylor found a way through but his shot whistled past the post, likewise Jason Feather at the other end of the park. Bunbury defender Oliver McGee was lucky not to receive his marching orders early in the second half when his elbow on Mauro Cusiamano went unnoticed by match officials. The game was decided in the 65 minutes when Brooks finished into the net from Jayden Prosser’s delivery. Steban Sibincic was unlucky not to draw the side’s level with a long-range strike that rose just over the crossbar only minutes before the final whistle.
GLORY’S MISERY CONTINUES IN SYDNEY
A stunning goal from midfielder Terry Antonis has helped Sydney FC conclude a week of turmoil with a battling 2-1 win over the visiting Perth Glory tonight at Allianz Stadium. In his first start following an eight-month injury absence, Antonis provided a much-needed ray of sunlight for the Sky Blues with a classy strike midway through the second half. Ranko Despotovic had given the hosts an early lead with Antonis doubling their advantage before Rostyn Griffiths pulled a goal back to set up a tense finish. The loss extends Glory’s winless run to five games, and drops them four points outside the A-League’s top six.
A scrappy opening was punctuated by the opening goal on 17 minutes when Alessandro Del Piero expertly picked out the run of Despotovic, who made no mistake touching the ball past an advancing Danny Vukovic. Glory was presented a great opportunity to equalise via an indirect free-kick from 6-metres but Shane Smeltz’s effort was charged down. The momentum was now with the away team but Darvydas Sernas blazed high from 9-metres and William Gallas’ glancing header was scrambled out for a corner. There was still time for Corey Gameiro to force Vukovic into a save after Del Piero again opened up the Glory backline.
There were promising signs for Glory upon the resumption substitute Chris Harold forcing Vedran Janjetovic into a fingertip save. But the all-important second goal came at the opposite end where an unchallenged Antonis surged forward to curl in from the edge of the penalty in the 64th minutes. Three minutes later Nebojsa Marinkovic flighted a dead ball onto the head of Griffiths, who deftly guided in via the underside of the crossbar. Despotovic seemed set to extend Sydney’s lead following a goalmouth scramble but Vukovic smothered bravely. The hosts saw out the game with ten men after young defender Aaron Calver was sent off for a second yellow card.
INJURY-HIT MCCALLUM IS GLORY WOMEN’S BEST
Perth Glory captain Collette McCallum has won the Most Glorious Player award despite making just five appearances for the club this season. McCallum, 27, was struck down by a knee injury in mid-December but the 27-year old’s contribution over the opening stages of the campaign were strong enough to land her the coveted award. “It really shows just how much of an impact Collette has on games,” coach Jamie Harnwell said. “She was in fantastic form from the first match and as a captain led the team well. It’s no coincidence that we struggled after she was ruled out through injury.”
Midfielder Shannon May, who has worn Glory colours in all six W-League seasons, was rewarded for her hard work by being named the Player’s Player of the Year. “Shannon was fantastic in the second part of the season,” Harnwell said. “She was asked to fill an unfamiliar role as a full-back and played like she had been there all her life. I believe this award always has special significance and Shannon can be delighted to have the respect and admiration of her peers, who voted her the winner.”
The Coach’s Award went to Danish import Cecilie Sandvej, who starred in her debut W-League season and did everything her coach asked of her. “She made a total commitment to Perth Glory since signing for us and her professionalism on and off the park is a great example to other players,” Harnwell said. “Her winning mentality really drove us on in a lot of games. She also filled a number of positions, all of them with distinction.” Kate Gill won her fourth Glory Golden Boot with six goals in eight appearances, and breakthrough midfielder Shawn Billam was named Best Trainer.
TIME IS RIPE FOR GLORY TO TURN AROUND HORROR AWAY RECORD
Perth Glory’s season goes on the line this afternoon when the face fellow finals contender Sydney FC in a make-or-break encounter for both clubs. Sydney has endured a week from hell following its third straight home loss while Glory, who are winless in four games, need to turn around a horror away record if they’re to make the top six. “It’s a big game for them and a big game for us,” said Lowe, whose team sit in eight spot, one point behind Sydney. “Our away record is probably not one of the better ones in the league but I think that’s got to go out the window. We’ve got to start winning games away from home.”
It’s been a turbulent week for Sydney with fans calling for the sacking of key club figures, players banished from training and crisis meetings held behind closed doors. Lowe could not stress enough the importance of Glory taking advantage of the Sky Blues’ well publicised troubles. “I’d prefer the turmoil on the day instead of going the week after the turmoil,” Lowe said. “We seem to get a lot of clubs in turmoil and then we pop up the week after to help everybody out. I don’t think we need to be charitable this week. We need to look after Perth Glory and focus on ourselves and not be too interested in what’s going on with Sydney.”
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
The Night Series quarter-finals commences with tomorrow evening’s blockbuster showdown between Floreat Athena and Western Knights at Hartfield Park (6.00pm). Floreat defender Callum Fransz expects to be in the thick of the action against a Knights side which topped Group D ahead of Stirling Lions. “We are very wary of the Knights, they have some quality players and will be probably the strongest team we've faced thus far,” said Fransz, whose team will be minus David Heagney (suspension) and Andrew Xydas (knee). “We’ve worked hard on the track and we’re fully aware what is needed to win the game.”
The late game brings Second Division outfit Forrestfield United up against the might of Bunbury Forum Force (8.00pm). Spirits are high in the Bunbury camp following last week’s defeat of Cockburn City, a result which propelled the south-westers to the top of Group A and again raised the question of why they were left out of the National Premier League. There have been many positives come from the tournament for Forrestfield but they’ll need to be on top of their game to progress further. Jon Brooks and David Murphy are the players to watch for Bunbury, while Rhys Loxley and goalkeeper Brad Eiffe hold the key to Forrestfield’s chances.
Night Series trophy holders Bayswater City go head-to-head with traditional rivals Balcatta in Sunday’s twilight fixture at Percy Doyle Reserve (5.00pm). Bayswater flexed their muscle by blowing away Perth SC last time out with Steve Burton and Brian Farrell netting two apiece in a 6-1 triumph. A new-look Balcatta snatched their place in the last eight through a stoppage time header from Mark Doniger, which allowed them to leapfrog Sorrento and take top spot. Kris Gate and Adam Tong have big roles on Saturday if Balcatta are to halt the Bayswater juggernaut.
The round of eight concludes with Sunday’s derby meeting of Inglewood United and Ashfield at Percy Doyle Reserve (7.00pm). Matt Wardle, one of several former Inglewood players in the Ashfield line-up, feels his team are just beginning to hit their pre-season straps. “We started the Night Series a tad unfit but the lads now have a few games under their belt and that showed in the win against Wanneroo City last week,” said Wardle. “I have a lot of respect for Inglewood but on Sunday it’s about Ashfield getting the result. We are slowly getting better and this week will be really competitive between two teams who play attractive football.”
DE SILVA RETURNS TO THE FRAY
Teenager Daniel De Silva is in line to make his first Perth Glory appearance of the year after being named in an extended squad for this weekend’s game against Sydney FC. De Silva, who turns 17 next month, signed on with his hometown club last year but that’s not stopped the talented midfielder from attracting the attention of clubs from across Europe. Despite the hype, he has been afforded few opportunities at Glory this season, gaining just two starts and four appearances off the bench and the recent arrival of Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas from Europe has only increased competition for spots.
Interim coach Kenny Lowe’s current focus appears to be on results more than long-term development of youngsters, but last month said De Silva would be given a chance to shine. “He’s 16 and he’s going to be a super player, but let’s not put pressure on Danny De Silva to come in and run the games here,” Lowe said. “He’s just got to come in, enjoy himself and play some football. He’ll get his time.” De Silva has played just 55 minutes Lowe and indications are the young gun is becoming frustrated at the lack of opportunities at A-League level. Interim coach Kenny Lowe’s current focus appears to be on results more than long-term development of youngsters, but last month said De Silva would be given a chance to shine. “He’s 16 and he’s going to be a super player, but let’s not put pressure on Danny De Silva to come in and run the games here,” Lowe said. “He’s just got to come in, enjoy himself and play some football. He’ll get his time.” De Silva has played just 55 minutes Lowe and indications are the young gun is becoming frustrated at the lack of opportunities at A-League level.
DEFENCE THE KEY TO CANBERRA’S TITLE PUSH: WILLIAMS
Strikers win games, but defenders win championships – that’s the mantra Canberra United are preaching as they attempt to lift the W-League trophy for the second time in three years. Canberra’s rock-solid defence was the key to collecting the regular season title, conceding just eight goals in their twelve regular season games. Ellie Brush and Catherine Brown have established a formidable partnership in the centre of defence in front of goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who kept a club record six clean sheets from her 11 appearances. “We wanted to concede as little goals as possible, they’re desperate defenders and have done their job at important times,” Williams told the ‘Canberra Times’. “So far I haven’t had many goals put against me, that’s a credit to them.”
The role Katanning-born Williams has played this season cannot be underestimated. The 25-year old featured in Canberra’s first four seasons and was between the posts when they won the 2011/12 Grand Final. After missing last season following knee surgery, Williams used the motivation of regaining her Australian jersey as a driving force in her recovery. “The first stepping stone to World Cups and Asian Cups was to have a really good W-League,” Williams said. “I was really excited to get back training with the national team, but to have a good season with United was a big motivation to know I can perform like this day in and day out. Physically, you might feel well with an ACL, but mentally it takes a lot to get back to where you were.”
ARMADALE DOWN, BUT BY NO MEANS OUT SAYS BAKE
Armadale captain Llewellyn Bake has warned rival clubs should not read too much into his teams’ early exit from the Night Series. The Reds bowed out of the pre-season tournament with last weekend’s surprise loss to third tier Fremantle United and, although disappointed, Bake says his team’s focus is on next month’s kick-off of the National Premier League. “Our loss to Fremantle was very disappointing,” said a philosophical Bake. “The Night Series is an opportunity to get playing time under our belts at a good intensity. It also gives would-be new players an opportunity to contribute, and for coaching staff to make the necessary selections for the upcoming season.”
While excited about the season ahead, 31-year old Bake is concerned the NPL player points system will disadvantage players of his age. “I’m not in agreement with that rule given my age, and the fact I believe most players don’t peak until 26 or 27 so it is discriminatory,” said Bake, who played juniors for Rockingham City before donning first team colours at Fremantle City, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Suburbs United, Cockburn City and now Armadale. “But rules are rules and we – the more senior players – have to perform each week and prove our value on the park and soak in the added pressure of costing the team many player points.”
Bake admits he’s beginning to feel his age given the current climate. “I made my senior debut in 2002 when most of my team mates were just starting primary school, so to say I feel a little old is an understatement,” he said. “But we have some exciting young talent at the club who have now a season of senior football behind them. I’m confident they can now contribute consistently and we can improve massively from last season. And the inclusion of Johnny Tan, our new club physio, and his player wellbeing guidelines will help us manage our injuries throughout the season better than we have in the past.”
Last weekend’s result aside, Bake is comfortable with how Armadale’s year has so far panned out. “We have entered week six of our pre-season campaign and so far so good. Personally I’m starting to get the sharpness back into my movement and the endurance levels are starting to improve as well,” said Bake. “(Coach) Lee Bamber is continuing to strengthen our squad before the start of the season, especially upfront where most of our indiscretions from last season haunt us. But we can’t dwell on the past, we need to look to the future and build up for the first NPL game in March.”
BREAK DOES FOSTER THE WORLD OF GOOD
Striker David Foster is champing at the bit for the new season to begin after a self-imposed 12-month absence from the game. Football was the last thing on Foster’s mind last year but it seems his time away from the game has only increased his hunger for success, the 30-year old bagging a brace to help ECU Joondalup to victory over northern neighbours Joondalup United in last weekend’s Night Series round. “It’s great to be back,” commented Foster. “The club have been really understanding about my decision to take a year off to give my legs a rest and concentrate on work.”
Foster feels recharged from his year away of the game. “I didn’t follow local football at all last season. I made the decision to have a clean break and I believe it’s recharged my batteries,” commented Foster, who is slowly working his way back to being match ready. “It’s going to take me a while to get into full fitness. It was nice to score a couple last week but it was unfortunate we were knocked out on goal difference. I hope I can score a few goals this season and play good consistent football and most of all stay injury-free.”
Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch didn’t wait long before contacting Foster after hearing he was looking to make a comeback. “Fozzie brings a lot of experience and quality to the team and no doubt he is a natural goalscorer,” McCulloch said of Foster, who was with Swan United when he collected the Golden Boot award in 2004. “I heard a whisper that he wanted to play again so I jumped at the chance to sign him. He’s had a year off so he is working hard to get to full fitness. He played a full 90 minutes last week so we are happy with his progress so far.”
Foster, a former Sorrento junior, is enjoying working with McCulloch, who was club captain when the striker topped Joondalup’s goal scorer charts in 2012. “Dale brings a fresh and more attacking brand of football,” Foster explained. “After he came in last season the club held their own in the league and lost only three games. For the new season he has brought in some experience players and has also tapped into the emerging talent we have coming through the academy … I’m excited to be part of a Joondalup squad which has some promising youngsters.”
HEAT WON’T HINDER GLORY: THWAITE
Experienced defender Michael Thwaite doesn’t expect there to be any lingering aftereffects from last week’s taxing conditions when Perth Glory squares off with Sydney FC this weekend. Temperatures surged above 40C during last Sunday’s loss at Melbourne Heart with Thwaite describing the conditions as the worst he has played in. Glory travel to Sydney on Friday, only four days after returning to Perth, and Thwaite says the player group are ready to go into battle with the Sky Blues despite the punishing scheule. “The guys trained normally today and we’ve got a big squad, so I think if need be there will be replacements,” Thwaite told thewest.com.au
Glory is in the midst of a tough five-game stretch, which includes four matches away from home. So far this season they’ve struggled to pick up points on the road, collecting just five from 27, but will be aiming to rectify that record this week. “The table doesn’t lie,” Thwaite said. “We’re in a position (that reflects) how we’ve played generally in the season. We need to be consistently better and we need to improve our away record.” Thwaite and central defensive partner William Gallas will have their work cut out on Saturday containing a Sydney attack led by ex-Italy captain Alessandro Del Piero.
MELBOURNE’S SPIRITS ARE HIGH AHEAD OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIER SAYS GALLOWAY
Motivation is something that certainly will not be lacking when Melbourne Victory steps out against Muangthong United in this weekend’s Asian Champions League qualifier according to young defender Scott Galloway. Melbourne take on Muangthong, who’ve been crowned champions of Thailand three times in the past five seasons, at Kardinia Park in Geelong on Saturday and 18-year old Galloways says it’s a game his team are desperate to win. “We’re one game away from going into the Champions League with Asia’s best,” Galloway said. “The feeling is good. Everyone knows how important this game is to us. Everyone’s focused on winning this game to set us up for the group stage.”
Handed a starting role for each of Melbourne’s three most recent A-League outings, Galloway admits he is pleased with his contributions on match day but that does not mean he’ll be resting on his laurels. “I was fairly happy with my game on the weekend and there’s still a lot to improve on, but in the end it’s the team result and the team that matters,” said Galloway, referencing Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Central Coast Mariners. “I want to try and be as perfect as you can be. You try your best to be the best every week.” A product of the National Training Centre program, Galloway has made 21 appearances for Melbourne since joining the club in 2013.
ROUX CALLED UP FOR NEW ZEALAND
Central Coast Mariners youngster Storm Roux is in line for his second outing with New Zealand after the talented right back was selected in the All Whites squad to play Japan next month. Roux, 21, shone on his international debut in November against Mexico, the 21-year old’s performance highlighting to team selectors that he has a big role to play on the national team’s future. It’s been a breakthrough summer for Roux, who has missed just one of Central Coast’s 18 games and was last month nominated for the A-League’s Young Footballer of the Year Award.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, SUNDAY WEEKEND THREE
Balcatta left it late before booking themselves into the Night Series quarter-finals by drawing 1-1 with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. It was looking as though Sorrento would progress when substitute Steve MacDonald lopped his header into the net with 79 minutes on the clock. However, Balcatta refused to give up the chase and in stoppage time Mark Doniger headed in the equaliser which sent Balcatta to the top of Group G. Quinns came from behind to defeat Dianella White Eagles 3-1 in the late game. Dianella held the upper hand after 45 minutes but offered little resistance as Quinns hit three unanswered second half goals. Dom Elliot equalised with a long-range stunner then added another before Gareth Hamilton put the result beyond doubt.
Bayswater City surged to the top of Group G following this evening’s 6-1 thrashing of arch-rival Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. A Todd Howarth free-kick was all that separated the teams at the break after which Bayswater put their foot down with Steve Burton, Paul McCarthy and Brian Farrell netting in quick succession. Andreas Theodosiades pulled one back but Bayswater were not to be denied and Burton and Farrell each added another to the tally. Melville City scored three times in the final twelve minutes to earn a 4-4 draw with Shamrock Rovers from in the early game. Nathan Steele, Mark Lucas (2) and Sasa Slavujevic were on target for Melville with Shamrock’s goals coming via Darren O’Riordan (2) and Paul Concannon (2).
MELBOURNE DOWN GLORY IN THE HEAT
Perth Glory’s finals hopes received a major blow when beaten this afternoon 2-1 by A-League cellar dwellers Melbourne Heart at Albury's Lavington Sports Ground. David Williams punished a defensive lapse to provide Melbourne’s winner with seven minutes remaining, after Patrick Kisnorbo’s opener early in the second period was cancelled out by Steven McGarry. With temperatures surging above 40C, officials pushed kick-off back two hours but even that was not enough for Glory boss Kenny Lowe, who felt the game was compromised by the weather. “We just sat there and they passed it around, then they sat there and we passed it around,” Lowe said of the hottest game in A-League history. “It wasn’t a high-tempo game.”
The scorching heat contributed to a sluggish start from both teams. In fact it took until the 34th minute for the first genuine chance on goal to present, Iain Ramsey’s vicious drive on the run tipped over the crossbar by Danny Vukovic. Jonathan Germano poked a weak effort straight at Vukovic from the resulting corner, before Jason Hoffman and Mauk both headed presentable chances straight at the Glory custodian leading into the interval. Glory really didn’t get out of first gear. Hopeful appeals for a penalty when Chris Harold went down under Robbie Wielaert was dismissed, while Jacob Burns drilled just high from 18-metres shortly before half-time.
Melbourne were gifted the lead six minutes into the second half when Kisnorbo was permitted to rise unchecked and nod in from Ramsey’s corner. Lowe and his coaching counterpart, John Van’t Schip, each made a rash of changes as players began to wilt in the heat. It was Glory that benefitted in the 72nd minute when Smeltz’s header was cleared off the line, Michael Thwaite returned the ball into the 6-year box where McGarry hooked the equaliser beyond goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne. Less than ten minutes later Melbourne were back in front, Ben Garuccio playing in fellow substitute Williams whose initial attempt was blocked by Vukovic before leaping to nod the rebound over the stranded ‘keeper.
INJURY SOURS SAINSBURY’S DUTCH DEBUT
Defender Trent Sainsbury has made an inauspicious start to life with Dutch club FC Zwolle after suffering a knee injury that will sideline him for up to a month. The Socceroo hopeful was forced from the field 72 minutes into his team’s 2-1 win over FC Utrecht after falling on a sprinkler. “First game and three points. Once nerves settled I started to relax and enjoy it,” said 22-year old Sainsbury via twitter. “Out for up to three/four. Fracture in knee cap from landing on sprinkler.” Sainsbury, considered a potential bolter for the World Cup in Brazil, adds his name to Australia’s worrying injury list with Robbie Kruse and Rhys Williams expected to miss football’s showpiece event.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, SATURDAY WEEKEND THREE
Inglewood United made a clean sweep of their Night Series group by brushing aside Swan United 5-0 at Wotton Reserve. David Perich gave Inglewood a dream start by netting after 7 minutes with Jarrod McNally doubling the tally ten minutes out from half-time. The second half opened with a stunning Jon Stripe free-kick and, sixty seconds later, David Sesay further increased the difference to four goals. Dhuors Blaze put the icing on the cake in the closing minutes of regulation time. Olympic Kingsway picked up their first pre-season points with a 3-0 defeat of host club Morley Windmills. Nathan Hibbert scored twice at the start of the second half with Oliver Hilton completing the scoreline with ten minutes to go.
GILL BRACE COMPLETES COMEBACK
Team captain Kate Gill ensured Perth Glory’s season ended on a high by scoring a brace in this evening’s 2-1 come-from-behind win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Percy Doyle Reserve. The visitors drew first blood through Emily Van Egmond but just after half-time Gill brought the sides level with a tidy header. It looked as though the game would end that way when Gill added a second six minutes from the end to propel Glory to fifth spot on the final W-League ladder. “I was in the right place at the right time and the crosses in were perfect so it would have been harder for me to miss them,” Gill said after the game. “All credit to the girls for sticking it out and getting the result.”
Chances were at a premium throughout the first half with the majority of play taking place in the middle third of the pitch. Glory came agonisingly close to going ahead after 10 minutes when Marianna Tabain crashed into the underside of the crossbar and Emily Henderson was unable to keep her balance at the follow-up. Five minutes later Michelle Carney played a smart ball through to striker partner Van Egmond, whose finish was just over the legs of the onrushing Chantel Jones to put Western Sydney one-nil up. That lead was nearly doubled when Van Egmond squared the ball for Carney but her shot was wide in the 24th minute. The last chance of the period was a Gill header which passed out beyond the post.
Glory equalised two minutes after the restart through Gill’s back post header from Carys Hawkins’ inch-perfect delivery from the right. Jones was called upon a number of times in a much more open second half as both sides looked to take the lead. The side breathed a sigh of relief when Catherine Cannuli’s 22-metre rocket slammed against the bar. With eight minutes left substitute Jess Dillon got down the right and sent in a fine cross which Gill steered inside the back post, giving goalkeeper Dimi Poulos no chance. Glory defended staunchly over the remaining minutes to hold on for a third win from their final four games of the campaign.
GLORY YOUTH NOT IN THE RACE WITH MELBOURNE
Melbourne Heart have shown no mercy by crushing Perth Glory Youth 5-1 this afternoon at Epping Stadium. The home side were on top from the outset, going ahead after just 6 minutes when Ersin Kaya headed in after Sam Mitchinson’s deflected cross fell back off the crossbar. It was not long until Melbourne extended their lead with Jeremy Walker working his way down the right to cross for Hernan Espindola, who finished from point-blank range. Glory fought back and on 28 minutes Ryan Edwards curled in a spectacular goal from well-outside the 18-yard box. However, the home side’s two-goal advantage was restored just before the half-time with Alex Dao calmly finishing past goalkeeper Luke Radonich after more clever work from Walker.
The interval did little to slow the Melbourne attack. A defence splitting pass put Luke O’Dea through on goal and, after fending off a defender, he cut inside and finished clinically past Radonich on 55 minutes. The home side put another away four minutes later when Espindola’s shot was palmed into the net by Radonich, who really should have done better. The pace now began to drop off with the sweltering conditions taking their toll on both sides. Ndumba Makeche was unlucky not to pull a goal back on several occasions but the Glory striker was continually thwarted by a resilient Melbourne backline. Three points for Melbourne moves them into seventh position while Glory remains ninth, three points above last-placed Central Coast Mariners.
GLORY FINALS CREDENTIALS GO ON LINE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe says Perth Glory’s next five games will decide the team’s finals fate this season. Glory sit in seventh spot on a congested A-League table but face their the daunting task of four away games during the next month. First up are a resurgent Melbourne Heart tomorrow in Albury, where the temperature is forecast to reach 41C. “If we’re going to play finals, we’ve got to go away and win games, end of story,” Lowe said. “It’s big time for us and we’ll see how people stand up with that mental side of dealing with that.”
Glory were boosted by the inclusion of marquee defender William Gallas in the travelling party for Melbourne. The former English Premier League star has been cleared of any significant calf damage and Lowe said the veteran completed a full training session yesterday morning. Gallas will be reassessed today to see how he recovered from the flight and Lowe has the option of replacing him with a player from the youth team. “Hopefully there’s no reaction but he looks good to go,” Lowe said. “The youth guys are in Melbourne so if anything happens we’ll just move one of the boys over.”
Lowe has promoted Young Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren and Brazilian winger Sidnei Sciola to the squad, while new midfield signing Rostyn Griffiths is set for his Glory debut. The Glory boss is yet to make a decision as to whether Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas, who are both still adapting to the hot Australian climate after arriving from Europe late last month, will play. Melbourne have won two and drawn one of their last three games but will be without suspended marquee man Orlando Engelaar, who was sent off in last week’s win over Sydney FC.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, FRIDAY WEEKEND THREE
Bunbury Forum Force have been rewarded for a gritty performance with a 1-0 win over Cockburn City, and a much-coveted spot in the Night Series quarter-finals. An in-swinging Kenny Taylor corner midway through the first half was all the separated the teams after 90 minutes, however, a solid defensive display by Bunbury in the second period played just as big a role in their success. Mandurah City completed their group commitments by claiming a 2-0 derby win over Rockingham City. Gerard Burke put the hosts in front just before the break but it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Kyle Harrop made the result safe.
A Rhys Loxley goal in stoppage time earned third tier Forrestfield United a place in the knock-out stage courtesy of a 4-4 draw with Gosnells City. Gino Hampshire, Jason Feather, Mauro Cusimano and Loxley were on target for the host club whereas Gosnells’ goals came via Chris Holland, Michael Logue and Darren Gamble (2). Fremantle United came from behind to collected a 3-2 win over Armadale, who were left to wonder what might have been. The Reds looked set for a quarter-finals berth after Sam Loveless and Dannie Richman put them two-goals up, however, Nick O’Brien netted twice to tie up the game with Andrew Ambrogio snaring the winner just minutes from the final whistle.
Floreat Athena finished top of Group C with a perfect win record after accounting for Canning City 2-1 at Litis Stadium. Ludovic Boi marked his first start of the year with the opening goal to which Andrew Scadarfaro added, while Canning’s sole reply came from Jarred Smith. Subiaco AFC downed a ten-man UWA-Nedlands 3-1 in the early game. First half finishes from Nathan Tosum and Ian McMurray had the game in the balance when UWA defender Manuel Arapis received his marching orders in the 64th minute. Jordan Rhodes rubbed salt into the wound by converting the resultant spot kick and just moment from the final whistle McMurray snared his second of the game.
Western Knights stormed into the quarter-finals with a 6-0 thrashing of Ellenbrook United in the late game at Macedonia Park. Jamie Ricks helped himself to a first half hat-trick with Johny Mirco also netting twice to effectively have the outcome decided inside 45 minutes. Ricks, Mirco and Steve Purton each added another for good measure during the second period. Stirling Lions’ pre-season campaign came to an end after downing Joondalup City 3-0. Josh Booysen opened the scoring midway through the first half, then added another soon after the interval to have Stirling in a commanding position. Rob Petkov sealed victory with thirteen minutes to go.
Ashfield booked their spot in the last eight by dumping Wanneroo City 4-1 in the late game at Kingsway Reserve. Ruben Tristao got the show on the road early with Ryan Frisina applying a tidy finish on the stroke of half-time to make it two-nil. Jamie Burns scored twice in ten minutes after the turnaround to put the result beyond doubt before Sahr Konomanyi grabbed Wanneroo a late consolation. Earlier, ECU Joondalup got the better of Joondalup United by 4-2 courtesy of a David Foster double which was complimented by Jon Stynes and Tommy Amphlett. Joondalup’s goals came via Lee Jones and Neil Middler.
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
It’s shaping up to be a massive weekend in the Night Series with seven of the eight quarter-final spots up for grabs. The action commences with the Group A derby between Mandurah City and Rockingham City at Hyundai Stadium (6.30pm). This acts as a curtain raiser to the group decider which pits Cockburn City against Bunbury Forum Force (8.30pm). A point will be enough to send Cockburn through to the knock-out phase whereas victory is essential if Bunbury’s pre-season campaign is to be extended.
The competition will be intense at Hartfield Park where three teams are vying for top spot in Group B. Forrestfield United and Gosnells City each need to claim victory from the early game, however, the outcome may prove irrelevant should Armadale down Fremantle United by a sizeable margin. Group C will be decided by the winner-take-all showdown between joint leaders Floreat Athena and Canning City at Litis Stadium. Earlier in the evening Subiaco AFC and UWA-Nedlands continued the search for their first points of the pre-season tournament.
Any one of Ashfield, ECU Joondalup, Joondalup United and Wanneroo City can finish top of Group E, which is being played out at Kingsway Reserve. ECU Joondalup and Joondalup United meet in the early game followed by Ashfield and Wanneroo City, whose coach David Tough has found the pre-season one frustration after another. “We’ve not be able to have the new squad together in one place at the same time so far,” he commented. “Ashfield have made some quality signings and look a quality outfit so will go into the game as favourites.”
Western Knights requires a solitary point from Macedonia Park’s late fixture with Ellenbrook United to make the last eight. Stirling Lions, who were deducted three points for playing an ineligible player against the Knights, meet Joondalup City earlier on. Wotton Reserve hosts the only two games of Saturday evening. Inglewood United are already through to the last eight but are nonetheless planning for a third straight win when they face Swan United (6.00pm), after which Morley Windmills go into battle against Olympic Kingsway (8.00pm).
Taki Nicolaidis is under no illusions as to the challenge which lies ahead as Perth SC go head-to-head with joint Group H leader Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday (7.00pm). “Bayswater is definitely the biggest test we have faced this year and, based on last year’s results, they are red-hot favourites to qualify for the next round,” said Nicolaidis. “We have been working hard to get our structures right and improving every week. There is definitely a good feel amongst the group and I’m confident that we will make things very competitive for Bayswater.”
Earlier on at Dorrien Gardens its Shamrock Rovers and Melville City in a game which has little more than pride at stake. It promises to be a crackerjack night at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento and Balcatta square off for the honour of topping Group G. Both clubs have a 100% win record after two games and neither has any desire to exit the tournament just yet. Quinns have turned in some spirited performances and they’ll fancy their chances in the late fixture against a much-changed Dianella White Eagles outfit.
TABAIN CALLS ON GLORY CHEER SQUAD
Midfielder Marianna Tabain is calling on Perth Glory Women’s fans to give the side a boost in this weekend’s final game of the season, against Western Sydney Wanderers. It’s been a bumpy season for Glory with injury often leaving the squad threadbare, however, Tabain is hoping a big turnaround on Sunday at Percy Doyle Reserve can inspire the team to one last victory. “I think having plenty of fans there will be very important,” she said. “It will be crucial for us to get as many people as we can there and basically being the twelfth man for us. We are coming off a great win and really want to end the season on a high.”
Spirits could not be better within the Glory camp after pickup in a 1-0 win away at third-from-top Melbourne Victory. “I thought we defended really well, we worked as a team and it worked against Melbourne who really couldn’t break us down. We’ll be looking to do the same this week and hopefully get three points again and more goals,” said Tabain, who is happy with what the team has achieved this season given the circumstances. “It’s been pretty difficult in terms of injuries, illnesses and not having all players available, but I think we have done the best we could.” Entry is free to Glory’s outing with Western Sydney, which kicks-off at 5.00pm Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
KNIGHTS READY TO PUSH INTO QUARTER-FINALS
Western Knights are just 90 minutes away from an unlikely Night Series quarter-final appearance. The Knights take on State League rookies Ellenbrook United in their final group game of the pre-season tournament and, after being awarded the round one fixture with Stirling Lions by way of forfeit, coach Robbie Dunn is quietly confident of leading his team into the last eight. “We are now in a position where we control our own destiny in the group stage,” said Dunn. “The message this week is a simple one to the players – don’t lose.”
The equation may be relatively straight forward but Dunn knows getting the result he wants is not. “I’m a bit wiser and older though to know that it isn’t as simple as that on the pitch,” he added. “The players are totally focused and know that if they stick to the game plan and put in some really solid hard work they can come away with the points and get through the group. We won’t underestimate anyone, but at the same time our opponents will have to play well to beat us if our players bring their right attitudes to the match.”
Dunn admits to being surprised by how well the pre-season has gone for his team. “We had only six sessions on the training track before playing our first game and, unfortunately, this is shown by the fact that we have already lost four players to hamstring strains, knee complaints and the like,” he explained. “On top of this Ethan Levett was unceremoniously dumped by a Joondalup City player in our last outing and he’ll be out for up to eight weeks with his collar bone broken in three places. Apart from all of that the players are doing okay and getting some fitness into their bodies.”
It’s a far cry from the dire predicament the Knights found themselves this time last year, only a matter of months after losing their place in the Premier Division. “This pre-season is going a heck of a lot better compared to last year,” Dunn explained. “At the same time last year we had six players rock-up for training and I actually told the president Miso Bunic and George Grasa that I was seriously worried about not being able to field a team in the 2013 season. This year we have great numbers at training and some of the new faces will definitely be pushing for first team selection.”
Dunn has seen enough in the Knights performances to date to indicate they will again be one of the teams to beat in Division One. “Parts of our two games have been very good and this has shown the coaching staff that the Knights will be a much stronger and fitter outfit than we were last year,” said Dunn, who guided the club to fifth in 2013. “Luka Jukic, Dave Annall and Johny Mirco are all putting in solid pre-season work this year and this will make them better players than they were last season, when they were fantastic.” The Knights take on Ellenbrook from 8.30pm Friday at Macedonia Park.
GRIFFITHS PLANS FOR GLORY DEBUT
New Perth Glory recruit Rostyn Griffiths is one of four players in the fight for three midfield spots against Melbourne Heart on Sunday. Griffiths, 25, missed last week’s game with a minor knee complaint but has trained strongly in recent days to prove his fitness. And although his last official game was in October, Griffiths says he feels fit enough to make his Glory debut and play at least 45 minutes. “I think the initial plan was probably to play around half a game if that opportunity occurred,” he said. “In training you can only replicate so much, it’s all about getting back into the games."
Griffiths said the turmoil surrounding Glory in December, which resulted in the sacking of Alistair Edwards and Kenny Lowe’s appointment as interim coach, had not had an impact on his brief time at the club. “I’m glad I wasn’t here a couple of weeks previously because from what I’ve heard it was a bit all up in the air,” said Griffiths, who only joined the club late last month. “It’s been great since I’ve been here. The boys have all been welcoming and now there’s a bit of stability. Kenny and Ordy (assistant coach Andy Ord) have brought that in and that’s what it needs to take the club forward.”
HURDLES TO OVERCOME BUT KELMSCOTT ARE HERE TO STAY SAYS COFFEY
James Coffey recognises he has a good few hurdles to overcome following Kelmscott Roos’ sudden re-entry into the State League. Kelmscott were busy preparing themselves for another season of Sunday League football when they were invited to join the Saturday competition a fortnight ago. The eastern corridor understandably jumped at the opportunity and now it’s up to Coffey to ensure Kelmscott have what it takes to compete on the field of play. “A lot of teams have had two months head start with preparation,” commented the 32-year old Kelmscott coach. “So I need to create the urgency at training for the players so they reach their potential within the league, and to maintain a high level of commitment with current and future players.”
Kelmscott’s focus for their first State League campaign in two decades will be on the individual, not the team according to Coffey. “As a club we have already achieved our goal by being accepted into the State League,” he explained. “My goal this season is to help the players set and achieve their goals, and most of all enjoy their football. We have some great youth players at the club that now have to opportunity to play at the higher level, where they would usually move to another club when they hit 17 or 18. The average age of the squad is very young but we have some outstanding players who will make Kelmscott proud.”
Even so, Coffey recognises there is a need to add a bit of depth and experience to his squad before the new Division Two season kicks off in mid-April. “We are recruiting now for players that have had experience within the State League,” said Coffey, who in his playing days wore the colours of Cockburn City, Inglewood United and Perth SC amongst others. “We’re looking at individuals that will have an impact on the playing group to help them achieve their goals. Kelmscott will be competitive this year and what we’re doing now will ensure Kelmscott are an established State League team for many years to come.”
TAGGART HUNGRY FOR GOALS
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart is backing himself to win this season’s Golden Boot award following last weekend’s brace against Western Sydney Wanderers. Taggart’s double against the A-League’s newest club took him to equal top of the competition goal scorers chart, alongside Wellington Phoenix finisher Stein Husyegems. “To be honest, I’ve always thought I’d love to win a Golden Boot,” said the 20-year old Australian youth international. “It’s a long shot and I’m up against some great players in the likes of (Besart) Berisha and (Stein) Husyegems. For me it’s a challenge, but I think you need to aim high if you want to achieve big things.”
Taggart feels his brace against Western Sydney could be the catalyst for another goal scoring streak, similar to the one which saw him find the back of the net six times in three matches earlier in the season. “I’m always looking to score goals and sometimes once one goes in, it feels like they’re all going to go in,” Taggart said. “For me, I don’t care if it’s a three-centimetre tap-in or a shot from the halfway line. They all count and it can contribute to a result for the team at the end of the day. Hopefully I can carry on and I’ll be working as hard as ever to keep that going, because at the end of the day that’s why I’m on the pitch.”
LOWE GETS HOT UNDER THE COLLAR
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has blasted A-League officials for scheduling Sunday’s game against Melbourne Heart in the heat of the day. A forecast temperature of 41C is set to greet the two teams when they step out at Lavington Sports Ground in Albury, country New South Wales. The A-League are expected to implement its heat policy for the occasion, which allows for drinks breaks in the middle of each half. However, a Football Federation Australia spokesman said the 3.00pm kick-off would only be delayed if the reading on the day exceeded 28C under the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, which takes into account the ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed and infrared radiation.
Lowe found it difficult to contain his outrage at both the location and timing of the game, which he says will be affected by the hot conditions. “I don’t know who organises stuff like that – middle of the country in February,” said Lowe after training today. “You can predict things like this. You’ve got some historical weather data. Maybe have a little look at that and see how it is in February at three o’clock. I remember a few months ago Alistair (Edwards) raised some concerns when it was 31. Now we’re up to 40 I believe. So we’ll play a game of head tennis in an air-con room to see who gets the three points.”
The decision to play the game in the heat of the day may prompt Lowe to leave new recruits Darvydas Sernas and Nebojsa Marinkovic, who both still adapting to Australia’s hot summer, out of the game. “Really, from a duty of care and a moral obligation, you have to look after those two guys,” the coach said. “If we aren’t going to change (the kick-off time), if it is going to be that temperature, do you actually look at maybe not playing those lads for their sake? You see it today – it’s 27 degrees and they’re struggling with the heat, the poor guys. I said we’ll just shove them in the cooker for 30 minutes to try to get them acclimatised a bit more.”
GLORY AGREE TO CERNAK’S EARLY RELEASE
Isaka Cernak’s injury-riddled stay at Perth Glory has come to an end with the club agreeing to release the midfielder from the final months of his contract. Cernak will immediately join Central Coast Mariners on a contract that will take him through to the end of the 2014/15 A-League season. An Australian youth international, Cernak joined Glory in mid-2013 but was restricted to just four appearances by a series of hip injuries. Glory’s decision to release Cernak comes hot on the heels of last month’s signing of Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas.
JOINING BLACKPOOL “THE BEST THING I COULD’VE DONE” REVEALS THURSTON
Teenager Connor Thurston is closing in on a first team debut for English Championship side Blackpool. The former Perth SC youth team player put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Seasiders just over twelve months ago. Thurston says his game has already come on in leaps and bounds during his time at Bloomfield Road and, with a little bit of luck, he is hopeful of stepping out with the senior team sooner rather than later. “Blackpool has been the best thing I could’ve done,” 18-year old Thurston told footballcentral.com.au. “My game has developed by miles since I’ve been training and playing here.”
Blackpool manager Barry Ferguson has been sufficient impressed by what he’s so far seen of Thurston that last month he included the young defender in his squad for an FA Cup outing at Bolton Wanderers. “My biggest highlight so far was being called into the manager’s office to be told that I was in the first team squad sitting on the bench at the Reebok Stadium,” said Thurston, who on the weekend scored in the youth’s teams 5-0 thrashing of Fleetwood Town. “My goal this season is to make a debut off the bench for the first team and get a chance in the Under-20 Australian side and represent my country.”
Thurston says he will forever be indebted to Perth under-18s Gavin Tait. “Perth introduced me to a coach I will never forget Gavin Tait. He has a lot of knowledge on the game which he helped me improve my game in every training session, he believed in me when many didn’t so the club and coaches are very important to me,” Thurston explained. “I didn’t want to do anything else than play football , so my dad and Gavin Tait decided it would be a good idea to send me off to England to see if I was mentally and physically ready.”
After attending an initial one-day trial with Blackpool, Thurston was invited back and over the course of the following five weeks did what was needed to earn a two-year deal. “England is all about football. It’s a place to test yourself and see if you can play and train with the best,” he said of life half a world away from home. “The hardest adjustment for me was to leave my family and friends. I’m very close with my family and friends it still doesn’t feel right not seeing them every day. Also the Australian and English lifestyle is very different.”
Determined to make the most of his chances at Blackpool, Thurston admits Perth Glory was an option prior to his move to England. “Glory is my home town team so I would have loved to give Glory a shot, but I wanted to try my luck in England where legends such as Tim Cahill were made,” said Thurston, who attended the Young Socceroos September training camp in London. “I would love to be a regular first team player for Blackpool FC and one day play in the World Cup for Australia … I’m a very proud Australian and want to give something back.”
NPL TO BENEFIT GAME IN THE WEST (by Chris Coyne, footballaustralia.com.au)
The state-based National Premier Leagues competitions could turn out to be of more benefit to Western Australian players than those in other member federations. Out here in the west, we are proud of our parochialism and the sense of isolation that has contributed to the character of the place and the people. But regardless of our pride in our state, there is no doubt that where we are situated can be a significant hindrance on the career prospects of our best players.
Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, I am not talking about our development system or the standard of our top-tier competition, which are often underestimated by our friends on the east coast of the country. But there is little doubt that Perth’s isolation also means that our best players are less likely to be noticed by scouts, coaches and officials from the majority of the A-League clubs, which are located east of the Nullarbor.
The development of the NPL, a genuinely national play-off system, means that for however long a WA club can stay in the knock-out ‘champion-of-champions’ format, the longer the players remain in the eyes of a whole new audience, some of whom will be on the look-out for new talent. Very much apart from providing clubs with new standards to meet and guidelines around everything from coaching to constitutions, the NPL, in its end-of-season play-off system, will expose some of WA’s best players to a new level of competition, new opponents and, very probably, new admirers.
Just last weekend, Bayswater City, the club I coached to a grand final win last season and will again steer in this year’s NPL-WA, had the opportunity to get a feel for what to expect if the players are good enough to win the state competition again this season. As grand final winners we were invited to travel to Adelaide to take on the 2013 NPL-SA winners Campbelltown City in an Interstate Club Challenge. The experience was fantastic for the players – and some of our very passionate supporters – and I’m hoping it will have also instilled a new sense of hunger in the squad to repeat their achievements of last year.
We certainly travelled to Adelaide with the NPL on our minds and tried to do as much as we could to behave and operate like a professional club. From a personal point of view, and in the early years of my coaching education, there were some logistical challenges to ensure the players were prepared for the task. It was also an educational tool for me as I had to pit my wits against a different coach and style without having seen the opposition play. As a group, we were forced to focus solely on our own roles and organisation and I was pleased that we performed so well.
We were eventually beaten in a penalty shoot-out after neither side could find the net in a scoreless draw after 90 minutes. Even though we played for quite some time with ten men, I thought we dominated the game and created plenty of chances. That’s not to take away anything from Adelaide coach Joe Mullen and his team, who played their part in a good, fair game between two state champions. The introduction in the Player Points System, which has been put into place to encourage the development of young, home-grown players, prompted me to give a few of our best young players an opportunity at a level of football they have not experienced before.
I have no doubt that all of our players will be even more motivated going into the NPL season as a result of this experience. The kudos of being NPL-WA champion is motivation enough but now they have had a taste of what it might be like in the play-off series. Thousands of young players around the country should be thinking along the same lines. The NPL is not the A-League but it represents a great opportunity for players – especially those from in WA – to get rare recognition for their talents. It will give late-bloomers, raw talent and rough diamonds an opportunity to shine in the hope of being spotted by an A-League club.
GRIFFITHS RELIEVED TO SIGN WITH HOMETOWN CLUB
The lure of playing for his hometown club was too great to ignore reveals new Perth Glory’ recruit Rostyn Griffiths. The 25-year old midfielder has played much of the past decade overseas, spending six years with English club Blackburn Rovers and two at Guangzhou R&F in China. So when the opportunity to join Glory came up last month Griffiths didn’t have to think long before signing on the dotted line. “My brother (Brent Griffiths) had already played for the Glory so it was something I always wanted to do,” he told www.fourfourtwo.com/au. “It happened a bit quicker than I thought. There were a couple of (other) potential A-League offers but it was my hometown.”
Griffiths, who first played senior football at the age of 15 for ECU Joondalup, was open to offers upon his return to Australia from a successful two-season spell stint with Guanghou. “My contract had finished in China and when I came back I needed to have surgery on my ankle,” he explained. “I started training with the Glory and really the opportunity just presented itself at the right time. That month of January I was trying to get fit and potentially go back over to Asia, and then the Glory came up with something and I just thought well it’s not a bad place to be.”
In China Griffiths chalked up 34 appearances for Guangzhou under the management of former England boss Sven Goran-Eriksson. “I really enjoyed it. I’ve got very fond memories,” he said. “The top six or seven teams in China are better than the top six or seven in the A-League. It’s a little bit quicker (and) obviously the foreigners make a big difference as well. Below that is pretty average. It’s not as structured as the A-League, it’s played a bit more off the cuff … if the situation had been a little different, with a few other personal things, I would have stuck it out for a bit longer.”
And although excited to be on the books of his hometown club, Griffiths is not ruling out the possibility of another spell overseas. “I’m still quite ambitious to be honest,” he commented. “I love the A-League and I always watch it no matter where I am. But, yeah, I still definitely want to go overseas. Whether that’s Asia or Europe, at this stage I’m not too sure, I had a few offers in January to go back over to Asia but they just weren’t right at the time. But I’m not thinking about that at the moment, I just want to get back playing.”
Griffiths is one of three mid-season signings made by Glory, the others being Lithuanian striker Darvydas Sernas and Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic. The midfielder may have been with the club only a matter of weeks but he has already seen enough to suggest they have the quality on board to make the end of season finals. “Definitely, they’ve already had pretty good quality in those positions and then they bought an extra couple of players in,” he said. “It’s quite exciting. If we can build some momentum I think we’ll shake up the finals. I mean there’s no reason why we can’t with what I’ve seen in the A-League.”
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, SUNDAY WEEKEND TWO
Balcatta put away four unanswered goals to see off Quinns 4-0 this evening at Percy Doyle Reserve. Matt Izzo opened the scoring after 6 minutes with Adam Tong doubling their lead midway through half. Mark Doninger made it three-nil before Carlo Coelho made the scoreline complete with fifteen minutes to go. Sorrento overcame Dianella White Eagles 3-0 in the late game thanks to another brace from Michael Johnson plus a superb Reece Vittiglia free-kick. Balcatta and Sorrento meet next weekend to decide who tops the group and progresses to the quarter-finals.
Gosnells City earned their first win of the pre-season competition after knocking over Fremantle United 4-1 at a windy Hartfield Park. The game was over by half-time by which stage Luke McCord, Christoff Ahmen, Ali Paredes and Michael Logue had Gosnells in an unassailable position. Fremantle’s consolation came when Ty Fenwick punished a goalkeeping error close to the final whistle. The points were shared in the late game where Armadale and Forrestfield United ended 2-2. Jackson Bealey and Kodi Madeley were on target for the Reds with Forrestfield’s goals coming via Rhys Loxley and Mauro Cusimano.
Olympic Kingsway bounced back from a heavy loss last time out to beat Swan United 1-0 in the opening Group F game at Wotton Reserve. Swan created a plethora of chances to go ahead but wastefulness on behalf of Andy O’Neill, Mark Maraudo and Thomas Black was punished when Andy Griffiths converted from the penalty spot on 75 minutes. There was more drama in the late game with Inglewood United snatching a last gasp victory over Morley Windmills. It was looking as through the host side had earned a hard-fought point when, with the game having just ticked into stoppage time, Rory Grant fired in to position Inglewood well for a quarter-final appearance.
Western Knights made it two wins from as many starts by downing Joondalup City 2-1 at Macedonia Park. Goals in quick succession by Johny Mirco and Steve Purton had the Knights in a commanding position before Mark Thornton cut the deficit on the half-hour. Joondalup’s hopes of further goals were ended by the second half sending off of Mark Tebbutt and Danny Beattie. Stirling Lions thrashed State League newcomers Ellenbrook United 9-0. Daniel Micevski snared a hat-trick, Hayden Doyle and Rob Petkov grabbed a brace each with Danny Milne and Josh Booysen also on the scoresheet.
SAINSBURY SIGNED BY DUTCH CLUB ZWOLLE
Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury has joined top flight Dutch club PEC Zwolle on a two and a half year deal only days before the transfer window closed. Sainsbury, 22, has been a stand out performer for Central Coast since establishing himself in the first eleven last season, winning the club’s player of the year award and gaining his maiden call-up to the Socceroos. Although he is yet to play for Australia, the talented youngster has been firming for a seat on the plane to this year’s World Cup as other defenders struggle for game time.
Sainsbury said he is looking forward to continuing his development in the Eredivsie, one of Europe’s top competitions. “If I can get myself set up there in Holland and make a good career I will be happy. The Dutch first division is big and now I have to go there and give it my all,” said Sainsbury, before admitting it would be difficult to leave Central Coast after three and a half seasons. “I am happy but it’s going to be hard to leave the boys. The players here are like family to me and the fans have always done the right thing by me. I’ve loved my time here.”
Sainsbury, who has yet to make his full international debut, began his football journey as an Armadale junior. He played two seasons with the National Training Centre and one for Perth Glory Youth prior to entering the Australian Institute of Sport in 2009. Upon graduating from the program he turned professional with Central Coast where he made 69 first team appearances across three and a half summers. Sainsbury’s elevation over the past 18-months saw him collect an A-League champion’s medal, the Mariners Medal as his club best player and inclusion in the Socceroos squad for last year’s East Asian Cup.
TAGGART STRIKES LATE TO GET NEWCASTLE DRAW
Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane has praised the goal scoring exploits of Adam Taggart after the young striker struck twice to earn his team a 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers last night. Taggart opened the scoring with a wonder strike midway through the first half, then stole a share of spoils by netting at close-range in the 90th minute after Western Sydney failed to respond to a corner. “He is an out and out goal-scorer – all he thinks about is putting the ball in the net but he will do the leg work for the team as well,” Zane said of Taggart. “He has a good character and he is definitely going to be one for the future.”
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, SATURDAY WEEKEND TWO
Bayswater City maintained a steady course towards back-to-back Night Series crowns by trashing Melville City 6-2 this evening at Dorrien Gardens. Melville were on the scoreboard first with Mark Lucas firing them into a 14th minute lead. However, Danny Dixon restored parity seven minutes later and when Steve Burton netted twice in quick succession leading into the break there was no doubt who would be taking home the points. Dixon added another shortly after the resumption, but the goal of the night was a stunning long-range effort by Lucas at the opposite end of the park. Todd Howarth completed the scoring with a late brace.
Perth SC were made to work hard for their 4-2 win over Shamrock Rovers in the late game. A stunning Nick Ambrogio header from Mark Pritchard’s delivery put the hosts in front only for Alan O’Mahony to level the score with by nodding in John Hogan’s free-kick midway through the half. It appeared Perth were cruising when Friday Zico and Josh Wilkins netted after the break before O’Mahony set-up a grand finish with his second goal twelve minutes from full-time. The game was almost over when substitute Jarrod Belford popped up to put away Perth’s fourth goal.
Division One side Wanneroo City pulled off one of the night’s big surprises by toppling top-flighters ECU Joondalup 2-1 in the early game at Kingsway Reserve. The writing was on the wall for Joondalup as early as the 6th minute when veteran attacker Stuart Montgomery lashed into the roof of the net from distance after being found by Garin Collins. Wanneroo’s lead was doubled just after the hour when Ross Edwards punished poor defending at a corner to send Collins’ delivery back across the goalkeeper. Joondalup substitute Jake Benson-Cooper grabbed his team a consolation with eighteen minutes remaining.
Ashfield recovered from conceding early and having a man send off to defeat Joondalup United 2-1 in the late fixture. Just 11 minutes were on the clock when Mike Kenny finished smartly after a neat turn, but by the halves mid-point Jay Lang had equalised via a superb free-kick from distance. Second half play and chances were evenly shared but with neither side able to capitalise it appeared the points would be split. Ashfield looked to be in trouble when Barry Richards copped a straight red card in the 85th minute, however, Ruben Tristao punished a defensive lapse to steal an unlikely victory.
It rained goals at Litis Stadium where Simon Versaico scored in stoppage time to gain Canning City a 4-3 triumph over Subiaco AFC. A fine team move was finished into the net by Tom Gibbons after just 5 minutes, however, Jordan Rhodes’ goal just after the half hour saw the teams go into the break on level footings. Emlyn Whetnall and Jarrad Smith netted after the break before a late Subiaco revival was rewarded by an own goal and a stunning Ian McMurray strike. Versaico settled the outcome when his long ball drifted over the goalkeeper with literally seconds to go.
Floreat Athena made it back-to-back wins by sweeping aside UWA-Nedlands 3-0 in the late game. The host team created the better of first half openings and just after the half hour they deservedly went ahead with Mark Walsh netting from a corner. Half-time was on the horizon when David Heagney increased the gap with a neat clip over the goalkeeper after being played through by Aryn Williams. The game was made safe two minutes into the second period when Williams converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Ashley Corker. The win keeps Floreat level at the top of Group C with Canning ahead of a blockbuster clash between the sides next week.
MELBOURNE UPSET BY GILL
A Katie Gill goal midway through the first half was enough to give an under-strength Perth Glory Women side a surprise 1-0 win over second-placed Melbourne Victory at Kingston Heath this afternoon. Melbourne took charge early on with Tiffany Eliadis and Jess Fishlock providing a string of crosses but visiting goalkeeper Chantel Jones reacted sharply to any chances. Striker Lisa De Vanna created two opportunities to break the deadlock, however, on both occasions Jones proved up to task. So it was against the flow of play that Gill netted an easy opportunity after Shawn Billam’s 23rd minute effort came back off the crossbar.
Melbourne continued to control possession and create chances into the second half. Jess Fishlock got her header on-target only to be thwarted by a brilliant saved from Jones, and on 76 minutes Lauren Barnes crashed a dead ball into the upright. Jones’ heroics were accompanied by a stand-out performance by Sasha Andrews, whose influence in the centre of defence was instrumental in keeping Melbourne at bay. With eight minutes to go Barnes unleashed a low powerful shot which deflected wide for a corner. Melbourne heaped on the pressure right up to the final whistle but it was all to no avail as Glory held on for a hard-fought win.
MACLAREN HAT-TRICK POWERS GLORY YOUTH
Jamie Maclaren hit the back of the net three times to inspire Perth Glory Youth to a 5-2 upset win over Melbourne Victory at Intiga Stadium. The home side were a goal down at the break but Maclaren’s second half haul, plus finishes by Ryan Edwards and Borbor Sambindi earned them maximum points for just the third time this season. Glory looked the more likely to be first on the scoreboard with a trio of chances coming the way of Maclaren. But it was Melbourne who went ahead on 31 minutes when an unmarked Christopher Cristaldo headed in from a corner. Connor Pain almost doubled the advantage with a powerful strike that goalkeeper Jack Duncan deflected away for a corner.
Glory seized control by hitting three unanswered goals in fifteen second half minutes. Edwards snared the equaliser just before the hour with a sizzling strike from well outside the 18-yard box. Six minutes later Maclaren flicked an attempted shot from captain Brandon O’Neill past a stunned Victory ‘keeper. And Sambindi added his name to the scoresheet with an ambitious attempt from deep on the left which deflected into the net via a defender. James Jeggo begged a goal back for the visitors in the 77th minute, but Maclaren ensured Glory would take all the points soon after with a classy finish. Maclaren completed his hat-trick deep in stoppage time by heading in a Daniel De Silva cross.
SUPER SUB SERNAS SAVES GLORY
Lithuanian international Darvydas Sernas scored one of the goals of the season to salvage Perth Glory 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory tonight at Perth Oval. Sernas, who was only cleared to play on Friday morning, came off the bench at half-time and quickly made his presence felt with a deadly strike from outside the 18-yard box to cancel out a contentious penalty converted by Gui Finkler late in the first half. “It was a great goal and I think he (Sernas) showed his quality,” interim coach Kenny Lowe said. “He’s composed, he’s strong, he’s quite intelligent and he’s getting fouls – he looks a good player. Once he gets bedded in, I think we’ll see even more.”
A positive start by Glory lead to the game’s first opening on 14 minutes but Steven McGarry’s attempt rose over the crossbar. With young striker Tom Rogic leading the line, Melbourne slowly began to assert control of the game. Rogic showed his quality in the 33rd minute by dancing past a couple of defenders to unleash a powerful strike that rattled the crossbar. A few minutes later Melbourne head the lead, Jack Clisby’s shirt pull on Archie Thompson prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot from where Finkler calmly stroked into the bottom corner. Glory pressed hard for to equalise but Shane Smeltz was pulled up for offside after being released by William Gallas.
The game was turned on its head five minutes into the second period when Sernas’ vicious shot gave goalkeeper Nathan Coe no chance, sending the home fans into a frenzy. McGarry almost put Glory ahead in the 54th minute but his header from a Chris Harold cross was narrowly wide of the target. Andrew Nabbout wasted a golden opportunity to hand Melbourne back the lead when his 74th minute shot skidded off the side of his boot after being sent clear of the defence. Glory suffered a late injury scare when marquee defender William Gallas was forced off with a leg injury after landing awkwardly following an aerial contest.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, FRIDAY WEEKEND TWO
Cockburn City are all but assured of a place in the Night Series quarter-finals after brushing past Mandurah City 4-0 this evening at Hyundai Stadium. The visitors were three-goals to the better by half-time after Blake Adams, Paul Lloyd and Shaz Ramlee found the back of the net. An experimental Mandurah line-up came into the game more after the turnaround thanks in no small part to Tom Straker, who switched to the middle of the park. However, Cockburn were in no mood to let their opponents back in with Lloyd snaring a second goal to send his team to the top of Group A.
The late game had Bunbury Forum Force come from behind to beat Rockingham City 2-1. A tight first half looked like ending without score when Alex Grayson sent Rockingham into the lead. Bunbury hit back early in the second period with Lee Stewart equalising from the penalty spot. A few short minutes later the team from the south west edged themselves in front courtesy of attacker Bright Ababio. Rockingham’s night soured even further just after the hour when Martin Barnes was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card offence. The win moves Bunbury into second spot and sets up a winner-take-all showdown with Cockburn next week.
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
The new season Night Series kicks off tonight with the Group A double-header at Hyundai Stadium. Host club Mandurah City must win their meeting with Cockburn City (6.30pm) to hold any hope of progressing beyond the group stage. Bunbury Forum Force find themselves in the same situation when they square off with Rockingham City (8.30pm). The action then switches to Saturday with ECU Joondalup taking on Wanneroo City (6.00pm) after which Ashfield pits skills against Joondalup United (8.00pm) at Kingsway Reserve. Dorrien Gardens features Melville City and Bayswater City in the twilight game followed by Perth SC verses Shamrock Rovers.
Canning City coach Paul Van Dongen is quietly confident his team can make it back-to-back wins from their Litis Stadium meeting with Subiaco AFC. “We watched Subiaco play Floreat last week and they looked a fairly well organised side for a team that is pretty unfamiliar too each other. They had a few familiar faces in their team so we have a few ideas of how to handle them,” he said. “We’ve only been training for three weeks so we’ll be using the game for fitness and to try to continue to work on our shape.” The late game brings together Floreat Athena and UWA-Nedlands.
Ellenbrook United face a massive test of their resolve on Sunday when they go into battle with Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park (7.00pm). “This week will be huge challenge for us,” said coach Paul Vallerius. “It’s a classic David verses Goliath clash but we are excited by the opportunity (as) Stirling are one of the top three teams in the state. We will relish the challenge, make it as difficult as possible for them and hope to make the game as competitive as we possibly can.” Western Knights and Joondalup City (5.00pm) meet earlier at the same venue.
The round closes out with an additional six Sunday games. The action opens at Hartfield Park with Fremantle United taking on Gosnells City, while in the late game Forrestfield United and Armadale will both be attempting to make it two wins in a row. Balcatta and Quinns open proceedings at Percy Doyle Reserve followed by Sorrento verses Dianella White Eagles. Olympic Kingsway will be looking for a much improved defensive effort when they tackle Swan United in the early game at Wotton Reserve, while Inglewood United are expected to account for Morley Windmills later on.
THWAITE NOT TAKING MELBOURNE LIGHTLY
Defender Michael Thwaite says Perth Glory won’t be underestimating Melbourne Victory when the sides meet this evening at Perth Oval (7.45pm). Melbourne have leaked goals in their last two games and Thwaite, whose A-League career began with the Dark Blues, knows they will be fired up and in no mood to make it three on the trot. “Their pride will be hurt and we know that there is going to be a reaction – a big reaction – from them after copping ten goals,” said Thwaite. “They’re always a very dangerous attacking team and I’m sure Musky (coach Kevin Muscat) will make some changes.” Glory boss Kenny Lowe has a few tough decisions to make with new signings Roystn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas knocking on the selection door.
Melbourne’s recent run has turned the spotlight on Muscat for the first time in his coaching career. The rookie has responded by making it clear no one would be spared in the search for answers after humiliating back-to-back humiliating losses. “To say it’s unacceptable is an understatement,” Muscat said of Melbourne’s form dip. “Last week (a 5-0 loss to Sydney FC) was bordering on embarrassing in front of our own fans ... we’ve got to find out who really wants to play and represent this football club. It’s a proud club and everyone involved has to have a good look themselves.” Tom Rogic, Adama Traore and Pablo Contreras will be promoted to the eleven while Australian youth internationals Connor Pain and Jason Geria are also in starting contention.
PRESSURE ON PLAYERS TO PERFORM: HARNWELL
Perth Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell has emphasised the importance of their final two games of the season. The team’s finals bid came to an end last weekend but Harnwell said his players each need to make a statement against Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers as he begins planning for next season. “I have spoken to the players about the importance of these last two games for the club, the supporters, each other, but most of all themselves,” he said. “I need to find out that players want to be here and are prepared to work hard to make sure we return to the finals next season.”
Glory’s hopes of a successful 2013/14 have been ruined by injury. Captain Collette McCallum, Aivi Luik, Kat Jukic and Kathleen Waycott have missed the season while star pair Katie Gill and Sasha Andrews have also spent considerable time on the sidelines. Striker Rosie Sutton is the latest player added to the injury list with an ongoing hip complaint. “It is another blow for the squad to lose Rosie but she has been playing with pain over the last few weeks and we couldn’t ask her to continue doing it,” Harnwell said. “Once again, though it gives other players an opportunity to step up.”
In a boost for the team’s defensive stocks, Welsh international and inaugural Glory player Carys Hawkins has re-signed for Glory following a successful stint with Sunnana SK in Sweden. “It’s great to welcome Carys back into the squad,” Harnwell said. “With the sheer number of injuries and illnesses we have experienced we have had to ask a lot of our younger players, so it will help being able to bring some experience back into the squad. Carys has been training with us for a while now to maintain her fitness so she should fit smoothly into the squad.”
BANJAC LEADING FORRESTFIELD TO A BRIGHT FUTURE
Forrestfield United have put the dark days of the past behind them and are looking forward a bright future according to coach Rod Banjac. The past few years have been difficult for Forrestfield, where a lack of pathways for young players to senior football and club management issues led to their demotion to Division Two at the end of 2012. But with a new management and coaching structure in place, things are looking on the up for the eastern corridor club. “It was devastating to see how the club has fallen, but we have moved on from that dark spot and are very much looking forward,” Banjac commented.
In getting Forrestfield back on course, some very clear goals have been set by the club hierarchy. “At the moment the objective is to establish ourselves at senior State League level and then concentrate on the juniors,” explained Banjac. “Everyone at the club is simply buzzing to be part of a fantastic football environment at Hartfield Park. In years to come we can promise world class coaching and I’m privileged to be supported by Terry Brown (reserves) and, in my opinion, one of the best development coaches in the country, Andy Byrne (Under-18’s).”
At the heart of Forrestfield’s former glories was a strong youth development program. And although that production line has halted somewhat in recent times, Banjac says it won’t be long before it is again up and running. “To say that we had a great set-up would be a huge understatement,” said Banjac. “I remember the days when ECU Joondalup, Inglewood United, Perth SC and company would tremble at the sight of the Forrestfield academy. Retaining kids has always been a challenge for us due to not having a clear progression path to the highest level. We now have that (pathway) and as a club we are already benefitting.”
By his own admission, Banjac didn’t reach any great heights as a player but had the honour of learning the finer points of the coaching game from one of Australia’s all-time greats, the legendary Frank Arok. “I was heavily involved with Future Glory and working closely with Frank Arok was great,” Banjac said of his time with Glory’s short-lived development side of 2002. “Frank was a fantastic person and a footballing genius who was in charge of the national team for eight years. He is considered ‘the Father of Socceroos’ who played his part in compiling of FFA’s Football Curriculum, ensuring that we will never ‘hoof and run’ again.”
Forrestfield opened the new season last weekend by defeating fellow Division Two side Fremantle United 3-0 in the opening round of Night Series fixtures. There were plenty of positives to come out of the game for Banjac, amongst them a clean sheet and goals scored by Jordan Hart, Chris Perrott and Rhys Loxley, but the coach says Forrestfield are still very much a work in progress. “It was encouraging but we have a long way to go,” he said. “At this stage we are very much experimenting, developing our style of play and getting some match fitness under our belt.”
National Premier League side Armadale will provide Forrestfield their next challenge on Sunday night. “It’s a big test, and one we’re looking forward too,” said Banjac. “They are capable of good football and Lee Bamber is an experienced coach with a high pedigree. To have any expectation (of winning) would be unfair on us, but we are up for a rumble and will not allow them to completely dominate, that’s for sure. Competing is one thing we don’t teach at Forrestfield as that comes naturally, it must be the fresh country air.” Forrestfield and Armadale go into battle from 7.00pm on Sunday at Hartfield Park.
LOWRY FACING BAN AFTER MELEE
Defender Shane Lowry is facing a four-game ban after collecting a straight red card in the dying stages of Millwall’s overnight draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Lowry was sent off along with Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke after a melee broke out near the corner flag in the 89th minute of the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw. “I don’t really know what happened,” Lowry told fourfourtwo.com/au. “I think the guy thought I stamped on him but I didn’t stamp on him, I was just trying to get the ball from between his legs and then it all just kicked off from there really.”
Lowry admitted he was surprised to be shown a red card, which could mean he misses the next four games, and may appeal. “I need to find out exactly what the report was from the referee, what he decided to send me off for, before I decided to do anything or look at it,” he said. “I didn’t see any punches and I certainly didn’t throw any punches. The guy threw me to the floor. And that’s when I got back up and we went head to head and stuff like that, and then basically everyone’s players got involved and it was crazy.”
It’s been something of a disjointed season for Lowry, who featured in Millwall’s first six home and away games before being ruled out by suspension and then consigned to the bench. He has played the last six games under the watch of caretakers Neil Harris and Scott Fitzgerald, and new manager Ian Holloway. “The first six months of the season I kind of fell out of form, and with the manager decided to go a different route,” Lowry said. “I had a good season under Kenny (Jackett, former Millwall manager) and then a new manager came in and different people have different opinions.
Lowry admits missing a dozen games this season after falling out of favour with manager Steve Lomas, whose tenure with the club lasted only six months, was probably the toughest time of his career. “I don’t normally miss that many games, I’m normally involved,” Lowry said. “But since the turn of the new year, obviously the new manager’s come in, he’s shown faith in me by picking me and my performances levels have picked up much, much better … I’ve been given a chance and I think I’ve been playing quite well.”
An ECU Joondalup junior, Lowry has been overlooked for the Socceroos in recent times and is yet to hear from new coach Ange Postecoglou. But the former Leeds United and Sheffield United player said he has been purely focusing on club football. “It’s something I haven’t been too worried about,” Lowry said. “I’m sure he’ll (Ange) be getting reports back from people watching. He’s going to know my situation, I’ve said all along I’d love to represent my country and play for Australia but that’s the manager’s decision. Whether he wants to have a look at me is down to him. I’ll keep working hard and hopefully catch his eye.”
WILLIAMS’ WORLD CUP DREAM IN TATTERS
A tearful Rhys Williams’ chances of playing at the World Cup could be over after the Socceroos defender suffered an apparently serious Achilles tendon injury. 25-year old Williams went down shortly before half-time during Middlesbrough's scoreless draw with Wigan Athletic overnight. Play was stopped for several minutes while he received treatment and was given oxygen, before coming off on a stretcher in a leg brace and taken to hospital. “They will check him and we will know more soon but it looks like a very serious injury for Rhys,” said Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. “His face and the doctor’s face were not good. He was crying and I feel sympathy for him.”
Williams, who the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a serious pelvic injury, was almost certain to be included in Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup squad given his ability to play in midfield or defence. “I hope he will recover as soon as possible because he had a big chance to play in the World Cup so that will be a big incentive for him,” Karanka added. “All our feelings are with him – mine, the team’s, the staff’s. He will get all the support we can give him.” If the injury is as bad as feared Williams could find his World Cup dreams in tatters with a torn Achilles likely to sideline him for a minimum of six months.
GALLAS WANTS A-LEAGUE GLORY
Veteran defender William Gallas intends making good on his promise to guide Perth Glory to this season’s A-League title. A calf injury robbed Glory of Gallas’ defensive nous for close to two months but after a solid work-out against Western Sydney Wanderers the 36-year old has re-asserted his desire to lift silverware this summer. “That is my mentality – I am a winner,” Gallas said ahead of Friday’s home fixture with Melbourne Victory. “Every team can go (up) so quick. If you win four or five games, maybe you’ll be on top. I came here to win a trophy … every little game for me is to win, to give 100% and to be ready for the weekend.”
Gallas has made just four appearances for Glory since signing a lucrative contract in November and is yet to see out a full game. The former English Premier League star has been doing extra fitness work away from the main group at training in preparation for a full 90 minute stint this weekend. “So slowly, slowly I start to be fit and for the next game,” he commented. “I have to build my fitness because I was injured for (more than) one month and because I’m 36 years old I have to do a little bit more to come back very quick. Before the players come on the pitch I’m already there to do my stuff, my little work, to be ready for the training with them.”
Gallas said the time he spent on the sidelines had been frustrating. “All the players are always frustrated when they can’t play because it is our passion to play football, to be on the pitch and to enjoy football,” Gallas said. “It was not easy but it was very important for me to be passionate and I tried to settle very well in Australia. Now everything is behind me so now I’m just enjoying myself with my teammates and that is the most important thing.” Serbian recruit Nebojsa Marinkovic could be handed a starting role after appearing off the bench last week, while fellow newcomers Rostyn Griffiths and Darvydas Sernas may make their Glory debuts.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, MONDAY WEEKEND ONE
There were a few scares but, ultimately, no surprises in this evening’s concluding Round One Night Series fixtures. Canning City took the honours from the early game at Litis Stadium, defeating UWA-Nedlands 2-1. The scoring didn’t begin until three minutes into the second half when Daniel Neiderberger found the back of the net, however, Francois du Plessis brought the game level shortly after. It appeared the points would be shared when Simon Versacio popped up in stoppage time to gain Canning victory.
Floreat Athena came out on top 3-2 from a hard-fought game against Subiaco AFC. It took Rory Feely only three minutes to get Subiaco on the board but just another three minutes passed before Jammie Eames levelled the score. Floreat should have gone ahead on the quarter hour but David Heagney failed to convert from the penalty spot. Eames showed him how it’s done in the 54th minute, and when Aryn Williams netted Floreat’s third goal with twelve minutes to go the game appeared over. Subiaco, however, had other ideas and Feely’s second goal ensure tensions remained on edge right up to the final whistle.
Host club Perth SC showed no mercy in battering Melville City 6-0. Friday Zico tapped in after only 13 minutes before new signing Ashley Rosindale secured himself the first hat-trick of the new season. Nick Ambrogio scored twice more after coming off the bench to get Perth’s campaign off to a dream start. Night Series trophy holders Bayswater City were forced to come from behind in defeating Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in the late game. Charlie Kenna put Shamrock into an early lead only for goals in quick succession from Todd Howarth and Danny Dixon to turn the tables.
LIVERPOOL PLAN IS A TRIP TO WEMBLEY: JONES
Liverpool are serious about going all the way in this year’s FA Cup says goalkeeper Brad Jones. The Reds booked their place in the fifth round thanks to a 2-0 win away at Championship side Bournemouth. Jones was between the posts on Saturday and now hopes his club can win England’s prestigious knock-out tournament for an eighth time. “We’ve spoken about it and we want to try to get as far as we can. We want to try to give the fans another day out at Wembley, if not two,” Jones told liverpoolfc.com. “The gaffer’s team showed that as well, he could have easily played a few younger players or people who have been out of the squad but we were taking it seriously and wanted to get through.”
Bournemouth matched Liverpool for long periods of a first half in which on-loan winger Victor Moses opened the scoring after 26 minutes. “The first half maybe gave them a bit of hope, we gave away a few sloppy balls and gave them the opportunity to have a few attacks,” Jones commented. Bournemouth had had a second half penalty appeal turned down before Daniel Sturridge secured Liverpool’s place in the next round on the hour. “Certainly in the second half, we played more like ourselves. We controlled the game and made it difficult for them. In the last twenty minutes we kept the ball well, made sure they didn’t get any opportunities and we didn’t give them anything. We’re happy – we got the win and a clean sheet and move on.”
GLORY GO A WANDERING IN WESTERN SYDNEY
Perth Glory’s run of good form has come to an end with this afternoon’s 3-1 loss to an impressive Western Sydney Wanderers outfit at Pirtek Stadium. Goals by Brendon Santalab and Aaron Mooy were a worthy reward for the hosts first half dominance before Shane Smeltz gave Glory hope early in the second period. However, Mark Bridge sealed victory from the penalty spot to lift Western Sydney back into second spot. “It should have been over at half-time. They were good value, it should have been more,” said Glory interim coach Kenny Lowe in conceding his team was outplayed. “The Wanderers were just quicker, faster, stronger, picked up every first ball, dominated the tempo and dictated the game.”
Western Sydney controlled large portions of an opening stanza in which Shinji Ono, Youssouf Hersi, Aaron Mooy and Mark Bridge constantly harassed Glory into giving up the ball. Their rewarded arrived in the 29th minute, Spiranovic playing down the left for Bridge who deft first time ball across the face of goal was finished into the net by Santalab at close-range. The lead was doubled in spectacular fashion just five minutes later through a powerful Mooy free-kick from 30-metres flew into the bottom corner after taking a slight deflection off the defensive wall. The home side would have been a few more goals up if not for Glory custodian Danny Vukovic, who kept out efforts by Michael Beauchamp, Hersi and Santalab.
Vukovic came to the rescue again in the 52th minute with an outstanding reflex save to deny an unmarked Ono at close-range. Three minutes later Smeltz cut the deficit, the striker latching onto Chris Harold’s through ball which he converted past Ante Covic. Glory were fortunate not to conceded again when the ball deflected goalward off William Gallas, however, a scrambling Vukovic cleared off the line just in time. Western Sydney wrestled back control in the 70th minute when Bridge converted from the spot after Shannon Cole dived under the challenge of Riley Woodcock. Debutant Nebojsa Marinkovic almost created a second goal for Glory when his cross found Smeltz in the 83rd minute but the New Zealand marksman was unable to direct his header on goal.
CANBERRA A CLASS ABOVE GLORY WOMEN
Canberra United secured their place in the W-League finals series nu demolishing Perth Glory Women 5-1 this morning at McKellar Park. Substitute Georgia Yeoman-Dale netted twice with Ellie Brush, Caitlin Munoz and Lori Lindsey also on the scoresheet to secure the points – and fourth position on the ladder – for Canberra, with Katie Gill getting Glory’s late consolation. Glory’s Chantel Jones was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout the first half, pushing away a Michelle Heyman shot before capturing Nicole Sykes scything half-volley. The breakthrough arrived eight minutes from half-time when Lindsey’s near post corner picked out the run of Brush, whose flicked header snuck past Jones. Four minutes later Heyman was brought down just outside the 18-yard box and at the dead ball Munoz blasted into the corner of the net.
The pattern was much the same after the break with Stephanie Ochs and Meg McLaughlin threatening to add another goal. Glory’s first opening came just past the hour but Marianna Tabain rushed her effort over the crossbar. The introduction of Yeoman-Dale with twenty minutes to play provided Canberra with fresh impetus and on 81 minutes a half clearance by the Glory defence was smacked into the net by Lindsey. Glory were on the board soon after, Gill looping a header over Trudy Burke and into the top corner. However, Canberra were far from finished and in the final minute of regulation time an unmarked Yeoman-Dale put away their fourth goal before guiding another under Jones in stoppage time.
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, SATURDAY WEEKEND ONE
It was thrills and spill aplenty in this evening’s six opening round Night Series games. The biggest surprise took place at Kingsway Reserve with Division Two newcomers Joondalup United dumped Wanneroo City 3-0. Lee Jones got the show on the road with a crisp shot from an acute angle after 26 minutes, and shortly before the break Adam Buckley volleyed in on the counterattack. Wanneroo were held at bay throughout the second period which was almost over when Jones made it three-nil from distance. ECU Joondalup picked up a 1-0 win over Ashfield with Andy Higgins free-kick midway through the first half making all the difference.
The points were shared in the late game at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions came from behind to gain a 1-1 draw with Western Knights. The opening goal arrived after 20 minutes when Johny Mirco’s free-kick deflected wildly off Dennis Galan to catch goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski flat-footed. Stirling hit back shortly after with Daniel Micevski converting from the penalty spot after being felled inside the 18-yard box. Earlier in the evening Joondalup City scored a 1- victory over Ellenbrook United. The games solitary goal was scored after 2 minutes by Lucais King, who punished an error by goalkeeper Jake Bungert.
Forrestfield United showed they have no plans to remain in Division Two for long by thumping Fremantle United 3-0 at Hartfield Park. A Jordan Hart finish after 23 minutes was all that separated the sides at half-time, however, as the game came to a close Forrestfield began to power away. With quarter of an hour to Chris Perrott headed in a corner floated in by Rhys Loxley, who then a few short minutes later hammered in the hosts’ third goal. Armadale captain Louie Bake and Alex Clarke were on target in a 2-0 win over Gosnells City in the twilight fixture.
NEWCASTLE SOAR AWAY FROM GLORY YOUTH
Ndumba Makeche scored twice but it wasn’t enough to prevent Perth Glory Youth from surrendering 6-2 to Newcastle Jets on a warm morning at Intiga Stadium. A Kale Bradbery hat-trick paved the way for the away team to claim all the points on offer with Mitchell Oxborrow, Radovan Pavicevic and James Virgili also finding the back of the net. Glory created numerous openings throughout the game only to be denied by goalkeeper John Solari, whose first half penalty save prevented the hosts from going in front. Glory remains second-to-last on the National Youth League ladder after suffering their seventh straight loss.
Bradbery scored the opener after only 8 minutes by pouncing on a long goal kick, side-stepping two defenders and placing the ball into Luke Radonich’s net. The teams were brought level four minutes later when Daniel De Silva weaved between two opponents and fired in a low cross which was duly converted by Makeche. Glory should have taken a 17th minute but Solari stood tall to keep out Brandon O’Neill’s spot kick awarded for a foul on Makeche. Oxborrow put Newcastle back in front after 26 minutes with Bradbery adding another soon after. Makeche kept Glory in the game by cutting the difference just before half-time.
Pavicevic ended any hope the hosts held of a comeback two minutes after the resumption by restoring Newcastle’s two-goal buffer. Radonich was beaten for a fifth time by Virgili in the 54th minute while another clever attacking move which carved open the home defence allowed Bradbery to complete his hat-trick in the 62nd minute. De Silva and Makeche had late chances to score consolation goals for Glory but Solari was having none of it. The only downside for Newcastle was the dismissal of Thomas Whiteside for a second yellow card deep in stoppage time.
DE VANNA TREBLE SINKS NEWCASTLE
A Lisa De Vanna hat-trick inspired Melbourne Victory to a 4-1 victory over Newcastle Jets in this afternoon’s W-League encounter at Adamstown Oval. De Vanna netted after just 12 minutes, racing clear of the defence before expertly clipping the ball past Eliza Campbell then, just before the hour, netted twice in three minutes to complete her hat-trick. “The last two or three games she has been fantastic,” said coach David Edmondson. “Her work-rate has been great and she has created chances for herself but just not finished.” De Vanna’s hat-trick ensures Melbourne remains join top with Sydney FC, and that the 29-year old will go into the final rounds of the regular season and the finals series full of confidence.
EDWARDS TO SEE THE SEASON OUT WITH GLORY
Attacking midfielder Ryan Edwards is set to see out the season with Perth Glory despite the club attempting to end his loan deal from English club Reading. Glory initiated contract termination discussions with Reading earlier this month while Edwards was on international duty at the AFC Under-22 Championships in Oman. The youngster returned to Perth this week but was left out of the 18-player squad for Glory’s game against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday. New signing Nebojsa Marinkovic and Isaka Cernak, who recently returned from long-term injury, play a similar role to Edwards and both were included in the travelling party.
Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the club were acting in its own best interests, as well as those of Edwards, by contacting Reading. “We’ve got new midfielders coming into the club and competition in those spots is going to be far more intense than before,” Brewer said. “All of a sudden that’s a very competitive space. So we’ve got to manage his expectations and do what’s right for him, what’s right for Reading and what’s right for us. At the moment, as a loan player, he’s going to go back at the end of May. For us, what value do we get in playing him as opposed to playing Brandon O’Neill, Danny De Silva or his brother (Cameron Edwards)?”
NIGHT SERIES REVIEW, FRIDAY WEEKEND ONE
The 2014 Night Series kicked off this evening with 31 goals scored across six games. The biggest scorers of the round were Inglewood United who smashed Division Two side Olympic Kingsway 9-0 in their Group F meeting at Wotton Reserve. Jarrod McNally netted four times for the team in yellow, Rory Grant grabbed himself a brace with the remainder shared between Ryan Clarke, Sean Brown and Ryan Francis. The points were shared in the late game with Morley Windmills and Swan United finished 1-1. Mark Miraudo put the black and whites ahead early only to have Kyle King level proceedings on the half hour. King was presented a great opportunity to post another goal midway through the second period but his spot kick was saved by Justin Scarvaci.
Quinns were unlucky not to get something out of the game with Sorrento, who ran out 2-1 winners at Percy Doyle Reserve. Michael Johnson scored twice on his Sorrento return with Jay Marsden getting the visitors solitary goal. But the outcome would have been different Darren Tucker’s late strike from distance not crashed into the crossbar. Balcatta cruised to a 6-1 win over Dianella White Eagles courtesy of goal by Mark Doninger (2), Carlo Coelho (2), Benny Kovadio and Dino Topogic, Dianella’s reply coming via Stefan Drca. Cockburn City made light work of Rockingham City at Hyundai Stadium, Paul Lloyd (2), Connor Kavanagh (2), Ryan Haslett and Steve Howson scoring a 6-0 win. Mandurah City drew 2-2 with Bunbury Forum Force in the late game, Kyle Harrop and Craig Tone netting for the hosts with Bunbury’s scorers being Bright Ababio and Jon Brooks.
THE SEASON STARTS NOW!
The smoke and mirrors of recent months make way this weekend for the opening round of the 2014 Night Series. The action commences this evening at Hyundai Stadium where Cockburn City take on Rockingham City (6.30pm) followed by Bunbury Forum Force up against Mandurah City (8.30pm). Kingsway Olympic and Inglewood United go head-to-head in the early game at Wotton Reserve with Morley Windmills squaring off with Swan United later on. The twilight fixture at Percy Doyle Reserve brings together Balcatta and Dianella White Eagles after which Sorrento match skills with Quinns.
Joondalup United coach Danny Smith is looking forward to the challenge offered by Saturday’s meeting with Division One champions Wanneroo City (8.00pm). “We know we will have to be at our best, but we have prepared for this game and feel we can cause them problems with our style of football,” said Smith. “We have added some real quality with Arran Maplestone, Gareth Davies and Marc Beattie returning to the club.” The early game at Kingsway Reserve kicks-off at 6.00pm when ECU Joondalup come up against an Ashfield side under Paul Dundo’s command for the first time.
For those in the eastern corridor Hartfield Park is the place to be with Gosnells City and Armadale opening proceedings, while the late game throws together host club Forrestfield United and Division Two counterparts Fremantle United. Ellenbrook United get their first taste of State League life when they face Joondalup City at Macedonia Park where, later in the evening, it’s Stirling Lions against Western Knights. The round concludes on Monday when Canning City meet UWA-Nedlands (5.00pm) at Litis Stadium, followed by Floreat Athena against Subiaco AFC (7.00pm).
Shamrock Rovers Perth coach John O’Reilly is hoping jetlag gets the better of Night Series trophy holders Bayswater City when they meet at Dorrien Gardens. “They play in Adelaide on Friday night so they will be a little fatigued, but we know the depth they have in their squad and it will be a tough game,” said O’Reilly. “Our pre-season has been good, the new players have settled in really well and they’ll get opportunities in the Night Series.” The twilight fixture pits top flight mainstay Perth SC with Division Two outfit Melville City.
ANDREWS BACK FOR AUSTRALIA DAY SHOWDOWN
Perth Glory Women have regained the services of experienced defender Sasha Andrews in time for their Australia Day showdown at Canberra United. Andrews has missed the last four game with an ankle injury and coach Jamie Harnwell knows how important her presence will be. “Sasha is such a great leader and the players can’t wait to have her on the pitch again,” said Harnwell, whose team are coming off a spirited 3-2 victory over Newcastle Jets. “It wasn’t the most fluid performance but to come back from two goals down in any game to win is a huge credit to the character of the players.”
Glory went down 2-0 the last time they met Canberra but Harnwell believes the players are capable of reversing the tables this time around. “Canberra is a massive test,” said Harnwell, whose team can keep alive their finals hopes with a win in the capital. “Last time we were extremely undermanned and had to scrap for everything through the 90 minutes. This time we want to go impose ourselves on the game more and show what we can do.” Sarah Carroll has recovered from a shin injury and Emily Henderson has been promoted into the squad, however, midfielder Ella Mastrantonio has been released to pursue other opportunities.
GLORY COMPLETE SERNAS LOAN DEAL
Perth Glory has secured Lithuanian international Darvydas Sernas on a loan deal from Turkish Super Lig club Gaziantepspor. Sernas joins Glory for the remainder of the 2013/14 season, with the option of a one-year extension, after completed a medical assessment this morning. “I want all the fans to know I’m very happy to have signed for Perth Glory until the end of the season and I can’t wait to get on the pitch,” Sernas said. “It’s been a long journey for me and after completing my medical and meeting my new coaches and teammates this morning, I am looking forward to my first training session tomorrow.
Capped 35 times by Lithuania, 29-year old Serna made it clear he is eager to play as soon as possible for Glory and make a positive impact at the club. “When I was approached by Perth Glory, I was very interested,” he commented. “I like what I have heard about the A-League and have been impressed with all I have seen already here in Perth. I like the people, the city and the country a lot. I think the football looks very good and the league is on the up and has some very big players. I want to win and I hope I can do that with my new team Perth Glory.”
Interim Glory coach Kenny Lowe is pleased to snare Sernas, saying the striker is quick and able to score with either foot. “Davydas Sernas is a proven goal scorer who can play anywhere up front,” Lowe commented. “His all-action style of play should suit the A-League and will quickly make him a fans’ favourite.” Sernas started out with Dainava Alytus before shooting to prominence FK Vetra, making almost 150 appearances over six seasons and gaining his international debut. After a short spell with PFC Spartak Nalchik (Russia) he joined Polish club Widzew Lodz, scoring 30 times in 68 games, before time at Zaglebie Lubin (Poland) and Gaziantepspor.
BULLOCH NEEDED LITTLE ENTICEMENT TO RE-JOIN SORRENTO
The opportunity to play under Perth Glory legend Jamie Harnwell was all it took to convince midfielder Scott Bulloch to join Sorrento for the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA season. Bulloch rubbed shoulders with Harnwell during his two summers with Glory and admits he didn’t have to think long when the Glory legend came knocking. “The biggest reason to return to Sorrento is the new coaching staff. I always said if Jamie Harnwell got a gig then I’d play for him,” said Bulloch a member of the Gulls 2008 State Championship winning squad. “Add Trevor Morgan to the mix, who you can tell has coached at an elite level, and we have two very capable coaches.”
Many of those players who propelled Sorrento to the top of the State League six years ago are still with the club, and it’s that stability that give Bulloch confidence for the coming winter. “The squad looks strong, it’s the same core group of players that have done well over the last few years,” the midfielder commented. “Adding Reece Vittiglia and myself will hopefully bring some more creativity to the team and a few more goals for Gavin Knight and Todd Harnwell. It’s also exciting to have Jason Micro back training who missed all last year, he’ll be a major player for the team once he’s fit.”
Bulloch cut short his time with Sorrento midway through the 2008 season to join Glory, who he played for 30 times across two seasons. “I had a pretty up and down time at Glory. I was happy with my first season where I started 14 games but in the second season, due to injuries and form, struggled to make an impact,” recalled Bulloch who, nonetheless, has some fond memories. “Playing against Fulham and Wellington Phoenix in the finals in front of 30,000 people was a good experience, plus my two goals at home in front of the Shed End won’t be forgotten.”
Upon leaving Glory Bulloch headed to Victoria where he donned Dandenong Thunder colours for one season, and Bentleigh Greens for two. “The Victorian Premier League is a very strong league and I have told some young boys that if they fancy playing in the A-League, I would definitely recommend they test themselves there first,” said Bulloch. “Teams train more than we do here and the league has a lot of strong players. I would rate it as the strongest State League in Australia.” Bulloch returned to Perth last year and linked up with Stirling Lions, however, work commitments forced him to miss the second half of the winter.
Bulloch is looking forward to the coming season but feels the new rules around the Player Points System adds an extra layer of complexity for clubs. “It’s been a hot topic of conversation amongst the players so, hopefully, the best players available will play. Definitely a few older boys out there will be working out there points to find out if they will get a game,” said Bulloch, who is tipping big things for Sorrento. “Training has been intense and the boys are enjoying it. Everyone knows Sorrento have a close-knit squad and, hopefully, we can repeat 2008’s exploits.”
GRIFFITHS EARNS GLORY DEAL
Perth Glory’s quest for a third successive finals campaign has been boosted further by the signing of defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths. The 25-year old has been training with Glory for the past fortnight and today put pen to paper on a contract that will keep him in Perth until the end of next season. “It’s great to be home and signing on for Perth Glory,” said Griffiths, who was recently released by Chinese club Guangzhou R&F. “I’ve had the pleasure of training with the rest of the Perth Glory squad for the past two weeks and I believe we have a really strong team that can achieve great things this season.”
Griffiths, a former ECU Joondalup player, has travelled far and wide over the past decade with spells in England, Scotland, China and Australia. “Rostyn is a fantastic player who is composed on the ball and good in the air,” interim coach Kenny Lowe said. “We’re very excited to have such and an experienced, dynamic and powerful midfielder join our squad. It’s also great to have another WA player returning home and is further proof we are setting up the right foundations at Perth Glory. We now have an abundance of quality in the midfield area so it creates great competition for places in the team.”
Griffiths got his first taste of senior football with Joondalup at the age of 15 and shortly after took up an offer to join Blackburn Rovers youth academy. While unable to break into the first team, he did gain valuable experience through loans to Gretna and Accrington Stanley. Upon returning to Australia in 2009 he joined Adelaide United on a short-term deal before being snapped up by North Queensland Fury, where he had the honour of scoring their first ever A-League goal. Next up was a couple of seasons with Central Coast Mariners who he helped top the A-League in 2011/12, followed by a similar stay with Chinese Super League club Guangzhou.
TOP FIVE A REALISTIC GOAL FOR INGLEWOOD: COLLI
Inglewood United are tracking well to achieve their new season goal of a top five finish according to the clubs’ longest serving player, defender Jason Colli. For the last few weeks coach Graham Normanton has been putting his re-modelled squad through their paces in preparation for challenging for a place near the top come the end of the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA campaign. “Things are going well at Inglewood, we are all working very hard and can’t wait for the season to begin,” he said. “Our aim is to make the top five and I feel we have a squad capable of achieving that goal.”
There may have been a good few comings and goings at Inglewood over the off-season but Colli feels the gains pretty much balance out the losses. “We have lost a few players from last year but also gained a few, plus we promoted some players from the 23’s last year,” commented Colli, who found it hard to compare the clubs current crop of players with those who were there last year. “We have a new list and have only just started playing together. But the environment at training is great and it shows when everyone is working for each other.”
Colli says making this year’s finals series can go some way to alleviating the disappointments of 2013, when Inglewood placed sixth. “I think we underachieved with the squad we had last year,” he commented. “Not being able to put a consistent squad out each week due to injuries or guys going away was a factor, but also we didn’t play consistently for 90 minutes and that cost us games where we should have got a result.” Inglewood can make an early statement of intent when they take on Division Two side Olympic Kingsway in Friday’s opening round Night Series encounter at Wotton Reserve.
GLORY CONFIRM CONTRACT TALKS WITH SMELTZ
Perth Glory have opened contract discussions with in-demand striker Shane Smeltz. The New Zealand international comes out of contract at the end of the season and has already been sounded out by both Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar regarding his future availability. Hip and ankle injuries have limited Smeltz to just six appearances this season, but after scoring a brace off the bench a fortnight ago the 32-year old is edging closer to his first start in almost two months. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the club had entered into preliminary discussions with Smeltz over a contract extension that would keep him in Perth for a fourth season.
Glory have re-signed five key players on multi-year deals in the past six months and are working through the remaining out-of-contract senior players. Smeltz, who has scored 75 goals in 128 A-League appearances, is at the top of the list. “We’d be crazy not to want to keep him at Glory given his goal-scoring record,” Brewer said. “We’ve chatted to him about it on several occasions, (club owner) Tony Sage has spoken to him as well and he’s very much an integral part of that team. His agent was over two weeks ago at the last home game, so clearly we’ve had those preliminary discussions with the agent and they'll continue.”
JONES HOPEFUL OF FA CUP CALL-UP
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones insists he will be ready for action should manager Brendan Rodgers call on him this weekend. Jones is hoping to make his second appearance of the season when Liverpool travel to Bournemouth for their fourth round FA Cup tie on Saturday. “If the gaffer gives you a chance, you’ve got to try and take it,” Jones told liverpoolfc.com. “Being a goalkeeper, it’s different if you’re not playing. It’s rare that you come on as a substitute (and) nothing gets guaranteed. It’s purely down to the manager’s ideas of the game and what he wants to do and circumstances. I didn’t expect to play so many games last season … you never know what’s going to happen.”
Jones, 31, is well aware everything can change in the blink of an eye. Two year ago he was on the bench watching Liverpool coast to a 2-0 lead over relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers when teammate Alexander Doni was shown a straight red card for clattering into Junior Hoilett. Jones was on his feet immediately, strapping on his gloves and heading towards the pitch for only his third appearance for the club. His first task was deny Yakubu from 12 yards, after which he played his part in Liverpool sealing a dramatic 3-2 win. Four days later he made his full debut in Liverpool’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final triumph over Everton at Wembley Stadium.
As Liverpool prepare to go on another run in the same tournament, Jones explained why past experiences have taught him to prepare for each game as though he’s in the starting eleven. “I treat each day before a game like I’m going to play, even though 99% of the time I probably won’t,” he said. “I learned pretty early on that anything can happen. I’ve been called upon five minutes before kick-off. There was the Blackburn game and then going into the semi-final at Wembley. I’ve realised that you’ve got to prepare all the time like you’re going to start, so that if that surprise is sprung on you, you’re as ready as you can be.”
WOODCOCK LEARNING ALL HE CAN FROM SEASONED CAMPAIGNERS
Teenage defender Riley Woodcock says the impact senior players Michael Thwaite and William Gallas have had on his development this season should not be underestimated. Woodcock is one of several Glory youngsters to have stepped into the first eleven this summer, and the 18-year old says that transition would not have been so smooth if not for Thwaite and Gallas. “They’re always keeping you on your toes and making sure you’re in the right position,” Woodcock said. “It’s a lot easier to be able implement your job when you’ve got someone like that next to you and talking to you the whole time. It’s been really easy for me to come in and feel comfortable.”
Woodcock also tipped his hat to interim coach Kenny Lowe, who was appointed following last month’s surprise sacking of Alistair Edwards. “I had Kenny (as a coach) growing up as a junior … and he’s always going to get the best out of you,” commented Woodcock. “With a new coach coming in, everyone’s always going to lift. It took a couple of weeks to get used to his system but as you see now we’re playing good football and getting some results.” Glory have two twice and drawn twice from their five starts under Lowe and Woodcock is confident they can get another positive result when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
BAYSWATER PRIMED FOR INTERSTATE CHALLENGE
Coach Chris Coyne will urge Bayswater City’s players to use the experience of this weekend’s Interstate Club Challenge as motivation heading into the inaugural National Premier Leagues season. Bayswater travel to Adelaide on Friday to take on Campbelltown City at Adelaide Shores Football Centre, in a fixture originally scheduled for October. As Grand Final winners, Bayswater earned their place against their South Australian counterparts Campbelltown, whose heavy schedule late last year caused the postponement. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the boys to go and test themselves against other opposition and remember that they are representing the State,” Coyne said.
Coyne is hoping the professional approach Bayswater have adopted towards Friday’s clash will give his players a sample of what lies ahead in 2014. “I think it will stand us in good stead for the NPL season because the boys will get a taste of what it’s like to jump on that plane and feel like a real professional footballer,” said Coyne, who played professionally in England, Scotland and Australia. “We’ve done everything that you would as a professional club in terms of organising team meetings, team meals, booking conference rooms, mapping out an itinerary so players are aware of their responsibilities and training at the match venue the day before the game.”
It’ll be a busy weekend for Bayswater, who meet Campbelltown on Friday and three days later commence the 2014 Night Series against Shamrock Rovers at Dorrien Gardens. Coyne has no intention of taking the pre-season tournament lightly with Bayswater aiming to successfully defend their Night Series title. “You should start as you mean to go on,” he said. “You might try certain things but every game you have you want to win. That mentality will never change. I won’t accept ‘it doesn’t matter because we were trying things or we played a lot of kids.’ They should be in there on merit. It’s about winning games.”
MILLWALL RE-CHARGED UNDER NEW MANAGER HOLLOWAY SAYS LOWRY
Shane Lowry hailed new manager Ian Holloway’s arrival at Millwall as “a breath of fresh air” following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ipswich Town on the weekend. It was a welcome clean sheet for the Lions, who have the Championship’s worst defensive record, and Lowry was keen to thank the new manager for his instant impact. “Since he has come in there has been a really positive vibe around the place,” the defender said. “He has been a breath of fresh air around the place and makes you feel 10-feet tall before you go out on that pitch. There is nothing better than getting a vote of confidence from your gaffer.”
Millwall were made to work hard for the three points against Ipswich and Lowry believes the performance is one the team can build on as they attempt to pull clear of the relegation zone. “From the start you could see we were on the front foot,” he said. “We are delighted with ourselves in the dressing room but we need to continue this form, especially at home. No one likes losing, it is just things haven’t been clicking for us. After a lot of organisation in training and a lot of ideas put across to us, we have all bought into it. One win doesn’t mean anything, though, we have to kick on from this.”
Lowry against is delighted to be given a chance in the middle of defence after being deployed at a left back by former manager Kenny Jackett. “My best performances for this club have been at centre back in my opinion,” he said. “When I first came to the club on loan from Aston Villa I thought I did quite well to earn a contract. Under Kenny I started playing left back (but) I’m not an attacking full back. Hopefully I’ve shown that I deserved to have a shot at that position and can push forward in the future. I’m not going to rest on my laurels – I need to perform as a player.”
With is contract up at seasons’ end and things looking up under Holloway, Lowry is keen to remain a Millwall player. “With the new gaffer it has obviously been really good and I have really liked his ideas,” said Lowry. “He wants to take us as a group and expects very high standards and above that as well which is ideal for us. There is not much happening with my contract at the moment but I am an open-minded person and we will just have to wait and see. I am glad to be back playing football and if I put in good performances hopefully everything will just take care of itself.”
SERBIAN PLAYMAKER MARINKOVIC JOINS GLORY
Perth Glory has strengthened their midfield options with the recruitment of Serbian attacker Nebojsa Marinkovic. The 27-year old playmaker signed a deal which ties him to Glory until the end of the 2014/15 season following his passing of a club medical this morning. “I have heard so many positive things about the A-League and was excited to be approached by Perth Glory,” said Marinkovic, a former Serbian under-21 international. “I liked what I heard about the club, its proud history and most importantly the ambitions that it has.”
For Marinkovic, the opportunity to rub shoulders with international stars William Gallas and Alessandro Del Piero in the A-League was simply too good to ignore. “I knew that Del Piero plays in Sydney and also Gallas plays here,” he said. “Some big players come to Australia to play and when you hear Gallas is in this team, you say ‘wow, if Gallas is there, I come’. It makes it easier for a player to come to Australia. Also, I know the stadiums and the pitches are very good here. Every game on the TV looks amazing and very professional."
A product of Partizan Belgrade’s youth system, Marinkovic made 34 first team appearances and scored 13 goals for the club before spells with Teleoptik (55 games, 21 goals) and FK Cukaricki (14 games, 0 goals). Since 2010 he’s played for Israeli clubs Maccabi Petah Tikva (31 games, 6 goals), Hapoel Acre (56 games, 12 goals) and, most recently, Hapeol Haifa (7 games, 2 goals). “I’m here now and I want to stay here for many years,” Marinkovic said of moving to Perth. “I will need two to three weeks to adapt, but I will give 100% in every game and every training session.”
Interim coach Kenny Lowe expects Nebojsa to play a vital role in Glory’s push towards the A-League finals. “Nebojsa is a very hard working and creative attacking midfielder,” he said. “He has great character and wherever he has played he has been highly valued. He distributes the ball well, has great skill and also one of the best long range shots I’ve seen in some time and is extremely dangerous from set pieces.” Marinkovic will wear the number eight shirt and goes into the squad for the Australia Day showdown with Western Sydney Wanderers, subject to receiving his international clearance.
OLYROOS EXIT CHAMPIONSHIP AT LAST EIGHT
Australia have bowed out of the AFC Under-22 Championship in Oman at the quarter-final stage. The Olyroos’ campaign got off to a dream start with back-to-back wins over Kuwait (1-0) and Iran (1-0), however, losses to Japan (0-4) and Saudi Arabia (1-2) ensured the team would be heading home early. “This is a learning experience for us,” said coach Aurelio Vidmar. “We need to give the players competitive international football and we have found that at this tournament.” Western Australia was well presented at the tournament with Scott Galloway, Ryan Edwards, Adam Taggart and Dylan Tombides all seeing game time.
Debutant Ryan Kitto got Australia’s campaign off on the right note by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 defeat of Kuwait. The first half tempo was controlled by a Kuwaiti side whose high pressing game had Sultan Al Enezi and Faisal Al Harbi hit the woodwork. Australia didn’t really get into gear until the second period, which was seven minutes old when Hagi Gligor’s effort was disallowed for offside. Stefan Mauk crashed a shot into the crossbar before Kuwait hit the post with a vicious free-kick. The deciding goal arrived on 70 minutes when Mauk teed-up Kitto to fire past a diving goalkeeper. Scott Galloway played the full game with Dylan Tombides replaced after 61 minutes.
Australia secured a quarter-finals berth by claiming a 1-0 win over Iran. Adam Taggart went close to breaking through on a couple of occasions in what was a tight first half with Andrew Hoole continuing the attack after the break by forcing an early save from Ali Reza Beiranvand. Iran’s best chance of the game came soon after but Benham Barzay’s low shot was parried wide by Aaron Lennox. The decider arrived on 56 minutes Peter Skapetis tucked in the follow-up after Beiranvand blocked Thomas Good’s header. Scott Galloway played the full game, Ryan Edwards was replaced after 80 minutes, Adam Taggart was replaced after 86 minutes and Dylan Tombides came on after 90 minutes.
A much-changed Olyroos went down 4-0 to Japan in their final group C contest. Japan had the better of the early exchanges, Yajima flashing wide after 4 minutes before Jason Geria’s last-ditch tackle thwarted Takuya Kida. Their attacking approach paid dividends after 18 minutes with Shoya Nakajima’s low strike from 17-metres too good for Jack Duncan. Six minutes later Nakajima turned provider for Shinya Yajima to double Japan’s lead, and in the shadows of half-time Australian defender Corey Brown turned a Ryosuke Yamanaka cross into his own net. The scoreline was made complete soon after the interval with Nakajima converting a penalty awarded for handball. Dylan Tombides played the full game.
Australia’s campaign came to an end after going down 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their round of eight meeting. After a cagey first half, Saudi Arabia seized control by netting twice in the space of four minutes, Abdulfattah Asiri and Abdullah Khalid Al Ammar the scorers. The Olyroos’ plight worsened on 73 minutes when Andrew Hoole copped a straight red card for a heavy challenge. And four minutes later Peter Skapetis gained a consolation by converting from the penalty spot following a foul on Stefan Mauk. Scott Galloway and Ryan Edwards played the full game, Adam Taggart was replaced after 62 minutes, Dylan Tombides came on after 88 minutes.
SWANSEA LINE-UP WILLIAMS
Socceroo Rhys Williams is being linked with a move to English Premier League club Swansea City during the January transfer window. Swansea are understood to be in discussion with Middlesbrough over 25-year old Williams, who is comfortable operating at right-back, centre-back or in a defensive midfield role. The Welsh club have previously been linked with Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior, and although he has also attracted interest from a number of other clubs Swansea have emerged as frontrunner to lure him away from Riverside Stadium. Manager Michael Laudrup is looking to add some much-needed depth to his squad, and Williams would provide just that.
GLORY POISED TO SIGN MARINKOVIC
Serbian attacker Nebojsa Marinkovic is set to join Perth Glory as interim coach Kenny Lowe seeks to guide the club to a third successive finals series. Marinkovic, 27, will undergo a medical assessment tomorrow and is expected to sign a deal which will see him wear the purple of Glory until the end of next season. The move comes as club officials look to put the finishing touches on a loan deal with 29-year old Lithuanian striker Darvydas Sernas. Marinkovic and Sernas could make their A-League debuts against Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend, however, visa issues could delay Sernas’ availability.
Marinkovic spent five years at Partizan Belgrade and has played for a range of clubs throughout Europe, most recently with Israeli side Hapoel Haifa. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said Marinkovic would fill a void in the team that was identified by Lowe. “There was a recognition that they needed someone creative in that number ten role,” Brewer told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “We needed some with that experience to be able to play 90 minutes week in, week out and service the likes of Shane Smeltz.”
Brewer said the acquisition of new players in the prime of their careers was important for Glory’s team balance. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of players who are 21 years and below, and a large amount who are 30 years and above,” Brewer said. “But in that prime age group of 25-30 there really isn’t that many players. It was quite an important thing to get more of a balance to the team.” Glory are also poised to step-up negotiations with West Australia products Adrian Madaschi and Rostyn Griffiths, who both trained with the club last week having recently left Asian clubs.
TABAIN COMPLETES GLORY WOMEN COMEBACK
Perth Glory Women snapped a four game losing streak in the most dramatic fashion, coming from behind to defeat Newcastle Jets 3-2 this evening at Percy Doyle Reserve. It appeared Newcastle were on cruise mode after Tara Andrews and Sophie Nenadovic opened up a two-goal buffer inside the half hour, however, Lisa D’Ovidio and Rosie Sutton had the teams by the break with Marianna Tabain bagging the decider midway through the second period. “I can’t ask the girls to do more to get themselves out of that situation,” coach Jamie Harnwell said. “We’ve still not given up hope on the top four. It’s still there mathematically, we have to believe that we can make it and try for it.”
The home team started strongly but it was Newcastle that went ahead after 20 minutes when Andrews slotted into the bottom corner after latching onto a long ball and beating two defenders. That lead was doubled eight minutes later, Nenadovic’s early shot catching goalkeeper Chantel Jones off-guard. Glory responded within three minutes through D’Ovidio, who crashed a half-volley from 25-metres through a sea of bodies. Sutton restored parity by cleverly slotting underneath Eliza Campbell after meeting Tabain’s stoppage cross. Glory continued to grow following the turnaround and on 67 minutes Tabain’s angled strike from 15-metres flashed across Campbell and into the bottom corner. Christina Julien twice went close to scoring the goal she was after in her final outing with Glory but on both occasions Campbell was equal to the task.
GLORY YOUTH SEE RED AGAINST TRIUMPHANT BRISBANE
The tale of woe that is Perth Glory Youth’s season continued with a 5-0 thrashing from Brisbane Roar this morning at Intiga Stadium. Jai Ingham and Brandon Borello each helped themselves to a brace with substitute Samuel Sibatuara getting the visitors remainder. A lack of discipline on behalf of defensive pair Alexander Castiello and Mark Barnett left Glory with only nine men and put the balance of power well and truly in Brisbane’s favour in energy-sapping conditions. Adding to Glory’s misery was an ankle injury suffered by striker Jamie Maclaren in his first game back from a groin complaint. Glory have now conceded 32 goals in posting six straight losses, which have left them hovering just one point above last spot on the National Youth League ladder.
Glory were on the back foot after only 12 minutes when Castiello’s last man tackle drew a red card from the referee, with Ingham rubbing salt into the wound by converting the resultant penalty. Borello sliced through the home defence twice in nine minutes to increase the difference to three goals. Maclaren was forced out ten minutes from half-time after rolling his right ankle. Away goalkeeper Matt Action brilliantly denied Danny De Silva after half-time as Glory looked for a way back into the game. Sibataura killed off those hopes by putting away goal number four just after the hour. Barnett collected his second yellow card in the 74th minute, leaving Glory to see out the game with nine players. Ingham converted from the spot for the second time four minutes later after being clipped by Brandon O’Neill.
GLORY HOLD LEAGUE LEADERS SCORELESS
Perth Glory missed a golden opportunity to claim three points against A-League leaders Brisbane Roar, who survived having a man sent off to draw 0-0 tonight at Perth Oval. Besart Berisha was given his marching orders on the half hour after picking up his second yellow card but, despite having an extra man, Glory failed to take advantage. “We should’ve got more but I think when you look at the game they were actually better with ten that when it was eleven against eleven,” said interim coach Kenny Lowe. “We took the game to them, which was a proper game of football where everyone was game on and I thought we were good value.”
The ball had been in motion only a few moments when Berisha had his name taken by referee Kris Griffiths-Jones after crashing into Michael Thwaite. The Glory defender almost found the net on 11 minutes with a looping header that goalkeeper Michael Theo tipped over the top for a corner. Chris Harold and Thomas Broich put shots wide before an alert Theo palmed away a strike from Sidnei. Berisha’s night ended shortly after with Griffiths-Jones having no choice but to red card the striker for a high challenge on Thwaite. Theo was called into action again, saving comfortably from Steven McGarry, then on the stroke of half-time Luke Brattan clipped the post with a vicious free-kick.
Brisbane should have gone ahead three minutes after the interval when Henrique was played through one-on-one with Danny Vukovic only to blast over the crossbar. Broich created space for himself on the hour but lashed narrowly wide of the target as Glory soaked up the pressure. The home side didn’t threaten until the 68th minute, substitute Shane Smeltz flicking wide of Theo’s goal after meeting Jacob Burns’ centring ball.
As the minutes ticked by, Glory increased their share of possession only to be turned back by the away defence. It wasn’t until stoppage time that Sidnei got off a low drive which flashed past the post. There was still time for one last chance but substitute Jack Clisby’s free-kick deflected away off the wall.
GLORY TAKING IT ONE GAME AT A TIME SAYS BURNS
Perth Glory commences a difficult three-game spell by hosting A-League leaders Brisbane Roar this evening at Perth Oval (6.45pm). Spirits in the home camp are high courtesy of back-to-back wins but captain Jacob Burns knows his team will need to be top of their game to get anything from this evening’s outing. “We’ve got Brisbane, West Sydney and then Melbourne Victory so some very tough games,” he said. “It’s going to be a really firm test against Brisbane and we won’t get ahead of ourselves and think about where we’re going to finish (the season) … we’ll take each and every game as it comes.” Josh Risdon and William Gallas are knocking on the selection door but it remains to be seen whether coach Kenny Lowe will make any changes to his winning line-up.
Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey isn’t taking anything for granted despite his team taking home maximum points from eight of their thirteen trips to Perth. “This is going to be a tough game for us, no doubt about it,” he said. “One of the hardest things with travelling is training facilities that make an impact, so we’ll do our training here before we travel. There’s been a fair bit of upheaval in Perth but I know Kenny Lowe well. He’s a very passionate man and that’s been shown already, he is very organised and it seems like the ship has been righted.” German midfielder Thomas Broich appears to have recovered from the corked thigh he picked up against Adelaide United last week, however, Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic remains out of action with a stomach muscle strain.
JULIEN SIGNS OFF WITH GLORY WOMEN
Canadian international Christina Julien hopes to end her stint in the W-League on a high when Perth Glory Women hosts Newcastle Jets at Percy Doyle Reserve this weekend. Glory turned in a season-best performance at Brisbane Roar last time out but came home empty handed, and Julien is confident a similar display on Saturday evening will reaps the rewards Glory deserve. “If we come out with the same attitude we did in the Brisbane game, we should put in another great performance and hopefully take another three points,” said Julien, who will visit several German clubs next week before deciding her next career move.
Julien, 25, joined Glory originally on a seven-game guest player agreement but was able to extend her stay by a fortnight following injury to defender Sasha Andrews. “I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to play extra matches …I was really happy here in the W-League,” said Julien, who was on the scoresheet when Glory defeated Newcastle 5-2 on the opening day of the season. “It’s going to be really sad playing my last game. It’s just gone all so fast. It feels like I’ve been here a week when I’ve been here for over three months. I’m going to soak it up and give it everything I’ve got.”
Coach Jamie Harnwell knows it would be a mistake to under-estimate a Newcastle side which remains pointless after eight games. “Newcastle isn’t going to be an easy game despite their league position,” he said. “They have nothing to lose and are a young, aggressive side desperate for a result. Our injury problems continue with Sarah Carroll missing after receiving a heavy knock, which forced her from the field on Sunday, but we welcome Amy Knights back into the squad this weekend. We will need to reproduce our performance against Brisbane to get the three points we need to keep us in the hunt for the top four.”
GALLAS TO PLAY AGAINST BRISBANE
Marquee defender William Gallas will make his long-awaited return for Perth Glory tonight against league leaders Brisbane Roar. Capped 84 times by France, Gallas joined Glory in November amid much fanfare but managed just over an hour on the park, across two appearances, before suffering a torn calf. “He wants to play,” interim coach Kenny Lowe said of Gallas, who moved freely at training last night. “He’s got a great work ethic in the training environment and he’s pushed himself really hard over the last two weeks to get himself to this level. I don’t think he’s 100% and he won’t last the whole game, but he’ll definitely be involved.” Lowe wouldn’t be drawn as to whether Gallas would make the starting line-up, but said the former English Premier League player’s big-game experience could count in his favour.
STIRLING INTEND “TO WIN EVERY GAME” SAYS BROWN
It may be a new season with a new coach and a few new teammates but as far as Stirling Lions captain Andy Brown is concerned its business as usual at Macedonia Park. Stirling topped the Premier Division last year for the first time in almost two decades and Brown expects an encore performance from his team when the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA commences in a few months. “Nothing is different this year from any other year – we will be setting out to win every game we play,” Brown stated. “Last year we had great success and we believe we can equal or better our achievements this coming season.”
There’s been some significant change at Stirling over the off-season with the likes of Rikki Smith and David Micevski joining the club following some notable departures. “We lost some really experienced players in Jason Gavin, Andy Todd, Gareth McGlynn and Rory Grant. These types of players aren’t easy to replace,” commented Brown. “In saying that, the next generation of players we have at the club definitely have the potential to fill these players’ boots. It’s up to the individual, the older players and the coaching staff to guide these players through and reach that potential. Overall the squad is as good technically, if not better, but we do lack a little experience.”
Brown says Williams’ move from assistant coach to head coach has ensured continuity at the club. “It was sad to hear that Doug (Hesketh) had parted company with the club, as the group had formed a strong bond. But Gary is more than capable, the transition has been a smooth one and he has the total backing of the playing group,” said Brown. “We have a lot of potential in the youth we have at the club and when you couple that with the players we retained from last season and the experience we’ve brought in, it sets us up well to challenge for the league and Cup this year.”
Opinions are strongly divided as to whether the National Premier League, an initiative of Football Federation Australia, will be the saviour or destroyer of the local game. But Brown refuses to wade into the debate, saying his only concern is what happens on the pitch on match day. “The NPL is something I tend not to worry about too much,” said Brown. “At first it seemed like a radical change but now it just seems like a re-branding exercise. It’s best for me to concentrate on doing my job as player and captain for Stirling and leave the administration to someone else … in the end football will carry on, regardless.”
MADASCHI AND GRIFFITHS IN THE FRAME FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are considering bolstering their injury-ravaged squad with the addition of local products Adrian Madaschi and Rostyn Griffiths. Injury to Travis Dodd (knee), Scott Jamieson (Achilles), Josh Risdon (knee) and William Gallas (calf) coupled with the recent departure of Ryo Nagai (Cerezo Osaka) and Steve Pantelidis (Selangor) has left Glory’s defensive stocks looking decidedly thin. And although Gallas and Risdon are close to returning to action, young left-back Riley Woodcock picked up what appears to be a minor ankle injury at training yesterday and is in doubt for tomorrow night’ home date with Brisbane Roar.
Central defender Madaschi, 31, and defensive midfielder Griffiths, 25, have both recently parted ways with Asian clubs and spent the week training with Glory. Madaschi, a Perth SC junior, played a decade in Europe before recent spells with Melbourne Heart and Korean side Jeju United. Griffiths, who played first team with ECU Joondalup at the age of 15, is fresh from a two-year stint with Chinese club Guangzhou R&F after starring for Central Coast Mariners. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer confirmed the club was interested in signing the pair and had room in its salary cap.
ZAHRA INDEBTED TO LOWE
Perth Glory winger Adrian Zahra is eager to repay the faith shown in him by interim coach Kenny Lowe by producing the goods on the pitch. Zahra has impressed in his four appearances since Lowe’s appointment and, despite being on light duties at training today, the 23-year old is expected to make the starting line-up for Friday night’s game with Brisbane Roar. “Right now I just want to keep backing up my performances and continue to push for a spot in the starting eleven,” Zahra said. “Hopefully I get that chance again this week and I take it again with both hands. Kenny’s shown a lot of faith in me and obviously I appreciate that. Now it’s just about repaying that faith.”
ROUX PUT FORWARD FOR YOUNG FOOTBALLER AWARD
A breakthrough season with Central Coast Mariners has put defender Storm Roux in the running for the Young Footballer of the Year Award. 21-year old Roux joins fellow West Australia’s Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast) and Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets) as the first three nominees for the annual A-League award after a string of eye-catching displays over the past month. “It’s a great honour to be nominated for the Young Footballer of the Year Award,” said Roux, a former Sorrento junior. “I am very happy with how the season is going, and it’s great to be recognised for my performances.”
Roux expressed his delight in joining a long line of Central Coast players to be nominated for the award. “Over the last two years I have seen players nominated for this award, and many of them have been from the Mariners,” he said. “It shows that the club produces good young players and it’s a great feeling that my name is now alongside the likes of Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Bernie Ibini, Mustafa Amini, and Tom Rogic.” Young Footballer of the Year Award sponsor, National Australia Bank, will donated a $1,500 equipment pack and $1,000 in a Community Saver Account to Roux’s chosen junior club.
LOWE “OVERWHELMED” BY SUPPORT
Interim Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has thanked the West Australian football community for their support during his first month at the helm. Lowe, who has guided Glory to two wins and a draw from his first four games, says he has been overwhelmed by the response of the club’s loyal supporters and the wider football community. “I have been involved in Western Australian football for the past ten years at State League level, youth league level and four years as an assistant coach at Glory,” Lowe commented. “I’ve been overwhelmed by all the well wishes I’ve received from people I’ve known for a number of years, as well as fans I have met for the first time.”
Lowe played professionally for English clubs Hartlepool United, Barnet, Stoke City and Birmingham City, amongst others, but he admits his nerves were jangling prior to leading Glory into battle against Adelaide United shortly before Christmas. “I was quite nervous before my first game,” he said. “It was actually quite funny. I was at home and I had some friends over from England and I said I hadn’t been this nervous since my playing debut and my wife went “You mean since your wedding?” Actually, it was an apprehensive time. I am not a big name or a celebrity but I feel I can add value to the club. I believe I am good at what I do and hopefully I get the opportunity to prove that.”
A strong believer in the local talent pool and youth development, Lowe intends to continue building upon the framework put in place by his predecessor, Alistair Edwards. “There was a long-term plan implemented three-four months ago and that plan is still in place,” said Lowe, who says the clubs’ future lies in nurturing and enhancing the talents of Jack Clisby, Riley Woodcock, Matt Davies, Jamie Maclaren, Chris Harold, Ryan Edwards, Cameron Edwards, Brandon O’Neill, Ndumba Makeche and the like. “The young boys have been unbelievable but they are still going to make mistakes sometimes. There may be a little bit of short-term pain but there are going to be benefits in the long run.
Glory have suffered at the hand to injury this season but, with Shane Smeltz, William Gallas and Josh Risdon close to returning, Lowe is confident of getting a good few points on the board over the second part of the summer. “We are aiming to create an environment of competitive pressure and with Smeltz, Gallas and Risdon to come back in, as well as sneaking one or two players in the transfer window,” he explained. “I’m not saying the players are coming in to take the players’ places in the team but what it does is gives us some healthy rivalry for spots on the pitch. It is human nature to be comfortable but competition for starting positions will raise the bar and raises the overall level.”
ITALIANO SIGNS NEW DEAL WITH WELLINGTON
Goalkeeper Lewis Italiano is yet to make an A-League appearance but Wellington Phoenix have seen enough in the 22-year old to offer him a contract extension. Italiano, who shot to prominence during Balcatta’s historic Premier Division championship win of 2011, said he was buzzing after inking a new twelve-month deal with Wellington where he’ll be under the guidance of former Glasgow Celtic shot-stopper Jonathon Gould. “Gouldy is a brilliant goalkeeping coach and Mossy (first choice goalkeeper Glen Moss) is great to work with,” Italiano said. “Mossy encourages me and there is always a bit of banter going on which keeps you smiling.”
While admitting it does get a little frustrating being on the bench, Italiano is quite happy to bide his time. “As a number two ‘keeper you have to wait for your moment to arrive. Mossy had to go down the same path when he started out,” he said. “My job is to keep pushing him and to be ready should the chance come.” Italiano originally joined Wellington on a one-year deal in June from Victorian club Oakleigh Cannons. An ankle injury sustained in his last game for Oakleigh robbed him of an A-league debut when Moss was on international duty with New Zealand in November.
WEIGHT ALMOST OVER FOR RISDON
Defender Josh Risdon acknowledges he has some work to do before winning back his spot in Perth Glory’s starting line-up. Interim coach Kenny Lowe has told Risdon, who has been sidelined for the past three months with a knee injury, he’ll have to shed a few kilograms and return to his normal playing weight before being considered for first team duty. “Kenny (Lowe) said I need to get back to my original weight that I was playing at and do all the right things,” said Risdon. “I’ve been working on eating the right things and training hard. I think now I’m slowly getting my weight off and hopefully I’m back to full fitness.”
With a couple of youth team outings now under his belt, Risdon is hopeful of making an appearance off the bench when Glory hosts Brisbane Roar on Friday night. However, the 21-year old is well aware he’ll have a fight on his hands to displace impressive teenager Matt Davies, who has started eleven of Glory’s last dozen games at right-back. “Matty’s done really well since I’ve been injured. He’s kind of made that spot his own, so I’m not looking to get straight back into the team,” said Risdon, the club’s Most Gloriuous Player in 2011/12. “I’ve got to work hard at training and prove myself, that I deserve to be back in the starting eleven.”
GLORY WOMEN HAVE LITTLE TO SHOW FOR TRIP TO BRISBANE
A spirited performance by Perth Glory Women has gone unrewarded with Brisbane Roar emerging 2-0 winners from today’s W-League meeting at AJ Kelly Fields in Brisbane. A Rosie Sutton goal highlighted Glory’s determination to get something out of a game in which Brisbane had Tameka Butt and Katrina-Lee Gorry to thank for their success. The first opportunity arrived on 13 minutes when Butt’s curling strike flew to goalkeeper Chantel Jones. Glory replied soon after but Sutton was unable to get her close-range header on target before Tabain shot straight at ‘keeper Kate Stewart. Leading into half-time Kate Gill and Hayley Raso squandered great chances at opposite ends of the park, ensuring the game remained deadlocked.
Raso continued to trouble the Glory defence into the second term and, with 67 minutes on the clock, she cut the ball back for Butt to curl a sublime effort into the far corner. Brisbane’s lead was doubled eight minutes later when Butt and Gorry combined with clockwork precision to cut through the away team’s defences before the latter finished past Jones. Glory very quickly brought the game back to a single goal with Sutton making no mistake from a few metres after Stewart failed to hold onto a long-range Elisa D’Ovidio free-kick. Unfortunately, the visitors were unable to make further inroads against a Brisbane side that had no desire to share the points.
GLORY YOUTH SURRENDER IN SYDNEY
Western Sydney Wanderers consigned Perth Glory Youth to a fifth successive loss by netting three times in each half to triumph 6-0 at Cook Park in Sydney. Mark Cindric played the starring role with four goals on a day Jaushua Sotirio and Yianni Perkatis were also on target. Western Sydney had the upper hand after only 16 minutes via a superb goal from Sotirio. Cindric doubled their lead in the 33rd minute by winning, then converting a penalty. Six minutes later Cindric outpaced the defence to fire past Fraser Greenwood in the Glory goal. And the margin would have been much greater had Cindric and James Baldacchino made more of opportunities late in the half.
Despite the presence of first team players Brandon O’Neill, Cameron Edwards, Daniel De Silva and Ndumba Makeche, Glory continued failed to make any significant in-roads upon the resumption of play. Midfielder Perkatis made sure it would the home side which collected the points with an easy 62nd minute finish after Joshua Barresi’s shot cannoned back off the post. Barresi again struck the post with a smart shot on the run. Cindric scored the goal of the match with a sharp turn and clinical finish with ten minutes to go, and soon after the striker snared his fourth goal. Glory’s eight loss leaves them second to last on the National Youth League table after ten games.
LOWE IN NO HURRY TO START SMELTZ
Prolific goal scorer Shane Smeltz is likely to remain on the bench for the next fortnight despite netting twice in Perth Glory’s 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart last night. Interim coach Kenny Lowe could not have been happier with Smeltz’s contribution but says the New Zealand international isn’t going to be rushed back into the starting line-up after five-weeks out with an ankle injury. “He’s been on at me for about three weeks to play, but for three weeks he’s been hobbling around like a 94-year old,” Lowe said. “We’ve got a duty of care and a moral responsibility to make sure that when (players) come back (from injury), they can do what they can do.”
Lowe, appointed coach until the end of the season, could not be happier with what Glory have achieved during his first month at the helm. “The guys in the changing room have done really well the last four games,” said Lowe, who has two wins and a draw – plus three clean sheets – to his credit. “I think the sending off (of Dylan MacAllister late in the second half) changed the context of the game, but at the end of the day you’ve still got to win the game. Our work ethic, endeavour and desire to win, our desire to play, was really good. The young kids are just amazing me.”
Lowe’s record has sparked speculation that he is now frontrunner to lead the club into next season, however, the coach isn’t about to engage in any such debate. “That’s for other people to decide, it’s got nothing to do with me,” Lowe said. “If the big fella thinks I’m suitable, I’ll do it. If not, someone else will come and do it. We’ve always said we’ll come in, we’ll add value and we’ll try and show people we’re good at what we do. It’s like anything – you just do what you can do and enjoy it. I’m an engineer by trade and I enjoy that line of work, but I’m not in a particular rush to go back there.”
NAGAI HEADING BACK TO JAPAN
Perth Glory are on the lookout for a new import after releasing Japanese winger Ryo Nagai from his loan deal. Nagai, whose loan was due to expire at the end of this month, says he will miss being part of the Glory set-up when he returns to J-League club Cerezo Osaka. “I would like to thank the Perth Glory fans for making me feel welcome during my two years,” said the former Japan Under-19 captain. “I have met some great people here and I will take all the positive experiences I have learnt at Perth back to Japan with me.”
Nagai made 26 appearances and scored four goals during his 16 months with Glory, which unofficially came to an end when he suffered a serious hamstring tear three weeks ago. “Ryo has got a hamstring injury and unfortunately he’s going to be out for a while,” said interim coach Lowe, who is contemplating bolster his injury-hit squad during the transfer window. “We’ll need all hands on board because we have a very thin squad. We can’t really wait five or six weeks for someone … so unfortunately we’ll use Nagai’s visa spot maybe for another player.”
SMELTZ BREAKS MELBOURNE HEARTS
Shane Smeltz made a stunning return to the pitch by scoring twice off the bench to guide Perth Glory to a 3-0 victory over Melbourne Heart under lights at Perth Oval. Adrian Zahra opened the scoring with a great finish on the run just after the hour and the visitors revival hopes were dashed by Dylan MacAllister’s late dismissal. Smeltz, playing for the first time since recovering from an ankle injury, then took centre stage by hitting the back of the net twice in three minutes to secure the points for Glory, who move to fifth on the table. The loss means Melbourne now share the record for the longest winless streak in A-League history, joining defunct New Zealand Knights on 19-games without victory.
Glory enjoyed the better of possession and territory early on but it took until the 25th minute for their first chance on goal to arrive, Brazilian winger Sidnei blasting wide after meeting Matthew Davies’ low cross. Patrick Gerhardt almost scored a priceless goal for the away team seven minutes later with a sliding effort that forced Danny Vukovic into saving with his legs. Vukovic was called into action again moments later, this time diving to keep out a long-range attempt by Nick Kalmar. Melbourne were by this stage on top and were unlucky not to take a 38th minute lead when Iain Ramsay’s angled strike crashed into the crossbar.
Chances on goal came thick and fast following the turnaround with long-range attempts by Ramsay and Steve McGarry tipped away by Vukovic and Andrew Redmayne. Zahra showed them how it’s done in the 64 minute by weaving across the top of the 18-yard box and firing low into the corner of Redmayne’s net. Macallister came on shortly after but lasted just eleven minutes before being sent off following tackles on Sidnei and Clisby. Mate Dugandzic should have brought the game level on 82 minutes but placed wide when faced by only Vukovic. Smeltz outmuscled Aziz Behich two minutes later to convert past Redmayne, and not long after drilled in from 14-metres the ‘keeper’s attempt to clear a Zahra centre.
MELBOURNE CAN NOT TO BE UNDER-ESTIMATED: LOWE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe won’t be taking anything for granted when Perth Glory takes on lowly Melbourne Heart this evening at Perth Oval. Melbourne are on the verge of equalling New Zealand Knights’ A-League record of 19 matches without a win but Lowe says their miserable run is far from an indication of the quality they have on board. “Melbourne Heart are in a false position,” Lowe said. “I watch all the games and there’s seven or eight games that they should’ve won. I’ve never seen so many chances missed and so much bad luck. They’ve got a super side and we’re going to have the Boy Scouts XI out again so it will be backs to the wall for us.”
Melbourne coach John Van’t Schip, who last week took over from John Aloisi, has seen positives in his teams performances and expects that to continue tonight in Perth. “We can improve still a lot,” said Van’t Schip, who concedes his team are effectively out of finals contention after being cut eight-points adrift at the bottom of the A-League. “We know it’s going to be very hard to get into the play-offs, but I think the most important thing is to get back the way we want to play. It’s improvement for our fans, so they can see a team that can win, play football, and I think at the moment that the most important thing.”
Perth Oval has been far from a happy hunting ground for Melbourne, who have won just once in five visit with the most recent trip ending in a 1-0 loss. Glory captain Jacob Burns and star striker Shane Smeltz are back in contention while young goalkeeper Luke Radonich has been promoted in place of Jack Duncan, who is on Olyroos duty along with Ryan Edwards. Melbourne pair Stefan Mauk and David Vrankovic are also away with the national youth team meaning the door opens for Jeremy Walker, Dylan MacAllister and Ben Garuccio to stake their claim in the line-up. Glory and Melbourne go head-to-head at Perth Oval this evening from 6.45pm.
SANDVEJ BACK FOR BRISBANE TRIP
Denmark international Cecilie Sandvej returns to the Perth Glory Women line-up for this weekend’s away with high-flying Brisbane Roar. Injuries and suspension have forced coach Jamie Harnwell to field a young defence of late but the return of Sandvej, who is expected to couple Bronwyn Studman in the middle of the back four, should provide the team the experience they have been lacking. “Cecilie has done very well for us,” Harnwell commented. “She’s aggressive and leads by example and it makes a difference when you bring a player of her ability into the team. It’s even more important for us given that it’s probably still another week or two before we get Sasha (Andrews) back.”
The absence of Sandvej and Andrews, who is sidelined with an ankle complaint problem, has provided valuable W-League exposure for Sarah Carroll, Shawn Billam, Thia Eastman, Amy Knights and Jess Dillon. “One of the positives is there are a lot of younger players and fringe players, who are getting a lot more game time than I expected and probably more than they expected themselves,” Harnwell said. “They’ve found out firsthand what it means to play in the W-League, the standard of players they are going to come up against and what they need to do day in day out to perform at that level.”
In another boost, Matildas co-captain Kate Gill is back to full fitness and ready to lead the attack against a Brisbane side sitting second on the W-league table. Gill had been suffering from fatigue due to low iron levels before returning to action with a goal in last weekend’s defeat at Sydney FC. The experienced striker was replaced after an hour against Sydney but Harnwell is hopeful that she will complete the full 90 minutes on Sunday. “She pulled up well after the game and has had a good, solid week in training, so she’ll be looking to get 90 minutes against Brisbane,” Harnwell said. Brisbane hosts Glory Women at AJ Kelly Fields on Sunday afternoon.
“TOP FIVE IS A MINIMUM” SAYS PERTH’S KELTIE
Midfielder Clark Keltie has every confidence Perth SC are on the right track to reclaim their place at the top of West Australian footballs pecking order. Last season was nothing short of a disaster for Perth, who failed to make the top five for the first time since 2006. But with a full pre-season under his belt Keltie feels the club will again be a force this winter. “It’s a big season for all clubs obviously, there’s more at stake this year,” he said of the inaugural National Premier Leagues competition. “It’s too early to give a real indication of the squad just yet but I trust Taki Nicolaidis and the board to make the right signings to take the club forward.”
Keltie, Perth’s Fairest and Best player last season, says qualification for this year’s end of season finals is a must. “For me personally, making the top five this year is a minimum requirement. I know the clubs’ expectations but I think it’s important as a player to make your own,” said the midfielder, who has been impressed with the clubs coaching team of Nicolaidis and Ante Kovacevic. “Taki came in at a very difficult time and I think his calming influence had a great impact, especially on the younger players in the squad. Ante has been there and done it in the professional game and I think they have the right blend to be successful.”
Nicolaidis has been delighted with the way Keltie has conducted himself at Perth, both on and off the field of play. “From the first day he arrived in Perth you could see that Clark had played at a good level back home,” said the Perth coach. “His composure on the ball and vision are very good. His experience and leadership qualities have been welcomed by the younger players at the club, who will learn off him. He also conducts himself in a professional manner not just on the pitch but also off it, where he does the extra work to keep his body in good shape … he will be a very important player for us this season.”
A former Darlington, Rochdale AFC and Lincoln City player, Keltie admits to being pleasantly surprised with what he’s found in Perth since relocating at the beginning of last year. “I came here not really knowing anything about the league, or the standard of players, but I’ve noticed some promising players who I think will come good in the future,” said the 30-year old, who is now looking forward to an extended stay on the west coast. “I’ve been granted a new four-year visa – it’s just the perfect start to my year. It gives me the security I’d wanted and allows me to live and play with a lot more freedom now.”
Rochdale produced a massive upset last weekend by defeating Leeds United in the FA Cup at Spotland, a result which Keltie was over the monn about. “Rochdale was always a tough place for teams to come and they proved it again with that win,” said Keltie, who play 35 games for Rochdale in 2010/11. “I had a very satisfying 18-months there and I’m pleased they made the draw for the next round. There’s not many left from the squad that I was part of but I’m friends with some of the backroom staff and they were overwhelmed by the win.” Perth open their Night Series campaign against Melville City on 27 January at Dorrien Gardens.
SMELTZ EYES 100 A-LEAGUE GOALS
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz is determined to become the first player to score 100 A-League goals, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll achieve that while at Perth Glory. Smeltz is the competition’s all-time leading goalscorer with 73, but a string of injuries has restricted him to just 22 appearance and seven goals in the last 15 months. The 32 year-old missed the start of the current season after undergoing hip surgery and watched Glory’s five most recent games due to an ankle problem. However, the marquee striker is likely to come off the bench when Glory host Melbourne Heart on Friday night.
Despite his torrid injury run, Smeltz is confident his body can hold up to the rigours of professional football for a few more years. “I’m certainly not thinking about stopping at this stage at all,” Smeltz said. “I think I’ve got another few good years left in me, for sure. At the rate I’ve gone over my career, hopefully the 100 goal mark isn’t too far off … that’s something I’d love to achieve. There’s been plenty of great goalscorers in this league over the years. It would be fantastic to say you were one of the first people to ever reach 100 goals in the A-League.”
Out of contract at seasons’ end, Smeltz is already attracting interest from Glory’s A-League rivals with Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar said to be keen on obtaining his services. “I’m certainly happy to look at things but I want to get back playing football before I speak to anyone,” Smeltz said. “I’m happy with where I’m playing and I really want to put in a good shift for Perth Glory in the second half of the season.” Smeltz’s return to fitness is a massive boost for an injury-hit Glory side as they attempt to score just their fifth win of the campaign.
RISDON ZEROES IN ON A-LEAGUE RETURN
Homegrown defender Josh Risdon took a step closer to an A-League return with a solid hit-out for Perth Glory’s youth team on the weekend. After eleven weeks on the sidelines, Risdon stepped onto the park at half-time and came through the second 45 minutes unscathed. “It was a good workout for me,” he said. “Obviously it was my first game back since my injury so it was good to get back on the pitch and into a game environment. I was only supposed to play thirty (minutes) but ended up playing forty five so a bit more than expected but I feel really good and pulled up aces.”
Risdon admits it has been a long road back from the knee injury he suffered against Newcastle Jets in October. “It’s been a frustrating period for me but it’s definitely great to be back out playing,” he said. “I’m ahead of schedule. I wasn’t meant to be playing until next weekend so I’m still ahead of time which they were a bit hesitant to put me in the youth team last week but I feel good and I feel fine. I really didn’t want to think about it too much so I went out on the pitch and my first involvement was a fifty-fifty tackle so I just went straight in there and didn’t think twice about it.”
As if getting some game time under his belt wasn’t enough, Risdon scored a stunning long-range goal in the youth teams’ loss to Sydney FC. “It’s a rare occasion for me to get on the scoresheet so it was a pretty good goal for me. I was a bit surprised. I had to look twice to make sure it had hit the back of the net,” said Risdon, who doesn’t expect to come into first team reckoning just yet. “I think maybe another game in the youth league will do me no harm. My first goal is to get back in the team. I just have to work hard every day at training and hopefully get my spot back. I just want to make sure I’m 100% fit and ready to help the team.”
HAROLD SIGNS UP FOR MORE GLORY
Chris Harold has become the third player in ten days to commit his future to Perth Glory by signing a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2016. Fresh from scoring the only goal in Glory’s weekend away defeat of Newcastle Jets, 21-year old says he was more than willing to sign on the dotted line when a new two-year deal with put before him. “I’ve always wanted to give something back to the club. They’ve done a lot for me and since I’ve been improving and like on the weekend, scoring goals, I want to do that all the time now, so I’m really happy to be resigning with the club,” he commented.
Although born in Perth, Harold played much of his junior days Queensland. He entered the A-League in 2010 with Gold Coast United and was used as an out-and-out striker in the majority of his 25 appearances, but since heading west has been utilised on the wing. “I’ve always been a centre forward most of my life but not all coaches are going to like my sort of player to play out there because I don’t maybe have the physicality that other players do,” he explained. “I’ve had to make my way on the wing and I really like playing out there now but when I do get a chance, I do like playing up front.“
It’s been a difficult month for Glory but Harold feels the win in Newcastle signals a change in the clubs’ on-field fortunes. “It was a massive win for us. In terms of morale, it’s going to be very important just to get the confidence, not only within the players, but also the coaches as well,” the striker said. “One of the big factors to take out of the game was we held on. A lot of the games this year, we have given the game away and given away goals in the last 10, 20 minutes and this game it didn’t happen. We dug deep, stayed solid at the back and still threatened on the counter-attack.”
Harold began the season playing off the bench but after putting in the hard yards has been rewarded with five successive starts. “I’ve been pretty happy ever since I’ve made my way back into the team this year but obviously I want to progress even further,” said Harold, who has taken his A-league game tally to 56. “I suppose a lot of those appearances have been bench appearances and I haven’t really been able to maintain a string of starts together where I’ve really asserted myself in the first eleven so I suppose that makes me fly under the radar a bit … I’ve still got a lot to learn but that’s only going to come with playing more games.”
A TRIP TO BRAZIL IS TOMBIDES’ GOAL
Attacker Dylan Tombides plans to resurrect his international career at this month’s AFC Under-22 Championship in Oman. Tombides’ was knocking on the selection door at West Ham United when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer while on duty for Australia at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup. After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, the 19-year old is back to full fitness and determined to show the Socceroos hierarchy what he can do. “I want to do well in Oman and hopefully get noticed by Ange Postecoglou because I am going to be doing all I can to be in with a shout of going to Brazil,” he said.
Tombides, a former Stirling Lions junior, recognises his decision to put country before club may have delayed his breaking into the first eleven at West Ham. “I had a bit of choice to make,” said Tombides, who opted to be part of the Olyroos pre-tournament preparation in preference to the Hammers weekend FA Cup clash with Nottingham Forest. “Sam Allardyce wanted youngsters involved and if I wasn’t going away I think I may have got a chance. But I felt that going to Oman was a better option for the long-term with more game time potentially and it was the most sensible move for me.”
Australia face Kuwait, Iran and Japan in the space of just five days and Tombides, whose last competitive game was in early November against Chelsea’s development squad, acknowledges he will have to pace himself. “We’ve had a few in-house games of late and it will be interesting to see where I am at,” he said. “I have trained hard for this with my own personalised program at West Ham and I think I will be as ready as any of the other boys. But with the games coming thick and fast the squad will definitely have to be rotated. I am not sure any player is up to that sort of match schedule without a bit of a break.”
With the top two teams in Group C progressing to the quarter-finals, Tombides is hoping for an extended stay in Oman. “I think we have some quality in our squad and if we gel I see no reason why we can’t progress and make a real go of it,” said Tombides, who missed last year’s Under-20 World Cup due to surgery as part of his on-going battle with testicular cancer. “I am feeling good, feeling strong and I think I can play my part. It did hurt a lot not going to Turkey, I had to have an operation and the timing was bad. I suppose I am looking to make up for lost time now.”
DON’T CHANGE HULL’S NAME PLEADS GARCIA
Former Hull City attacker Richard Garcia has spoken out against plans to change the name of the English Premier League club. Egyptian businessman Assem Allam, who took over Hull in 2010, wants to rebrand the club ‘Hull Tigers’ and alter their badge in a move which has met with strong resistance from the Tigers supporters. “It’s something that, for me really, shouldn’t be done,” said Garcia. “You don’t really want go in and change the history and tradition of the club. That’s something they’ve got to think about and hopefully discuss with the fans, because without the fans it’s very, very hard to get support for your club.”
Garcia made over 100 appearances for Hull, who were founded in 1904, across five seasons at the KC Stadium. He holds a special place in the clubs history having been part of the starting line-up for their first ever Premier League game in August 2008. Hull’s initial stay in England’s top flight lasted two campaigns but, having gained promotion again, they find themselves placed tenth at the season mid-point. “Hull have been doing quite well this season,” Garcia said. “They’ve got a long way to go but the signs are positive. They’ve started the season well and they’ve made some good signings over the summer.”
Garcia left Hull in 2012 to return to Australia, where he played a season with Melbourne Heart before switching to Sydney FC last year. The 32-year old has been in good form for this season and revealed his desire to add to the 18 caps he’s so far gained for Australia. “It’s something you never take off the table,” Garcia said. “You always want to play for your country. First and foremost I have to be playing well for Sydney and Sydney has to be doing well. If we can do well as a team and I can do well within that, then hopefully I can get a chance of making the squad.”
A member of Australia’s 2010 World Cup squad, Garcia has thrown his support behind new coach Ange Postecoglou and believes the Soccceroos will do well at next year’s tournament in Brazil. “He’s got local knowledge, he’s been doing very well in the domestic league and he’s had experience in the national team set-up in the past,” Garcia commented of Postecoglou. “It’s going to be a tough group for us to play in, but that will just mean the expectations aren’t as high maybe but that might enhance the performances. The underdog tag really works with us Aussies so in that respect they’ll do quite well and I think they’ll surprise a few people.”
GALLAS REMAINS MISSING IN ACTION
Perth Glory marquee defender William Gallas will spend a seventh successive week on the sidelines through injury. Gallas, 36, joined Glory in November but has been limited to just two appearances – one of which was off the bench – due to a calf problem. The former French international had been pencilled in for a return this weekend, however, it now appears that won’t happen. “I will say maybe one more week,” said Gallas, who has been on light duties at training. “I’m working hard to come back on the pitch because I love to play and I’m very frustrated at the moment. I hope I will be back soon.”
CLEAN SHEET FOR JONES FROM RARE START
Liverpool custodian Brad Jones has made the most of a rare start by keeping a clean sheet in his team’s 2-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat of Oldham Athletic. Jones, back-up to Belgium international Simon Mignolet, looked sharp in keeping Oldham scoreless throughout his first competitive outing in ten-months. “Brad Jones coming in was excellent,” manager Brendan Rogers said. “Brad's been a really loyal number two. He didn't have much to do, but what he did do with his hands was clean and his distribution was very good.” 31-year old Jones has been limited to only 20 appearances since joining Liverpool in August 2010.
NO GLORY FOR WOMEN IN SYDNEY
Sydney FC stretched their unbeaten run in the W-League by thumping Perth Glory Women 8-2 at Jubilee Oval. Although Katie Gill and Marianna Tabain found the back of the net it was of little consolation to the away side who conceded four times in each half. Caitlin Foord got the show on the road by netting Sydney’s opener after 12 minutes following an exchange with Jodie Taylor on the edge of the 18-yard box. Against the run of play Gill brought Glory level by converting Sarah Carroll’s pass on the end of a well-worked counterattack. In the ten minutes before half-time Sydney piled on three more goals through Leena Khamis, Taylor and Emma Kete.
The second half was only minutes old when Tabain brilliantly swung a corner directly into the net to give Glory hope of a comeback. But just after the hour Caitlin Foord slalomed her way through the away defence to put Sydney back in the box seat. With Glory clearly tiring, Sydney went close to adding to their tally on several occasions before blowing out the margin in the closing stages. Another fine passing move allowed Nicola Bolger to widen the gap on 85 minutes with a close-range finish. Substitute Chloe Logarzo added her name to the scoresheet before Foord completed her hat-trick in the final minute of regulation time.
SYDNEY PUT NINE PAST GLORY YOUTH
National Youth League leaders Sydney FC inflicted a 9-2 thrashing on Perth Glory Youth from a one-sided encounter at Jubilee Oval. Sydney needed just 14 minutes to get the scoring underway with Anthony Tomelic netting from distance. The game was ended as a contest when Sydney adding three further goals in as many minutes. Alex Urosevski coolly slotted past goalkeeper Luke Radonich after 27 minutes, and with the very next play Mitch Mallia tucked in the rebound from a Christopher Naumoff free-kick that rattled the crossbar. Mallia then made it four-nil by converting a Max Burgess cross. And with half-time on the horizon Terry McFlynn applied a precision finish from the edge of the 18-yard box.
There was little let up from Sydney upon the resumption of play. Substitute Blake Powell made no mistake from the penalty spot following a foul on Naumoff in the 57th minute. Within ten minutes Powell had a hat-trick, outpacing the Glory defence for his second before punishing some slack defending to net again. Next up Glory’s Jacob Collard scored the goal of the game, an stunning 50-metre strike almost immediately from the kick-off which sailed over ‘keeper Luke Babic. Sydney’s haul was made complete soon after with Powell striking his fourth goal of the day from the spot. Josh Risdon grabbed Glory a late second consolation with a tidy finish from 20-metres.
GLORY YOUNGSTERS “UTTERLY AND TOTALLY PROFESSIONAL”: LOWE
Interim Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has heaped praise on his young side following last night’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle Jets. The game’s solitary goal came just before half-time when young gun Chris Harold punished a defensive error by slotting past home custodian Mark Birighitti. “The goal we scored was something we had worked on, so it gives everyone a pleasing feeling, not just that we won, but the game plan worked,” said Lowe. “The think in the manner they (got win) you’ve really got to take credit and give it to those kids … they were utterly and totally professional.”
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic was in top form against Newcastle, pulling off a stunning save from Nathan Burns free-kick and dragging a Kew Jaliens volley back into play amid cries from the home side that the ball had crossed the line. “I don’t believe the ref gave it so it couldn’t have been over the line,” said Lowe of the decision not to award a goal. “It’s a funny game, isn’t it? Last week it was us, this week it was Gaz (Newcastle coach Gary Van Egmond), next week it will be somebody else. You just roll with it, smile, take it on the chin and have some fun at the next game.”
The win keeps Glory in finals contention and Lowe is looking forward to seeing how the next few months pan out. “I’m having an absolute ball working with these players. You go on the training ground you have some fun, you try and implement things and it’s special when it comes off,” he said. “There’s no load off for me (by beating Newcastle), what’s the worst I can do, go back to engineering and earn a load of money? It’s football – you’ve got to be balanced, stay calm, enjoy the ride, see where the journey takes you and hopefully have some fun along the way.”
PLUCKY GLORY EDGE NEWCASTLE
Perth Glory snapped a three-game winless streak by holding out a fast-finishing Newcastle Jets in a scrappy 1-0 encounter at Hunter Stadium. A first half goal by Chris Harold was enough to secure interim coach Kenny Lowe his first win but it wasn’t without controversy, Kew Jaliens adamant his close-range effort in the second half had crossed the line before being returned into play by Glory custodian Danny Vukovic. “I don’t believe the ref gave it so it couldn’t have been over the line,” Lowe said after the game. “Last week we had 96th minute and the ref sent somebody sent off and he put in his report that he didn’t know why he sent him off. It’s a funny game isn’t it?”
Newcastle went close to opening their account after 11 minutes when Vukovic parried a Craig Goodwin shot and then denied Adam Taggart at the follow-up. Some lovely lead-up play between Taggart and Ruben Zadkovich should have been converted by Goodwin, who screwed wide from 6-metres. Goodwin nearly made amends by delivering a pinpoint cross to Kew Jaliens but his close-range header was high. Glory’s first chance arrived in the 33rd minute with Harold heading just over from a Sidnei corner. Newcastle paid the ultimate price for a defensive lapse eight minutes later, Harold pouncing on a stray back pass to race clear and calmly slotted past advancing ‘keeper Mark Birighitti.
The home side returned from the break with greater intent and intensity. The game was very nearly levelled by Taggart’s curling shot that drifted just wide of Vukovic’s goal. Emile Heskey’s first action after coming off the bench was a clever back heel to Nathan Burns but the attacker dragged his shot past the post. Newcastle thought they’d equalised in the 71st minute through Jaliens, whose close-range stab appeared to cross the line before being scooped back into play by Vukovic. The remainder of the game was all one-way traffic with Newcastle effectively setting up camp in their opponents half. Burns came closest to snaring a point with a late free-kick which Vukovic spectacularly kept out of the top corner.
TAGGART ADDED TO AUSTRALIA SQUAD
Newcastle Jets will lose leading scorer Adam Taggart for up to three games after his belated call-up to the Australian team for this month’s Asian Football Conference Under-22 Championships in Oman. Taggart was initially omitted from the squad selected by coach Aurelio Vidmar, who said he was well aware of the young striker’s ability and preferred to use the upcoming tournament to assess other players in the mix for this year’s Olympic Games. But injury to Perth Glory striker Jamie Maclaren prompted Vidmar to turn to Taggart, who joins fellow West Australians Ryan Edwards, Scott Galloway and Dylan Tombides in the 23-player travelling party.
GILL PROVIDES GLORY WOMEN A TIMELY BOOST
Australia co-captain Kate Gill will make her long-awaited return for Perth Glory Women in Sunday’s away game with Sydney FC. Gill has not featured since mid-November after tests revealed she was suffering fatigue and her return could not have been better timed with Glory placed seventh in the W-League but just two points off fourth. “It’s great to be able to bring Kate back into the squad and we’ll be looking for her to make an impact on her return to the W-League,” coach Jamie Harnwell said. “We had two cracking games against Sydney last year and know that it will be a very tough contest, especially considering the personnel we are missing.”
Defender Sasha Andrews (ankle) and attacker Cecilie Sandvej (suspension) miss this weekend’s game along with long-term injury trio Collette McCallum (knee), Aivi Luik (hamstring) and Katarina Jukic (hip). Young goalkeeper Kathleen Waycott has also been added to the list of walking wounded, prompting Harnwell to bring in Gabrielle Dal Busco as an injury replacement. “Despite the injuries, training this week has been very good,” Harnwell said. “The players had some time off over Christmas and have worked very hard since coming back in. We are all keen to put in a great performance this weekend.” The Sydney verses Glory W-League game will be broadcast on ABC1 from 3.00pm on Saturday.
“WE NEED MORE BELIEF IN OURSELVES” SAYS GLORY’S MCGARRY
Perth Glory has to cast off the disappointment of a mid-week loss if they’re to take anything from Saturday’s trip to Newcastle Jets according to veteran midfielder Steven McGarry. Glory were beaten in controversial circumstances at Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday when the stoppage time dismissal of captain Jacob Burns was compounded by Michael McGlinchey’s late winner for the home side. McGarry felt his team should have hung on for a draw, which would have kept them in touch with the top six. Instead Glory slipped further behind and now sit five points outside the finals places.
McGarry says Glory have to pick themselves up and prepare for their next assignment, away to Newcastle on Saturday. “We need a bit more belief in ourselves, a bit more belief in our ability and just be confident,” commented McGarry, whose team have won just one of their last eight games. “There’s no point in feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got another possibility of taking something on the road. Newcastle are going well but if we’ve got any ambition of getting ourselves up the table, we need to go and start taking points at these places.”
BURNS SLAMS OFFICIALS AFTER CENTRAL COAST LOSS
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns has taken aim at match officials after his controversial sending off in last night’s loss at Central Coast Mariners. The 35-year old midfielder claims he was trying to communicate with officials to get back on the field after replacing his bloodied shirt when referee Shaun Evans issued him a second yellow card for dissent. “They (the officials) have to show some commonsense there or tell you why (you can’t go back on) or at least give you an explanation,” Burns said. “I had changed three shirts and was ready to get back on and still nothing.”
Burns received his initial booking for time wasting in the 88th minute but needed treatment for a cut to the head after clashing with Mile Sterjovski. “What about it you lay down on the pitch with blood coming out of your head?,” said Burns, who was booked again five minutes, this time for dissent. With Glory down to ten men and 95 minutes on the clock Michael McGlinchey volleyed in to decide the game 2-1 in Central Coasts’ favour. “We deserve a point out of that game, and eleven players deserved to be on there for the length of that time,” added the Glory captain.
LOWE APPLAUDS GLORY YOUNGSTERS
Interim coach Kenny Lowe praised his inexperienced Perth Glory side for going to within minutes of taking home a point from last night’s outing with A-League champions Central Coast Mariners. Lowe’s starting line-up featured six players aged 21 and under, while three of his substitutes also fell into that category. “I thought the young kids were magnificent,” Lowe said after the 2-1 loss. “We were playing the champions here and we’ve gone toe-to-toe with them and done very well. I thought all the young boys were great, they worked their socks off (and) tried to implement the things that we want to do. Unfortunately they just lack a little bit of experience and a little bit of physicality.”
A goal deep in stoppage time earned Central Coast a 2-1 win, leaving Glory in eighth-placed with just a single win from eight games. In analysing the performance Lowe was happy with the effort given the absence of five first team regulars, amongst them Shane Smeltz, Scott Jamieson and Ryo Nagai. “Our most experienced player was off the pitch and we have got done for a bit of experience,” said Lowe. “We had opportunities in the first half on counter attack, and we did okay. Then once you are back in the game, one v one, you hope you are going to hold out. What did we have today with eleven players under 20 or something like that in the group was good.”
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This page was last updated on the 26th December, 2014