NEVILLE CELEBRATES NEWCASTLE RETURN
Newcastle Jets defender Scott Neville admits he could not sleep before his return from a knee reconstruction against North Queensland All-Stars on Saturday. Not only did Neville get through the game unscathed, he scored with a header in Newcastle’s 3-0 friendly victory. "It was great just to play," Neville said. "I was nervous leading into it. I tossed and turned all night. It was like the night before Christmas when I was young. I was a bit rusty early. I overcooked the first cross and sent it high over the byline. Once I got going, it was business as usual."
Neville, 25, had been sidelined since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee playing against Melbourne Victory in early December. He resumed full training three weeks ago and had planned to play the opening half hour against the All-Stars. "It was good to actually start and get into the routine of going through the team talk and warming up properly," Neville said. "We had trained in the morning so it was a good test under fatigue. The fitness held up well. It was the sharpness which was a bit down. Making an effort and then getting up and making another effort. The knee held up fine. It was all positive on that front."
BALCATTA TWO WINS AWAY FROM NPL GLORY (with Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta progressed to the NPL WA preliminary final after conceding an own goal and scoring a penalty in the dramatic closing stages of their 3-1 win over Sorrento at Grindleford Reserve. Ramon Falzon’s side will take on Bayswater next weekend to determine who will meet Perth SC in the Grand Final. Perth shocked Bayswater on Saturday with a 5-0 win that has ensured WA soccer’s big day will be held at Dorrien Gardens. Balcatta led all game thanks to goals either side of half-time from Gustavo Catarcione but conceded in the 92nd minute before captain Adam Tong sealed the win with a penalty a minute later. Defeat ended Sorrento’s season.
Falzon is now confident his side can beat Bayswater after a performance he labeled the best of their season. “We’ve worked hard all year to play the way we did today and it was a solid 90 minutes of good football,” he said. “But it will be a much different Bayswater when we face them. I’ve never seen them beaten that badly. They seemed a bit off the pace and burned out but I think they’ll get up again for next week.”
Sorrento had a free kick in the 10th minute but Scott Bulloch’s free header went beyond the post in an indication of things to come for the visitors. The Gulls had their chances but could not manage to hit the target. Reece Vittiglia’s shot from 25m zipped past the left post in the 26th minute and Bulloch also narrowly missed just before half-time. The home side looked most dangerous and Benny Kouakou came nail-bitingly close to scoring in the 20th minute when he had a free shot right in front of goal but Curtis Aspden kept it out. Catarcione was clinical in front of goal and coolly slotted the ball past Aspden on the half hour mark.
It took him less than 10 minutes after the break to double the lead. Alex Caniglia made a great run into the box and passed to Catarcione, who knocked it into the back of the net with precision. It was looking increasingly difficult for Sorrento to stage a comeback and tensions were raised as time went on. Substitute Jason Mirco added some vigor down the right wing and in the 70th minute Vittiglia forced Balcatta keeper Clint Davies into his first save of the game.
The Gulls gave themselves brief hope in the 92nd minute after Mirco delivered a great ball into the box, which appeared to have been diverted into the net by Brodie Martin but was recorded by the official as an own goal. But it was too little too late for the visitors as a minute later Danny Cain gave away a penalty and Tong confidently put the ball away. Sorrento technical director Steve Neville said the team had made too many defensive errors this season. “We’ve given bad goals away all season and that’s cost us today,” he said. “While we’ve been playing well the last few weeks we didn’t really cause them any problems and never got going. “But we’ve had some good performances this season and we’ll look to improve defensively for next year.”
DONINGER'S FIVE PUTS PERTH IN GRAND FINAL (with Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Mark Doninger helped himself to all five goals in a one-sided major semi-final at Frank Drago Reserve as Perth SC claimed hosting rights in the NPL-WA championship decider in two weeks, after their 5-0 thrashing of Bayswater City. Once Doninger was handily placed to net his first, the Azzurri never looked back. They led 3-0 at the break before a penalty 10 minutes into the second half dashed any hope of a Bayswater comeback with the fifth goal adding a well-deserved gloss to the final score deep into added time.
"It's always a good feeling scoring goals but getting the team through to the final was all that counts really," Doninger said. "Bayswater started well and for the first 15 minutes or so we did well to contain them but once we got the first goal we got on top and built from there. It was a great team performance."
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis was "over the moon" to be hosting the Grand Final and was full of praise for his squad for their season's efforts so far following a lowly ladder placing last season. "Credit to the group we've got, they've given it their all today, they executed the game-plan to perfection, every one of them did their job," Nicolaidis said "We had a few players out today including Clark Keltie, who's probably the best player in the league this year. We can say we missed him but every single guy out their contributed to this result." "Twelve months ago we were 28 points behind them (Bayswater) so to come here and close that gap is huge credit to the boys.”
The outcome could have been so very different had visiting keeper Francis Soale not been alert within the first two minutes to superbly tip over the bar Paul McCarthy's swerving, dipping shot from the edge of the box. Soale was again called into action to push away Todd Howarth's stinging free-kick but that was about as good as it got for City as Perth, who looked good on the counter in the early stages, took the lead in the 21st minute. The impressive Josh Wilkins delivered a deep cross from the right for Aden Da Luz who saw his shot blocked by Devon Spence but showed great awareness to lay the ball to Doninger from the rebound who squeezed it home from barely a metre out.
There was perhaps a hint of good fortune about the second in the 32nd minute, as a harmless looking shot from around 30 metres deflected off a Bayswater defender into the path of Doninger who steadied himself before calmly side-footing past goalkeeper Devon Spence under pressure from two defenders. Bayswater looked out-of-sorts and the Azzurri went for the kill, Spence denying Andreas Theodosiades before Doninger's hat-trick was completed two minutes before the break. Wilkins' cross-field pass caught the home defence napping, and Doninger coolly lofted the bouncing ball over the on-rushing Spence. Despite a last-ditch attempt on the line to keep it out, Bayswater found themselves with a mountain to climb to rescue their hopes of a home final.
City coach Chris Coyne introduced Gustavo Giron Marulanda for the start of the second half to bolster their attack, but seven minutes after the re-start it was game-over after Chris Saldaris was penalised for handling in the area. With regular penalty taker Keltie out, Doninger stepped up to send Spence the wrong way. Perth were happy to soak up the pressure as Bayswater sought an unlikely way back into the contest, and three minutes into stoppage time Doninger raced away down the left hand side before cutting in and firing in his and the visitors' fifth goal.
Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses thought too many players were missing for his side. "It's how we react now during the week,” he said. “Hopefully we bounce back and do it the hard way. We will be training three times next week to prepare for whoever we'll play next Saturday.” Bayswater will have a second chance to reach the Grand Final when they face the winner of today’s minor semi-final between Balcatta and Sorrento in next weekend’s preliminary final.
ASHFIELD LEAVE IT LATE (by Chris Andrawes, footballwest.com.au)
A last-minute penalty gave Ashfield a vital draw that keeps them at the top of the All Flags State League Division One table with three games to go as they snatched a 1-1 draw against Canning City at Ashfield Reserve. There was controversy with only a minute of regular time left to play, as Ashfield striker James Burns was pushed in the back by Canning’s Mark Trevisiol forcing the referee to award the penalty. Joe Briggs stepped up and put the ball in the back of the net to set up a grandstand finish to the game. Briggs could have won it for Ashfield minutes later as he found himself in on goal. His effort through the keeper’s legs was sensationally cleared off the line by Rory Moutett keeping the scores level at full time.
Ashfield coach Paul Dundo was relieved following the game. “We’re happy with the point, under the circumstances, we failed to take our chances and break a good organised Canning side down” he said. “For us, this season, we’ve been winning and leading in so many games, so when the tables are turned, it’s not panic stations, but we like to be on top of sides and frustration kicks in.”
Canning had taken the lead in the 13th minute through a barrage of shots from different players, before the ball fell to Michael Van Dongen who put the ball into the top corner emphatically. Dundo was full of praise for a strong Canning side. “We’re struggling with a couple of injuries at the moment, but full credit to Canning, they’ve got some experienced players in their side and they had good passages of play,” he said. “At half-time I said to the boys we’re 1-0 down and they’ve really only had one shot and they scored. I felt we were the better side in the first half, it was more even in the second.” “It’s in the boys hands. They’re the only ones who can go and grab it. We’ve just got to go out and win the next three games.”
CLARKE GOES FOR GLORY
Exciting midfielder Ryan Clarke will come under the close eye of Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe when the team travels to the southern suburbs this weekend for another vital pre-season hit out. Clarke has been a key part of Inglewood United’s squad since joining the club five years ago and last summer the 27-year old came close to landing a professional deal with Scottish club Greenock Morton. . “He’s been a quality player in the State League,” said Lowe. “I just want to see how he goes at training and see if he can lift a gear … nothing more, I’m not promising or committing to anything.” Clarke is expected to see some game time when Glory take on Division Two side Rockingham City tomorrow at Lark Hill Sportsplex .
DE SILVA TO BOOST CUP CREDENTIALS
Perth Glory prodigy Daniel De Silva has set his sights on a call-up to the Socceroos squad for next year's Asian Cup but remains focused on furthering his development in the A-League and at junior international level. De Silva, 17, is entering his second full season with Glory, having made his debut in the latter stages of the 2012/13 campaign, and is rated one of Australia's best young prospects. He will spend this season at home with Glory before completing a big move to Serie A club AS Roma next year.
De Silva, a former Stirling Lions junior, will be part of the Young Socceroos squad at the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation Youth Championship in Vietnam and hopes to use the junior team as a launching pad to full international honours. "It's definitely in my sights to be able to go to the Asian Cup, so hopefully if I just keep working hard then something good will come of it," De Silva said. "I've seen a few things in the newspapers but you try not to let that get to you. I would love to be able to play for the Socceroos but at the moment I'm just focusing on the Young Socceroos."
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, SEMI-FINALS
On Saturday, it's the major semi-final at Frank Drago Reserve (2:30pm) , where defending state champions Bayswater City take on their rivals Perth SC. Perth only just missed out on top spot and qualification to the NPL interstate series last weekend, but coach Taki Nicolaidis will still be hoping for Perth to take out the main prize via the finals. It's been a big couple of weeks for Bayswater, with their huge match against A-League heavyweights the Melbourne Victory, followed by winning the minor premiership at Sorrento last Saturday. Bayswater will go into the game as slight favourites, with the winner gaining home advantage in the Grand Final on 13th September.
The minor semi-final takes place this Sunday at Grindleford Reserve (2:30pm) between Balcatta and Sorrento. The winner will advance to next week's Preliminary Final, but it will be curtains for the loser. Sorrento have made two Grand Finals over the past three seasons, and will be hoping to get there again. For Balcatta, last week's 4-1 loss to Floreat Athena should mean little, as coach Ramon Falzon had a number of important players missing. Balcatta will be hoping for finals success and the championship this year, after failing in 2011 when they finished top and went out in straight sets.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS CALL-UP FOR DE SILVA, GALLOWAY
Local products Daniel De Silva and Scott Galloway have gained selected in Australia’s squad for next months’ ASEAN Football Federation Under-19 Youth Championship in Vietnam. Seventeen members of coach Paul Okon’s 20-player squad have been drawn from the ranks of the A-League, two are from overseas and one – Shayne D’Cunha of Blacktown City – drawn in the National Premier Leagues. The Young Socceroos have been grouped alongside host nation Vietnam (5th September) and Japan (7th September) with the top two teams from the group advancing to the semi-finals.
Okon will use the upcoming tournament as preparation for October’s AFC Under-19 Championship in Myanmar. “This is another opportunity for us to get more international match experience against competitive opposition,” said Okon. “From these matches we will be able to assess the level of preparedness of each player. At this stage no player is assured as position in the final squad for the AFC Under-19 Championship and their performance at this tournament will be an important factor when it comes to selection time.”
Australia’s squad for the AFF Under-19 Youth Championship in Vietnam is Paul Izzo, Awer Mabil, Benjamin Warland (Adelaide United), George Blackwood (Apia Leichhardt), Shayne D’Cunha (Blacktown City), Brandon Borrello, Shannon Brady (Brisbane Roar), Liam Rose (Central Coast Mariners), Ben Garuccio, Stefan Mauk (Melbourne City), Jordan Brown, Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory), Daniel De Silva (Perth Glory), Peter Skapetis (Stoke City), Anthony Bouzanis, Hagi Gligor, Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC), Harry Ascroft (VVV Venlo), Daniel Alessi and Jaushua Sotirio (Western Sydney Wanderers).
KEOGH DOUBLES SEES OFF COCKBURN
Perth Glory continued their strong pre-season form with a 3-0 friendly win over Cockburn City tonight at Dalmatinac. High-profile recruit Andy Keogh was in the thick of the action again, netting a goal in each half before substitute Brandon O’Neill rounded out the scoreline. “We’re getting closer to game fitness and we dominated the game obviously,” coach Kenny Lowe said. “Again we created a load of chances and we probably need to be a little bit more focused and clinical with the opportunities we get, but some of the football was excellent. The work ethic was very good so I’m pleased.”
Keogh and strike partner Jamie Maclaren both had early chances stopped on the line and Glory had to wait until first-half injury time for the opener, which came from the penalty spot. Cockburn goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic failed to deal with a long ball and got caught in a tangle with Maclaren before Keogh stepped up to calmly tuck the ball home. Keogh was on target again in the 57th minute when he latched onto a through-pass from Nebojsa Marinkovic and wrong-footed a defender before sliding the ball home from close range. O’Neill completed the scoring with his head in the 77th minute.
GARCIA TO LEAD INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United Soccer Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Garcia as our senior coach for the 2015 National Premier Leagues season. After an extensive process where many highly-qualified candidates were carefully considered, Inglewood’s management team identified Garcia, a former Australian youth international, as the outstanding candidate to implement their long-term vision. Garcia, 37, is regarded as being at the forefront of a new generation of football coaches, an excellent motivator with a progressive philosophy and proven track record in youth development. Garcia will be assisted by Victor Sikora, a former Dutch international, and together the pair will work in collaboration with the club’s Technical Director, Goran Stajic.
Club president Luke Martin says Inglewood have got the men they want. “The appointment of Michael and Victor are important steps in building the kind of club – on and off the field – our members and supporters can be excited about,” said Martin. “Their football philosophies are perfectly aligned with those of the club, and they had no hesitation at all in embracing exactly what we are trying to build at Inglewood. Michael and Victor are excited to be in charge of our talented squad next season. We do not expect miracles overnight, nor should anyone else. But we firmly believe that the direction the club is heading in will lead to National Premier Leagues championships. We will continue to build the right way as we set a bold, exciting course for this historic club.”
Garcia is no stranger to Inglewood having guided the Under-23s to the Premier Division and Grand Final double in 2013. He played professionally for Canberra Cosmos, Perth Glory and Marine Castle United, making a combined total of 95 appearances, amid time on the local scene with Kingsway Olympic, ECU Joondalup and Sorrento. An Australia Under-20 and Under-23 representative, his career was halted at the age of 25 by ongoing injury. Sikora played much of his career in the Netherlands, whom he represented at senior international level on six occasions. The 36-year old played over 300 games for Go Ahead Eagles, Vitesse, Ajax, Heerenveen and NAC Breda. Following a brief spell with FC Dallas, he joined Glory where he played 23 games before hanging up his boots for the final time in 2012.
GLORY DRAWN WITH ST ALBANS IN CUP
Old friendships will be tested when Perth Glory take on Victorian outfit St Albans Saints in next month’s FFA Cup round of 16. It will be a sentimental battle for Glory coach Kenny Lowe, who goes head-to-head with his former coach, Toby Paterson. “They’ll have some quality in the side and if we’re lethargic or disrespectful we’ll get our backside felt,” said Lowe in expectation of a tough game against the Victorian division one team. “I don’t think they’ll be a bogey team. I think we’ve got to treat the game in the right manner like we always do and hopefully we’ll progress.” p> Lowe, however, admitted his disappointment at being handed a second away game in the new national knock-out competition. “I think it would have been good for everyone to see the players that we’ve brought in they’ve already had a little taste against Malaga,” the coach commented. “It would have been good for them to see what they can look forward to for the beginning of the season.” Glory continue their preseason campaign by taking on Cockburn City in a friendly this Wednesday, 27 August, at Dalmatinac Park.
BAYSWATER FINISH TOP (with Bianca Niederberger, footballwest.com.au)
Bayswater City have won the National Premier Leagues-WA minor premiership and will go on to represent the state in the National NPL interstate Series next month, after an intense battle with Sorrento resulted in a 1-1 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday. Perth failed to defeat Cockburn City to snatch the top spot, leaving Bayswater to finish two points clear on the ladder. A goal from Paul McCarthy late in the second half levelled the score after Reece Vittiglia had given the hosts an early advantage.
Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne felt the tension and expected his side to have to survive a Sorrento onslaught after the strains of the mid-week Westfield FFA Cup match against Melbourne Victory. “When that first goal went in, we were thinking - what do we need to do? As we could have had two or three of our own before that,” Coyne said. “Sorrento always, always throw stuff at you and that was one of the reasons I rested players during the week and had players coming off the bench because I knew it would be a tough battle today. “But to finally get these lads over the line it was tremendous and I’m ridiculously proud of them because they’ve worked so hard all year.”
Although the final score was indicative of a fairly evenly matched game, Bayswater dominated possession but squandered goal scoring chances. Sorrento did well to resist the unrelenting pressure from the visitors and managed to convert from limited opportunities. With so much at stake it was destined to be an entertaining ninety minutes. Sorrento’s defence was organised and disciplined despite pressure from Bayswater’s David Headney and Steve Burton.
The visitors failed to take advantage of possession and were caught offside trying to get in behind the Sorrento defence. Gustavo Marulanda missed his chance in the 28th minute with a shot from outside the box that grazed the wrong side of the cross bar. Sorrento’s Vittiglia broke through in the 53rd minute, slotting past goalkeeper Devon Spence. On the restart, Vittiglia was on the attack again after being played in by Niccolo Sabatini but the brace eluded him. Bayswater responded and had numerous chances to equalise but neither Burton, Heagney nor Declan Hargreaves could find the target despite some close calls. Their more convincing attempts were denied by goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. In the 86th minute McCarthy finally found reprieve for his side after a header from Todd Howarth was stopped by Aspden but the deflection landed at McCarthy’s feet. With Aspden still recovering, McCarthy equalised. It was a relentless display from the Bayswater side that justified their position on the NPL WA league ladder.
Reflecting on the season, Coyne felt his side should have wrapped up the league a lot sooner. “I think sometimes, in some of our games, we let our complacency get the better of us," he said. "I think, at times we could’ve grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and we shouldn’t of lost some of the games we lost this year." “Overall, I think with the ability that this group has we could have been a little bit more professional and clinical with the way we went about things, and that’s what we’ll need to do moving forward.”
With the final play offs to come in the following weeks, Coyne said they will give it everything they have to be crowned league champions but said the traditionalist in him already believed they had achieved the title. “I really enjoyed winning the top four last year, but I remember saying to Doug Hesketh (Stirling) the first past the post really deserves the kudos because its twenty-two games and you should be crowned as champions,” Coyne said. “Play offs are like a three game cup final and although we’re immensely proud of winning it last year, I still think of the first past the post out of the twenty-two games are the true champions.”
PERTH MISS OUT ON PREMIERS' PLATE (with Daryn McCleave, footballwest.com.au)
Perth were thwarted in their last attempt to snatch away the NPL-WA Premiers plate from season long leaders Bayswater City by drawing 1-1 with a resolute Cockburn City side at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday. With the Cockerels leading for most of the game through Matt Barlow’s 28th minute strike, the Azzurri were becoming increasingly desperate as news filtered through from Percy Doyle Reserve that Bayswater were trailing to Sorrento. The visitors bombarded the home penalty box and got their reward on 84 minutes when Ash Rosindale was on hand from close-range to level the scores. But Bayswater too found the elusive equalizer they needed to retain top spot and their second piece of silverware for 2014, leaving Perth wondering what might have been, but also taking some satisfaction on a big improvement from 2013.
Perth assistant coach Ante Kovacevic knew his side became frantic in an attempt to take the lead. “We got desperate in the last half hour chasing the game and it just wasn’t enough time to ultimately get five goals to win by the four (needed) if the other game finished in a draw,” he said. “We emphasized how important it was to take our chances, Cockburn are a decent outfit and it was always going to be tough. “First half we lacked a bit of intensity and quality in the final third which is where you score the goals.”
Looking back on the season, Kovacevic was disappointed with the administration error that cost Perth a point in a 3-3 draw with Inglewood, and a slow start to the campaign that went some way to leaving them trying to catch up. “Bayswater and other clubs can also look back at games where they lost but to claw our way back to within two points after our start to the season is a pretty decent achievement,” Kovacevic said. “But the way we see it, to become the WA champions we have to win the Grand Final in three weeks time and that’s our aim now.”
Perth did not start the game looking like a side in contention for the top spot. Cockburn showed some scintillating form in the last ten games to flirt with a top four finish and appeared confident as they deservedly went ahead following a good attacking move. Jesse Fuller worked his way into space on the left, delivered a deep cross that Devon Gibson nodded back across goal for Matt Barlow to calmly side-foot home, leaving the visitors stunned. The game ebbed and flowed and both keepers had to be alert, but as Perth realised top spot was a realistic possibility, they pushed hard and were rewarded from a free-kick which, not unlike City’s goal, was nodded back into the danger zone where Rosindale was on hand to set up a grandstand finish. But Cockburn’s defence, superbly marshalled by retiring captain Paul Natale stood firm to hold on to the point that they richly deserved, to end their season with just one defeat in their last eight games.
Cockerels coach Marc Anthony was happy to finish with a point after the pressure Perth piled on towards the end, and was in upbeat mood as thoughts immediately turned to next season. “This is just the start for me here, it’s a good club, good people and we’ve got a fantastic bunch of players here. We won six, drew one, lost one of the last eight – that’s top-four form and certainly something to build on,” he said. Speaking about his skipper Paul Natale, Anthony heaped praise on the retiring centre-back who departs to take up a teaching position after over a decade at Dalmatinac Park. “He’s been a fantastic professional, leading by example, a top top lad. We’re delighted to give him a great send off,” Anthony said.
Natale naturally spoke very highly of the club he holds very dear to his heart, praising Cockburn club President Heidi Lazzaro for looking after him despite several opportunities to leave for other clubs. “I’ve had a great time here, played with some great players. I care about the club, it’s close to home and it’s just been such a pleasure to play here. I’m very happy,” Natale said.
MICEVSKI SCORES FOUR TO CLAIM GOLDEN BOOT (by Colin Outhwaite, footballwest.com.au)
Stirling Lions mid-fielder David Micevski scored four goals in a 5-2 win over Armadale at Macedonia Park to earn this year’s Golden Boot in the final game of the 2014 National Premier Leagues season. Captain Andy Brown grabbed the other with Alec Solomons and Ben Wantee scoring for the visitors as they battled to the end.
Micevski missed the first six games of the season but has steadily chipped away since then to become top goal scorer. “I said to myself before the game I wanted to get four goals,” he said. “The goal count hasn't been as high as in recent years so as I got close I realised there was a chance.” Gary Williams retired as Stirling coach last week after their Westfield FFA cup Round of 32 game against the Hyundai A-League’s Brisbane Roar. Co-coach Daniel Stoitis took charge as interim coach for the last game and looks forward to next season. "Our biggest challenge this season was gaining momentum at the start due to injuries,” he said. So hopefully we have a squad we can build on next year.”
It took thirty minutes for Micevski to make his intentions clear as he skipped past two defenders and fired into the near corner after the home side patiently worked their way into the box. The Lions continued their pressure but were hasty with final executions until Micevski made a determined run in the 39th minute and let fly a cracking left-footed strike into the far right. Captain Andy Brown scored the third immediately after when he headed in Hayden Doyle's near post corner. But defender Alec Solomon pulled one back as he towered above the Lions defence to lob Jackson Bealey's cross over keeper Aleks Vrteski's head.
The Army looked purposeful after the restart and they brought the game back to 3-2 with Wantee’s strike after good interplay between Nathan Costello and James Atkins. Micevski got his hat-trick in the 58th minute converting nineteen year old Robert Petkov’s pass across goal who showed pace and strength to work to the by-line. The Army clung on through waves of attacks with keeper Mathew Gould being forced to make some desperate saves. But the Lions were bound to be rewarded and in the 80th minute Moses Kalau ran from his own half and put through Petkov, who was challenged by Gould, but Micevski pounced on the loose ball to get his fourth.
Armadale finished bottom having won only one game and drawn four, but coach Lee Bamber could not fault his players commitment. “We’re not a team that’s rolled over and died every week,” he said. “We’ve gone out and played football, but sometimes we’ve been a bit naive.” “We’ve got to eradicate our mistakes and be more ruthless in front of goal and smarter with our defending, but that comes through experience and that’s why the young guys are playing- to become smarter footballers.”
GLORY END ON A HIGH (by Chris Andrawes, footballwest.com.au)
A very strong Perth Glory side beat Inglewood United 4-2 at Intiga Stadium in the NPL on Saturday, in a game that was largely about building for the future for both teams. The start of the game saw a drastically different Glory side from last week, much to the frustrations of Inglewood fans, with the side featuring Glory first team players, Daniel De Silva, Brandon O’Neil, Jamie McLaren, Cameron Edwards, Jack Duncan and Chris Harold. Inglewood coach Goran Stajic felt his team performed well against a tough side. “I thought we were unlucky to not at least get a point out of it,” he said. “When they walked out with the players they walked out with, I thought it was going to be a tough day at the office.”
Glory coach Jon Gibson felt that having access to the players helped to keep his side competitive throughout the season. “When we’ve had players drop down its made a difference to the squad, but pay credit to the young boys this year who’ve stuck with it, they’ve learnt some big lessons this year,” he said.
“Its difficult, obviously we’re playing within the regulations, its interesting, because when the score is the other way we’re not good enough. “But we’ve got to find a balance within the rules, as long as we’re competitive in this competition thats really important,” he said. “The group is a really young group, they’re all 96’s, so that’s been really interesting, having boys play in a mens competition, which is very foreign to them. “You see one or two of them splattered amongst senior players at other clubs, but here it’s slightly different and they have to be totally accountable on the pitch,” he added.
Glory got the game underway in stunning fashion as McLaren’s work down the left caused Inglewood to put the ball into their own net. The Glory lead was tripled as McLaren’s driven shot found the bottom corner before, a pass from De Silva found McLaren again who chipped the keeper. Andrija Jukic pulled one back with a header on the goal line following a goal mouth scramble, but Brandon O’Neil’s second half free-kick put the game beyond doubt for Glory.
Second half substitute Emmanuel Mansaray squeezed home a consolation goal to keep the game interesting, but ultimately Glory were too strong for an Inglewood side who have had a turbulent season, which Stajic thinks will be different next year. “Overall its no secret that we’ve underachieved, we’re a team that still has a lot to offer next year, with a new senior head coach coming in, I think he’s got a lot to work with,” Stajic said. “The final interview is on Monday, and then the announcement will be made next week or the week after.”
Stajic believes his spell as coach has acted as an extended preseason for the club and feels many of the players who have played at the end of this season will be influential next season. “Sean Browne has shown he can match it up at the NPL level, Jarod McNally really impressed me with his running from out the back also Josh DeMarte and Marc Eldridge, just to name a couple,” he said.
For Glory, the season continues with Gibson preparing his side for the next challenges. “We’ve got a week off and then its straight into trials and the NYL (National Youth League) season, so the majority of the same group will stick together and move forward.”
JOONDALUP STROLLS PAST SUBIACO (by Kalon Harrison, footballwest.com.au)
ECU Joondalup stalwart Andy Banks chose the perfect match to retire after having kept a clean sheet and seeing his side win 3-0 against Subiaco at ECU Sports Complex. Banks said his side had a mixed season following their eighth place finish but felt the club he is leaving can only go upwards. “We started badly and came to in the middle,” he said. “Maybe the last 10 games we went a bit iffy but we’ve finished ok. “The younger lads will progress and get better from this (season),” he said. “Maybe they can kick on next year and look to get into the top four or five.”
After a slow start to the game ECU got their reward for an extended period of pressure at the end of the first half. After taking a corner Dan Dixon drifted back into the box and when the ball landed back at his feet having not being cleared properly the winger struck the ball first time and found the back of the net in the 45th minute. Joondalup got their second of the game in the 62nd minute after Subiaco started the half brightly like they did in the first but then dropped off. Substitute and ECU’s top scorer with 10 goals Tommy Amphlett caught the Subiaco defence square and struck his shot first time from 25m out into the top corner.
The pace of the game slowed right down with ECU happy to keep the ball and Subiaco sitting deep and giving their opposition plenty of space to play in front of them. The third goal came in the 84th minute following a raking diagonal ball which Jon Stynes let bounce, and then headed the ball over the outrushing Sam Stone with a clever finish. In a difficult first season in the top division Subiaco finished in 11th place with just four wins.
Coach Gerry McEwan said he was happy his side had not finished bottom of the league and believes they are able to improve next season. “It’s been a big learning experience for us,” he said. “Everybody has had a fair crack at establishing themselves in the league. “We know where we need to improve and what we need to build on,” he said. “I wanted to be off the bottom of the league so that if anybody was throwing stones they wouldn’t be throwing them at us.”
ATHENA FINISH FRUSTRATING SEASON (by Kelechi Osunwa, footballwest.com.au)
Floreat Athena completed their first National Premier Leagues WA season with an empathic 4-1 victory over finals-bound Balcatta yesterday at E&D Litis Stadium. Ludovic Boi’s calm finish cancelled out Benny Kouakou’s deflected opener in the first half but a flurry of goals from Ashley Corker, birthday boy Andrew Scaldaferro and Aryn Williams gave Athena the win to put an end to a frustrating stop-start season. “We wanted to finish the league with a win so we can carry on next year,” Boi said. “There were a lot of ups and downs this season. We’ve had issues with players coming in and out, coaches coming in and out so it’s not only been on the pitch but off the pitch as well.” “(Today) we performed quite well. We had a lot of young boys out there. It’s the last game of the season and we can’t get into the top four so we gave a lot of the young boys a chance and they’ve stepped up.”
Benny Kouakou had opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a deflected shot after being played through by Catarcione. Floreat were level just before half-time when Boi brought down a raking pass from Bobby Wilson and was fortunate to see the ball take a lucky bounce into his path after his darting run off the flank. There was nothing lucky about his finish as he calmly stroked it past the Balcatta custodian. The home side took the lead midway through the second half when Corker bundled home after Boi's quick free kick caught the Balcatta defence napping. With Balcatta chasing the game, Floreat hit them on the counter twice in the space of two minutes to make the score 4-1. Scaldaferro produced a diving header at the far post to make the score 3-1 before Williams rounded off the scoring when he brought down a lofted pass on his chest before lashing home from a tight angle.
Despite the result, Balcatta finished third behind runners up Perth SC and Premiers Bayswater City. Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon was pleased with the jump from tenth to third but conceded there was work to do. “It’s a big step forward,” Falzon said. “Compared to last year, finishing third is good. It’s (a) big improvement from finishing 10th. “We don’t have that winning mentality yet, that hunger that no matter what happens every week we want to win. Until we get that hunger and that winning mentality day in and day out in whatever we do we’re not going to win trophies. “So it’s a good step forward compared to last year but we’re not done yet. We need to make a big step forward if we want to win trophies.”
TEAM THAT FINISHES ON TOP ARE NOT THE CHAMPIONS, SAYS FOOTBALL WEST
As the regular season finishes this weekend in the NPL-WA, there has been confusion around WA football circles on who are the champions this year. Football West have confirmed that the same system that has been in use since 2009 will continue, with the added bonus for the team that finishes top of the league will qualify for the NPL interstate series. "The winners of the league (first past the post) will receive a winners' shield in 2014 and represent Western Australia at the national finals series. The winners of the NPL-WA Grand Final will be the champion club in 2014", competition manager of the NPL-WA Chris Beech said this week, who also stressed that this decision was made before the season started and has been in the rules of competition since January.
The regular season winners which will be decided on the weekend will probably not receive the plate after the game. "Unfortunately the winners' plate won't be awarded this Saturday. With the plate potentially going to either Bayswater or Perth, we can't have it in two places at once and unfortunately we don't have an increased budget to buy a second winners plate for this situation. As much as we would love to have it set up like the EPL (regarding final day nail biters) and have trophies at multiple clubs ready for presentations, we don't have the capabilities to make this happen unfortunately", Mr Beech said.
The new NPL-WA trophy which will be decided on Grand Final day will be arriving at the Football West office in the next week or two. With current discussions between the governing body and the clubs, it's looking increasing likely that this will be the first and last time the new trophy will be decided by a play-off, as next season it will probably be awarded to the team that finishes top as champions and the finals being scrapped all together, or played as a separate minor top four post-season competition.
This season will also be the first time in Western Australian history that the Under 20's (Reserves) and Under 18's will also have their respective championships decided by the top four system, unlike last year when the top five was regarded as a separate competition. This will also be the case for all NPL-WA junior leagues.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND TWENTY TWO
Sorrento v Bayswater City
Sorrento have the ability here to frustrate Bayswater and cause them last-day heartache as the away side look to secure regular season glory. Bayswater head up to Percy Doyle, a destination that has proved a tricky place to pick up points in the recent past. Back in May Bayswater had won their first 10 games of the season when Sorrento headed to meet them at Frank Drago reserve. The Gulls surprisingly ground out a 1-0 win to make the rest of the competition sit up and take notice. The last two weeks Bayswater have scored nine goals without conceding which is great form heading into their pivotal final league game. They were gallant in defeat in Wednesday's FFA Cup game against A-League side Melbourne Victory. When Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell was asked whether he would approach this fixture any differently heading in to the finals, he responded with: "We obviously have to be mindful of players carrying niggles, or sitting close to suspensions, but are also aware that we have a duty to Perth, to do our best to beat Bayswater on Saturday. We probably won’t make a final decision on the starting line up until Saturday, but we would also like to keep our little winning run going". Sean Canham is the only absentee as he is in the UK.
Cockburn City v Perth
All Perth can do here is concentrate on their own performance and then hope Sorrento can do them a favour. The away side will go knowing that their record on the road has been almost faultless in 2014. From their 10 away fixtures Perth have won 8 and drawn 2 scoring 27 in the process. Cockburn will be no pushovers though. The Cockerels have lost only 1 of their last 8 and will want to end their season on a high, but will possibly look back on the season thinking what could have been after their late surge. When these sides met earlier in the year Perth edged out Cockburn 2-1. Jason Barrera is facing a late fitness test as he is carrying a knock. Alex Castiello and Craig Simpson will both come into the first team squad this week.
Perth Glory v Inglewood United
Inglewood are the away side as they face Perth Glory in their final game, on home turf. In what has proved a difficult season for both of these sides, neither of them managed to string a series of positive results together so each side will be wanting to end their respective campaigns with a bang. Glory's miserable second half of the campaign has seen them register only a single point in their last 14 outings. It is a developing group of players but surely they would have hoped to be more competitive? Inglewood really have underachieved this season. With players like Sharland, Blackmore and Jukic in their ranks, a 9th place finish has to be seen as a a let down but will go into this fixture confident of doing the double over their opponents.
Floreat Athena v Balcatta
Floreat at times this season have been very impressive but have been unable to bring any consistency into their game which is why they are languishing in mid table. A finals spot nor a battle to avoid the wooden spoon have been a concern of Floreat's for the majority of the year. Athena’s unpredictable form and club unrest have had an impact on their year. Having secured a finals berth a few weeks back Balcatta will be hoping to use this fixture to extend their winning streak to four matches as they look to hit the ground running in their quest for top 4 glory. Balcatta are still going to Floreat with the aim of getting the 3 points and try to build up more momentum for the finals according to Coach Ramon Falzon. Kieran Colwell is back from suspension and will be putting his hand up for selection. Gustavo Catarcione, Paddy Quinn and Matt Izzo are back from overseas travel and should all play their part on the weekend. There are no injury concerns at the moment so Falzon has a selection headache.
Stirling Lions v Armadale
Stirling are coming off the back of quite possibly the biggest game of the clubs rich history. The Lions hosted current A-League Champions Brisbane Roar at the WA Athletics stadium in the FFA Cup. Unfortunately the game ended 4-0 to the Professionals but Stirling can be proud of their efforts, especially their first half display. This weekend their opponents heading to the Den are bottom side Armadale. In a season of few positives Armadale will look to take the game to Stirling in a bid to go out on a high. Obviously without the concern of relegation, Armadale can go into the fixture looking to build on improving recent performances as they look to be more competitive in 2015. Rav Kuppasamy is the only casualty for Armadale heading in to the weekend as he battles a hamstring injury. Alex Clarke and Mitch Castrilli are back in the mix for selection in a game that Coach Lee Bamber wants to focus on, taking the chances that Armadale are creating and being a bit more stubborn at the back.
Subiaco AFC v ECU Joondalup
Subiaco bring their 2014 season to an end as ECU Joondalup head to the WA Athletics Stadium. In a season that could not have started any worse for the western suburbs side they will probably look back and consider it a satisfactory maiden top flight season as they were written off by most before the season began. ECU have had a season that has never really peaked as they are another side who have been in or around Mid-table throughout the entire season. Joondalup were narrow winners when these two sides met in Round eleven with Subiaco going down 2-1. This is a game that may not be one for the football purists be a typically combative affair can be expected. Charlie Comyn-Platt will be available this weekend for t he visitors but Andy Higgins and Danny Dixon are in doubt with injuries. For Subiaco, Jordan Rhodes is out, Rory Feely, Brad McDonald, Alex Randell and Ian McMurray are all doubtful.
INAUGURAL NPL TITLE IN BAYSWATER'S GRASP
Bayswater City are on the cusp of clinching the inaugural National Premier Leagues title heading into a tense final round of the regular season tomorrow. Bayswater, who are away to Sorrento, are two points clear of Perth SC, who travel to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City. There are numerous permutations but if Perth fail to win against Cockburn the league title will be Bayswater’s, while City will also be assured of top spot, regardless of results elsewhere, if they beat Sorrento.
The league winners will represent Western Australia in the National NPL Finals Series next month. Bayswater were busy mid-week taking on Melbourne Victory in an FFA Cup round of 32 match and coach Chris Coyne believes his side will take momentum from the game, despite losing 2-0 to the A-League heavyweights. “I’m sure if they roll with the same conviction, capacity and hunger to put up a fight against a team, they’ll have no issues,” Coyne said.
Perth, who have won their past six matches in a storming finish to the season, will have their fingers crossed that fourth-placed Sorrento can cause an upset to open the door for a last-gasp grab for the league title. But Cockburn City coach Mark Anthony said his side was out to finish the season on a high after last weekend’s 4-1 win over Inglewood United. “Although we’re out of top-four contention now, we’re very conscious of our attitude at the club and we don’t approach any game as a dead rubber,” he said. “We needed to take some form into that (Perth) game to have a chance ... that’s exactly what we’ll be doing and we’ll go out there and try and win the game.”
WILLIAMS QUITS STIRLING LIONS
Gary Williams has resigned as coach of Stirling Lions effective immediately. Williams had only last week been endorsed by the committee to continue as senior coach for next year, along with Daniel Stoitis as his assistant. However this week Williams was forced to re-think his position. "Both Daniel and I agreed (to coach) but unfortunately the actions of one or two individuals at the club left me with little alternative but to resign from the club on Wednesday afternoon. I have certain values and principles which I will not compromise", Williams said.
"I have been coaching at the club for approximately seven years in total and have enjoyed every moment". Williams coached the senior team with both Doug Hesketh and Daniel Stoitis had have won a premiership (last season), been involved in a grand final, a cup final appearance and on Tuesday night he led the team into the clubs inaugural FFA cup game against Brisbane Roar. Williams went on to say, "I also leave the club with all three senior teams in the top 5 which is a testament to the coaching structure at the club. The first team have unfortunately missed out on the top 4 finals however this season has been the worst by far for injuries. At one point I was unable to select 12 first team players and could not select my strongest team until round eight There are a number of people at the club who I would like to thank but I will do that individually and in person in due course. I wish the club every success in the future."
DANSKIN REFLECTS ON A REMARKABLE CAREER
When defender Matt Danskin steps out on Saturday afternoon to face Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium it will herald the end of a remarkable career. Danskin has packed a lot of football into his 29-year olds, from playing juniors with Forrestfield United to representing Australia at youth team level. That journey has also included two seasons with German club Werder Breman and a starring role on the local stage with Fremantle City, Perth SC and Inglewood United, the versatile right-sided player basing himself at the latter for the past couple of years.
Danskin rates the decision to hang up his boots as the hardest of his life. “When you give away something you have loved all your life, something which has given you your identity, has been the basis of nearly every decision you have made, that’s tough,” he said. “I’ve always set myself a standard and pushed myself to become a better player, but now my body won’t do what I want it to do. I’ve played only about 50% of games over the last three seasons and that tells me I’m no longer able to perform the way I want and expect.”
It was as a 5-year old the Danskin first strapped on his boots for Forrestfield. “We had an amazing team junior team, for about five years we practically won everything and went through one season without losing a game. Our coach, Alex Olejnik, was a great mentor and is still a friend to this day,” said Danskin, who graduated to senior football after joining Fremantle in 2000. “Fremantle was my first taste of State League football. We had a good group of youngsters, which included John Migas and Dean Apelgren, that started in the Under-18s and went on to have a large impact on the State League.”
Danskin’s dream of playing professionally came true after being spotted by scouts from Werder Bremen while on State team duty at the national youth championship. “They invited me over for a trial and on the last day was handed a file with a contract in it – that day changed my life,” commented Danskin, who was only 16 when he headed abroad. “But my dream turned into a nightmare. I was alone and isolated with no support program and that sent me down a dark road of depression. As bad as it was, I wouldn’t change a thing because those experiences made me the person I am today.”
While things didn’t go according to plan in Germany, it did lead to Danskin getting the opportunity to achieve another of his dreams – to represent Australia. “Being selected for your county, putting on that shirt with the coat of arms on it eclipses any feeling I’ve ever had … it is something I’ll never forget,” said Danskin, who toured South America with the Young Socceroos in late 2004. “South America is an unbelievable place, they live and breathe football. Everything about that tour – how we were treated, where we stayed, trained and played – epitomized what it is to represent your country.”
On returning home Danskin linked up with Perth. “They are biggest club in the State and the success we achieved is unrivalled to this day,” said Danskin, who played at the club for eight years. “The team ethos, culture and comradery was unbelievable. Some of the training sessions were so intense, the football so good, it was unbelievable. If other clubs could have seen what it was like during that period they would know why we were the best. Perth was an amazing club and Dorrien Gardens felt like home … I never wanted to leave.”
Pulling on Perth’s iconic sky blue shirt week in week out was a great honour for Danskin. “To play for a great club with a history of great players was a highlight in itself,” he said, before recalling the highlights of his time with the club. “The 2005 Cup Final against Inglewood United, where I scored the winner with a left-foot stunner, the 2009 Night Series Final against Floreat Athena, where I got the winner in extra-time with another great goal, and winning the 2012 Night Series with ten-men against our arch-rivals Bayswater City are all very special memories.”
Danskin moved to Inglewood two years ago and admits to being disappointed at not achieving more with the club. “I came to Inglewood with the aim of helping build a strong team and a strong club,” he explained. “But it takes more than a great coach and a core group of good players. The squad players, the youth players, they need to buy in also and do everything it takes to be the best they can, but we just haven’t had that. We’ve had too many players who roll up at training and to the game and call themselves a player, it doesn’t work like that, that’s mediocrity.”
Walking away from the game he loves will leave a big hole in Danskin’s life. “I’ll miss the mateship, the comradery, the banter and the game in general. The battle at 3pm on a Saturday will be something I’ll miss. That time every week when, no matter what’s going on in your life, it’s Saturday and that means football day and nothing else matters,” he said. “I’d like to be remembered as someone who was 100% committed, who gave everything he could for his team mates. But also as someone could play, who could make a pass not many people could make.”
Danskin is content with where his football journey went and what he achieved. “My birthday wish as a child was always to get a contract at a professional club and to play for Australia. I did both of those, I just forgot to wish for a bit more longevity, but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved,” said Danskin, whose focus next year will be on building a tavern – Tall Timbers – in Manjimup. “Retirement is not a decision I’ve made lightly, I love the game and I love playing it. But the body is done … when your body won’t let you play, you simply can’t.”
WA FOOTBALL TOLD: START BANGING ON PARLIAMENT'S DOOR (by Ben Somerford, fourfourtwo.com)
Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne says the Western Australian football community needs to start “banging on parliament’s door” again to find a home of football. Coyne’s side were forced to shift Wednesday’s 2-0 FFA Cup loss to Melbourne Victory away from home ground Frank Drago Reserve due to inadequate floodlights. The match was played at the WA Athletics Stadium in front of 1650 fans, who were at least 40 metres away from the action due to the running track around the field.
Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey commented after Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Stirling Lions at the same venue, that the gap between the field and crowd eradicated the home ground advantage due to the lack of atmosphere and Coyne agreed. “Kudos to everyone who turned up tonight, they made a big effort,” Coyne said. “But Mike Mulvey made the comment last night as well, when they’re 40 metres away you can’t really hear it. The atmosphere would’ve been better if it was at one of the smaller grounds with the stand on top of you. We’re grateful for Venues West for putting it on but I don’t think it’s the right venue for the rectangular game.”
In February last year, Football West launched the Home of Football campaign which aimed to garner political support for a central training and administration headquarters for the game in the state. So far the campaign hasn’t succeeded, but this week’s FFA Cup matches may have reignited the debate. “They’ve organised it well, but as a state we need to have a look at ourselves and try to get something,” Coyne commented. “Whether it’s a home of football or it’s in the northern suburbs or southern suburbs …. we need to look at it and start banging on parliament’s door and getting things done so we’ve got floodlights and facilities. It’s imperative.”
POSTECOGLOU NAMES SQUAD TO PLAY BELGIUM AND SAUDI ARABIA
West Australian pair Chris Herd and Trent Sainsbury are in line for their senior international debuts being named in Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos squad to play Belgium and Saudi Arabia next month. Postecoglou has moved to broaden the base of international players ahead of the 2015 Asian Cup by selecting four uncapped players, the others being Brad Smith and Bailey Wright in the squad. Robbie Kruse, Carl Valeri and Josh Brillante have been recalled to the squad along with twelve members of this year's World Cup final squad, including captain Mile Jedinak and talisman Tim Cahill.
After naming the squad, Postecoglou declared Socceroos selections would continue to be bold in Australia's pursuit of becoming the best team in Asia. "The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we're going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity," Postecoglou said. "We want a really strong squad for the Asian Cup and we are only going to get that if we have a look at some more players."
Australia's 20-player squad to face Belguim (4 September) and Saudi Arabia (8 September) is Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Joshua Brilliante (Fiorentina), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Matthew Leckie (Ingolstadt), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Mark Milligan, Carl Valeri (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Massimo Luongo, Brad Smith (Swindon Town), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Jason Davidson (West Bromwich Albion), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers) and Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle).
BAYSWATER INSOURED BY FFA CUP TEST (with Aisling Lawless, footballwest.com.au)
Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne expects his players to use the momentum gained during last night’s historic Westfield FFA Cup clash against Melbourne Victory in their bid to seal the National Premier Leagues-WA minor premiership this weekend. Goals from Kosta Barbarouses and Archie Thompson sealed a 2-0 win for the two-time Hyundai A-League champions Victory in front of 1650 at the WA Athletics Stadium last night, but Bayswater gained plenty of positives from their performance.
After a nervous start Coyne thought his side were by far the better team in the second half, setting them in good stead for the final regular round NPL WA match against fourth-placed Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday. Bayswater lead the competition by two points from second-placed Perth SC, who are away to Cockburn City. “I think the way they expressed themselves, especially some of the younger boys, was superb,” Coyne said of his side’s performance against Victory. “Once they got to grips with things they came up and gave a good account of themselves. “I’m sure if they roll with the same conviction, capacity and hunger to put up a fight against a team, they’ll have no issues.” But despite the Round of 32 Cup exit Coyne has relished the experience and the excitement the competition has generated. “We’ve really enjoyed this path, and have had a taste, but we’ll be super hungry next year,” he said.
Bayswater were put under early pressure from Victory and Guilherme Finkler’s shot forced a fingertip diving save from Devon Spence just seven minutes in. The local side had their hands full trying to contain the star studded Victory line-up, which included new signing Besart Berisha, who caused trouble up front. The former Brisbane Roar player was part of a series of slick passes by the visitors in the area and set-up Barbarouses, who coolly slotted the ball past Spence in the 23rd minute.
Bayswater’s only real first-half chance came after Steve Burton won an aerial challenge and knocked the ball back to David Heagney, whose powerful shot from range was tipped over the crossbar by Victory keeper Nathan Coe. Coyne’s men came out much stronger in the second half and seven minutes in Brian Farrell volleyed a cross-field ball from Heagney but it sailed narrowly wide. They came close to equalising again in the 70th minute when a free-kick taken by Todd Howarth dipped below the crossbar, forcing Coe to tip it out for a corner. But Victory doubled their lead in a moment of brilliance with just 13 minutes to go. Berisha was again the instigator, this time supplying Thompson who slid the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said his side looked dangerous in the front third, especially during their dominant first half. “It’s good to have a meaningful competitive game in the pre-season,” Muscat said. “There were a number of chances and we scored two very good goals, which is a positive sign going forward. “From their perspective, once we got that first goal it was a lot harder for them and they had to come out in the second half. “They had a good go and hopefully they can go on and win the league on Saturday - I wish them all the best.”
NEVILLE READY TO RETURN AFTER KNEE SURGERY
Newcastle Jets fullback Scott Neville has targeted the upcoming four-team Townsville Football Cup for his return from a knee reconstruction. Neville re-joined his team mates for full training this week and is now focused on getting much-needed match fitness. “‘I have been training fully for four or five days,” Neville said. “Going into 50-50 challenges, I am not even thinking about the knee, which is a good thing. Throughout the whole rehabilitation, touch wood, I have not had a complaint with soreness because I have ticked every box. If I was not 100% sure, I would not put myself in that position. I know I have done all the work.”
Neville tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in early December but had to wait until mid-January for surgery and has since had eight months of rehabilitation. “It is huge to be back among the boys and out of the rehabilitation group,” the 25-year old said. “A lot of people say you can come back stronger from these injuries. I am just looking to get back to a good base. I was pretty happy with my form (before tearing the ACL), I was playing fairly consistent and felt like every game I had control over what I was doing. I’m aware it might take time for me to get back to where I was.”
BRISBANE SILENCE THE ROAR OF THE LIONS (by Colin Outhwaite, footballwest.com.au)
It was not the upset win Stirling Lions had hoped for but coach Gary Williams had only praise for his gallant players after their 4-0 Round of 32 Westfield FFA Cup defeat to Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar at the WA Athletics Stadium. Henrique De Silva scored in the first half but the brunt of the damage was done within 13 minutes in the second with goals from Corey Brown, Matthew Smith and Jean Carlos Solorzano.
"They've beaten us by four brilliant goals today," Williams said. "But the lads can hold their heads high. We train twice a week whereas they probably train seven, and that's the difference." "But we carried on and fought to the end, it would have just been nice to get a goal against the champions of Australia."
Williams said it was a great experience regardless of the score on a night when history was made as Stirling became the first National Premier Leagues WA side to compete in the inaugural FFA Cup. "You watch them on the TV and you think they’re playing good football but when you witness it from the sidelines, the speed they move the ball, it's a sudden realisation of how much you've got to step up."
Stirling showed their intent when Hayden Doyle hit the inside of the left post with a low drive in the 11th minute. The post then came to Lions keeper Aleks Vrteski's aid when Dimitri Petratos' attempted volley across goal sliced and dipped unexpectedly over him. But Henrique undid the Lions positive start with an overhead kick from Clayton Arnez's goal line clearance following a corner in the 31st minute. The discipline of a full time professional club took its toll in the second half and Brisbane bagged three in quick succession. First Brown smashed home a lay off in the box in the 55th minute then captain Smith headed in A-League Player of the Year Thomas Broich's ball behind the defence in the 63rd minute. Five minutes later Petratos's free-kick bounced off a post and substitute Solorzano tapped it in with his first touch of the game.
The part-timers regained composure despite the fatigue. Jack Salter provided fresh legs and in the 80th minute received a ball on the break and muscled off a defender then skipped round another but his shot went fractionally wide. Dean Evans and Moses Kalau also had attempts but both strikes were comfortably parried by Brisbane keeper Michael Theo.
Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey said it was not an easy task travelling five hours to play the West Australians. "It’s pleasing to get a result because it was a banana skin waiting to happen, but thankfully we didn't fall over it," he said. "First half we were sloppy, but we were more penetrating in the second. We tired them out and it helped us find space. "Full credit to Stirling. A lot of teams would sit back and think about the result but they came out and played football."
BABALJ BUILDS CASE FOR ALKMAAR FIRST TEAM
Striker Eli Babalj has pressed his case for first team football with AZ Alkmaar after netting a double for their reserves side on Monday night. The two-time Socceroo scored his side’s opening two goals in a 5-2 thrashing of Fortuna Sittard. Babalj, 22, endured an injury-cursed debut season in the Netherlands, suffering hernia and groin problems, but returned to fitness in pre-season. He featured in a number of pre-season games but has been over-looked by manager Marco van Basten for their first two Eredivisie fixtures.
GLORY HIT GOSNELLS FOR SIX
Perth Glory’s pre-season continues to build momentum with a young line-up demolishing local club Gosnells City 6-0 this afternoon at Walter Padbury Reserve. Chris Harold’s first half hat-trick paved the way before Daniel De Silva, Jamie Maclaren and Diogo Ferreira completed the scoring. “(It was) another fantastic opportunity for the boys to play against a local team,” said assistant coach Jacob Burns. “We’ve had a good mixture of games … we so couldn’t ask for more as far as games are concerned.”
Harold opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a smart header over Gosnells goalkeeper Tom Allen, and doubled the ascendancy two minutes later with a tap-in from just outside the 6-yard box. Glory custodian Jordan Thurtell gained his first appearance since signing last month, but made way for Jack Duncan just before the half hour after picking up a slight knock. Harold completed his hat-trick in the 35th minute thanks to a brilliant through ball from Maclaren.
Glory made a host of changes at the break, after which Gosnells began to apply pressure to Duncan’s goal. De Silva, who recently signed a pre-contract agreement with Italian giants AS Roma, made it four-nil on 65 minutes after a great piece of attacking play from Maclaren and substitute Borbor Sambindi. A thundering header by Maclaren on 81 minutes further extended the difference. And soon after Ferreira converted from the penalty spot after Maclaren’s dashing run was illegally halted.
OPPORTUNITY COMES KNOCKING FOR EVANS
If not for an untimely injury, Stirling Lions midfielder Dean Evans might already be an established professional. But the setback that blunted his chances of making an impact during a second spell with Perth Glory has served only to further motivate the 24-year-old. So tomorrow night, when Stirling take on A-League champions Brisbane Roar in the round of 32 FFA Cup tie at the WA Athletics Stadium, opportunity will knock again for Evans.
While Evans focus is on causing a Cup-set, he also recognises this is another chance to catch the eye of those watching around the country. “I still want to prove myself at the next level,” Evans said. “I’ve been through a lot, I’ve worked hard and I’ve had a taste of it and I want more. I want to establish myself. I really want to get back into that professional environment and stay injury free and get my shot. Hopefully, if I keep working hard and I’m playing well that chance will come.”
One good performance might not be the clincher but Stirling win to match that of South Australia side Adelaide City, who knocked out A-League grand finalists Western Sydney Wanderers, would put his club in the spotlight. “It’s great to be playing against the best players in Australia,” Evans said. “You play to win and that’s what we will be trying to do. We’ll go out with the right game plan. If we have to sit and be patient and disciplined that’s what we’ve got to do and hopefully get them on the counter.”
Stirling coach Gary Williams, who experienced the joy of English FA Cup upset victories a player with non-league Hitchin Town in the mid-1990s, is also dreaming of a shock result. "I just want to put on a show,” Williams said. “If we come out of that game with our credibility intact and give them a good game, I'll be happy. But I’m not thinking negatively. I want to win the game. That’s our aim but most of all I want (the players) to enjoy the experience.”
BURGESS AIMS TO BUILD ON FULHAM DEBUT
Teenage defender Cameron Burgess has emerged as a bolter in Fulham's bid to jump straight back into the English Premier League after making his league debut for Felix Magath's team. Burgess, 18, played the full 90 minutes of the Cottagers Championship loss at Ipswich Town last weekend, when he displayed a maturity and commitment that has done nothing to harm his chances of more game time when Fulham entertains Millwall this weekend. Scotland-born Burgess is one of four ECU Joondalup alumni at Craven Cottage, the others being striker Adam Taggart, winger Ryan Williams and goalkeeper Jake Soutter.
Burgess showed his versatility by playing an unfamiliar midfield role against Ipswich. “It was a bit of surprise to get a start against Ipswich but a nice one,” he said. “I am a centre-half (but) I was more than happy to play wherever the boss wanted me to. This is a club determined to return to the Premier League this year and there’s quality all over the pitch in every position. To be involved with the first team, especially at my age, is pretty special and hopefully I can play some part in us pushing on for promotion.”
With both British and Australian passports, Burgess has the option to represent his homeland of Scotland or the green and gold of Australia. He has already made four appearance for Scotland at youth level but earlier this year took part in an Australia Under-20s training camp in Dubai. “There have been a few talks and we will see what happens,” said Burgess who joined Fulham in a scholarship two years ago. “Obviously I have a strong connection with Australia. It’s where I started to really develop my game and I made so many friends there inside football and elsewhere. There’s a great sporting culture there.”
Burgess’ roots are steeped in Scottish football folklore with grandfather Campbell Forsyth winning four Scottish caps as a goalkeeper in the 1960s during a career which saw him play for St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Southampton, while his father Stuart played for Albion Rovers, East Fife, Falkirk and Kilmarnock. “With my background they were proud that I was capped for Scotland and it was a big moment for me,” said Burgess. “But their main concern is more about me cementing a career in club football than anything else because if you don’t do that then there is no chance of playing international football anyway.”
Burgess trained with Aberdeen and Celtic as a kid prior to his family’s relocation to Perth. “My parents are still there and I talk almost every day to dad about football and general stuff and really value his advice,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with how things are going but there’s an awful lot still to do and so much to learn.” Burgess is part of a wave of talent to emerge from WA in recent years through ECU Joondalup which, in addition to the Fulham four, has spawned Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Shane Lowry (Leyton Orient), Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa) and Stoke City pair Alex Grant and Peter Skapetis.
BAYSWATER SHORT-CHANGED BY VENUE SWITCH BLOCK
Bayswater City have criticised Football Federation Australia for declining their move to play this week’s FFA Cup fixture against Melbourne Victory in Victoria. Bayswater were forced to move Wednesday’s glamour fixture away from Frank Drago Reserve due to inadequate lighting. Coach Chris Coyne told fourfourtwo.com/au his club had wanted the game moved to Melbourne, as often occurs in England’s FA Cup where clubs strike a deal on splitting gate takings, but were denied by the FFA. “The FFA said straight away ‘no’ because it sets a precedent and isn’t in the benefit of the game, but I think it is,” Coyne said.
Coyne claimed Bayswater and Victory had agreed to the venue switch, and had tabled a formal proposal to the FFA, with Perth Glory owner Tony Sage working as mediator. “Victory were good to go with it,” Coyne said. “It was two consenting clubs. Sagey (Tony Sage) understood exactly where we were coming from. I think the FFA should’ve shown more foresight. It’s not just this one game, it’s about the next 10-15 years. We could’ve got $100,000, for example, off Melbourne game receipts and all the rest, why not let us do that? The money could’ve been spent in the right ways, such as floodlights so we don’t have this issue next year, junior infrastructure, facilities or coaching.”
The FFA refuted Coyne’s claims, with a spokesperson stating they “did not receive an official proposal from the clubs to switch the game”. However, the FFA did reveal they were open to the prospect of swapping venues between opposition clubs. “If it was deemed that Bayswater City did not have a suitable venue to hold the match and could not nominate a suitable local alternate venue, FFA would switch hosting rights to the away team,” the spokesperson added. “In this case Western Australia Athletics Stadium was nominated and approved as a suitable alternate venue. As there was no official request to relinquish hosting rights to the match, there was no request to knock back.”
Bayswater are not alone in missing out on a true home FFA Cup fixture, with Stirling Lions also forced to move their clash with Brisbane Roar to the Athletics Stadium. “I’m a bit disgruntled that the two WA clubs who’ve got into the FFA Cup haven’t been capable of hosting the game,” Coyne said. “It’s a massive problem in WA football, as it’s very AFL orientated and we’re left picking up the pieces. Our dressing room is as good as any in the A-League, it’s top notch and the playing surface is very good as well, but we don’t have the lights.”
COCKBURN CRUISE TO VICTORY (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
An early goal was not enough to invigorate Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium yesterday as Cockburn City cruised to a 4-1 win in the penultimate round of the NPL WA’s inaugural season. With both teams out of contention for a top-four finish, Cockburn left the pitch with their heads held high after punishing Inglewood in the second half. Inglewood’s only goal came as a result of a through ball from Andrija Jukic to Ryan Clarke, who ran on to beat Euen Grant and Blake Adams and, ultimately, keeper Dejan Aleksic. Clarke continued to threaten and on numerous occasions was denied by Aleksic.
Despite the early set-back, Cockburn controlled the game and were in cruise control as they kept up the pressure and intensity. Inglewood showed glimpses of cohesion but could not sustain their enthusiasm long enough to make an impact. The equalizer came midway through the first half when Ross Diamond found himself alone with time and space to execute a confident strike from the edge of the box. Inglewood squandered their chances and the lead as Cockburn surged forward in the second half, sealing the deal with three goals in the space of 20 minutes.
The fresh legs of Julien Teles, off the bench, delivered the first when he ran onto a ball from the midfield to challenge Luke Martino and slot it past the harried keeper. The second came from a Conor Kavanagh corner, ideally measured to connect with defender Alan Carroll whose close range glancing header was too good for Martino. And the third and final blow in injury time, was delivered by Matt Barlow, who had been hunting for a goal all day, with a simple tap in.
Cockburn City coach Marc Anthony said it was one of the best first-half performances he had seen from his team all season. “We gave away a terrible goal after a minute but apart from that we were superb,” he said. “We were miles ahead of our opponents and we had six or seven good chances to score. “We got the goal we deserved in the end and I just asked the boys to carry it on, which they did and I’m really, really happy.
PREMIERSHIP HOPES STILL ALIVE FOR PERTH (with Kelechi Osunwa, nplwa.com.au)
Perth SC broke down a resilient Subiaco side in Saturday’s National Premier Leagues encounter at Dorrien Gardens thanks to two second half goals. The 2-0 win ensures that the minor premiership will be decided on the final day of the season following Bayswater City’s 3-0 win over Floreat Athena. In a largely uneventful first half, Subiaco had the best chance to take the lead just before the stroke of half time. Patient build up from the visitors created room for the overlapping Nathan Diaz. His driven cross fizzed past the goal area with no Subiaco player getting a final touch.
Perth started the second half the better of the two sides and took the lead by fortuitous circumstances. After a series of poor corner kicks, Mark Pritchard saw his corner swing directly into the far post beyond the reach of Subiaco custodian Sam Stone. The lead was doubled in the 75 minute from another corner. Stone managed to apply a strong fist to half clear the corner but Friday Zico sent a cross into the danger area that resulted in Ashley Rosindale tapping in as Subiaco failed to clear for a second time.
Midfielder Alex Randell felt that his Subiaco side was lacking in maturity and a little bit of extra quality that could have been the difference in many games this season. “I’m gutted about today,” Randell said. “And it seems to be the same mistakes every week. We’re conceding far too many off set pieces and we don’t take our chances when we get them.” The result is Subiaco’s fourth loss in five games but Randell believes his team can take the lesson learned from this season and hopefully improve for their final game against ECU Joondalup.
BAYSWATER WIN TOUGH (with Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City made life hard for themselves with a patchy win against Floreat Athena, where the 3-0 score line did not do justice to Athena’s performance at Frank Drago Reserve in the National Premier Leagues on Saturday. Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was concerned with his side’s performance ahead of their Westfield FFA Cup match against Hyundai A-League side Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night. “I think we played well for two fifteen minute bursts when we got the goals,”he said.“Hopefully we don’t do that against Victory or we could be in trouble. “If Floreat had of got one there then we would’ve really struggled, it wasn’t a good performance whether it was the boys having one eye on next week or not I don’t know, but it was very lack-luster.”
Bayswater seemed to get off to a good start in a game that could have won them the minor premiership, depending on Perth's result. Striker David Heagney gave Bayswater the lead after just eight minutes, with a neat tap-in from inside the six-yard box. Bayswater doubled their lead later in the second half through Gustavo Giron Marulanda, who was the recipient of Paul McCarthy’s good work in the box, allowing Marulanda to tap into an empty net.
After half time the game swung in Floreat’s favour as they dominated play and forced some brilliant saves from Bayswater keeper Devon Spence, who struggled throughout with a slight injury. Floreat seemed to eventually get their reward as Jack Allen scored, but the linesman’s flag ruled it offside, much to the frustrations of Floreat coach Glenn Grostate. “Who knows about that goal, people are saying it was a goal and that would’ve changed the game,”he said.
Grostate was otherwise pleased with his side’s effort. “At the end of the day I’m very happy, when you come here, you’re against the best in the league and we have to realise that," he said. “We had four or five players out, we had two reserves players starting, so at the end of the day from what we had out there and what we had on the bench, I’m more than happy."
Despite Floreat’s free flowing attacking, Bayswater put the result beyond doubt with a goal from Brian Farrell, who showed his pace as he ran past the Floreat defence before firing past the keeper. The result was not enough to hand Bayswater the title this week, as Perth managed a 2-0 win in their game against Subiaco, but Coyne remained happy to leave it until the final week. “I spoke to the boys about it and I’m not too concerned because I’d rather be where we are than where they are. The pressure’s on Perth and we’ll see how it goes next week," he said. The result was also a slight confidence boost for Bayswater’s Westfield FFA Cup clash with Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night, with Coyne excited to see his players experience being the underdogs for the first time this season. “Every week everyone’s trying to shoot us down, so it’ll actually be a nice experience for the players to go out there and express themselves and have the freedom to play free flowing football without the burden of having to win every single game," he said.
LIONS READY FOR ROAR (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling Lions warmed up for Tuesday’s Westfield FFA Cup clash with Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar with a last-gasp victory away to ECU Joondalup. The Lions looked to be heading for a draw before David Micevski struck in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 win at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday. David Foster scored in the 33rd minute for ECU but Robert Petkov capitalised on a goal keeper fumble to level the scores before Micevski led the Lions to victory.
With a star-studded bench and the FFA Cup match at the WA Athletics Stadium coming up Stirling coach Gary Williams said it might have appeared they had one eye on Tuesday. “Before the game it was still possible for us to finish fourth, so it was important we stayed focussed,” he said. “I thought the first half was poor but I told them and got a good reaction in the second half.”
Sorrento sealed fourth spot with a 2-1 win over Armadale, so having missed out on the finals Stirling can now dedicate their full attention to the cup. "The boys are really looking forward to Tuesday,” Williams said. “It’s the biggest game of their careers for a lot of them, and it's certainly the biggest game of my coaching career." An uneventful first half was only highlighted by the first goal. Jake Benson-Cooper delivered a deep ball into the box for Jon Stynes to head over keeper Aleks Vrteski, and Foster helped the ball over the line. At the other end keeper Andy Banks couldn't keep hold of Moses Kalau's powerful shot in the 54th minute and Petkov pounced to equalise for the visitors.
ECU had a spell around the hour mark but Vrteski did well to keep out Foster from Danny Dixon's pass across goal. Foster's best chance came in the 65th minute as Stynes’ ball over the top put him through on goal, but his half volley fired wide. ECU's defence did its best to deflect a barrage of shots, and Banks made up for his earlier mistake with some solid saves. But Micevski’s class shone through with a great strike from the edge of the area.
ECU captain Jon Higgins said they would have settled for a draw. "Points aren’t an objective for us anymore so we took a gamble and they caught us on the break,” he said. “But to be fair they were dictating the game."
Higgins said the results have not gone their way this season but there are a lot of positives to carry over into next year. "We've got some young players in the squad that have gained a lot of confidence from playing at this level, so next year we’ll have bigger aspirations." They head to Subiaco next week where Higgins hopes to finish on a high. "We still want to win but it's mainly about incorporating into our game what we practice in training, and playing how we want to play," he said.
BALCATTA CLINCH HOME FINAL (with Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta sealed third position and a home minor semi-final game against Sorrento in two weeks after a 4-0 win over Perth Glory at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Carlo Coehlo netted a brace for the home side, accompanied by goals from Benny Kouakou and Laurence Shurama. Their superior goal difference of 16 means next week’s results are highly unlikely to affect their standing.
Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon said it had put them in the perfect situation leading up to the finals series. "It gives us a little bit of a breather because we don't have the pressure to need to win in the final week,” he said. "But we'll definitely honour the game next week against Floreat and go with the mentality to win the three points."
Glory opened well and had the first chance after a poor clearance from Matt Brook gave Nic Talimdzioski a clear shot, which he sent wide. But it was Balcatta who scored the first goal in the 10th minute after Kieran Stallard's shot was saved by keeper Luke Radonich, with the rebound falling to Coelho who didn't hesitate in smashing it home. They doubled their lead 10 minutes later with another rebound goal and this time it was Shuruma who thumped it into the net. Glory seemed to struggle with Balcatta's constant pressure, on and off the ball. They had some promising chances - Bor Bor Sambindi caused problems down the left wing with his step-overs and quick pace - but lacked options.
Balcatta came close to netting their third on the counter in the 37th minute with a great shot from Kouakou but it was tipped over the crossbar by Radonich. The visitors came out positively after half-time and immediately won a corner but Sambindi's attempt to slide the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal was stopped by Kouakou. Glory had a good spell of possession and a second corner in the 53rd minute saw Josh Tucker's header rebound off a Balcatta player into the keeper’s hands.
Despite Glory's improved defending, Balcatta extended their lead eleven minutes later when Coelho struck a ball that had rolled across the goal face. Kris Gate was granted a penalty in the 78th minute after being brought down by Radonich, but he hit the ball wide to the left. After hunting for a goal all game Kouakou was finally rewarded on the stroke of full-time when Shuruma passed it right to his feet, allowing him to put the ball away comfortably.
Glory coach John Gibson said consistency is the key for his young side. “If you look at the goals we’ve conceded this season a lot of them possibly come from our errors when we have the ball,” he said. “We need to make sure in transitional moments that we are lot better and we are accountable in defending those areas.” Gibson said the boys deserved credit for stepping up each week, rather than throwing the towel in. “These guys show an amazing amount of character and spirit and belief in what were are trying to do,” he said.
GULLS LATE SHOW CONFIRMS A FINALS BIRTH (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Reece Vittiglia’s fourteenth strike of the season in stoppage time cemented Sorrento’s place in the top four as they fought off a spirited Armadale side 2-1 at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday. But the hosts felt hard done by as coach Lee Bamber and his players protested in vain for a foul on goalkeeper Matt Gould in the immediate build up to the Gulls winner. “It’s a foul on the keeper. He’s trying to punch it and he’s been held and the referee’s not give it. It’s a shocking decision,” Bamber said.
A game rather lacking in chances suddenly sprang to life in the last ten minutes with Scott Bulloch’s pile-driver putting Sorrento ahead. But a superb response by the National Premier League's bottom side saw them force an equalizer minutes later through Ben Wantee’s header to seemingly earn them a deserved point before Vittiglia had the final say. “The boys were magnificent. They’ve carried out the game plan. We conceded a soft goal; we didn’t close it down quick enough despite working on it in training. But to come back from that was a great effort. We’ve been working on making the young lads mentally tougher,” Bamber said.
The game began with Sorrento forcing the early pressure, looking to exploit Armadale’s reputation as slow-starters but the home side showed character to hang in there as they saw off a succession of corners with Steve McDonald getting closest, looping his header just over. Vittiglia really should have found the target from Bulloch’s cross but the prolific forward headed just wide. Both keepers showed excellent reflexes when called upon, first Gulls stopper Curtis Aspden blocking Josh Kuser’s close-range shot, before Gould reacted quickly to thwart Vittiglia.
Chances were again at a premium for most of the second half, Vittiglia looping a shot over on the turn before Jason Mirco, with his first touch after being introduced from the bench, headed over with the goal at his mercy. It was not all the visitors though, Aspden had to be alert to beat away Jackson Bealey’s low free-kick at his right-hand post. The goal the game had been screaming out for arrived in the 80th minute when Armadale only partially cleared a corner and the ball fell invitingly for Bulloch who rifled home from the edge of the box to give Sorrento the lead. But the home side, roared on by a vociferous crowd, responded superbly. First Aspden had to be brave to deny Dannie Richman before Billy Quinncroft thought he had levelled, only for his looping header to be cleared underneath the bar.
Army were not to be denied though, as from the resultant corner Wantee met the ball with a powerful header that gave Aspden no chance. Although a point was all Sorrento needed to seal their Finals berth, they pushed on again, Mirco seeing Gould brilliantly push away his snap shot. The winner arrived in the first minute of stoppage time, Gould unable to get distance on his punch under pressure, with a back-to-goal Vittiglia aware that a hook over his shoulder might just be enough. And it was. There was still time for Armadale to threaten but Kuser’s despairing lunge was not enough as Quinncroft’s pacy low-cross evaded him.
Sorrento joint coach Jamie Harnwell admitted his side snatched the win but was pleased with the performance on the whole. “We knew Armadale would make it difficult but we got the goals at the right time. Towards the end of the game we put some really good balls in the box and caused them a few problems. I was happier as the game wore on,” Harnwell said.
ROCKINGHAM SMASH SEVEN PAST MELVILLE (courtesy Rockingham City)
Rockingham City welcomed Melville City to Lark Hill knowing that they needed all three points to get back into second spot in Division Two. The home side flew out the blocks and raced into the lead when neat play from Louvie, Clark and Rowland resulted in Louvie's low cross being turned in by Taono. The early goal gave Rockingham a real confidence boost and the football was some of the best we have seen at Lark Hill this season with every player looking assured and confident in possession.
Once again it was Louvie who was the provider with a fantastic through ball for Taono who raced through and lobbed the keeper for his and Rockingham's second of the game. Ryan Kennedy's neat turn and lob from the edge of the box had the crowd on their feet but the ball had unfortunately landed just over and onto the roof of the net. The home side had the ball in the net a third time, this time a curling shot from Clark which was headed in by Taono, only to be denied by the assistant's flag. Rockingham didn’t have to wait long for the third when Taono grabbed a deserved hat trick, beating his man and powering home a low strike.
In the second half it was all about the home side again with Taona grabbing his fourth goal in an amazing performance, dispossessing the Melville defender both before lashing the ball home from a tight angle. The home side where really starting to flex their muscles and it was no surprise when Rowland turned his marker and powered in a shot from 30 yards into the top corner. Next it was the turn of the substitute Laure, he linked up well with the tireless Clark before lashing the ball beyond the keeper from just inside the box and he grabbed his second and the home side's seventh soon after when a mazy run took him beyond three Melville defenders and his stunning finish capped a fine display by the home side.
BAYSWATER READY FOR TO SPRING FFA CUP'S NEXT UPSET (courtesy theffacup.com.au)
They’ve sent over spies to watch them play, have some of the biggest names in the country and play a devastating attacking game. However Bayswater FC are confident they can replicate the efforts of Adelaide City and cause a huge Westfield FFA Cup shock by beating Melbourne Victory. The NPL-WA leaders host Kevin Muscat’s side in a mouthwatering tie on Wednesday night at the Western Australian Athletics Stadium. In the last of the round of 32 matches this week, Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar face Stirling Lions, South Coast Wolves take on Central Coast Mariners and Hakoak Sydney City meet Palm Beach Sharks.
Victory will bring a star-studded line-up to WA with the likes of Besart Berisha, Gui Finkler, Carl Valeri and Kosta Barbarouses in their side but none of that is a concern to Bayswater boss Chris Coyne. “Names are names, they look good on a piece of paper but it’s what they do on the night,” Coyne told www.theffacup.com.au “How many times have you seen Premier League sides go away to smaller clubs in the UK and lose. “Yeah it’s great to have them in your squad and it’s great to have names to attract the crowd but I think you have to disrespect them slightly and say ‘we’ll see how good you are after we’ve played you’.”
Victory certainly aren’t taking their opponents lightly, sending assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny across the Nullabor recently to watch Bayswater’s 5-0 demolition of Subiaco. “It shows people that the FFA Cup should be taken seriously and credit to them to fly over. I asked the club to fly over to Melbourne and they laughed at me,” Coyne joked. “It shows how much a club of that stature want to win the inaugural FFA Cup. We all know what victory are capable of. I’ve played against them on numerous occasions so we know what to expect.
“The good thing is we like to get the ball down on the deck and knock it about and we’re quite an aggressive team as well so it promises to be an action-packed night. “We’ve got nothing to lose, they’re expected to win, it will be nice to go out and enjoy it, if we do things probably maybe nick a result. Whereas Victory lose the pressure is on them.”
Bayswater have some impressive talent of their own, including ex-A-League players Jamie Coyne, Todd Howarth, Sam Mitchinson and Devon Spence. Coyne said Adelaide City’s win over Western Sydney gave all the smaller clubs hope of pulling off an upset as well as a chance for everyone at the club to prove themselves against the best. “It’s a good test to put yourself up against the best coaches in the A-League at the moment. It’s a good litmus test for as an individual and also for some of the younger players,” the former Perth Glory defender said. “We’ve got players that have played in the A-League and played in the UK, so it’s a good test for the younger players who want to knock on the door and start asking questions of whether they are good enough. “Everyone’s buzzing and looking forward to it. You can’t ask for a better draw, everyone in WA is talking about it.”
VICTORY AIM TO GUN DOWN BAYSWATER (courtesy footballwest.com.au)
Perth product Scott Galloway has spoken of the challenge Melbourne Victory face when they meet Bayswater City in a Westfield FFA Cup clash at WA Athletics Stadium next Wednesday. Galloway, an established Melbourne Victory fullback, told The World Game website Bayswater would be up for the challenge when they take on the Hyundai A-League side in the Round of 32. "Bayswater has got nothing to lose," Galloway said. "If we go over there and win, it's more expected of the A-League teams to win against Premier League teams, but if they can cause an upset it will be massive for them, so they'll be doing everything they can to cause an upset like Adelaide did.”
The 19-year-old, who is originally from Perth, played against Bayswater at junior levels and knows Victory must focus on what they do well to proceed to the next stages of the cup. "I've played against Bayswater at lower levels, they're definitely a good team," he said. "But it's really just up to us to concentrate on our game, forget who we're playing - whether it's an A-League side or not - and make sure we get the result and keep moving through." Bayswater City will host Melbourne Victory Wednesday, August 20 and Stirling Lions will take on Brisbane Roar Tuesday, August 19 at the WA Athletics Stadium.
BIRIGHITTI MEETS ITALIAN MASTER
Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti used to wake up early on school mornings to watch his heroes play for a star-studded Juventus. His favourite player was Gianluigi Buffon - Italy's games record holder and one of the most decorated goalkeepers of all-time. On Sunday night Birighitti turned out against the team – and player – he worshipped as a child by coming on as a late substitute in the A-League All-Stars friendly with Juventus. And last night, for the second time in four surreal days, the 23-year old former Perth SC junior again faced the Italian giants in a behind-closed-doors outing for Newcastle.
In 2001, when soccer-mad Birighitti was just 10 years old, Buffon became the most expensive shot-stopper in the game by signing with Juventus for more than $50 million. Inspired by Buffon’s dominance over the next decade, Birighitti became a talented goalkeeper in his own right. He joined Adelaide United in 2008 and moved four years later to Newcastle Jets, for whom he’s been first choice ‘keeper for the past two seasons and gained his senior international debut for Australia.
Birighitti played the final twenty minutes of the All-Stars 3-2 loss to Juventus. He swapped shirts with Buffon after the game and the following day caught up with childhood hero for coffee. “Buffon’s someone I’ve idolised forever, so to get his shirt and sit down and speak to him was an amazing feeling,” he said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life … I’m already thinking in the back of my mind, ‘Did that really happen?’”
Birighitti was between the posts again last night when Newcastle went down 1-0 to Juventus. Linked recently to German club as Bayer Leverkusen, Birighitti has a lot on his mind but Buffon's words of wisdom have helped steady the ship. “With the advice (Buffon) gave me, no wonder he’s been playing at the top level for 20 years. He’s an absolute professional," he said. “He’s been there, he’s done that and he’s experienced everything in football. If an opportunity in Europe comes up, it comes up, but at the moment I’m back in Newcastle and enjoying it here. I’m in the right mindset."
STATE TEAM CLAIM HISTORIC WIN
A hastily put together State team defied the odds to register an impressive 2-1 win over Perth Glory from this evening’s friendly at Dalmatinac Park. The State team gave as good as they got in the first half before stepping on the accelerator after the turnaround with Alec Solomons and Ludovic Boi finding the back of the net. Sidnei Sciola pulled a goal back for Glory but it wasn’t enough to prevent the State team from recording the win.
State coach Chris Coyne was understandably delighted at guiding the State team to victory over Glory for the first time since 2008 . “We’ve only had three sessions together, and I thought they went about their business pretty well, and they are a credit to themselves,” he said. “The effort they put in and the way they applied themselves was first class, and sometimes when you work hard you get the rewards and the whole squad did that tonight.”
Chris Harold found himself on the pointy end of Glory’s early attacks, the young striker placing one shot wide and having another saved by Curtis Aspden. The State team eventually got into gear but Mark Doninger’s goalbound strike was blocked by Jack Duncan, and Lewis McMahon flashed wide the follow-up. Duncan came to the rescue again soon after, getting down low to halt Clark Keltie’s volley from 15-metres.
As the half progressed the momentum began to swing back in Glory’s favour. Daniel De Silva eased his way past a couple of defenders to find Jamie Maclaren, whose neat lob dropped onto the top netting. Jack Clisby pushed forward to unleash a long-range effort which whistled just past the target. And in stoppage time Harry O’Brien raced into the penalty area only for his low finish to be captured by Aspden.
Glory boss Kenny Lowe made wholesale changes at the break with Duncan, Clisby and Jamieson the only players to return for the second half. Doninger was denied the breakthrough goal by Duncan and, a few minutes later and at the other end, substitute Devon Spence thwarted Nebosja Marinkovic. Andy Keogh should have broken the deadlock on the hour but his low shot smack off the base of the post after racing clear of a static defence.
Wide pair Sciola and Josh Risdon continually drove a now dominant Glory side into attack. So it was against the run of play that the State went ahead on 71 minutes, Lawrence Shurama clipping the far post where Solomons crisply volleyed in. Dino Djulbic rattled the crossbar as Glory sought a quick reply. Richard Garcia appeared to have equalised only for his effort to be ruled out by an offside flag.
The State team doubled their lead on 84 minutes, Danny Dixon making space on the left before teeing up Boi who made no mistake. Risdon streamed down the left straight from the restart and cross the far post where Sciola’s powerful close-range header came to rest in Spence’s net. Glory threw everything into conjuring an equaliser but Spence had no intention of being beaten a second time, the ‘keeper moving sharply to keep out Keogh’s late header.
Perth Glory: Jack Duncan, Jack Clisby, Scott Jamieson, Brandon O’Neill (Dino Djulbic 46), Michael Thwaite (Josh Risdon 46), Youssouf Hersi (Sidnei Sciola 46), Daniel De Silva (Nebosja Marinkovic 46), Cameron Edwards (Richard Garcia 46), Harry O’Brien (Mitch Nichols 46), Chris Harold (Diogo Ferriera 46), Jamie Maclaren (Andy Keogh 46)
Western Australia: Curtis Aspden (Devon Spence 46), Devon Gibson, Sam Mitchinson (Jack Allen 66), Adam Tong (Bobby Wilson 62), Clark Keltie (Alex Randall 66), Dean Evans (Danny Dixon 66), Lewis McMahon (Carlo Coelho 55), Mark Doninger (Andrija Jukic 55), Teeboy Kamara (Ludovic Boi 46), Todd Howarth (Lawrence Shurama 55), Chris Saldaris (Alec Solomons 62)
Referee: Adam Fielding
REINJURED SAINSBURY HOPEFUL OF QUICK RETURN
Socceroos hopeful Trent Sainsbury sparked fears of another serious injury when he was substituted early in FC Zwolle’s opening game of the Eredivisie season. Sainsbury underwent scans on Monday after he had to be replaced before the half-hour mark in Friday’s 2-0 win over Utrecht due to an ankle complaint. The 22-year old central defender received relatively positive news, with the scans revealing a minor tear in the ligament meaning he will miss one to two matches. Sainsbury missed almost six months following a knee injury sustained on his Zwolle debut, coincidentally also against Utrecht.
LOWRY READY FOR A FRESH START
Aussie defender Shane Lowry says he is after a fresh start with League One side Leyton Orient after leaving Championship club Millwall in the off-season. Lowry was released by Millwall after spending two and half-years at the Den and making more than 70 appearances for the London outfit. “I’m looking for a fresh start,” Lowry said of his two-year deal with Leyton. “It wasn’t a case of me being released (by Millwall), there was a number of factors involved in it. I wanted to play football and this opportunity came up at Leyton Orient. I had a number of options but I thought this was the best for me.”
Leyton narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship last season and Lowry intends helping the club go one step further this season. “They went close last year and with the new owners they’re investing a lot of money into the squad, the team and the infrastructure so I wanted to be part of that,” he said. “We’ve made some good signings and the team we already had last season was really good so hopefully we can get promoted. We’ll be one of the stronger teams in the league in my opinion. That’s the aim – promotion – it doesn’t matter how we get it, that’s the main aim this season.”
WARD FOR SYDNEY?
Sydney FC are set to hand Nick Ward an A-League reprieve following his release by Newcastle Jets. Ward made six appearances last season for Newcastle, who he joined on a short-term deal as cover for Scott Neville. The 29-year old came off the bench for Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC in their pre-season friendly win over Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Wednesday and it now appears a contract is in the offering. The much-travelled midfielder has played for four A-League clubs - Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory, Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle – along with English clubs Queens Park Rangers and Brighton and Hove Albion.
FINALS LOOM FOR GULLS (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Sorrento all but booked their National Premier Leagues WA top-four finals spot with a 2-0 win against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday. A first-half Brodie Martin strike gave them the lead at the break before Reece Vittiglia scored from the penalty spot to give them victory.
Skipper Daryl Platten said it was a hard-fought game that they had deserved to win. “It was hard out there today but overall I thought we dominated the game and deserved the three points,” he said. “We’re happy to get a clean sheet today. They have been hard to come by for us recently. The lads in the middle of the park were great. We knew they had dangerous players in there, so Brodie (Martin) and Chris (Reid) were great for us today.”
It was a lively opening with both sides going close early. Vittiglia’s long-range shot after only two minutes was saved low by Tom Dixon, while moments later Jack Allen’s shot whistled over the top for the home side. A win would have also put Floreat in the running for a finals spot and Curtis Aspden had to be alert to tip over Lewis McMahon’s overhead kick on nine minutes. But four minutes later the visitors hit the front. A good run down the left by Niccolo Sabatini ended with a cut back to Martin on the edge of the penalty area. His shot deflected off Kye Douglas, wrong footing Floreat keeper Dixon and the ball went into the net.
The home side lifted and on the half hour McMahon eased his way past his marker on the left, before delivering a low cross to the back post - but Blair Govan could not find the target from a tight angle. On the stroke of half time, Floreat had a strong penalty claim when Shaun Kilkelly brought down Ludovic Boi. They were convinced it was inside the penalty area but referee Adam Fielding awarded a free-kick right on the edge. Boi took the resultant set piece but Cameron Yorke fired over. The visitors brought on former Perth Glory midfielder Scott Bulloch at the break to replace Razack Geloo and they doubled their advantage ten minutes in.
Todd Harnwell burst in to the right hand side of the penalty area and was brought down by Govan. Fielding pointed straight to the spot and Vittiglia stepped up and fired low past Dixon. Sorrento went close to a third on 74 minutes. Vittiglia’s corner was headed goalwards by Steve McDonald but Aryn Williams cleared the ball off the line. Floreat were struggling to break down a tight defence, well led by Platten and Kilkelly, but Sorrento continued to create chances. Bulloch sent McDonald down the left and his cross in the penalty area was fired just wide by Harnwell at the back post.
Floreat needed a lift and they went close to pulling one back on 86 minutes. Second half substitute Christopher Rizidis wasn’t closed down by Sorrento and his low shot flashed inches past the post. With Floreat pushing men forward late they nearly conceded a third in the last minute. A great ball from Kilkelly sent Bulloch racing down the left and his ball in the penalty area found Martin but his shot was cleared off the line by Mark Walsh. The win takes fourth-placed Sorrento five points clear of Stirling Lions with two games remaining.
Coach Jamie Harnwell was pleased with the defending with the finals on the horizon. “It was a good win and it was one of our better defensive performances,” Harnwell said. “We’ve been leaking goals this season so to keep a clean sheet is pleasing. “It was a little scrappy at times but the lads dug in and we could have scored a couple more but for some last ditch defending from them.”
INGLEWOOD HOLD ON (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Despite Inglewood United being 3-0 up against Subiaco at the WA Athletics Stadium, they had to endure a nervy end to the game as they managed to hold on to win 4-3 in the NPL on Saturday. The win was caretaker coach Goran Stajic’s first in charge of Inglewood. “To be up 3-0 and then come close to drawing at the end would have been disappointing for the lads,”he said. "We haven’t won for a while so obviously the boys have forgotten what it’s like to be winning and how to win the game.”
Inglewood largely dominated the first half going in at half time with a comfortable 2-0 lead, thanks to a brace from Teeboy Kamara, who finished sharply with two well-taken shots. The lead was extended in the second half as Greg Sharland found the net with a well-taken free kick, which Subiaco goalkeeper Henry Davies was unlucky not to keep out after getting a hand to it. Subiaco then earned a confidence boost as Rory Feely volleyed home from close range to make it 3-1, before Feely set up Ian McMurray with a tap in to reignite the game at 3-2. The final blow came to Subiaco almost instantly as Inglewood managed to score straight from the restart through Ryan Clarke, who came straight through the middle of the Subiaco defence uncontested.
Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan was left frustrated by his side’s poor defensive display. “To get back to 3-2 and give away a goal from kick off is just juvenile, it shouldn’t happen at any age group, its just unacceptable,”he said. “I didn’t think their defence was any better, a fair score would have been six each today.”
Subiaco snuck one more back and set up a grandstand finish with Rowdy Yates firing a well-driven shot past the keeper. Jordan Rhodes missed a guilt edged chance just seconds before the final whistle as he found himself free in the penalty area but put his shot over the bar.
Stajic believes Inglewood still has something to show the league in the remaining games. “Everyone keeps saying we haven’t got a lot to play for but we’ve got (Ryan) Clarke up there chasing the golden boot, which would be a fantastic achievement for not only him but also the club,”he said. “I think a lot of these boys are playing for a spot next year, if not at Inglewood then at other clubs, so I think there’s a lot to play for still and a lot to prove.”
LATE WINNER FOR PERTH AGAIN (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Perth SC snatched a second consecutive late win and were crowned winners of the 2014 Dylan Tombides Trophy in a tough match against fifth placed Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park in the NPL WA on Saturday. Ashley Rosindale made it his third goal in three games for Perth since returning from injury before David Micevski equalised from the spot, but Mark Doninger continued his recent scoring streak and won the game five minutes from time.
Stirling coach Gary Williams thought a draw would have been a fair result for both teams. “I thought we were the better team in the first half, we got into some good offensive positions but we didn’t capitalise,” he said. “When you get in front of the back four you’ve got to drive and commit a player, but sometimes we just weren’t positive enough.” Williams had admiration for Perth’s consistency. “In the last two games Perth have scored late to convert two points into six and that’s why they’re second and we’re fifth," he said.
Rosindale opened the scores after seven minutes when he met Doninger’s cross between two defenders and clumsily rolled it into the bottom corner. It was not long before Alex Castiello brought down Jack Salter in the box, and Micevski had no problems converting the penalty. The Lions looked most promising to going ahead after the break when Dean Evans found acres of space in the 67th minute and delivered an almost perfect ball into the box, but Salter could not meet it. Substitute Harley Orr came close to making his mark for Perth, delivering some dangerous balls from the right wing. But Doninger could not reward his efforts, miss-timing a free shot in the box in the 75th minute.
Doninger eventually got the breakthrough when Aden Da Luz passed across goal and he beat Vrteski in a fifty-fifty to give himself a second chance to tap home. Centre-back Andy Brown was pushed forward to bolster the attack in a last-minute attempt to earn a point but Stirling saw another dangerous ball float untouched across goal- Phil Arnold coming painstakingly close to a connection on Brown’s cross in the 92nd minute.
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis said it was a tough game but they needed the win. “We just had to focus on what we needed to do and today we needed the three points,” he said. Nicolaidis said he would much rather be in Bayswater’s shoes but it is not over yet. “We’re not going to give them the championship; we’re still putting the pressure on them so they’re going to have to fight for it.”
HEAGNEY ON FIRE FOR BAYSWATER (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City striker David Heagney made an immediate impact after his overseas trip, bagging a hat-trick in their 6-0 National Premier Leagues WA win against Perth Glory at the Intiga Stadium. The former St Johnstone and Huddersfield Town striker has now scored 13 goals for the season but was not interest in taking all the praise. “I’ve been itching to get back and start playing and to get the hat-trick today is a great feeling,” he said. “The service from the lads helped me today - and even the referee for my second. It’s great to be back and we push on to next week. I joined this club to help them win the league and I want to be a winner and we’re all focused on doing that this season.”
The young Glory side were overwhelmed with Todd Howarth bagging a brace against his former employers with Paul McCarthy adding the other. Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses was happy with how the side had bounced back from the defeat against Cockburn last time out. “We had a few players back today and with David back, you always know when he gets a chance he will put it away, and he showed that today,” Moses said. “We worked on getting the ball in early at training. We’ve struggled in the final third in recent weeks but today we got our rewards. “The whole side worked hard today, and I thought Declan (Hargreaves) was especially good for us. He wasn’t a regular starter for us at the start of the season but he has waited his time and he has now matured as a player and has fitted in really well with the team.”
It was a bright start to the game with both sides having early chances. First on 10 minutes Brian Farrell’s cross picked out McCarthy, whose shot was saved low by Luke Radonich. Moments later Bor Bor Sambindi burst through two Bayswater players on the left and sent Joe Knowles in on goal. But Bayswater custodian Devon Spence narrowed the angle and blocked the striker’s low shot and recovered well to save from Gian Albano’s follow up shot. Then on 13 minutes the visitors hit the front. With strikers Steve Burton and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda out suspended, it was the perfect time for Heagney to return to the side and he steered home from 6m Sam Mitchinson’s cross.
Glory keeper Radonich kept his side in the game. The youngster made a stunning save to deny Farrell’s snap shot sixty seconds later, then from the resulting corner he reacted well to turn Chris Saldaris’ shot around a post. But there was little he could do on 37 minutes when Bayswater doubled their advantage with an assist from referee Josh Mannella. An attempted clearance by the Glory hit the official and the ball ran into the path of Heagney, who curled home superbly from the edge of the penalty area. The points were affectively wrapped up before the break. Heagney was the provider this time; his run and cross found McCarthy who fired home from close-range to send Bayswater in with a 3-0 lead.
It was much of the same after the break and Bayswater’s pressure was rewarded with a fourth goal on the hour. Howarth’s shot was deflected into the path of Heagney, who claimed his hat-trick, while Glory defenders had stopped in anticipation of an offside flag. Three minutes later Bayswater added a fifth. Glory failed to clear their lines from a corner and the ball was fed to Howarth, who made no mistake. It was one-way traffic and Bayswater made it 6-0 on 73 minutes. Hargreaves’ corner found Trent Kay, whose shot was blocked, but not cleared and Howarth was on hand to fire home from close-range. The Glory went close late but with the goal at his mercy Nic Talimdzioski headed wide at the back post. The win sees Bayswater maintain their two point advantage from Perth SC at the top of the table with only two games remaining.
JOONDALUP CONTINUE LATE SEASON REVIVAL (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
ECU Joondalup dominated the first half of football at their home ground on Saturday and managed to hold off a late rally from visitors Armadale to claim an important 2-1 win. Reliable Joe Smith and Jon Stynes were on target for the home side at ECU Football Stadium, while substitute Ben Wantee led the charge for Armadale with his goal late in the second half.
An action-packed start from the hosts resulted in the early goal to Smith, who delivered a bomb from the right wing, catching off guard keeper Matthew Gould. Armadale reacted immediately with spirited efforts from Sam Loveless and Faustinho Machochi testing the ECU defence as they sought a way through. Jackson Bealey came close from a Machochi ball when he stepped around his man and fired a shot, which was met with a brilliant diving save from ECU keeper Andy Banks. But the early display of enthusiasm from the visitors was soon to wane as ECU extended their lead when Andy Higgins showed great vision to pick out Stynes, who finished past Gould. Henry Durr was excellent in the ECU midfield, adding energy and fight to the cause.
The second half saw ECU Joondalup drop the intensity level and loosen the vice-like grip they had held all over the pitch. Armadale sensed the door left slightly ajar and tried to build some pressure. David Foster was busy doing the same for ECU at the other end with his persistent but ineffective pestering of Gould. Similarly, Danny Dixon was instrumental in providing service from the left but collectively, ECU lacked drive. Armadale had the majority of possession but were unable to make much of an impression until their goal late in the game.
Dennis Gaye crossed to Wantee in space at the edge of the box and his strike proved too much for Banks. A fight back seemed possible when Varney took a free-kick in stoppage time. The ball floated over the wall and over the cross bar, along with his team’s chances of a draw.
ECU Coach Dale McCulloch, looking forward to being back in the technical area next week after a three-week suspension, was not overly inspired by his team’s performance. “It’s the same set up to the way we went in against Perth last week but things didn’t live up to our expectations today,” he said. “We were 2-0 up and cruising at the start of the second half and we really need to kill teams off. We didn’t do that today and we nearly got punished for it.” “We want six points out of the next two games and jump as many spots (on the ladder) as we can. We’ll be pushing hard for our last two games.”
BALCATTA SEAL FINALS PLACE (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta fought back from a goal down to snatch a 2-1 win at Dalmatinac Park and book their spot in the NPL WA Finals series, leaving Cockburn's hopes of joining them hanging by a thread with just two rounds remaining. Benny Kouakou was the star of the show for the visitors; his double coming after City had taken the lead through Ross Diamond's pile-driver. City could not capitalise on Dejan Aleksic's heroics between the posts, the shot-stopper twice denying Carlo Coelho from the penalty spot, although Kouakou scored the rebound from the second effort.
Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon was pleased to have the finals spot wrapped up despite aiming for a top two finish and a "double chance", which although not out of reach, is unlikely with Perth SC five points ahead. "We definitely need to win next week to be sure of third place and then we'll prepare (for the finals)," Falzon said. "Cockburn created a lot of chances in the first half, but we settled better in the second and we created heaps of chances and we should have got a third. I'm disappointed we missed two penalties but at least we still managed to pick up the winner from the second one."
Cockburn boss Marc Anthony was unhappy the Balcatta winner was allowed to stand with Kouakou appearing to enter the area before the kick had been taken, giving him a huge advantage over the defence in the race to get to the loose ball. "The boys have been great the last four or five weeks. It was disappointing we didn't play anywhere near as well as we can but the boy's miles in the box and these are the decisions that cost you games, and it has cost us a point if not three. At 1-1 we would have taken more chances to try and win it," he said. Anthony refused to give up on the chase for the finals until it becomes mathematically impossible but it's looking a tall order with games fast running out.
It all looked to be going to plan for the hosts in the first half as they sought to extend their winning streak to six games, with David Arraya and Jesse Fuller both stinging the fingertips of visiting goalkeeper Clint Davies, and Aleksic superbly pushing out Coelho's penalty after the forward had been bundled over in the box. On 27 minutes Diamond unleashed a shot from 30m, which appeared to swerve and deceive Davies on its way into the roof of the net to give the home side a deserved lead. But this setback spurred on the visiting side and they equalised five minutes before the break, Kouakou applying a neat turn and finish across Aleksic following a low ball by Alex Caniglia from the left.
The second half was largely a scrappy affair with both midfields struggling to retain the ball, but it was Balcatta who looked the most likely to score, and the controversial winner arrived in the 64th minute following a clumsy challenge in the area by Euen Grant on Coelho. After some debate on who should take it Coelho stepped up looking to make amends from his earlier miss, but he found Aleksic equal once again, only this time the Cockburn keeper could not get his block out of danger. Kouakou reached the ball first, found his feet and prodded home with the City bench outraged that referee Tim Mihevc had not spotted the infringement leading up to it. The Cockerels could not find a response and their excellent winning run that has hauled them into finals contention came to a disappointing end.
UWA TOO GOOD FOR CANNING (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
UWA-Nedlands beat Canning City 3-1 in an intense clash that sparked two penalties in as many minutes at UWA Sports Park in the All Flags State League Division One. Robbie Black was both the hero and villain for UWA after scoring two goals and then being sent off after a second yellow card for a studs up tackle on Thomas Gibbins. Daniel Niederberger converted Canning’s penalty but Alex Kretowiz increased the home side’s lead after hitting the back of the net in the second half.
UWA coach Michael Lyons felt the performance was a big improvement on last week’s game against Wanneroo. “Especially after going down to 10 players I thought we looked oragnised, worked hard and didn’t really give them that many chances,” he said. Lyons thought keeper Robbie Webster was outstanding, which he said was fitting as it was his last game for UWA before moving to the United States to continue his studies.
Despite Canning looking the sharper side, it only took UWA five minutes to score. Black latched onto a through ball and had space to comfortably send the ball into the bottom right corner. This opened a flurry of attempts from both sides but Canning failed to capitalise on their chances. Niederberger’s curling shot was one of many to hit the crossbar and player-coach Paul Van Dongen’s goal was ruled to be offside. Van Dongen had another great chance in the 19th minute when he worked beyond the defence but Webster’s diving save kept out the ball.
Canning finally equalised after Simon Versaico was brought down in the box and Niederberger scored the resulting penalty. But in a bizarre twist UWA regained their lead when they were granted a penalty less than a minute later when Rory Moutett was deemed to have brought down Kretowiz and Black scored from the spot. A fumble by keeper Luke Stonebridge in the 35th minute gave UWA a chance to extend their lead but some desperate defending from Moutett kept them out.
The only real second-half chance came from Kretowiz who did not hesitate in thumping the ball into the back of the net in the 62nd minute. Canning had the numerical advantage after UWA were reduced to 10 men three minutes later but the home side comfortably saw out the rest of the game.
Co-coach Duncan Hind said Canning’s performance simply was not good enough and thought the score was a fair reflection of the match. “UWA were a pretty tight unit and the difference was that they put all their chances away,” he said. “We had the chances, and we have to scrub some paint off the ball, but at the end of the day if you give away goals and make basic errors you don’t deserve to win. “We‘re aiming for a top-four finish but we are stuck in a rut at the moment, so it’s slipping away from us.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND TWENTY
Perth Glory v Bayswater City
This fixture looks like it could be a one sided affair but with the top side coming off a loss and missing perhaps their two most influential players, Glory may see this as an opportunity for an upset. Bayswater were reduced to nine men in their 4-2 home loss to in form Cockburn City. Steve Burton and Gustavo Maralunda were both given their marching orders and will be missed this week as City attempt to get back on track. Glory have had a funny old season and certainly haven't been goal shy as they have scored only one less than 5th placed Stirling Lions. It has been in the defensive third that has caused them the most headaches with them conceding 10 goals in the last fortnight. Glory will have to be at their best if they are to avoid their 14th loss of the season.
Subiaco AFC v Inglewood United
A home win for Subiaco would see them edge closer to leapfrogging their opponents in what is turning out to be a solid first season at the top. It my sound strange given they have won only 4 of their 19 league games this term but their improvement from the first half of the year cannot go unnoticed. They were written off before a ball was kicked in 2014 and have recently caused a lot of raised eyebrows. Inglewood have certainly been the side that has mostly underachieved this campaign in a year that they held high hopes for. At the beginning of the season then Coach Graham Normanton had looked to have formed a group of players capable of challenging at the top of the table but they have been unable to live up to those expectations. Inglewood prevailed 4-0 in the reverse fixture but this one is guaranteed to be a closer contest. Subiaco will give Dave Timmons his debut this weekend, Timmons has been a long term absentee due to injury. Rowdy Yates also returns from suspension.
Cockburn City v Balcatta
The last five weeks have transformed Cockburn's season and turned a season that looked destined for mid table mediocrity into one of genuine top 4 hopes. Cockburn are the in form side of the competition and will go into this one confident of extending that run and close the gap on third placed Balcatta. Cockburn are the joint second top scorers in the league and after coming away from Frank Drago with all 3 points last week, will hope to kick on and feature heavily in September. Balcatta's victory over Subiaco last week was the first time in a month they have been able to collect maximum points and surely a relief for coach Ramon Falzon and his side. Balcatta comprehensively beat Cockburn back in Round 9 3-0 but since that point the fortunes of both clubs have changed. Balcatta are still without the services of Paddy Quinn who is unavailable due to family commitments. Alex Caninglia and James Sammut are also doubtful for the clash due to sickness and injury respectively. Top scorer Gustavo Catarcione has returned from overseas and is back in training but this weekend is likely to come too soon for him to make the match day squad.
ECU Joondalup v Armadale
Armadale's season hit a new low last weekend as they were humiliated 7-0 at the hands of Perth. At this point in the year with little to play for Armadale may opt to try a few things and perhaps offer fringe players an opportunity to prove themselves. In a season that has been one to forget for the southern suburbs outfit they will hope to improve on their tally of 7 points with 3 games remaining. ECU will look back on their season and be thinking what could have been. A more consistent start to the year and Joondalup could well be chasing a finals spot. ECU have shown in recent weeks that they can challenge any team, unfortunately for them in many cases they have gone down by the odd goal which has proven costly. Armadale are going to be without both Alex Clarke and Mitch Castrilli who are both suffering injuries. Alec Solomons is an important addition though as he returns from suspension. Charlie Comyn-Platt is recovering from an injury for ECU, otherwise coach Dale McCulloch should have a full squad to choose from.
Stirling Lions v Perth
A loss here for Stirling could prove costly as they desperately try and secure a finals berth. Defeat could potentially see them as much as 5 points adrift of 4th place with two games to go which isn't a scenario the Lions want to leave themselves with. The Lions have a crucial few weeks coming up and the fact they have a crucial FFA Cup tie against A-League Champions Brisbane Roar coming up maybe their attention will be away from the league and allow opposition sides to capitalise. WA Power house club Perth have had a very impressive season in Taki Nickolaidis' first year in charge. They top the goal scoring charts and are generally tight at the back so it will come as no surprise that they could be sitting pretty at the top come Saturday Evening. When Perth hosted Striling back in May it finished 1-1 in a cagey affair. Rikki Smith was an early withdrawal in Stirlings game last week with a back injury and he will face a late fitness test. Clayton Arnez and Dennis Galan played their part for the U20's last week and will be putting their hand up for first team selection on Saturday. Perth welcome back Craig Simpson, Adrian Caceras and Matthew Milenkovic but will have to do without both Laurence Gaughn and Luka Njegich.
Floreat Athena v Sorrento
Two sides with a very strong and successful recent history at the top level clash at Litis stadium in a game that will affect a few clubs as they chase the leading pack. With Floreat you don't know what to expect. They sit in mid table having won 9 and lost 9 of their 19 games this year but still harbour small hopes of sneaking into 4th spot come seasons end. Sorrento themselves have had a less than consistent year having conceded almost twice as many goals as leaders Bayswater which is perhaps a surprise with Perth Glory stalwart Jamie Harnwell at the helm. This will be the third meeting between the sides in 2014. The previous league meeting saw Sorrento come out on top 3-2 however the Cup clash saw Floreat hand Sorrento a 5-0 hammering. The Gulls are missing Sean Canham for the next 3 weeks due to family commitments but will be back for the top 4 finals if Sorrento make it. Adam Luca remains on the sidlines because of injury and James Morgan, Danny Cain and Jason Mirco are also all unavailble for selection. Scott Bulloch and Zack Edwards return from holiday and injury respectively.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND SIXTEEN
Mandurah v Ashfield
On paper this looks like a one sided affair but Mandurah are on a great run of form which has seen them taste defeat only once in their last 6 games winning 4 in the process. A win for the Peel side would have consequences at both ends of the table and could see them sit as high as 6th come Saturday evening. Ashfield will prove a much tougher proposition however and Mandurah will need to be at the top of their game. Ashfield have suffered only a single league defeat in 2014 and surprisingly enough that was a home game against struggling Gosnells. The visitors are locked in a 3 horse race for the title and know that they simply can't let slip here. Mandurah have few 'outs' to deal with this weekend and hope that some younger players can step up and continue the run they are on.
Gosnells City v Dianella White Eagles
A tough game to call as on their day both these sides have the quality in their ranks to cause problems for any side. Gosnells will go in confident on home turf as they welcome Dianella to Walter Padbury who have lost 6 of their 7 games on the road this season. If Gosnells could unearth a player that could find the back on a regular basis it would solve many problems as they are currently the lowest scorers in the division. Dianella earlier in the year thumped Canning 5-0 so they know they have it in them to put teams to the sword. Last time these sides met they battled out a 1-1 draw.
Swan United v Bunbury Forum Force
Swan host Bunbury this week at Francis Street and may well fancy their chances of an upset. Swan fought gallantly last week and battled hard pushing leaders Ashfield for the full 90 minutes. Bunbury come into this fixture in their worst run of form of the year as they have won just 2 of their last 5 and relinquished top spot in the process. The South West side set the early pace and were most peoples tip to take out the league title this season after their dubious 'relegation'. Bunbury have no doubt got the players to win this game with relative comfort but if Swan stick to a game plan an upset isn't out of the question. Swan will have to deal with a number of absentees in their tussle with Bunbury. Ross Cosgrove is very doubtful with a bruised leg and Ebe Cowbrough and Ryan Treacy are unavailable for selection. Andy O’Neill and Mark Donnelly face late fitness tests and Antonio Vinci is missing for the second week in a row due to a knee injury and Owen Curtis remains on the sidelines.
Shamrock Rovers Perth v Wanneroo City
Shamrock along with Ashfield and Bunbury have their destiny in their own hands. They know that if they beat the teams in front of them they will win their first ever State League title. The worry for the Irish outfit is that they have picked up just 4 points from their 4 games against the other 2 title contenders which may come back to haunt them. They have got the tough games out of the way however and face 7 of the bottom 8 sides in the lead up to the end of the season. Wanneroo will come into this one full of confidence and on a big high as last week they picked up maximum points for the first time this season. They had been threatening to for a few weeks as they narrowly went down to Western Knights and were involved in an entertaining 4-4 draw with Bunbury.
UWA-Nedlands FC v Canning City
A mid table clash that with a resounding victory could see UWA jump Canning in the table. Canning are the most inconsistent side in the competition having lost as many as they have won but with the return of some players from injury could Canning potentially live up to their pre season billing of Title favourites? Realistically these two sides only have pride to play for with them threatening at neither end of the table but both will be giving 100% to bring home the 3 points on Saturday. UWA will look at Canning's away record with optimism with the visitors losing their last 5 away outings. Mark Trevisiol is a doubt for Canning with a hamstring injury and Charlie Parry remains on the sidelines with a calf complaint. The Blues could also see both Simon Corriea and Simon Versaico return to first team selection.
Western Knights v Morley-Windmills
Morley head to Nash Field hoping to inflict similar punishment as they received at the hands of the Knights earlier in the season. Western Knights had a field day at Wotton Reserve back in May as they came away with a resounding 5-1 victory. This was one of few highs for the Knights in a season that they had much higher hopes for. After that win they won only 1 of their next 4 as the campaign began to derail. Morley narrowly lost 1-0 in their tough trip in Bunbury last week but it was their third loss on the bounce, but they will hope to show similar resolve when they take on the Knights. The Windmills have only conceded 8 goals in 7 games on the road which is a vast contrast from the 23 they have let through at home. The Knights will be missing Ethan Levitt through suspension but welcome back Luca Jukic after he has served his 3 game ban. Phil Giglia and Josh Noorgate are looking to impress and maybe be given a chance to show what they can do. Jason Pottier is looking to break into the attack for the first time since coming back from overseas. The Knights are also hoping that the clearance comes through for young Connor Thurston who is back in Perth for a short while after 2 successful years with Blackpool in England.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND SIXTEEN
It’s week sixteen of the Football West Second Division, and all roads lead to Forrest Park on Saturday when Joondalup United entertain Joondalup City in the Joondalup derby. City Coach Gary Kalaher knows how important the game is for both sides. “Naturally the players and coaching staff at City are looking forward to the challenge of facing the Champions elect,” he said. “We will go there and give it our all and anything can happen in a local derby, the reverse fixture was a tight affair and we will be looking to do the same on Saturday.” United sit nine points clear at the top of the table, but Coach Daniel Smith is expecting a tough game against their local rivals. “This is a massive game for us, we know City will be out to put a stop to our good form, and try and unhinge our season,” he said. “But we will be prepared for the game and we will play with confidence, and we hope there is a big crowd on hand to watch it.” In team news, City will be without skipper Danny Allen due to suspension, while United’s Adam Buckley is in doubt, after limping out of last week’s big win at Ellenbrook.
Rockingham City will be looking to keep the pressure on United when they host bottom of the table Kelmscott Roos at Lark Hill. “We go into the game full of confidence after a great win last week against a very good Curtin side,” City coach Rob Crerar said. “But I will be reminding the players of our last encounter with Kelmscott where we were minutes away from dropping points, it’s important we show up with the right attitude and continue our good run of form.” In team news, Lewy Bake is out with injury, but the coach has Abraham Taona and youngster Shane Boyle pushing for selection. The Roos are down to the bare bones because of injury and suspension, but Coach James Coffey is looking for another good performance from his side. In other games Kingsway Olympic entertain Ellenbrook United at Kingsway Reserve, and Quinns FC make the trip to Princess Road Reserve to take on Balga.
Curtin University will look to bounce back from last week’s defeat when they travel to Len Shearer Reserve to take on Melville City. “The boys are hungry to set it right against Melville, after losing and being out played by them last time out,” Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne said. Forrestfield United will be without their injured keeper Brad Eiffe for the visit of Fremantle United to Hartfield Park. “They have been on a good run of form lately and will looking to take the points at our home ground,” Forrestfield midfielder Trent Wood said. “We have had a few shaky performances recently, but things are starting to fall nicely into place again, and I’m more than confident we can get the right result.”
LIONS ON A FINALS PROWL, SAYS PAVOLVIC (courtesy The West Australian)
Stirling Lions are still contenders for the National Premier Leagues WA finals and defender Jovo Pavlovic believes they are hitting their straps at the right time of the season. Pavlovic joined the Lions this season after stints in Asia, where the 24-year-old played in the Indonesian Premier League with Mitra Kukar and the Hong Kong First Division with South China. “My time at both clubs was fantastic. It was a great experience that I will never forget,” he said. “It’s always hard to leave family and friends behind and I found it hard at times but I guess it’s the sport we choose to play and have to accept and deal with leaving the people we love behind.”
At South China the defender played against Tottenham Hotspur. “While at South China we played Spurs in front of 40,000 supporters,” Pavlovic said. “It was a real buzz and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I was on the bench against Manchester City the following week but never came on. I really enjoyed my time there and if the opportunity came again I would definitely go back.”
Pavlovic began his football in WA and made his league debut under the tutelage of former Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi. “I started at Swan IC before playing for Bayswater City, Floreat Athena and Balcatta in the state league,” he said. “I worked with Gary at Swan IC. He was the coach who introduced me to first team football when I was 15 years old and got me to train with the first team on a regular basis.”
The defender was outstanding in last week’s 5-1 thrashing of Inglewood United, which consolidated fifth spot for the Macedonia Park club. “It was a good victory on the road last week. We created a number of chances and got into good positions and it keeps us in touch with Sorrento in fourth,” Pavlovic said.
This week Stirling takes on second-placed Perth SC in a must-win game. “Perth has been very impressive this season but we are in a situation now where we have to win every game and hope other results fall in our favour,” Pavlovic said. “All we can do is win the game and I’m confident we can.”
The Lions take on Brisbane Roar in the Westfield FFA Cup in two weeks. Pavlovic is looking forward to taking on the A-League Champions but knows they must put that to the back of their minds, with the NPLWA top of their agenda. “Everyone at the club is looking forward to this game. It’s a great opportunity for all the players to show themselves and prove themselves against a top flight powerhouse team,” he said. “But we can’t look too far ahead and the only thing we are focused on is getting three points on Saturday against Perth.” The Lions are at full strength for the game, while Perth will have Craig Simpson, Adrian Caceres and Matt Milenkovic back in consideration.
SUTTON'S LONG WAIT IS FINALLY OVER (courtesy Inglewood United)
Versatile youngster Cameron Sutton could not be happier about his long overdue move into senior football. For the past five seasons 22-year old Sutton has been biding his time patiently in Inglewood United’s reserves, who last year he captained to the regular season and play-off titles. Sutton had good reason to expect that double success would bring him into first team contention this year, but when that didn’t eventuate he refused to be deterred. A fortnight ago his years of hard work and commitment were finally rewarded with a starting eleven spot for the trip to ECU Joondalup.
Sutton, who also started last weekend’s home fixture with Stirling Lions, is understandably delighted at breaking into the senior line-up, and is equally as determined to remain there. “I’m really enjoying the opportunity, it’s difficult but at the same time it’s very rewarding,” said Sutton, the son of Inglewood’s dual Gold Medal winner Norrie Sutton. “First team football is a lot higher tempo and the intensity is greater. Everything is faster and your decision-making is key, even small mistakes can be costly. But I’m playing with some good experienced players who are making the transition smooth.”
If adjusting to the rigours of first team football wasn’t enough of a challenge, Sutton is doing it in a largely unfamiliar defensive role. “For most of the Under-20s season I’ve been playing an attacking midfield role, looking to break lines and provide the link between defence and attack,” he explained. “Due to injuries and other player absences, I moved to a centre-back role and have enjoyed the change. That switch has helped me transition into a similar position for the first team as they, too, have been short on defensive players.”
Sutton was only six when he first played for Inglewood and, other than three seasons at Stirling, has played his entire career to date out of Intiga Stadium. “I’ve always enjoyed Inglewood, it’s a great club with a long history and in years to come they’ll be a real National Premier Leagues leader,” Sutton commented. “We have a great group of players who all get along really well and have developed a strong friendship. We also have great coaches and backroom staff who work together for the club, and our youth set-up is ensuring the future of players coming up through the ranks.”
As season 2014 comes to a close Sutton is aiming to further his development and lift Inglewood a few rungs higher up the ladder. “I’m quite happy with how I’ve been playing this year but I’m always looking to constantly improve and to keep up consistent performances to better myself,” he commented. “In terms of the teams, I want us to win every game. Both the first and reserve teams should be much higher up the ladder, our current positions don’t reflect the good football Inglewood has been playing and the hard work of our coaching staff throughout the year.”
BIRIGHITTI NOT FRETTING OVER JUVE
A-League All-Stars goalkeeper Mark Birighitti isn't fretting about facing a Juventus team coming off an seven-goal win. Newcastle Jets’ Birighitti expects to come on for the second half of Sundays' game in Sydney as a replacement for Eugene Galekovic, the man he also started behind at his previous club Adelaide United. The two A-League shot-stoppers could be forgiven for feeling some trepidation after Juventus scored an 8-1 drubbing of an Indonesian select team on Wednesday, but that's not the case. "No, we've been doing a lot of video analysis on Juventus," Birighitti said. "There's certain areas in their game where we can definitely hurt them in transition and we've got good enough players here. We've got enough quality in this side to give it a good crack."
Nor was Birighitti fazed by the potential for any communication mix-ups with defenders he was not used to playing behind. "I don't see any difference between playing here or playing at club level," Birighitti said. "All the players here are fantastic players otherwise they wouldn't be called into this camp. There's no difficulty in communicating to the back four, whoever it is, because we've definitely got a good understanding of how we want to play on Sunday night … There's 22 players out on the field and these types of big games it comes down to fine margins. If we can hold them out for the majority of the game, you never know, maybe (we can) jag one or two goals here or there."
KEOGH WANTS CUP GLORY
New recruit Andy Keogh says Perth Glory are aiming to create history by winning the inaugural FFA Cup after downing Newcastle Jets 2-0 last night. The Republic of Ireland international found the back of the net in each half to hand Glory a comfortable win over a lacklustre home side Magic Park in Newcastle. “There’s a trophy to win and it’s the first time the league’s had this cup so why not be the first team to win it?,” Keogh said. “We’ve got a good squad now, we’ve got Youssouf Hersi and Michael Thwaite with the All Stars and Rostyn Griffiths and Ruben Zadkovich to come back. We’ve got good strength and depth and we’re really looking to take it game by game and make a mark this year.”
Keogh admitted it was a difficult task to play a one-off cup tie away from home but felt his side thoroughly deserved their victory. “It was a good performance, we’ve been working hard in the pre-season and we deserved the win. It’s always tough with the smaller ground but the atmosphere was great and both teams put a good shift in,” the striker. “It’s always nice to score, they were easy enough chances and credit to the lads they put them on a plate for me. It’s going well, I still feel I need to get a bit fitter but the whole team has been doing brilliant, but it’s one step at a time until the season starts.”
SUPER SIX GIVE GLORY WOMEN FINALS FEELING
Six Australian internationals will complement the best West Australian talent in a Perth Glory Women squad focused on reaching the W-League finals this summer. Team coach Jamie Harnwell has responded to the challenges of the 2013 campaign by working overtime in the off-season to secure the services of world-class talent, including the return to Sam Kerr, who played for Sydney FC last season. Kerr will be joined by fellow Matildas Caitlin Foord, Mackenzie Arnold and Alanna Kennedy as new signings, while Kate Gill and Collette McCallum are familiar to the Glory faithful.
Harnwell is thrilled to have a green and gold “super six” on board and expects the players will push to perform during the W-League season with the Women’s World Cup just around the corner. “Our aim is to get back into the top four and with the signings we have made, we have the potential to do that,” said Harnwell. “To have six Matildas’ players in the squad leading into a World Cup year is really going to benefit the team. All of them will be desperate to perform and book their flight to Canada for next year and Perth Glory will be the beneficiary of that.”
KEOGH FIRES GLORY TO FFA CUP WIN
In-form recruit Andy Keogh fired an undermanned Perth Glory into the FFA Cup round of sixteen by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win away to Newcastle Jets. Republic of Ireland striker Keogh pounced at close-range after 20 minutes but waited until the closing stages before sealing seal the win. “We didn’t concede and they applied a fair bit of pressure at one-nil,” assistant coach Andrew Ord said. “Even though we weren’t fluid today, we always looked threatening. Even when we were under the pump a little bit, we still had the players that could make the other team think and put them on the back foot.”
The home side opened brightly with Craig Goodwin’s cross hit the side netting and Joel Griffiths testing Glory custodian Danny Vukovic with a dead ball. But it was Glory that went ahead on 20 minutes, Sidnei Sciola crossing for Keogh to fire in via the underside of the crossbar. New signing Jeronimo Neumann came within in of levelling the game with a long-range effort that rattled the crossbar, and a few minutes later the same player fired narrowly wide. Glory went close to doubling their lead five minutes before the break but Nebosja Marinkovic’s curling free-kick was just past the post.
Glory were back on the attack early in the second half, Mitch Nichols playing a great ball in to Keogh whose low shot hit the side netting. Vukovic saved well from Jonathan Steele on 68 minutes after he was sent clear by Goodwin. It was end-to-end with chances at both ends. Keogh’s snap from the edge of the penalty flashed wide before Vukovic saved well from Steele’s powerful strike. With Newcastle pushing men forward, Glory were hitting on the counter attack and with three minutes remaining Nichols squaring for an unmarked Keogh to fire low past Kennedy from close-range.
INGLEWOOD MADE ME SAYS MAKECHE
Felda United attacker Ndumba Makche says he would not be playing professionally had it not been for the time he spent with Inglewood United. Makeche has just finished his first season in Malaysia where he helped Felda win promotion to the Super League and gain qualification for the final of the FA Cup. The 22-year old joined the club earlier this year in search of regular game time after close to two-years at Perth Glory. But it with Inglewood that he initially shot to prominence and began to journey down the road to professional football.
Zambia-born Makeche has no doubt where his career ignited. “Inglewood was the reason I got noticed by Perth Glory,” commented Makeche, who featured 26 times and scored 14 goals during the 2011 season. “I played regularly in the first team while I was still young and that allowed me to gain experience playing against older and more experienced players … Inglewood prepared me for professional football.” Makeche’s goal scoring talents were never better displayed that the hat-trick he scored at Western Knights plus doubles against former club Stirling Lions and Cockburn City.
The accolades continued post-season with Makeche polling second to club captain Shane Pryce in the Fairest and Best. This was complimented by his placing fifth in the Gold Medal, presented to the league’s best player, and the Goal of the Season award for a sensational curling finish away at Mandurah City. “That was the highlight of my time at Inglewood, winning the Goal of the Year capped what was a very special season for me,” he added. With a stellar winter behind him, Makeche continued his development by hitting eight goals for the Glory Youth team during the summer months.
Makeche made his A-League debut with Glory in March 2012, and two months later signed his first professional contract. “I went through a tough spell in my first two professional seasons,” said Makeche, who was limited to just six outings with Glory. “I would like to have played more and showed what I can do, but that’s football. I appreciate everything the club did for me, I made some great friends there and have some good memories. Everything happens for a reason and my experiences there made me a bigger person.”
Earlier this year Makeche made the move to Malaysia with the dual goal of regular game time and re-igniting his career. “I’m very happy with my first season at Felda, I’ve been given an opportunity to play. I helped the club get promoted to the Super League and we also reach the final of the Malaysian FA Cup, which was an awesome experience,” he said. “Malaysian football is more attacking, more end-to-end. I feel I’ve adapted well, the game here is quick so my speed has certainly helped me.”
Makeche comes out of contract in October and, although happy at Felda, will consider his options before taking the next step in his career. “I’m in talks with the club about but I’m not in a rush to agree to anything,” he said. “I want time to properly evaluate my options and will decide in the next month or so where I play next season. Football opens a lot of doors for you and I’d like to play in other Asian countries in the future, I love the passion and culture of the fans.”
COYNE TAKES STATE REINS FOR GLORY CLASH
Former Socceroos defender Chris Coyne will take the reins of the State team for a challenge match against Perth Glory next week. The friendly, which kicks off at 7.00pm on at Wednesday, 13th August, at Dalmatinac Park, represents another milestone for Coyne whose playing career included spells with West Ham United, Colchester United, Luton Town, Dundee and Glory. He turned his hand to coaching last at Bayswater City and is now looking forward to testing his mettle against A-League club Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup later this month.
Before then, Coyne will take charge of the State team in a fixture that will assist in Glory’s preparations for the coming summer. “But it’s an absolute honour for me to have been asked to coach the State team,” Coyne said. “We’re heading into a busy period of the season. It’s always a bit of juggling act for clubs when the State team plays a game because of the workload on players, who are coming towards the end of the season. But the reaction has been good and I’m sure the players will see it as a special achievement to pull on the black and gold strip and play for WA.”
Since kicking off with Bayswater in 2013, Coyne has led the team to successive State Cup victories, back-to-back Night Series titles and a Grand Final win last season. He is determined to build on his early success and aims to take his coaching career further. “I’ve been involved in football all my life and I was always going to stay in the game after my playing days,” Coyne said. “And, so far, moving into coaching has been working out well for me. Bayswater is a very good club where we’ve got a good committee and a strong football department working together to achieve success.”
Football West technical director Cris Ola said Coyne was an obvious choice to take on the State job. “Chris was the Ron Tindall Coach of the Year in 2013 and he continues to be consistent in his coaching approach,” Ola said. “For the past two seasons he has had a big influence on how Bayswater play and they’re now one of the most competitive and consistent teams in the National Premier Leagues WA. Chris is also an FFA ‘B’ Licence coach and he’s very keen to progress and continue to update his coaching accreditation.”
NEW-LOOK GLORY TO STEP OUT IN NEWCASTLE
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe will call on his new recruits to help fire the team to victory in this evening’s FFA Cup tie at Newcastle Jets. Glory embarked on an aggressive off-season recruiting drive, with Lowe bringing in eight new faces to reinvigorate the squad for his first full campaign in charge. Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and experienced A-League players Richard Garcia, Diogo Ferreira and Mitch Nichols are set to make their first competitive appearances for the club in Newcastle. Glory are yet to win in three pre-season matches, having lost to Adelaide United and Inglewood United before holding Spanish club Malaga to a draw.
By contrast, Newcastle warmed up for tonight’s clash by thumping Weston Bears 8-1 last week, with new signing Jeronimo Neumann scoring four times. Newcastle will be led by former Dutch international defender and new club captain Kew Jaliens, who will be partnered at the back by Adrian Madaschi. Perth-born Madaschi spent several weeks training with Glory at the end of last season and played three games locally for Perth SC prior to signing with Newcastle in June. The home team will be missing first-choice goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and Ecuadorian recruit Edson Montano.
SAINSBURY'S PEC BEAT AJAX TO SILVERWARE
Young defender Trent Sainsbury has picked up silverware in the Netherlands after PEC Zwolle beat Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Shield yesterday. In the annual clash between last season’s Eredivisie champions and the Dutch Cup winners, Zwolle produced a superb performance to edge out the favourites 1-0 courtesy of a Stefan Nijland goal ten minutes into the second half. While the hosts had a string of chances, Sainsbury and his defence had an answer for everything to claim the season’s first trophy. It provided Sainsbury the perfect start to the new season and is sure to bring him into calculations for January’s Asian Cup.
NO GLORY FOR THWAITE
Perth Glory has suffered a major setback ahead of this week’s FFA Cup tie against Newcastle Jets with captain Michael Thwaite ruled out by his inclusion in the A-League All-Stars to face Juventus next Sunday. Thwaite was called into the All-Stars on Friday night and within 24-hours was on his way to join the squad in Wollongong as a replacement for Sydney FC defender Sasa Ognenovski. Unfortunately, his participation in the All-Stars-Juventus clash means he is unable to turn out for Glory on Tuesday.
Glory have requested Football Federation Australia allow Thwaite be allowed to play in the FFA Cup but the peak body refused to bend its rules. “Players selected in the All-Stars match are not able to come and go from camp to play matches for their club, which all A-League clubs and players are aware of,” a FFA spokesman said. “While we sympathise with the Hyundai A-League clubs whose players miss training and matches, it is important that we protect the integrity of the match for the continued growth of football in Australia.”
Danny Vukovic is likely to wear the captain’s armband in Thwaite’s absence and, with FFA Cup ties decided on the day, the Glory custodian could have a decisive say. Vukovic made A-League history in 2011 by becoming the first ‘keeper to score when he converted a penalty while playing for Wellington Phoenix, and he’s vowed to put his hand up again if required. “I’ll do my best to try to save them and if I get called upon to take a penalty, I might step up and take one too,” he said.
COCKBURN STILL IN THE HUNT (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Cockburn City are still in the hunt for a finals place after they scored their fifth successive victory as league leaders Bayswater City were beaten 4-2 in a heated game at Frank Drago Reserve yesterday. The home side had Steve Burton and Gustavo Giron Marulanda sent off as the match boiled over in the latter stages following a controversial call from the match officials.
None of that was of concern for Cockburn coach Marc Anthony, who had just watched his side wrap up another important three points in their push for a top-four finish. “I keep asking the lads to give me results and again today they were fantastic,” said Anthony, whose sixth-placed team is three points adrift of fourth. “It’s always good (to win) when you’re playing the best team in the league. The way we played was really pleasing, we matched them in every department.” “Winning breads confidence and the guys are confident that we can beat any team in the league and we’ve just played the best team in the league and won.”
The turning point of the game came as Bayswater striker Burton thought he had equalised after Cockburn led 3-2. Burton had looked to be offside but referee Matt Southern gave the goal after his assistant failed to raise his flag. Then, following consultation between the officials, the goal was ruled out and Cockburn were given a free-kick for offside. Burton reacted angrily to the decision and received his second yellow in the process, reducing Bayswater to 10 men for the remaining 20 minutes. “Bayswater aren’t used to getting beaten and they don’t like it, which is how it should be,” Anthony said. “Chris has got them playing very well and they’ve got that winning mentality.”
Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses was uninterested in making excuses for his side, which also lost Marulanda to a red card for a poorly timed tackle. “We were 3-2 down, starting to get momentum and we scored that goal,” Moses said of the controversy. “They’ve given the goal and the linesman has changed his decision. I think if the goal had stood, we would’ve got momentum and started kicking forward. But then a couple of undisciplined decisions by the players, we’re down to nine men and the game’s dead and buried.”
Bayswater had taken the lead with a good finish from Marulanda, whose low driven shot snuck past the Cockburn keeper. Cockburn then turned the game on its head before half-time with goals from Ross Diamond, who volleyed home from a tight angle, and a brilliant free kick from Conor Kavanagh. Bayswater fought back at the start of the second half as Chris Saldaris poked home from close range following a Cockburn corner.
Cockburn edged ahead through an error from Bayswater keeper Devon Spence, who was lobbed by a volley from Matt Barlow, following an attempted headed clearance from the edge of his box. The final goal came as Bayswater pushed forward for an equaliser and were exposed at the back, allowing Monty Grigo to tap home uncontested in the goal area.
The result sees Bayswater’s lead at the top of the table reduced to only two points with three games to play, which Moses considers a challenge for his Bayswater side. “At the end of the day its interesting for the fans now with three games to play,” he said. “They’ve got to go to Stirling next week who got a good win today. If we win the next three games, we win the league. “We’ve got some good players coming back into the team this week with Jamie Coyne, Todd Howarth and David Heagney.”
LIONS THRASH INGLEWOOD (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling Lions stayed in touching distance of a finals berth with a 5-1 mauling of Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium yesterday. Jack Salter and Phil Arnold each scored a double and Moses Kalau was also on target for the visitors, who trail fourth-placed Sorrento by two points, while Ryan Clarke scored Inglewood’s consolation from the penalty spot.
The result was another boost for the Lions who take on Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar in a much-anticipated Westfield FFA Cup match on August 19. It was another forgettable day for Inglewood, whose finals hopes evaporated quite some time ago. Caretaker manager Goran Stajic, who took over from Graham Normanton recently, was alarmed by his side’s collapse a week after conceding five goals against ECU Joondalup. “We were solid for the first 30 minutes,” Stajic said. “We just crumbled like last week in a short span of 15 minutes. It’s something that obviously needs addressing.”
Stirling were dominant throughout but had to wait until the latter stages of the first half for the goals to start flowing. After Kalau, Arnold and David Micevski had all had first-half chances without success, the opening goal came from Salter, who pounced on a poor clearance with 38 minutes gone. Inglewood’s morale was crushed before the half-time whistle with goals from Arnold in the final five minutes. Stajic turned to the more experienced faces of Teeboy Kamara and Abdul Sesay but they found it difficult to make an impact.
The second half barrage continued for Stirling as Kalau slotted past goalkeeper Luke Martino in the 57th minute. Seven minutes later Inglewood were given a penalty, which Clarke dispatched past Stirling keeper Aleks Vrteski for his 13th goal of the season. But Salter had the final say when he scored in the 70th minute.
PERTH GET A LATE WINNER (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
High-flying Perth SC benefited from a slice of luck in the 89th minute when Mark Pritchard's shot hit the upright and bounced in off the back of ECU Joondalup goalkeeper Andy Banks. The goal gave Perth a 2-1 win at Dorrien Gardens and they are now just two points behind league leaders Bayswater City following their loss to Cockburn City.
The home side were pushed much harder than in their previous two league games but coach Taki Nicolaidis said the belief in the squad got them over the line. “When things aren’t quite working in the game you need to change a few things to get the right mix,” he said. “Having that flexibility gives me variety as a coach. “Winning is a good habit and we’ve been doing that.”
Perth opened the scoring with Ash Rosindale continuing his goal scoring form since returning from injury. In the 31st minute the striker peeled away from his marker with a clever first touch, gave himself a metre of space and scored at the near post, catching Banks off guard. ECU started the second half stronger and played their way back into the game after an underwhelming first half. Their efforts were rewarded in the 66th minute when Jon Stynes headed the ball back across goalkeeper Francis Soale. The game opened up as both teams searched for the win in the last twenty minutes but it was the home side that got the break through.
ECU coach Dale McCulloch said he told his players their season was not over and they will be fighting in the remaining three games. “I thought we deserved to win the game today let alone hold on for a draw,” he said. “The game plan was to press them and I think we did that for seventy minutes. But those last twenty killed us.” Joondalup are in eighth position and four points behind Floreat with just three games remaining.
GLORY FOR VITTIGLIA (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
Sorrento shook off their recent form slump with a goal-scoring frenzy - led by Reece Vittiglia - in a 6-1 win over Perth Glory in yesterday’s National Premier Leagues WA match at Percy Doyle Reserve. Vittiglia was the star of the show with an impressive four-goal haul in a contest that turned the Gulls’ way after an early setback. The visitors had taken a ninth-minute lead when Gian Albano took on three Sorrento defenders and scored past Curtis Apsden. After Ryan Barker saved a shot from Chris Reid his day headed downhill as Jason Mirco found the equaliser with a blazing strike from 20m.
Vittiglia scored his first soon after when he slipped the ball past Barker. Slob Vulin was instrumental in the midfield for Glory, feeding the likes of Bor Bor Sambindi and Albano but defensively they were unable to hold off the unrelenting attack from their hosts. Sorrento’s third goal came after an amazing attempt by Niccolo Sabatini to keep the ball in play for Vittiglia to find his second in the form of an awkward overhead kick, which headed for the back post before deflecting into the goal. Albano had another chance early in the second half after a mistake by Daryl Platten gave him space and time and what looked to be a certain goal. But he was unable to make the most of the chance to Platten’s relief.
Sorrento twice hit the cross bar – through Sean Canham and Mirco – in the space of 30 seconds. Minutes later, Vittiglia set up Canham, who was fouled and a penalty was awarded. Vittiglia’s spot-kick was saved by Barker but the on-fire Gulls attacker pounced on the rebound to complete his hat-trick. Glory were then reduced to 10 men when Jack Oldham picked up a second booking. The home side kept up the momentum and Harnwell played through to Vittiglia, who timed his close-range strike with precision. It was all Sorrento for the last twenty minutes as Glory struggled to cope. Harnwell was rewarded for his persistent efforts with a goal in injury time.
Co-coach Jamie Harnwell was pleased with the performance after some recent disappointment. “We saw a lot of improvement today,” he said. “We gave away a bad goal again today, which is what we have been doing in our last few games. But we worked hard, we pressed well, we kept the ball (and) we played some good football. “We’re still working on our defending – we would’ve liked a clean sheet today. On the flipside, we looked dangerous going forward. We’re always going to score goals, we just have to stop conceding them.”
FINALS PLACE IN REACH (by Kelechi Osunwa, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta defender Adam Tong credited coach Ramon Falzon for instilling newfound belief in the third-place side after their clinical 2-0 win over Subiaco at WA Athletics Stadium on Saturday. “Ramon's done unbelievable things from the beginning,” he said. “He’s gelled us and got us playing in a structure that he wants. We’re third for a reason and that’s because we play some good football.”
Balcatta initially found Subiaco goalkeeper Henry Davies hard to beat as he produced a string of significant saves to keep Subiaco within touching distance for most of the game. But a piece of second half magic from James Sammut opened the scoring before Carlo Coelho’s cool finish put the result beyond doubt, much to Falzon's delight.
Falzon has taken a side that languished in the bottom half of the ladder last year to fighting for second place this year. He believes keeping things simple is the reason for their success. “Football doesn’t change much,” he said. “The difference is doing the basics right, working hard, being committed and when you get your opportunities you take them.”
Subiaco had their fair share of opportunities to equalise but Ger Fitzgerald and Jordan Rhodes both failed to test Balcatta keeper Clint Davies from great positions. Fitzgerald’s outstretched lunge could only steer the ball wide while he was unmarked at the far post and Rhodes failed to hit the target from inside the penalty area with the goal at his mercy. Fitzgerald saw those chances as the real difference between the two sides. “I thought we more than matched them today. I don’t think they out played us,” he said. “They took their chances and we didn’t and that’s what separates third place and tenth place.”
ATHENA HIT ARMADALE FOR SIX (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Import Lewis McMahon grabbed the headlines again for Floreat Athena, smashing a first-half hat-trick past sorry Armadale in a 6-1 rout at Alfred Skeet Reserve yesterday. Having given the visitors a fifth-minute lead, McMahon could only look on a minute later as Army levelled from the spot through Jackson Bealey. But three goals in a blistering seven minute spell - one from Blair Govan and two from McMahon - midway through the half effectively ended the game as a contest, with Ashley Corker adding two more after the break before seeing red for needlessly lashing out in the closing stages.
McMahon took his tally to 10 goals from seven games since arriving from England and was quick to heap praise on his new teammates for helping him make such an immediate impact. "The guys are making my job easy. They're playing to my feet; to my strengths" McMahon said. "I'm never going to be able to run in behind and chase, I'm too old now and slow. "But there's some fit young lads here making runs off me and it's fantastic. I'm really enjoying playing with them.”
Although reaching the end-of-season Finals series is not yet mathematically impossible for Floreat, coach Glenn Grostate was keen to look ahead to next season where he believes they will be well set to be contenders towards the top of the ladder if the bulk of the squad remains together. "I thought we played really well here, we moved the ball quickly. The game plan was to win both halves and we did that," Grostate said. "We're training well, we're digging in. Everyone's laughing and mucking around and we want to end the season nicely and start again."
The game itself started at a frantic pace, Faustinho Machochi threatening first for Armadale with a low shot across goal which keeper Yousri Gharasallah touched before Athena went down the other end and from a corner took the lead. Ludo Boi's centre found Andrew Scaldaferro, who headed the ball goalwards where McMahon was waiting to pounce almost from point-blank range to apply the finish. A minute later, though, Army were awarded a penalty when Kye Douglas fouled James Atkins in the box, with Bealey stepping up to level. And had Atkins made the most of a gilt-edged chance when unmarked at the back-post, the hosts’ afternoon could have been so very different. Instead the big forward skied his shot out of the ground. And Athena did not look back, Boi delivering a low cross for Govan to side-foot home from a metre out to regain the lead on 26 minutes.
On the half hour mark it was 3-1, McMahon again on hand with the final touch after a round of headed pinball in the penalty box. And two minutes later McMahon completed his treble with his best goal of the afternoon, playing a one-two on the edge of the area before striking a low shot into the right hand corner of the net beyond Matthew Gould. Armadale's inability to cope with crosses was exploited again after the break, Ashley Corker on hand to bundle home another low ball from Boi on 58 minutes as fears grew of the home side suffering a second seven-goal mauling in a week.
Corker was there again with eight minutes left, adding the final touch from a corner at the far post as Athena made it six. But Corker did not see out the game as he lost his head and attempted to strike out at an Army player while waiting to defend a free-kick to dampen an otherwise excellent afternoon's work.
Armadale boss Lee Bamber could only bemoan his side's defending but was pleased with the opening 20 minutes in which he felt his side could have had three goals. "We keep pointing out the naivety of the youngsters. If we keep doing the wrong things we'll get punished for it," Bamber said. "It's alright playing well for 20-25 minutes but we've got to do it for 90 minutes."
SHAMROCK GIVES KNIGHTS SOMETHING TO PENDER (by Peter Simcox, footballwest.com.au)
Shamrock Rovers kept tabs on the league leaders after a Will Pender inspired 2-0 win against Western Knights at Nash Field on Saturday. The Rovers skipper led by example on the day and topped his performance with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the penalty area just before half-time.
“It was nice to score today. They usually don’t let me take them so when they said who wants this I jumped at the chance and put it away,” Pender said. Pender, who worked well with fellow midfielder Paul Concannon, knows they have to keep winning if they are to win the title. “I’ve played alongside Paul for a few years now and we know how each other play and we work well off each other,” he said. “It’s never an easy place to come and get a win but we worked really hard in the first half and deservedly went in with a 2-0 lead. We now have to keep this winning streak going if we are to keep up with the rest of the leaders.”
The visitors had taken the lead midway through the first half through Nick Little and the Knights were then reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time when Ethan Levitt received two yellow cards in two minutes and was sent off. Rovers’ coach Mike Ford thought they deserved the win and said the first half performance from his side was as good as they have played this season. “The first half, I couldn’t have asked anymore from the players,” he said. “We scored two goals and had 80 percent of the play so to come in at the break in that position was great. “We knew they would come out and have a go and they did, and we dropped off a little in the second half but it’s a good win for us.”
It was a vital game for both sides with Rovers looking to stay with the leaders, while the Knights were looking to have a say in who would win the league title by taking the points. The home side was out of the blocks quickly and went close after only two minutes. Paul Lloyd charged down a clearance, the ball falling for Jamie Ricks whose shot hit the base of the upright.
Shamrock began to dominate the game and Sam Hutchings had to be alert to push Pender's shot wide eight minutes later. They went close again on the quarter hour. The Knights failed to clear a corner and Graham Doran fired the ball back in but Craig Riley was on the line to clear. Their pressure was rewarded with the lead on twenty-five minutes. The Knights lost possession in the middle of the park and Concannon played the ball into the path of Little. The Knights’ defenders stopped looking for the offside flag that never came and the striker finished low past Hutchings from 6m.
Shamrock continued to dominate as the Knights struggled to hold on to the ball and it was no surprise when the visitors doubled their advantage on forty-three minutes. Johny Mirco brought down the dangerous Concannon on the edge of the penalty area and Pender fired home a sweetly struck free-kick giving Hutchings no chance. Things got worse for the home side in the last minute of the half when Levitt was given a second yellow card from referee Gabriele Marlacco and was sent off.
The Knights began the second half the better side and Mirco headed just wide ten minutes in after good work from Lloyd. Shamrock still looked dangerous on the break and Pender and Concannon combined on the hour, later firing just wide of the far post. The Knights could not find the goal to get them back in the game but it was not for the lack of trying. Lloyd’s snap shot was well-saved by Lachlan McAlinden before Mirco's shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed over the top. The crossbar came to the rescue for the Rovers when Craig Riley’s long-range shot crashed off the woodwork. Moments later McAlinden saved low from Mirco but at the final whistle it was the Irish eyes that were smiling.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND NINETEEN
It’s round 19 of the National Premier League WA and league leaders Bayswater City could all but wrap up the title with a win, when they entertain Cockburn City at Frank Drago Reserve. On the other hand Cockburn will need the three points to keep their top four chances alive. Cockburn midfielder Conor Kavanagh thought last week’s win against Sorrento has given their finals chances a real boost. “It was a massive win for us as, and we can't afford to drop any points in our search of 4th place,” he said. “I felt we deserved the win and controlled the game for large periods and created more chances.” Kavanagh knows Saturday’s game is their biggest test, but he is looking forward to it. “This week is another huge game, but we know every game is like a cup final now we simply can't afford to lose,” Kavanagh said. “It’s a game all the players are looking forward to, and hopefully we can get the right result, and other results go in our favour. Cockburn will go into the game with midfielder Eamon McNellis and striker Liam Murray, while Bayswater welcome back Trent Kay and James Isaia.
Perth SC welcomes ECU Joondalup to Dorrien Gardens hoping to keep tabs on the leaders. Joondalup got back in the winner’s circle last week and defender Charlie Comyn-Platt is expecting a tough game, but was happy with their big win against Inglewood. “Last week’s win was great for us, we showed real character to come back from 2-1 down, and it was good to see us take our chances, which we haven’t been able to do in recent weeks,” he said. “Perth is in very good form, and has a strong side, but we will certainly be up for the challenge, as we look to end the season on a high.” Comyn-Platt is struggling with injury, but should take his spot in the side, while Perth is at full strength. Armadale welcome back skipper Billy Quinncroft for the visit of Floreat Athena to Alfred Skeet Oval, while Floreat will have Bobby Wilson and Blair Govan available after suspension, Sorrento host Perth Glory at Percy Doyle Reserve, while Stirling Lions travel to the Intiga Stadium to take on Inglewood United.
Balcatta will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Stirling Lions, when they travel to the WA Athletics Stadium to take on Subiaco AFC. Stand in skipper Kris Gate, who scored twice last week’s game, says they will need to be on their toes to claim all three points. “The result against Stirling was disappointing because after coming from behind twice you feel you deserve something from the game,” he said. “We had a lot of big players missing, so the lads who came in and got there chance did well from a personal view I scored two, after nearly 4 months out with was great but a win would have been better. “We all know Subiaco away is a tough fixture and we will need to improve from the weekends game to get a result, I think we have a lot of lads back from holiday and so hopefully we can get 3 points and get our place in the top 4.”
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND FIFTEEN
League leaders Ashfield will have home ground advantage when they host Swan United at Ashfield Reserve. Ashfield Coach Paul Dundo will be hoping his chargers continue their good form, but he knows any game against Swan is difficult especially now Salv Todaro is in charge of the black and whites. “I’m looking forward to coaching against my old club and old coach and mentor Salv,” he said. “I'm expecting a tighter game than our first game this season, s they have picked up players since then and have been playing well in the last few games.” Swan won for the first time in five weeks last time out against Dianella and Todaro is looking for a similar performance from his side on Saturday. “The lads are looking forward to playing the team that is currently at the top of the table,” he said. “It will be a good gauge of our improvement from when we played them at the beginning of the season.” In team news for Ashfield, Graham Tough and Johnny Perkins both return from suspension, however Chris Thackray is injured. Swan will be without the injured trio of Owen Curtis, Ryan Treacy and Antonio Vinci, but do get back skipper Ian McKean.
In other games, Canning City will be without Laurence Cheyne and Emlyn Whetnall for the visit of Gosnells City to Burrendah Reserve, Mandurah City are at full strength ahead of their trip to Dianella Reserve to take on Dianella White Eagles, Wanneroo City host UWA-Nedlands at Kingsway Reserve, while Morley Windmills make the long trip to Payne Park to take on Bunbury Forum Force.
In the final game Western Knights host Shamrock Rovers at Nash Field. Knights’ midfielder Paul Lloyd said all the players are ready for a huge game, and a win will close gap between the two sides. “It’s a massive game for us, as we want to finish as high as possible and won't be doing any of the teams above us any favours.” he said. “We are missing Luka Jukic (suspended) and Nicky Carroll is injured, other than that we have a full squad and will be looking to take all three points.”
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND FIFTEEN
Round 15 of the Second Division kicks off on Friday night, with the ‘Match of the Round,’ with Curtin University entertaining Rockingham City at Edinburgh Oval. (8.30pm) Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne knows the three points are vital if they to stay in touch with the leaders. “Rockingham is a huge game, and we know we need three points to stay 2nd and have stay within striking distance should Joondalup United slip up,” he said. “In our last game against them it could have gone either way, and we were hanging on for a draw in the last 20 minutes, but almost won it with the last kick of the match.” In team news for Curtin, Chase Parker is in doubt with a back injury, but they welcome back Bryce Young and Carlo Chelinni to their squad, while Rockingham have Lewy Bake and Trevor Laure back in their squad.
Unbeaten league leaders Joondalup United makes the trip to Arbor Grove Reserve to take on Ellenbrook United, and they will be boosted by the return of Joe Stocker. Joondalup coach Daniel Smith isn’t taking anything for granted. “We are treating Ellenbrook with a lot of respect; they have had some good wins this season including beating Rockingham and Joondalup city so we will be wanting everyone focused on getting the three points back to Forrest park,” he said. “We welcome back Joe to the squad, and have no injuries or suspensions so team selection will be tough with plenty of options available again.”
In other games, Quinns host Melville City at Gumblossom Park, Olympic Kingsway travel to Hilton Reserve to take on Fremantle United, while Joondalup City entertains Balga at the Iluka Sports Complex. Forrestfield United makes the short trip to Frye Park to take on Kelmscott Roos, and they will be without the suspended Will Tshabangu. Kelmscott are gradually getting their injured players back and Coach James Coffey is hoping to get break their duck at home. “Our squad is looking to continue with their good form from last Friday,” he said. “It was only a few laps of concentration got the better of us, and the 0-4 scoreline didn't reflex on how we played on the night. We are hoping to bring that energy to the game this weekend, hopeful to get our first home win of the season.”
SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR GLORY WOMEN’S ZADORSKY
Canadian international defender Shelina Zadorsky has set her sights on playing a key role in Perth Glory’s charge towards a finals appearance in the new W-League season, which kicks off in September. Zadorsky, who was captain of the Ottawa Fury who finished third in the United States W-League recently, is delighted to be joining Australia’s elite women’s competition, which she believes has improved significantly in recent years. “I want to help lead a strong back line, one that is hard for teams to break down,” said Zadorsky, revealing a steely intent. “I would love to see this team finish in the top two of the league and continue on to the Grand Final.”
Zadorsky, 21, said her interest in Australia’s W-League had increased in recent seasons and she had noticed the improving standards and growing popularity. “Women's soccer is constantly growing and that is evident through the rising success of the W-League,” she said. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of the W-League for this season.” Zadorsky will be Glory’s only import player this season with coach Jamie Harnwell opting to rejuvenate his squad with a contingent of Australian players, whose recruitment will be confirmed in the coming days.
But in Zadorsky, Harnwell is confident he has signed a player with a great deal to offer Glory in 2014. “She is a young, ambitious player who has been highly recommended from a number of sources and I’m sure she is going to be a huge asset for the club as we look to get back into the top four this season,” he said. “I’m delighted that she’s coming to Perth Glory. Clearly she has a real desire to expand her horizons and establish herself as an elite professional player and I’m looking forward to working with her.”
Zadorsky has represented Canada at junior level and made her senior international debut last year. She hopes her move to Glory, and the new experience of playing in Australia’s top competition, will be the catalyst for further personal improvement. “Australia is a beautiful place but moreover it’s also a great soccer environment where I hope to develop as a player,” she said. “I believe I will learn a great deal from the coaching staff and all my teammates.” Glory kick-off their season against Brisbane Roar at Ashfield Sports Club on 14 September.
IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PRETTY: COYNE
Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne has enjoyed seeing his team return to form in recent weeks but even he would prefer a more direct approach at times. Coyne’s side go into Saturday’s match against Cockburn City at Frank Drago Reserve with a five-point lead over Perth SC with just four rounds to play. But Coyne said his side’s pursuit of perfection is not always to his liking. “I actually get frustrated at times as we try and over play or score the perfect goal,” he told thewest.com.au “But the boys have bought into our club footballing philosophy and they try to play for the right reason not just because it looks good.”
It is a busy time for Bayswater, who are favourites to take out the National Premier Leagues title and will face A-League powerhouse Melbourne Victory in an FFA Cup match at the WA Athletics Stadium on 19 August. Victory sent assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny to watch City against Subiaco last week and he must have left with an impressive dossier for coach Kevin Muscat after Bayswater thrashed Subiaco AFC 5-0. “It speaks volumes of how professional and respectful Melbourne Victory and Kevin Muscat are by sending someone over to the game on the weekend,” Coyne said. “Hopefully he went away with a few headaches for the game in the next few weeks.”
But Coyne is taking nothing for granted against a Cockburn side that has peaked at the right time of the season. “We are expecting a tough game against good opposition on Saturday,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for Marc and his team and I feel they go about the game in the right manner and stroke the ball around well. I look forward to our encounters as they’re always a good spectacle and Saturday promises to be no different.”
MCMAHON'S DOUBLE SINKS GLORY (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Floreat Athena moved back into the winners circle in the National Premier Leagues WA after a resounding 4-1 win against Perth Glory at E&D Litis Stadium last night. The original game was called off on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch but the rain last night did not stop Lewis McMahon, who scored two and had a hand in the other two from Ludovic Boi and Jack Allen.
Former Sheffield Wednesday and Notts County midfielder McMahon was outstanding and he said the weather suited him. “I love playing in those conditions, well it rains all the time in the UK,” he joked. Some of the lead up play from Athena on the night was excellent and McMahon thought they could have added a couple more but he knows the three points were deserved. “The points are what it’s all about,” he said. “We played some good football in the first half and I thought we could have scored five or six. We dropped off a bit in the second half, but we do have a short break before Saturday’s game at Armadale, but we head their full of confidence.”
Floreat Coach Glen Grostate could not have asked anymore of his players but he was a little frustrated they conceded Joe Knowles goal late in the first half. “The players did everything I asked of them tonight,” he said. “I was slightly disappointed we conceded the late goal but that’s about it. We played some good football in around the box and took our chances well. “We knew we couldn’t let the Glory play their game, they are a very skilful side and have been taught the right way to play the game. But we went out and played our game and I’m delighted.”
The home side were out of the blocks early and McMahon fired wide after only eight minutes, before Aryn Williams’ shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved low by Ryan Barker. Glory, that drew 1-1 at Armadale in the last round to break a ten game losing streak, went close on the quarter hour. Joe Knowles and Harry O’Brien sending Gian Albano in on goal but his shot was straight at Floreat keeper Tom Dixon. But on 22 minutes the home side hit the front. Ashley Corker fed Ludovic Boi on the left, whose cross picked out McMahon, who swivelled in the penalty area and fired past Barker. It was 2-0 two minutes later with the goal of the game. Boi was given space on the edge of the penalty area and his stunning shot from 20m flew into the top corner.
The Glory looked to hit back immediately and as the heavens opened, Dixon had to be alert to save well from skipper Blamo Qua Qua. Floreat were then gifted a third goal on 34 minutes. A slip at the back from David Stokoe let in Boi, who cut the ball back to McMahon, who made no mistake from 6m. It looked to be a long night for the visitors when Floreat added a fourth on 39 minutes. McMahon wriggled his way into the area and poked the ball towards goal, it was partially cleared off the line by Rocco Pizzata but Allen fired home the rebound from close-range. To the Glory’s credit they pulled one back two minutes before half time. Bor Sambindi had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he burst clear down the right, his powerful shot was well saved by Dixon but the rebound fell to Knowles who fired home from 5m.
After the break the game lost its momentum but eight minutes in, a strong tackle from Knowles on Callum Fransz caused tempers to fray and referee Matt Southern had his hands full with a melee in the aftermath, and he had to show four yellow cards. Back to the football and Dixon tipped over Harry O’Brien’s shot on the hour before Barker saved well from Allen’s bullet-like shot moments later. The Glory should have pulled another one back on 76 minutes. Dixon could only parry O’Brien’s curling free kick and with the goal at his mercy Knowles fired over from close-range.
At the end of the match Grostate said he has nothing but praise for his players who have put a smile back on the Floreat faithful. “The players have been fantastic since I took over and they are a great bunch of lads on and off the park and they have given the whole club a lift,” he said. “I’m also delighted that Ludo (Boi), Jack (Allen) and Bobby (Wilson) have been selected in the WA State Team to play against Perth Glory next month.”
LIONS IN A RAGE
Stirling Lions management are furious after losing the right to host A-League premiers Brisbane Roar in next month’s FFA Cup round. Football Federation Australia imposed new lighting restrictions on local clubs after the A-League powerhouse was matched against Stirling, ruling out Macedonia Park as a venue. Bayswater City had also been hoping to use Stirling’s ground for their clash with Melbourne Victory, however, that too has now been moved to the WA Athletics Stadium in Mt Claremont. The decisions have drawn criticism from local clubs and Football West, with the State Government admitting it would have preferred to see the two games remain at Macedonia Park.
Stirling head of football operations Don Evans questioned the point of the FFA Cup if it didn’t allow Australia’s smaller clubs to bring A-League giants to their communities. “Robbed and deprived; when we were in that lottery draw, we understood the terms and conditions, and we’d already passed the approval test and the suitability of our venue,” Evans told ‘the Stirling Times’. “What they’ve done is flex the muscle of the power brokers in the east against West Australian development. This was all about the little club getting to play the giant and having a David and Goliath battle occurring in suburbia for the locals to enjoy.”
Football West chairman Liam Twigger was also critical of FFA. “You personally ask the football community to help sell the romance, yet when two of the far-flung and unknown outposts of WA community football get drawn against A-League clubs, in one fell swoop they are told they can not host matches because their venue does not meet criteria the FFA does not even stipulate in their venue requirements document,” Twigger said. “To have FFA at the last moment raise such issues is not acceptable, it is in direct conflict with the stated aims of the FFA Cup and will cause not only prejudice, but financial loss to the clubs concerned.”
EDWARDS STARRING FOR READING
West Australian Ryan Edwards has starred in all three pre-season games at Championship club Reading, with manager Nigel Adkins describing the youngster as “phenomenal”. After a mixed loan to Perth Glory last season, the 20-year old has returned to his parent club in the hope of forcing his way into the first team. Edwards has certainly wasted no time in marking his return to Madejski Stadium, the young attacker scoring the winner against Exeter City and laying on goals in friendlies with Yeovil Town and Wycombe Wanderers.
Edwards efforts have given Adkins food for thought as the new English season approaches. “Ryan has been really impressive since he came back from a loan period last season. He’s got a desire to get into goal-scoring positions, to break from midfield and he works ever so hard, he’s growing in confidence,” said the Reading manager. “Then when you see him on the pitch, his movement is phenomenal. He’s always showing for the ball, always looking to get into space and get between the lines. He’s got a penetrating pass on him as well.”
LOWE SEEKS CUP GLORY
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has set his sights on winning the inaugural FFA Cup, vowing to field his strongest possible sides throughout the knockout tournament. Glory’s new-look squad showcased their potential on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Spanish side Malaga. Striker Andy Keogh brought the sides level after Ricardo Horta put the La Liga side ahead, however, the Republic of Ireland international wasn’t the only new recruit to shine with Youssouf Hersi, Richard Garcia, Diogo Ferreira, Mitch Nichols and Dino Djulbic also performing strongly.
Glory’s FFA Cup campaign kicks off with a road trip to fellow A-Leaguers Newcastle Jets on 5 August 5 and Lowe has no intention of using the tournament as a means of experimenting for the season ahead. “We want to win it,” Lowe said. “There’s a lot of optimism at the club. The players are buying in and setting their own standards, and trying to raise the bar themselves without a lot of real drive from the coaching staff. I think we look fitter, brighter, and everyone seems to be together and there is a good vibe about the place.”
Former Newcastle Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich is nursing a knee complaint and won’t feature against his old club next week, likewise midfielder Rostyn Griffiths who has knee troubles. “He has had an injection in his knee – he had some blood re-injected, so that’s a six-weeker,” Lowe said of Griffiths. “It’s a growth thing, not an injury.” Glory will also be without Hersi, who has been selected for the A-League All-Stars' match against Juventus on 10 August.
LIVERPOOL MUST BUILD ON LAST SEASON: JONES
Liverpool’s rapid progress across last season has produced a series of knock-on effects according to goalkeeper Brad Jones, who knows that the challenge now is to build on those foundations. A brand of hugely entertaining and clinical football carried the Reds to the brink of a long-awaited Premier League title in May, losing out only on the final day to Manchester City. Since the campaign concluded, manager Brendan Rodgers has strengthened his options with four new signings ahead of another domestic quest and a return to the Champions League.
Jones, who is three weeks into pre-season, acknowledged the challenge is there for the players to raise their standards. “Last season people started to realise that we are a big force within the league,” he said. “It’s up to us now to build on it. The new boys coming in saw from afar what we were doing and it was probably a big help for the club to be able to sign them and made them desperately want to come here. That will only provide more ammunition for the boys to want to go out and show everyone what we can do.”
Liverpool have four goalkeepers with them in the United States – Simon Mignolet, Pepe Reina, Danny Ward and Jones – but the West Australian insists his focus is purely on his own fitness and performance. “I’m just focusing on getting fit and making sure I’m ready myself,” he said. “We’re all pushing for the same spot, so it doesn’t change an awful lot having Pepe back (after a season-long loan to Napoli). We worked hard last season, the same as we are now. The first game of the Premier League is what you want to be ready for.”
HEAR THE LIONS ROAR (by John Davidson, fourfourtwo.com)
Stirling Lions have been handed the toughest draw possible in the new FFA Cup but are committed to attacking their heavyweight opponents Brisbane Roar. The West Australian National Premier League side will take on last season’s Premier’s Plate and Grand Final winners Brisbane at Western Australia Athletics Stadium on August 19.
Don Evans, Stirling’s Football Operations Manager, is hoping the visit will attract a big attendance. “Brisbane Roar are our nation’s champions and will be received with football respect from a Stirling community that loves and enjoys technical, attacking football,” Evans said. “Once the whistle blows it will be all about the Stirling Lions though, respect ends once they enter the change rooms, then the battle begins. “The last time we had a massive crowd was when we played Adelaide City as Stirling Macedonia in 1986 in the Nanda Cup, we had a full house at 5,000 people."
Stirling Lions have lost home ground advantage after the fixture was moved from Macedonia Park last week, but Evans is hoping for a big turnout. “We expect them to be hanging from the rafters," he said. The Lions, which were founded in 1958, have had former Socceroos such as Robbie Zablica, Stan Lazarides and Troy Halpin play for the club in the past. Recent juniors Stirling have produced include Dylan Tombides and Daniel de Silva.
Evans said the club is honoured to be hosting the Roar in their home state. “The football fans in the Stirling region appreciate the skill and quality of the Brisbane side and I know the fans of technical football will come to ... enjoy a real Cup contest,” he said. “We are just so proud to be a part of creating Australian football history. It's like winning the lottery for our humble but ambitious club, we could not have wished for a better opponent to host. “Our coaches and players understand the mountain that needs to be climbed, but we are a club that thrives on challenge and opportunity.”
Stirling currently sits in sixth place in WA’s National Premier League. In 2013 the Lions won the regular season title but lost the grand final 2-1 to Bayswater City. The club boasts a number of former A-League and National Youth League players in its squad, including Aleks Vrteski, David Micevski, Dean Evans, Hayden Doyle, Moses Kalau, Clayton Arnez and Ali Ghoulami. Stirling prides itself on its multicultural roots, with no less than 28 nationalities within their junior and senior playing staff. “The team is laced with skilful ball players who will want to show themselves on the big stage,” he said. “I expect an attacking game."
GLORY DRAW WITH SPAIN’S MALAGA
Spanish side Malaga were left frustrated after squandering a series of golden chances in their 1-1 draw with Perth Glory at Perth Oval this afternoon. Malaga opened the scoring through rising star Ricardo Horta with new signing Andy Keogh bringing Glory level in the second half. The visitors peppered their opponents goal in search of a winner but could find no way past goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. “Defensively we looked really solid and compact,” said Glory boss Kenny Lowe. “We’ve been working hard over the pre-season. It’s nice seeing a lot of things coming to fruition. It’s a work in progress.”
Glory made a bright start with Youssouf Hersi and Sidnei causing Malaga’s defence a few headaches with their deft touch and nippy speed. The Spanish team settled soon enough, Horta curling a low shot into the upright after cutting past Josh Risdon on the left. Moments later Vukovic had his reflexes tested by Roque Santa Cruz’s close-range header. Horta didn’t have to wait too much longer for his goal, the Portuguese youth international curling sublimely into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area. Santa Cruz was through on goal just before the break but Vukvoic who reacted well to block the striker’s attempt.
Glory got back on level terms in the 57th minute when Keogh found space in the middle of a static Malaga defence, latching onto a flick-on from Brandon O’Neill, and calmly beating substitute goalkeeper Agustin Cousillas. Both sides had chances in the remaining thirty minutes but was able to finish off their chances. Glory’s physical presence in defence didn’t go down well with Malaga’s players, who became increasingly frustrated as the match wore on. The home team almost stole the win in the 80th minute when Daniel De Silva’s shot was deflected away from goal.
GLORY WOMEN EMBRACE NEW CHALLENGE
Perth Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell has emphasised the importance of his side making a good start to the 2014 W-League following today’s release of the season schedule. Glory will play six home games at the Ashfield Sports Ground as they push for a top-four place and a finals berth. “The draw looks as fair as possible given we don’t play each team twice,” Harnwell said. “Brisbane at home is a tough first up game and a trip to Newcastle is never easy. But if we want to do well this season we need to hit the ground running.”
Glory will be up against seven other clubs - Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers – in their bid to reach the finals for just the second time in the club’s history. “There are some tough trips towards the end of the season with us playing Sydney FC and Canberra United away from home in the last two games so it is going to be a good test of character for the squad,” added Harnwell. The season will kick-off earlier than usual due to Australia hosting the AFC Asian Cup 2015 in January.
VICTORY SPY ON BAYSWATER WIN (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Melbourne Victory’s assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny watched from the stands as Bayswater City comfortably beat Subiaco 5-0 at the WA Athletics Stadium ahead of City’s FFA Cup clash against the A-League side on August 20. Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was unaware until after the game that de Marigny had flown in from Melbourne to watch his side. “It’s pleasing that they’ve shown the respect to the competition and also to us as a club,” he said. “The fact that they’ve come has shown the FFA Cup the respect it deserves. We’re pleased that we are playing Victory but we’ve just got to be concerned about ourselves.”
Bayswater led 2-0 at half-time without having scored a goal themselves, as both Brad McDonald and George Tchami put the ball into their own net. The first came after only three minutes, as McDonald headed past his own keeper, before Tchami was unlucky to see the ball hit his thigh and go in following a well taken corner. Bayswater striker Gustavo Giron Marulanda was the first Bayswater player on the score sheet as he came out firing at the start of the second half. He set off down the wing before slotting the ball past the keeper from a tight angle to put his side 3-0 up.
The game was beyond doubt when Brian Farrell netted at the back post from Steve Burton’s cross-field pass. Substitute Damien Catalano completed the scoring in stoppage time with a goal remarkably similar to Marulanda’s. Subiaco had their chances in the first half, as Jordan Rhodes saw an effort canon off the crossbar from close range.
In the second half, Bayswater keeper Devon Spence got down well to make a reflex save from yet another Rhodes volley but Subiaco never looked likely to get something from the game. Coyne felt his side, who won the Cool Ridge Cup last week, are in a good mental position for the remainder of the season. “The boys seem in good form,” he said. “I just had to remind them today that the cup is dead and buried. “Every game this year has been a cup final because we’ve been at the top and everyone wants to knock us off.”
JOONDALUP SHOW NO MERCY (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
Two Tommy Amphlett goals were pivotal in ECU Joondalup’s late rally as they scored a 5-2 win over Inglewood United at ECU Football Stadium yesterday. Despite an encouraging start, Inglewood, who were reduced to 10 men when Greg Sharland was sent off late in the game, were unable to hold off the hosts as they romped home in the second half. Both sides had a tumultuous and emotional few weeks with Inglewood parting ways with coach Graham Normanton earlier in the week and ECU coach Dale McCulloch suspended for three games.
The home side were first to strike when David Foster put his team ahead after 11 minutes when he capitalised on an error by Ryan Clarke. ECU held firm against the attacking threat posed by Andrija Jukic, Abdul Sesay and Ryan Francis but it was Clarke who made good on his previous indiscretion when he made Andy Higgins pay for a lapse in concentration and scored past keeper Andy Banks. Inglewood emerged with renewed vigor after the break and scored almost immediately when Jason Colli crossed to Sesay, who chipped the ball over Banks.
Cracks started to appear in the ECU side as Inglewood found space in the midfield and upped the intensity, through Clarke and Sesay. But the tide turned in the 70th minute when Stuart Montgomery’s shot hit the cross bar and the ball bounced in behind a crowded goal line. And as the chances came, ECU took them, adding another three goals in just 15 minutes. The onslaught began with Andy Higgins sending Amphlett clear on the left and he made it look easy with a fine strike. Five minutes later, Montgomery won the ball and crossed to Joe Smith, who bundled it over the line in a confusing tussle with goalkeeper Luke Martino. Sharland was sent off as Inglewood pleaded their case for the goal to be disallowed. With only 10 minutes left to play, ECU seized the momentum and Amphlett, assisted by Higgins, doubled his personal tally.
McCulloch felt his team had been unlucky in the last few weeks and deserved more but pointed to a marked improvement from the first round against the same top four sides. “Things are definitely improving and we’re looking to continue this form and put in a strong finish to the season,” he said. “Today, the guys just backed each other and you can see what happens when your Tommy’s and Monty’s and Fossie’s are in form and they turn it on.”
COCKBURN CLOSE GAP ON SORRENTO (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Marc Anthony's resurgent Cockburn City recorded their fourth win in succession, seeing off Sorrento 3-1 at Dalmatinac Park as the battle for fourth place - the last finals spot - heats up with just four rounds of the home and away season remaining. In a must-win game for the home side, Matt Barlow gave the Cockerels the lead on 34 minutes but the Gulls could perhaps count themselves fortunate to be level at the break thanks to Todd Harnwell's strike in the only minute of added time.
An entertaining and hard-fought contest, though, was settled with two late goals - Devon Gibson restoring the advantage in the 76th minute before substitute Julien Teles ended any hopes of a second Sorrento comeback with 85 minutes on the clock. Cockburn coach Anthony was well aware a draw would be insufficient, stating the result was more important than the performance. However he was delighted with the way his players sealed the points and completed "the double" over Sorrento. "We got the ball down and passed the ball really well,” he said. “The lads showed great character to respond from the sucker punch right on half-time and I thought we deserved the three points in the end.” "The lads, in the last four or five weeks, have kept responding to what we're asking of them. We keep getting results and they've got the belief in themselves. We're up there on merit."
City started the game like a team full of confidence, at times penning Sorrento back as they searched for an early goal, with visiting keeper Curtis Aspden on his toes to deny David Arraya and Barlow in the opening 15 minutes. The Gulls worked their way into the game and almost went ahead when Sean Canham crashed a shot against a post from 25m. But it was to be the Cockerels who struck first, Barlow continuing his purple patch in front of goal with an excellent run and an equally good strike from the edge of the box into Aspden's bottom left corner of the net. Having looked fairly solid, the home defence were carved open at the end of the half, with Canham nodding a deep cross perfectly into the path of Todd Harnwell, who made no mistake from around 15m.
The second half began the way the first had, City seeking to regain the lead only for Aspden to thwart Arraya, again after good work from Barlow. The visitors seemed content to invite Cockburn to attack, looking to expose them on the counter, and it almost paid dividends as Jason Mirco made his way into the box but home stopper Dejan Aleksic pushed away his effort. But as the game wore on Cockburn's pressure increased, Arraya failing to make the most of a superb chance with just Aspden to beat, and Teles squandering a couple of promising opportunities. However the pressure told in the 76th minute as Jesse Fuller burst into the box from the left, hitting a low shot across goal which Aspden did well to get down to, only for his parry to fall invitingly for Gibson at the far post to apply the finish. And before Sorrento could mount any kind of pressure in search of rescuing a point, City capitalised on Aspden's partial clearance, Barlow running towards goal and unselfishly laying the ball off for Teles who planted the ball past Aspden.
The visiting coaching staff could not hide their disappointment with the Gulls performance. Assistant coach Steve Neville lamented the defensive side of Sorrento's game - not only in this match but for much of the season. "We've conceded nearly 40 goals this year, so that's obviously a weak point,” Neville said. “In all fairness, Matt Barlow's goal was a good finish but we've still been caught out of position. We've four games to go and we need to pick ourselves up for next week." With fifth-placed Stirling Lions beating third-placed Balcatta, only six points separate third from sixth place.
MICEVSKI BAGS A DOUBLE IN DERBY (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Coach Gary Williams praised David Micevski's contribution in Stirling Lions 3-2 win over Balcatta in the NPL WA on Saturday. “Micevski’s been excellent for us all year and to score two goals like that with both feet was superb,” said Williams, who felt it was the Lions’ best performance of the season.
Balcatta captain Kris Gate scored early and then matched Micevski’s brace in the 58th minute but Phil Arnold’s tap in from a free-kick sealed the game 11 minutes from time. Stirling looked determined to make up for their Cool Ridge Cup Final defeat to Bayswater last week with Moses Kalau rattling the cross-bar within the first minute. But five minutes in, Gate smashed one from the edge of the area into the bottom corner and put Balcatta in front.
Stirling kept their momentum and two minutes later Micevski ran into the box and curled in the equaliser with his left foot. He struck again in the 16th minute, this time a low drive with his right boot. Stirling pressured Balcatta and forced errors at the back. Dean Evans almost took advantage in the 20th minute but keeper Clint Davies tipped his shot over the bar.
Balcatta tried to work the ball up the wings and in the 38th minute Alex Caniglia sprinted onto a ball and pulled it back for Carlo Coelho, who mishit his shot. They came desperately close to an equaliser four minutes later as keeper Aleks Vrteski hesitated to meet Kieran Colwell’s ball into the box but Coelho could not connect.
The Lions did not carry the same intensity into the second half and Balcatta showed patience as they worked the ball into the box then Gate brilliantly skipped past two defenders to score his second. Stirling had quietened down but after Doyle and Evans were denied by an impressive double save, they gained a second wind. Micevski earned a free-kick and as everyone anticipated a cross, substitute Miki Vujacic fired through the wall towards the near corner and although Davies reacted well to keep it out, Arnold slotted home the rebound.
Coach Ramon Falzon was frustrated that Balcatta had gained just one point from their last three games after a long spell of form that had made them contenders for the title. “It hurts,” he said. “But now we have to pick ourselves up, work hard and try and at least seal third place.” “Subiaco have picked up recently so it will be a tough game next week, but now we really need the three points.”
With Sorrento’s results dipping in recent weeks, Williams knows there’s still a chance of third spot for the Lions as well. “We’ve made it difficult for ourselves but it’s not in our own hands at the moment,” he said. “Sorrento have given us a leg up so we’ve just got to win the rest of our games and see what we can get.”
PERTH SMASH ARMADALE (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
High-flying Perth SC were buoyed by the return of striker Ash Rosindale, who netted in his first game back from injury in a 7-0 rout of Armadale at Dorrien Gardens yesterday. Rosindale, who had been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury, was joined on the score sheet by strike partners Mark Doninger, who grabbed a brace to make it 10 goals in six games, Mark Pritchard, Adrian Caceres, Andreas Theodosiades and Aden Da Luz.
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis had wanted his team to make a statement and they delivered with a convincing team performance. “I think the result showed that,” he said. “It’s healthy to have the competitiveness in the squad but also to see players playing for the team. “Our strikers are looking to play each other in and the selflessness is really good to see.”
The home side opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Pritchard after he collected the ball from a poor headed clearance just inside the area and slotted into the bottom corner. Rosindale scored in the 21st minute and Andreas Theodosiades added the third in the 42nd minute after playing a smart wall pass with James Marocchi to get in behind the visitors’ defence. Da Luz made it four on the stroke of half-time with a simple tap in and Doninger got his first nine minutes into the second half with a smashing strike. Rosindale was replaced by Caceres and he found the net in the 81st minute before Doninger completed his brace in stoppage time.
Armadale coach Lee Bamber was coy on his side’s performance and felt it needed little comment. “The result says it all,” he said. The result leaves Perth in second place, five points behind Bayswater City, and five points clear of third-placed Balcatta. Armadale remain bottom.
GLORY AND ATHENA WASHED OUT
Perth Glory and Floreat Athena's fixture at Intiga Stadium was postponed yesterday due to a water logged pitch after heavy rainfall lashed Perth. Officials also caled off the Under 18's and Reserves game. All games will be rescheduled.
ALLARDYCE SAYS LOSS OF TOMBIDES IS STILL BEING FELT
They may be playing in New Zealand today, but the presence of Sydney FC in the opposition dressing room will be a painful reminder to West Ham United of the young Australian they lost earlier this year. Dylan Tombides passed away in April after a long battle with testicular cancer – and manager Sam Allardyce says the club are still in shock. “Dylan hadn’t long been diagnosed when I arrived, but he showed outstanding bravery throughout that period,” said Allardyce. “No-one could have shown the desire and determination to try and overcome this illness like him. Four or five times he looked like he had recovered – he was back in training, full of health, hair grown back and really loving his football.”
Sadly, the illness claimed Tombides at the tragically young age of 20. Had he lived, he may have eventually played alongside the likes of England international, Carlton Cole, who remembers him fondly. “Dylan was a big part of our club – it’s a family unit, and the players were really affected by it,” said Cole. “We showed our feelings by wearing his shirt as a tribute to him. It’s such a sad situation for anyone to be in, and my heart goes out to his family. I hope we as a club have done the best we can, to help them get through it.” Cole will be in contention to lead the line against the Sky Blues, who are looking to bounce back from their 4-0 thumping at the hands of Newcastle United in Dunedin on Tuesday.
GLORY SET TO FACE TOUGH TEST
Perth Glory face the toughest test of their pre-season tomorrow when they take on Spanish outfit Malaga CF at Perth Oval. The fixture is Malaga's second on their pre-season tour of Australia, after demolishing Adelaide United 5-1 last night. It forms part of the second annual world tour to promote Spanish soccer and increase La Liga's global popularity. It is also Glory's final hit-out before their first competitive match of the new season, away to Newcastle Jets in a first round FFA Cup match on 5 August.
Malaga signalled their intentions for the tour by bringing a full-strength squad to Australia. The team is led by Paraguay captain Roque Santa Cruz and features on-loan Liverpool winger Luis Alberto, Venezuela international Roberto Rosales, Ivory Coast's Arthur Boka and emerging Portuguese star Ricardo Horta. Glory defender Scott Jamieson said the match would be a feast for fans. "Malaga are a fantastic outfit and it's a big game, so hopefully there's a big crowd," Jamieson said. "We've got a few new players and it's a good chance for the fans to see them."
INGLEWOOD, NORMANTON GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS (Courtesy Inglewood United)
Inglewood United and coach Graham Normanton have announced they have parted company by mutual consent. The decision came following a meeting between Normanton and the members of the club Executive Committee last night at which it was felt it was in Inglewood’s best interest to start building towards season 2015. “Graham has been an absolute professional at our club and we thank him for his contribution since joining Inglewood on the eve of the 2012 season,” said president Luke Martin. “We have the greatest respect for the commitment Graham made to Inglewood and we wish him all the best for the future. He will always be a friend of Inglewood United.”
Normanton joined Inglewood early in 2012 and, despite limited preparation, guided the club to fifth in the league before dropping one spot last year. He took the club to back-to-back State Cup semi-finals, in 2012 and 2013, and earlier this year oversaw our qualification for the last four of the Night Series.
Inglewood entered the inaugural National Premier Leagues with the expressed goal of a top four finish but, with five games remaining, is placed ninth and out of finals contention. “Graham is a great coach but has had to work in some difficult circumstances this year,” said Martin. “Graham understands our position and he will be welcomed back to Intiga Stadium as guest of the club at any time.”
Technical Director Goran Stajic will take charge of Inglewood’s first team in a caretaker capacity until the end of the season. An extensive search for a permanent replacement for Normanton will commence next month.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND EIGHTEEN
Perth Glory v Floreat Athena
Perth Glory and Floreat Athena return to action after a week off and both will be looking to improve on recent results. Glory earned a point away at bottom side Armadale in their last outing which ended a wretched run of form in which they had lost nine on the bounce. The last time Glory tasted victory was against this weeks opponents in the reverse fixture when they left Litis Stadium with a 5-0 win. Floreat have had a very much disrupted season with not much stability or consistency. Sitting in a disappointing 7th spot on the table with more losses than victories, Athena will head into the fixture knowing that it is a must win game if they still want to be playing come September.
Cockburn City v Sorrento
Sorrento make their longest road trip of the season as they head to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City. The Gulls will recognise that they must perform better than recent weeks if they are to bring to an end a run of three games without a win. They dominated proceedings in their game against in-form Subiaco a fortnight ago but a mix up at the back late in the game meant they got nothing from it. Cockburn have the opportunity to close the gap on their opponents in the race for finals football. The Southern Suburbs side could be within 3 points of 4th spot with a win and will look back favourably on their meeting earlier in the year when they prevailed 3-2. Adam Luca remains on the sidelines for Sorrento as he continues to struggle with a knee injury. That loss is offset by the returns of Brodie Martin and James Morgan who have served their respective suspensions. Danny Cain’s recovery from a broken nose may have come too late for a starting berth but he may feature in the reserves.
Subiaco AFC v Bayswater City
Who would have thought a few weeks back that the previously winless Subiaco would have gained 13 points out of a possible 15? They head into the game against top of the pile Bayswater City as the in- form side of the competition. Subiaco will hope that the week off will not halt their marvellous run of results and that it has been an opportunity to assist players carrying mid season knocks. Bayswater will still be on cloud 9 after claiming a second successive State League Cup title with victory over rivals Stirling Lions. The 2-0 win in the final was their second win in a week over the Lions which brought to an end an indifferent month for the title favourites. Matt Akehurst is doubtful for the hosts here as he battles to overcome a niggle in time for this crunch game. Jack Ryecroft is also unavailable for selection this week. Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan expects some of the reserve players to push their cause and may be involved.
Stirling Lions v Balcatta
Stirling will look to put last weeks Cup final loss behind them as they aim to gate crash the top 4. The Lions fought gallantly last week but were edged out by favourites Bayswater but all attention will now be on the League where they will hope to get back in the winners circle. Stirling are another side that have struggled to string a run of form together and they face a tough test as Balcatta head to Macedonia Park. When Balcatta hosted this weeks opponents in Round 7 they ran away with the game 3 goals to nil and will want to keep the pressure on the teams above them and do the double over their cross-town rivals. The visitors can bring back the services of Marc de Francesch and Kris Gate who are returning from suspension and long term injury respectively. They will have to do without top scorer Gustavo Catarcione who remains overseas, likewise Matt Izzo and Adam Tong. Stirling have no such concerns and have a full squad to choose from including a fully fit Michael Pugliese.
Perth v Armadale
On paper this one looks like a foregone conclusion. But football isn't like that and that's why we love the World game. Armadale have picked up only a single point on their travels all season but their recent record against Perth isn't the worst. The two share the spoils in the last 5 league encounters with Armadale winning two, Perth winning two and a draw. Perth have the leagues most potent attack as they look to inflict further misery on a campaign to forget for Armadale. The odds are firmly stacked against the bottom of the league side, but stranger things have happened in football. Armadale will have to be at their best if they’re to overcome a strong Perth side and the suspensions ruling out Billy Quincroft and Alec Solomon this week are far from timely. Luke Bogoni is also unavailable this weekend. The good news for the cellar dwellers is that Mitch Castrilli returns to the mix as they attempt to earn victory. There are two players unavailable for Perth this week with Luka Njegich out suspended and Laurence Gaughan who has picked up an injury. James Marrochi is returning for suspension and they welcome back the now fully fit Ashley Rosindale who will give them firepower in the final third. Craig Simpson and Alex Dunn have returned from overseas but it remains to be seen whether they will feature on Saturday.
ECU Joondalup v Inglewood United
Inglewood on paper have a much better squad than their ninth position suggests and with victory here could jump their opponents. Inglewood have had a big couple of weeks with the passing of club legend Ziggy Kramer followed by the penalty shootout victory over A-League side Perth Glory. ECU Joondalup proved no match for Inglewood when the two met earlier this year when Inglewood won easily, 3 goals to nil. ECU haven't tasted victory in over a month and will hope to rectify that this week and have the players at their disposal to do so as their wins over Floreat and Cockburn would suggest. ECU have Jake Benson-Cooper, Jonathon Stynes and Joe Smith returning this week but there will be late fitness tests for Charlie Comyn-Platt, Andy Banks and Tommy Amplett. Joondalup Coach Dale McCulloch had young players William Bissett, Dejan Spaseski and Jack McMaster all promoted to first team squad last night with a view to perhaps giving them a bit of experience.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND FOURTEEN
Morley-Windmills v Ashfield
Ashfield have the potential to top the pile in Division One at the end of the weekend. With the leagues most potent attack and the most solid defence it is easy to see why so many people are tipping Ashfield for end of season Glory. Ashfield Gaffer Paul Dundo returns to Wotton Reserve, home of Morley-Windmills, a team that he has both captained and coached in previous years. Morley will hope to spoil his return as the attempt to jump as high as 4th in the table come Saturday evening with a victory. Windmills held the much fancied Ashfield to a 2-2 draw earlier in the year so they know that they are capable of matching it with the teams at the top. Morley Windmills have no new injury or suspension concerns and will go in with a full allotment of players. Graham tough and Johnny Perkins are suspended for Ashfield, but otherwise have a full squad to choose from.
Mandurah City v Canning City
Mandurah have known from the outset that this season would be about building stability and blooding new players into the squad and as the season has progressed they have certainly improved. Having only tasted defeat once in a month Mandurah have distanced themselves from Wanneroo at the foot of the table and they are only a couple of wins from mid table safety. Canning secured 3 points in their last fixture against Swan Utd which was their only win in their last 7 games which has all but put their title aspirations to an end. When these two met back in Round 3 Canning prevailed 2-0 and I am sure they would be more than happy with a repeat of that scoreline. Mark Trevisiol and Dean Apelgren return to fist team action for Canning which will certainly make them harder to penetrate. Daniel Niederberger is another welcome face to return to action but this week he may be restricted to coming off the bench. Nathan Hubbard and Paul Van Dongen are still not right and remain on the sidelines. Mandurah go into this one with a full squad to choose from with no fresh injury concerns.
Swan United v Dianella White Eagles
A Swan United win here would see them draw level on points with their opponents and possibly even over take them. They are however on a run at the moment that hasn't seen them register a win in over a month, collecting only a single point in the process. Swan have the players at their disposal to be winning this type of game and will go in confident especially on home turf. Dianella have lost 5 of their 6 matches on the road in 2014, their only success coming nearly 3 months ago at Mandurah. They will however fancy their chances and hope to creep away from the bottom clubs after their victory two weeks ago. Swan Utd have a growing injury list and this week are without the services of Liam Boland and Chris Marshall who are not 100%. Ian Mckean, Ebe Cowbrough and Mark Donnelly are all unavailable this week as well.
Shamrock Rovers Perth v Bunbury Forum Force
Few will dispute that this is the game of the round and a massive test for current leaders Bunbury. With 3 points Shamrock will draw level on points with the South West club and issue a huge statement to the rest of the league that they're serious contenders. Bunbury were narrow winners when the two met earlier in the campaign but are now looking over their shoulders as the Season gets to the business end. Shamrock tasted defeat for only the third time this season last weekend in a tight affair, away at form side Ashfield. Barry Mulligan is one absentee for Shamrock here as he has returned to Ireland. The Irish side have signed UK import Nick Little who is an attacking player who they hope will give them the edge in the final third. Chris Holland is also back fully fit and looking to get an opportunity for first team.
Gosnells City v UWA-Nedlands FC
The home side here have experienced much upheaval this season and have struggled for any sort of consistency under difficult circumstances. They scraped past bottom side Wanneroo in their last game and will be aiming to put back to back victories together
for the first time since the opening two fixtures of the year. The Eastern suburbs side have found scoring hard to come by this year which has proved their downfall. UWA are perhaps the form side of the competition and this years surprise packets. They have won their last 3 and only experienced defeat once in 5 outings proving that Mick Lyons is getting the best out of his troops.
Western Knights v Wanneroo City
For the punters out there this looks like a 'nailed-on' home win. But we all know that football isn't as straight forward as that. Last years champions Wanneroo are still searching for their first league win of the year as they face the uphill battle of avoiding being the first league winners (without promotion) to be relegated the following year in the history of our game in WA. Recent signs aren't terrible for the Roo's. Prior to their 2-1 loss to Gosnells, they were perhaps unlucky not to knock off leaders Bunbury after the game ended 4-4. The Knights find themselves in a similar position as Canning knowing that if they are to threaten the top sides they cannot drop anymore points and rely on other fixtures to work in their favour. On paper though they're are capable of knocking off the best sides so don't write them off.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND FOURTEEN
It’s week fourteen in the Second Division, and it all starts on Friday evening with Curtin University hosting Kelmscott Roos at Edinburgh Oval (8.30pm). Roos coach James Coffey, who injured his knee against Forrestfield three weeks ago, has a few players back this week for the trip. “I need a new knee, as my ACL, and meniscus is injured, but the clubs other injuries, which has stopped us from putting a full squad out for a few weeks now, has turned around, and the cup break, come at the right time for us,” he said. “We have rested a lot of players to recover for a big Friday night game, and Christian Hogge comes back into the squad.” Curtin welcome back Antony Russo, who has been overseas, but they will be sweating on the fitness of Rory Binnie.
On Saturday, League leaders Joondalup United have home ground advantage, with Fremantle United visiting Forrest Park. Joondalup Coach Daniel Smith is expecting a tough game, as they look to hold on to their seven point gap at the top of the table. “We are taking this game very seriously and we’ve spoke about it during the week, and have prepared ourselves for a tough game,” he said. “The boys all know the challenges that come being top of the league, and are all focused on making sure we continue the form that has got us there.” In team news Marc Beatie returns to the squad, the first of six Joondalup players to return after heading over for the World Cup, so spots in the starting line-up will be up for grabs.
Forrestfield United, who regain the services of Jason Godfrey and Jimmy Duncan, makes the trip to Kingsway Reserve to face Kingsway Oympic, who welcome back skipper Aaron Lickiss and Joe Armitage. Balga and Ellenbrook United meet at Princess Road Reserve, while Joondalup City travel to Len Shearer Reserve to take on Melville City. “The lads enjoyed the weekend off but are eager to get back on the park,” Melville midfielder Graham Herd said. “We got beat 4-3 by City earlier this season and we're looking to get the better of them this time around.” Melville will go into the game without Sasa Slavujevic and Mark Lucas, who are both overseas.
Rockingham City’s good form has seen them move into third place, and they host Quinns at Lark Hill. “We are going into the game full of confidence, however we respect Quinns and admire the qualities they have within their side,” City Coach Rob Crerar said. City welcome back David Clark, Sean Brady, Blade Atkinson and Fraser Marr, but lose Trevor Laure due to suspension.
SUBIACO RELISHING BAYSWATER CHALLENGE (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Subiaco AFC players were always confident they would turn around results and justify their place in the National Premier Leagues WA, according to defender Rowdy Yates. After a difficult start to life in the top-flight that left them in last place after a dozen games, Subiaco are unbeaten in their past five outings and have climbed to 10th place in the 12-team competition.
“After our slow start to the season we are starting to get the results we knew we could get,” he said. “All the boys have worked hard week in, week out and we’ve stuck to the game plan (coach) Gerry (McEwan) has set us and it’s starting to pay off for us. “We had a number of doubters who thought we didn’t deserve to be in this league but internally we knew we should be and we’re now showing them they were wrong.”
Yates indicated Subiaco had no reason to fear taking on league leaders Bayswater City, who won the Cool Ridge Cup final last weekend, at the WA Athletics Stadium tomorrow. “We’re looking forward to playing Bayswater and hope to extend our good run of form,” he said. “They are the best team in the State and have quality players all over the park, so it will be a huge test for us to see how much we’ve improved as a team. We will take confidence into the game from our recent results and hopefully get the points.”
In the last round, Subiaco travelled to third-place Sorrento and came away with a morale-boosting victory. “It was a massive three points for us against Sorrento,” he said. “We knew not many teams take points away from Percy Doyle Reserve, so to get the three we were buzzing. “I thought we were the better team in the first half and took our chances well. They definitely responded in the second half but we defended well as a team and managed to nick it in the last few minutes. Maybe we were a little lucky in the end.” Subiaco will be at full strength for tomorrow’s game, while Bayswater City will be without the suspended Todd Howarth, injured Trent Kay and David Heagney, who is overseas.
CUP GAMES MOVED TO ATHLETICS STADIUM
The two highly anticipated FFA Cup round of thirty-two games to be held in Perth next month will be played at the WA Athletics Stadium, home of Subiaco AFC. National Premier Leagues club Stirling Lions will host reigning A-League champions Brisbane Roar on 19 August with back-to-back Cool Ridge Cup winners Bayswater City facing national league heavyweights Melbourne Victory the following night. Both games were originally scheduled to be played at Stirling’s home ground, Macedonia Park. Western Australia’s third representative, A-League side Perth Glory, travels to play Newcastle Jets on 5 August.
BIRIGHITTI’S JUVENTUS DREAM
Long-time Juventus fan Mark Birighitti is eyeing the shirt of his childhood hero, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, after gaining A-League All-Stars selection. The Newcastle Jets shot-stopper is one of four players added to the All-Stars squad for next month’s highly anticipated clash with Juventus in Sydney. “I’ve been supporting the club since I was about five and coming from an Italian family I’m a big Juventus supporter,” Birighitti said. “I remember when I was a young kid, whether it was birthdays or Christmas, my parents would always buy me the latest Juventus shirt.”
Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior, is hopeful he’ll not only play on the same field as Buffon but also get to meet the Italy and Juventus legend. “Being a goalkeeper I look up to Buffon, he’s been one of my idols since I was a young kid,” he said. “Just to hopefully play against him, it would be nice to have a chat with him and hopefully get to meet him. He’s been there, he’s done it and he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world, what a person to look up to.”
GLORY BAIL ON SYDNEY AT THE LAST MOMENT
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe made a last minute decision to cancel a friendly match against New South Wales Premier League club Sydney Olympic tonight. Glory arrived at Belmore Sports Ground before Lowe bizarrely told Olympic officials his side would not take the field, claiming the facilities were not up to the required standard. "I made the decision not to play," Lowe said. "Unfortunately we couldn't prepare correctly to play the game. We had no changing rooms, no warm-up area. I made a professional decision that if we can't prepare correctly for a game, we're not going to play the game."
Olympic coach Grant Lee, a former Socceroo, said he had spoken to Glory players at the ground and was stunned to hear the match had been cancelled. "It's got me a bit baffled," Lee said. "In 35 years of football I haven't seen anything like this." Glory and Olympic had been deep in discussions about setting up a formal relationship, which would have provided a pathway for young players to the A-League. But tonight's incident has cast doubt over the proposed partnership. The match cancellation will cost Olympic thousands of dollars, with the club set carry the cost of ground hire, corporate boxes, fees for match officials, security and catering.
JUVENTUS IN THE EYE OF STORM
From being club-less this time last year to going head-to-head with the likes of new Juventus signing Patrice Evra, it’s been some rise for newly named A-League All-Stars defender Storm Roux. The 21-year old admits he’s still pinching himself over what he’s achieved in the last twelve months, starting with securing his first professional contract with Central Coast Mariners and earning an international call-up with New Zealand. But the exciting right-back’s rapid rise is about to enjoy a new turn when he lines up against the ‘Old Lady’ of Italian football.
What’s more, Roux will line-up alongside Italian legend and All-Stars captain Alessandro Del Piero in next month’s glamour friendly. “It’s going to be an amazing experience and ever since I was selected it was something I was very excited to be part of,” Roux told a-leagueallstars.com.au “Last year I was watching the game from my couch without an A-League club so I’m probably still a little shocked right now to think I’m part of the next All-Stars game, especially against a massive team like Juventus with so many great players.”
Playing down the right-hand side for Central Coast, Roux is likely to come face-to-face with French international Evra in what promises to be an enthralling battle. “Every footballer is excited when you get to test yourself against some great players,” the former Sorrento junior commented. “It’s not going to be easy but I think of it as another chance to show what I can do and try and impress. You have to look forward to these things because that’s what you play for and what makes you a better player.”
LOWRY SIGNS WITH LEYTON
League One club Leyton Orient have completed the signing of former Millwall defender Shane Lowry on a two-year deal. Lowry, 25, plays primarily at left back but can also fill in in the middle of defence at centre back and becomes the Lions’ fourth new signing of the summer. “I’m really excited to be here,” Lowry said. “There’s a buzz about the place. You can tell straightaway that everyone here is really ambitious and I want to be a part of it and help the club push to go up this year.” Lowry, an ECU Joondalup junior, started his professional career at Aston Villa and has had loan spells with Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Millwall before signing on permanently with the latter in early 2012.
SOCCEROOS SPURRED ME ON: BIRIGHITTI
Mark Birighitti says his involvement with the Socceroos ahead of the recent World Cup has given him the boost he needs to win back his role as Newcastle Jets’ first-choice goalkeeper. Birighitti was one of four ‘keepers included in Ange Postecoglou’s initial squad for the tournament in Brazil. And while he didn’t make the final 23-player squad, the former Perth SC glovesman says his involvement was a great experience. His goal is now to win back the number one spot at club level and compete for a place in the Socceroos squad for next year’s Asian Cup.
Ben Kennedy finished last season between the posts for Newcastle but Birighitti says needs little motivation to win back the gloves. “People say ‘you’ve been to the World Cup, you should be number one’, but BK came in last year and he did a fantastic job,” he said. “But I’m going into pre-season to make sure I get that number one position, get my spot back. I’ve come back from Brazil a different person. I’m so much more confident. I know that with the Asian Cup just around the corner I’m a chance for that, and it’s only going to make me hungrier. So I just can’t wait to get into it.”
EDWARDS TARGETS GOALS AFTER PRE-SEASON OPENER
Ryan Edwards wants more of the same after his goalscoring start to pre-season. The young attacker announced his return to Reading by hitting the back of the net just 7 minutes into last week’s friendly at Exeter City to earn the Royals a 1-0 pre-season win. “It was good to start with a goal,” said 20-year old Edwards, who spent last season on loan to Perth Glory. “I’ve been working hard in training to add that to my game so it was a great way to begin pre-season.”
Edwards, who signed with Reading in 2011, is eager to force his way into manager Nigel Adkins’ plan for the forthcoming Championship campaign. “Going back on loan to Australia was good for me to get first team experience in games,” he said. “That’s definitely helped me and given me confidence. Now the important thing is to have a really strong pre-season. I’ve come back fit and in good shape. I took care of myself over the summer, ate right and made sure I would be up there with the rest of the boys in the fitness tests.
“Then since we started with the ball stuff it’s all been about trying to impress the manager,” Edwards continued. “He’s shown that he wants to look at the young players and he’ll bring you in if you’re good enough. That’s what any young player looks for in a manger. He’s shown that at Southampton and he’s already shown it here with Jordan Obita, Michael Hector and Jake Taylor. When I was in Australia it was great to see those boys getting a chance.”
YOUNG TO COACH AT NEWCASTLE
Newcastle Jets have appointed former shot-stopper Neil Young as goalkeeper coach for the coming summer. Young made nine appearances for Newcastle during the 2009/10 campaign before a broken nose ended his season and, ultimately, left him fighting for his life after suffering an adverse reaction to medication. After several rounds of surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, he joined Perth Glory as back-up to Danny Vukovic in 2011 and for the past two seasons has been goalkeeper coach at the club.
Young, 34, is excited about returning to Newcastle where he’ll oversee the development of fellow West Australia Mark Birighitti along with Ben Kennedy and John Solari. “I’m excited to work with this group of goalkeepers and I’m looking forward to getting them in good shape for the upcoming season,” Young said. “Mark was part of the Australian squad that went to Brazil for the World Cup and is obviously in line for a Socceroos gig at some stage, so hopefully I can push him forward towards that.”
ADELAIDE SEE OFF GLORY CHALLENGE
Perth Glory suffered a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United in their pre-season friendly at Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney. Glory, playing for the first time in their new yellow pre-season kit, created few chances in the first half before Adelaide step up a gear after the break. Even so, the breakthrough didn’t arrive until the 72nd minute when defender Nigel Boogaard latched onto an Osama Malik free-kick. Glory’s next pre-season assignment is against former National Soccer League rivals Sydney Olympic on Wednesday before they return home to host high-profile Spanish club Malaga CF on Sunday.
BAYSWATER GO BACK TO BACK IN COOL RIDGE CUP
Bayswater City maintained their grip on the Cool Ridge Cup trophy, after a 2-0 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Striker Steve Burton opened the scoring early, before Todd Howarth doubled their advantage midway through the half, and they held their lead to lift the trophy again. Not even heavy rain, thunder and lightning could spoil the day for City, and stand in skipper Burton, who won the ‘Stan Lazaridis Medal’ as the best player on the day. “I was surprised to win the medal,” he said. “I was up front on my own today, as we tinkered with our formation slightly. I was given the captains arm band today and you have to lead by example and I was happy with my performance.” Burton was happy with the start from Bayswater, and to skipper the side on the big day, but said he is only filling in until their captain returns. “We’re missing Trent (Kay), he’s our leader, but I’m happy to step in to take that role while he’s away,” he said. “We have had a little dip in form in recent weeks, but we started the game really well today, and winning is a habit, and we know how to do it now.”
With the rain clouds hovering in the sky, it was poignant start to the game, with the big crowd standing as one in a minutes silence to the victims of the Malaysian airline MH 17. Once the game got underway Bayswater opened brightly, and Adam Bachiller picked out Howarth on six minutes, but Stirling keeper Aleks Vrteski saved his low shot at his near post. But on ten minutes Bayswater hit the front. Lions kipper Andy Brown brought down Bachiller on the left of the penalty area, and Gustavo Giron Marulanda’s free kick found the unmarked Burton at the front post, and he made no mistake from close-range.
The Lions needed to hit back, and they went within inches of doing that on 24 minutes. Miki Vujacic’s corner was met by Phil Arnold, who watched in anguish as his glancing header slid inches past the post. Bayswater looked lively going forward and they doubled their lead on 27 minutes. The Lions failed to pick up Marulanda on the edge of the penalty area, and the Colombian striker’s powerful shot was well saved by Vrteski, but Howarth was the quickest to the rebound, and scored from four-meters. It was nearly 3-0, six minutes later. Chris Saldaris made space down the right and his cross into the penalty area picked out Howarth, but the former Perth Glory midfielder fired straight at Vrteski from six meters, but Bayswater went into the break with a two goal lead.
With Coach Gary Williams’ half time address still ringing in their ears, the Lions opened the second half brightly. Moses Kalau tested Devon Spence early from a free kick, before the same player fired straight at the Bayswater custodian. But the Lions were struggling to break down a resolute Bayswater defence, superbly led by Jamie Coyne and Saldaris. But at the other end, Burton was giving the Lions defence a real headache. On the hour Howarth raced clear down the left, his cross found Burton, whose first time shot crashed off the post. Then moments later Paul McCarthy and Burton combined to set up Marulanda, whose shot flashed over the top.
The Lions went to three at the back as they looked to get back in the game, and Hayden Doyle tested Spence on 73 minutes, but still the Lions couldn’t find the break through. The heavens opened with ten minutes remaining, mixed in with bolts of lightning, but to the Lions credit they continued to press. In the first of four minutes stoppage time Kalau’s corner found Brown, whose header crashed off the base of the post, and away to safety, it wasn’t the Lions’ day. That was the end of the action, and at the final whistle, it was the Bayswater players and supporters who were singing in the rain to celebrate another great day for the club.
Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne was proud of the way the players had played on the day, and hopes there is more to come. “It was a magnificent performance from the lads today. I’m delighted with the whole squad today, they put a good shift in today, against a good Stirling outfit,” he said. “We hadn’t been in great form of late, but I know someone was going to cop it, and when we got two goals early I thought here we go, and if our decision making had been a little better, I think we could have scored another three or four. “I’m really pleased, the emotion will kick in a little later, but I’m really proud of the whole club, the backroom staff and players, we will go and celebrate this one and get ready for next week.”
Stirling Lions: GK Aleks VRTESKI, 2 Rikki SMITH, 3 Ali GHOULAMI, 4 Jovo PAVLOVIC, 5 Dean EVANS, 6 Hayden DOYLE, 7 Miki VUJACIC (3 Michael PUGLIESE 74’), 8 Andrew BROWN, 9 Moses KALAU, 10 David MICEVSKI, 11 Phil ARNOLD (13 Jack SALTER 60’) - Subs not used: RGK Connor CAMPBELL, 12 Daniel DOLS, 15 Boas MTWALE
Yellow cards: Kalau 16’
Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 2 Declan HARGREAVES (7 Hassan EL YASSIRI 76’), 3 Adam BACHILLER, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY, 9 Gustavo GIRON MARULANDA (10 Damien CATALANO 63’), 12 Steve BURTON, 15 Brian FARRELL, 16 Jamie COYNE, 20 Sam MITCHINSON, 23 Chris SALDARIS - Subs not used: RGK Joel DRISCOLL, 5 Andy REALE, 14 Harry BISSETT, 17 Sahr MUSA
Yellow cards: Howarth 87
ASHFIELD WIN RESERVES FINAL ON PENALTIES (by Colin Outhwaite, www.footballwest.com.au)
All Flags State League Division One side Ashfield beat NPL WA team Balcatta 5-4 on penalties at Macedonia Park in a dramatic end to the reserves Cool Ridge Cup final yesterday. Ashfield keeper Alex Sutton was the hero of the day as his last two penalty saves dragged the underdogs from behind to take the trophy.
With Balcatta winning their last two rounds on penalties, it was a tense end to the game for Ashfield coach Gerry Wardle, who felt his side should have finished it in normal time. "Both teams had their chances in the second half but we negated each other's strong points which made it difficult," he said. "We didn't play our usual fluent game and it's not the best way to decide a cup final but we'll take it."
Wardle said having a variety of ages in the team has been an advantage against the U20 NPL teams. "I think our experienced players carried us through but our younger players rose to the challenge and have been outstanding," he said. Ashfield have beaten five NPL teams but Wardle said the cup was never considered a priority. "We've just taken it week by week and I think some teams have underrated us," he said.
Balcatta started shakily and Ashfield put them under pressure with long balls over the top. Ian Grifiths was unable to make the most of a defensive error that put him one-on-one with keeper Daniel Passarelli when he scuffed his shot wide of the post in the 11th minute. Ashfield were behind the back four again 15 minutes later but Passarelli’s diving save denied Sean Bryne's half volley. Balcatta struggled to get past Ashfield's defence with Wardle's stand out players, Matt Warton and Davy Gordon, cleaning up consistently. The NPL WA side thought they had scored the breakthrough in the 31st minute when Amir Ajan's shot was parried to Patrick Sara but the flag went up for offside.
Balcatta squandered a great opportunity in the 65th minute, De Francesch going one-on-one with Sutton then passing to Ajan but a touch too many dissolved the attack. Both teams became apprehensive and opted for long balls to the strikers. In the 85th minute Ryan Cox slid onto an Alex Stamatiadis flick-on but hit Balcatta’s side netting and the game was sent to penalties.
Both teams scored their first two but Passarelli kept out Cox and at 4-3 Balcatta looked like they had clinched it. But Ashfield kept their cool, converting their remaining penalties and Sutton made two great saves to finish it off. Balcatta coach Ljupco Taneski said he was still proud of the boys for coming this far. "They're young guys and a cup final is a great experience for them so there’s a lot to learn from,” he said. "We gave Ashfield far too much respect early on but we got ourselves back into the game and missed out on a few chances. And once it gets to penalties it's just the luck of the draw."
PERTH 18'S HAVE EDGE IN HARD FOUGHT FINAL (by Peter Simcox, www.footballwest.com.au)
Perth SC scored a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sorrento to claim the U18 Cool Ridge Cup at Macedonia Park yesterday. Adam Carlino opened the scoring early and another 15-year-old, Emerson Garley, added a second just before half-time. Sorrento skipper Matt Cherrie pulled one back for the Gulls with fifteen minutes remaining to set up a tense finish but with Perth skipper Brodie Walker in outstanding form at the favourites hung on for the win. “We had a great start with the early goal,” Walker said. “One mistake from them and we pounced on it. “We had a few players out today but I was really pleased with the lads today and thought we deserved the win.”
Perth coach Richie Abrams said his side can improve on their second-half performance. “The first half was good but the second half we were lucky and I was impressed the way Sorrento played,” he said. “The start was great. Adam has scored over 20 goals this season, so he was always going to be a threat up front. But I didn’t think we were going to get that straight away. But he did miss an easier one later on in the game. “We have a very young side and we have to be more constant and play better than we did today if we want to go on take out the league title.”
Perth were ahead after only 26 seconds even though Sorrento had kicked off. But the Gulls lost the ball on the edge of their penalty area and Carlino nipped in to finish low past Jesse Wagener. Sorrento were shell shocked but went close themselves in the 5th minute. Joel Keen found space on the edge of the penalty area but his shot was saved by Alex Jackson.
Perth were dictating terms with skipper Brodie Walker dominating in defence and his distribution from the back set up a number of chances for Perth, with Garley and Carlino going close. Sorrento were struggling in the final third and were restricted to long-range efforts. Zack Edwards’ shot from the edge of the penalty area on 18 minutes whistled just over the top. Perth dominated the final ten minutes of the first half and they were rewarded with a second goal. A great through ball from Eric Birighitti sent Garley clear and the youngster finished clinically past Wagener.
It was an even start to the second half. For Sorrento, Keen volleyed straight at Alex Jackson early before Perth midfielder Birighitti’s long-range shot flew just wide. Sorrento were not allowing Perth time on the ball and they were back in the game on 72 minutes. Second-half substitute Jami Sandell’s through ball deflected into the path of Cherrie, who finished past Jackson from the edge of the penalty area.
Sorrento went to three at the back and pressed for the equaliser but Jaxon Temata’s curling shot drifted the wrong side of the post. Perth began to hit on the counter attack and went close to a third in stoppage time. Daniel Silla’s great run and shot beat Wagener but Temata cleared the ball off the line.
At the final whistle it was Perth celebrating but Sorrento coach Karl Cherrie also found positives despite the loss. “We were found out a little bit in the first half and I asked for a little bit more at half-time,” he said. “We changed a few things at the break and the lads played well. When we pulled one back we went three at the back, and went for it, but couldn’t find the equaliser. But it was a great second half performance.”
STATE CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The State League Cup takes centre stage this weekend with current holders Bayswater City taking on Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Saturday. A big crowd is expected for a feast of football, kicking off with the under 18’s Final between Perth SC and Sorrento at 10.15am, the Reserves Final between Balcatta and Ashfield at 12.15pm, with the big one at 3pm.
Bayswater made it to the final after a 4-0 win against Subiaco AFC in the semi-Final, with goal from Trent Kay 2, Declan Hargreaves and Irish midfielder Brain Farrell. Farrell, who has only been at the club two seasons, knows the importance of the Cup Final and is hoping to go back-to-back. “We all realise the cup final is a huge day in WA football and were glad to see it first-hand last year when we beat Ashfield,” he said. “Having had that success, as well has taking out the top five Finals last season, we have managed to keep the core of the squad together for this campaign and to go back to back in such prestigious competition would be a great honour for the whole club.”
City has had the wood on the Lions this season, but Farrell knows they will need to be at their best to win on Saturday. “We have beaten Stirling twice this year but they have both been fiercely contested games and we haven't forgot the battles we had with them last year,” he explained. “They have a dangerous team with dangerous individuals but hopefully we can keep them quiet and get over the line on the day.” In team news skipper Trent Kay is in doubt after limping off against ECU Joondalup two weeks ago, with a hamstring injury, but they do welcome back Chris Saldaris from suspension, while striker David Heagney is overseas and is unavailable.
The Lions beat ECU Joondalup 3-1 in the semi-final, with David and Daniel Micevski on target, and midfielder Dean Evans, who was part of the side that beat Floreat Athena in the 2010 Cup Final, is hoping to give the club another successful day. “Everyone loves being involved in a Cup Final and the chance of winning a piece of silverware for their club, and both clubs will do doing everything they can to lift the trophy on Saturday afternoon,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be involved in a Cup Final in 2010, and it’s a great day, and we hope we can come out on top, and put on a good spectacle for both sets of supporters and the neutrals. “
Evans missed last week’s 1-0 defeat at Frank Drago Reserve, but he knows they can only look forward. “We don’t look at past results, obviously there’s always areas we need to improve in but we know if we can stick together on Saturday the result will come,” he said. “There is a good atmosphere around at the moment with all the build-up so we can’t wait to get out there on Saturday and bring back the Cup for our fans.” The Lions are almost at full strength for the game. Evans returns from suspension, their only doubt is Daniel Micevski, who is likely to miss again.
LIONS SCENT CUP FINAL UPSET (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Stirling Lions defender Andy Brown is motivated by the thought of becoming the latest captain to raise WA soccer’s coveted knockout trophy. Brown will lead the underdogs against Bayswater City in tomorrow’s Cool Ridge Cup final knowing the home comfort of Macedonia Park will count for little a gainst the National Premier Leagues WA leaders.
“The cup final is as big a game as there is on the WA football calendar,” Brown said. “I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to play in this game and to try and emulate the glory of past captains of Stirling and lift the trophy for a seventh time.”
The Lions were beaten 1-0 by Bayswater last week in the NPL-WA but Brown believes they can upset the odds tomorrow. “Our performances against Bayswater this season in the league have been positive although the score line hasn’t shown this,” he said. Stirling’s Aleks Vrteski and Bayswater’s Trent Kay with Cool Ridge Cup representatives. Pic supplied “On the weekend gone, we had them beat in every department - we just couldn't find the net. Our outlook on the cup final is positive and we will be looking to put away our chances this time and avenge our defeats in the league.”
Bayswater striker Steve Burton, whose goal sunk Stirling last week, revealed the extent of his side’s ambitions. “We set a target of four trophies this year - the Night Series, the (Cool Ridge) Cup, the league and the finals,” he said. “We have one of those and hope to make it two on Saturday. We’re all focussed on achieving the goals set at the start of the year.”
But the former Doncaster Rovers, Scarborough and Crawley Town striker knows success is far from guaranteed. “We have beaten them twice in the NPL, but that counts for nothing, it’s a cup final anything could happen,” he said. “The players and everyone at the club are looking forward to the occasion and as long as we show the same desire as we have in the last few games we should stand a good chance.”
OLD FOES CLASH IN FINAL (by Shayne Hope, The West Australian)
One of WA soccer’s fiercest rivalries comes to a head today when Bayswater City and Stirling Lions do battle in the Cool Ridge Cup final at Macedonia Park. NPL WA leaders Bayswater beat Stirling 1-0 in the league last week and have the wood on their opponents, having defeated the Lions in the Premier Division grand final last season.
But Stirling goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski said the Lions were confident of reversing that result and winning their seventh Cup title in today’s final. “The rivalry has been ongoing for two seasons now,” Vrteski said. “We lost 1-0 to Baysie last week and I’ve heard some people say that we should’ve been beaten comprehensively, but I feel we were well in the game and were unfortunate not to get something out of the game. “You’ve always got to be confident and we have a strong belief we can beat Bayswater. It won’t be easy, but we can do it.”
Bayswater defender Trent Kay faces a fitness test this morning after suffering a hamstring strain against ECU Joondalup a fortnight ago. Kay hasn’t been able to train since, but was 90 per cent sure he would play. “It would be a massive disappointment if I couldn’t play because I’ve played in all the Cup games leading up to this one,” Kay said. “You don’t want to miss out on the big one but you’ve got to do what’s best for the team.”
By reaching the Cool Ridge Cup final, Bayswater and Stirling qualified for the first round of the FFA Cup. Stirling Lions host A-League champions Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park on August 19, while Bayswater meet heavyweight Melbourne Victory at the same venue the following day.
GLORY TAKE PRE-SEASON SHOW ON ROAD (by Shayne Hope, The West Australian)
Glory take pre-season show on road Glory take pre-season show on road Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe expects second-tier Sydney Olympic to provide the biggest test of a pre-season stretch featuring games A-League and top-flight European opposition.
Glory will play two friendly matches in Sydney before meeting high-profile Spanish club Malaga CF at nib Stadium on July 27. They meet Adelaide United at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday before taking on former NSL rivals Olympic at the same venue on Wednesday. The match between Glory and Olympic will be their first meeting in almost a decade and is sure to bring back memories of the famous grand final battles of 2002 and 2003.
Olympic won the first grand final encounter 1-0 courtesy of an Ante Milicic strike before Glory got revenge the next year, claiming their maiden national championship with a 2-0 triumph. Glory legends Jamie Harnwell and Damian Mori were on the scoresheet on a historic day for the WA club. Both grand finals were played in front of full houses at what was then known as Subiaco Oval.
Lowe led his new-look Glory side to a 1-1 draw against NPL WA side Inglewood United on Tuesday and was looking forward to testing his players with three games over the next week. But he said the major focus would be on avoiding injury, with the club’s first competitive match of the 2014-15 season – a first-round FFA Cup tie away to Newcastle Jets – less than three weeks away.
“There are some concerns that maybe physically we’re not quite ready for three games in a week, but we’ll manage everybody’s load,” Lowe said at Perth Airport today. “We’ve just got to be careful that we don’t pick up any injuries. “The good thing is Adelaide are at the same stage as us and Malaga have just started their pre-season. “Probably the biggest test will be Sydney Olympic because they’re smack-bang in the middle of their (NPL New South Wales) season.”
The Glory squad has undergone a major facelift over the off-season, with eight new recruits brought in. Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and former Socceroos attacker Richard Garcia will get more game time over the next week, while Mitch Nichols and Youssouf Hersi are in line to make their first appearances for Glory. Almost the entire first team squad will travel to Sydney, with Ruben Zadkovich (overseas) and Young Socceroos trio Daniel De Silva, Riley Woodcock and Jordan Thurtell the only absentees.
EDWARDS HITS WINNER FOR READING
Young attacker Ryan Edwards got Reading’s pre-season campaign up and running by scoring the winning goal against Exeter City on Tuesday. 20-year old Edwards played on loan to Perth Glory last summer and could force his way into Nigel Adkins’ first team plans after a well-timed run and finish just eight minutes into the friendly at St James’ Park. It was all that separated the sides on the scoreboard on a night when Adkins fielded a different side in each half to give his squad some game time against the League Two outfit.
KNEE INJURY THROWS WILLIAMS INTO WORLD CUP DOUBT
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is returning to Australia after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. It will be the second knee construction for Williams, who was playing for the Western New York Flash when disaster struck. “As soon as I did it I knew I had injured my ACL and it was pretty devastating,” said the 26-year old. “I knew the feeling and I was pretty sure that I had done it again.” Williams, who will have surgery in Adelaide before beginning her rehabilitation in Canberra, suffered the same injury in the same knee in 2012 while playing for Swedish club Pitea IF.
Williams now faces a race against time to be fit for duty at the Women’s World Cup in Canada next June. “Straight away as I got in the change room and the doctor had a look at it,” Williams said. “The first thing I asked about was the World Cup and the possibility of that … We’ll see what happens with recovery and rehab, but I’m feeling actually really positive and kind of excited to get back on track and really work on everything that I need to do. The one advantage I have is that mentally I know what’s ahead of me and I know what’s required to get back onto the field.”
LIONS COACH AIMS TO SILENCE ROAR (by David Lewis, theworldgame.com.au)
As a player Gary Williams had a taste of FA Cup success with non-League English outfit Hitchin Town and now the Stirling Lions coach is aiming to mastermind a seismic shock by knocking A-League champion Brisbane Roar out of the inaugural FFA Cup. The visit of Mike Mulvey's Roar to the 7000-capacity Macedonia Park in the Perth suburb of Balcatta on 19 August is the pick of the round of 32's minnow versus giant duels and Williams - a Perth policeman - is aiming to roll back the years to the mid-1990s when unfancied Hitchin reached the second round proper of the FA Cup by claiming the scalps of Hereford United and Bristol Rovers.
The fun ended when it lost to Wycombe Wanderers, managed by now Ireland boss Martin O'Neill, and Gillingham, led back then by now Crystal Palace chief Tony Pulis. "We will be testing ourselves against the best in the country and had I been given the choice this is the tie I would have picked," said Williams. "They have a reputation for attractive football and we will have nothing to lose. To be at home in front of our own fans is just an added bonus and we are hoping for a near full hose of around 7000. "We play in front of average crowds of around 400 so it's going to be a special night."
The defending National Premier League minor premier in Western Australia, Stirling is the club which spawned the talent of Socceroos great Stan Lazaridis as well as Daniel de Silva, the 17-year-old Perth Glory rookie who will join AS Roma in Italy in a year. It was also the club which gave gifted former West Ham United and Young Socceroos striker Dylan Tombides, who tragically died earlier this year, his start in football. One-time striker Williams, who also played for non-league Hayes and Bedford Town before migrating to Australia in 2003, added: "We have a good mix of players and we believe we have enough quality to worry Brisbane." Williams is looking to former Perth Glory rookie Moses Kalau, a Congolese refugee, to provide the spark up front down the left side, insisting his pace can hurt Brisbane.
Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski is a former Australian youth player who played four first-team games for Perth Glory, while midfielders Dave Micevski and Dean Evans were also on Glory's books along with defender Hayden Doyle. "We'll give Brisbane the respect they deserve but there's nothing to say we can't pull it off on the day. We'll be putting in extra training sessions to try and prepare the players," added Williams, 45. "Our aim is to give ourselves every chance against the top players in Australia. It's a great opportunity to get the romance of the FFA Cup up and running. "We want Brisbane to look at us afterwards and say 'they have got some really good players there'.
"Myself and my assistant Daniel Stoitis encourage an open and expansive game and try and keep the ball down and play. It's been a bit of a rebuilding year for us after losing the core of our team at the end of last season, players like former English Premier League player Andy Todd who went home. "It's all about giving ourselves a financial boost and putting this club on the map in terms of recognition. It's an opportunity we plan to make the mist of."
INGLEWOOD OUT-SHOOT GLORY TO WIN KRAMER CUP
Inglewood United has lifted the inaugural Kramer Memorial Cup by out-shooting Perth Glory 4-3 from the penalty spot. Ryan Clarke had the hosts ahead early only for Andy Keogh to send the teams into the break on level terms, and with neither side able to add to their tally both camps agreed to decide the outcome from the spot. Goalkeeper Jake Luik, who came off the bench in the second half, covered himself in glory by saving twice in the shoot-out as Dario Pavic, Hayden Dodgson, Teeboy Kamara and Jaedon Ewen converted to earn Inglewood the trophy.
With 11 minutes on the clock Clarke got the go-ahead goal with a precision finish into the bottom corner from 16-metres after a neat exchange of passes with Greg Sharland. Glory immediately stepped up the tempo but it took until just before the break for Keogh equalise from Michael Thwaite’s low pass across the area. Glory coach Kenny Lowe made wholesale changes at the break and within five minutes of the restart Jamie Maclaren twice threatened to put the visitors ahead. Several of Inglewood’s rising stars were given valuable game time by boss Graham Normanton, whose team competed strongly against a very young opponent.
GLORY'S NEW BOYS ON SHOW AGAINST INGLEWOOD
Perth Glory fans will get their first chance to see most of the club's new recruits in action during tonight's pre-season friendly match against Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium. Proven A-League players Richard Garcia, Youssouf Hersi, Dino Djulbic, Diogo Ferreira and Mitch Nichols are all likely to make their first appearances, however, Ruben Zadkovich (overseas) and Jordan Thurtell (Young Socceroos) are unavailable. Young guns Daniel De Silva and Riley Woodcock are on tour with Thurtell in the US, while Matt Davies and Cameron Edwards (knee injuries) are out for at least another month.
Left-back Scott Jamieson will play his first match in eight months after an Achilles injury, while goalkeeper Danny Vukovic returns after a loan spell. Lowe said he would adopt a cautious approach for tonight's fixture ahead of Glory's first competitive match of the new season - a first-round FFA Cup tie away to Newcastle on August 5. "We'll have almost a full squad but maybe some people will be on limited game time," Lowe said. Glory and Inglewood will compete for the Siggy Kramer Memorial Cup, named in honour of the long-time Inglewood servant who died last week.
TOMBIDES DEDICATES GOAL TO LATE BROTHER
West Ham United winger Taylor Tombides made a touching tribute to his late brother, Dylan, by dedicating his first goal of pre-season to him. The 18-year old, a member of the Hammers development squad, dedicated Saturday’s goal against AFC Hornchurch to Dylan, who died in April at the age of 20 following a three-year battle with testicular cancer. Tombides scored his teams’ second goal in a 2-2 draw, slotting under the onrushing goalkeeper to restore West Ham’s lead, and immediately kissed the tattoo on his forearm in honour of his brother.
GARCIA FINALLY HOME
Perth Glory recruit Richard Garcia's homecoming was nearly two decades in the making. One of eight new faces in a revamped Glory squad for the 2014/15 season, Garcia was just 15 when he was plucked from local ranks by English club West Ham United in 1997. He enjoyed a successful career in England, including stints at Colchester United and Hull City, before opting to return to Australia two years ago. Garcia naturally attracted Glory's attention but chose to join Melbourne Heart - recently rebranded as Melbourne City - before spending last season at Sydney FC.
Now 32, Garcia jumped at the chance to fulfil his long-held dream when Glory coach Kenny Lowe came calling this year. "I had a burning ambition to end up playing for Perth," Garcia said. "When Perth created a team I was already going overseas and I never got that chance to play at national league level for my home State and my hometown. It's been on my radar for a long time, ever since I was in the UK, to come back and play for Perth. Now I've got that opportunity I'm looking to help the team as much as I can."
Glory have been by far the most active A-League club in the player market over the off- season. Lowe has brought in eight new players and will benefit from the services of returning first-team regulars Scott Jamieson, who has overcome an Achilles injury, and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who is back after an ill-fated loan stint at Vegalta Sendai. Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and Garcia, Mitch Nichols, Youssouf Hersi, Ruben Zadkovich, Diogo Ferreira and Dino Djulbic have joined Glory, while Australian youth international Jordan Thurtell has been added to the goalkeeping ranks.
GLORY MAP OUT PRE-SEASON
Perth Glory are preparing themselves for arguably their toughest pre-season ever. The A-League side’s pre-season scheduled includes a glamour friendly against Spanish club Malaga, three hit-outs against A-League opposition and an FFA Cup tie with Newcastle Jets. There is also a re-match of the 2002 and 2003 National Soccer League Grand Finals with Sydney Olympic plus games against the State team and a number of local clubs.
Glory’s pre-season kicks-off on Tuesday, 15 July, with an evening fixture against Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium (7.00pm). The game is being held in honour of Siggy Kramer, who sadly passed away this week. Kramer started as a goalkeeper with Kiev in 1953 and later became the club’s coach before moving on to President in 1994, a position he held for 19 years. He has left a lasting legacy on local football and it’s fitting that Glory’s first friendly is for the Kramer Memorial Cup.
Glory head to Sydney to take on Adelaide United (20 July) followed by a meeting with former NSL rivals Sydney Olympic (23 July). The highlight of Glory’s pre-season is undoubtedly the 27 July date against La Liga club Malaga. It will be the first opportunity Glory fans will have to watch the club’s new signings, which includes Mitch Nichols, Youssouf Hersi, Andy Keogh and Diogo Ferreira, at Perth Oval. On 5 August Glory travel to Newcastle Jets for their FFA Cup round of 32 game.
The following month Glory come up against the State team (12 August) in the annual ‘Call to Arms’ Cup before playing Gosnells City (17 August), Cockburn City (27 July) and Rockingham City (31 July). A quick trip wast to play A-League clubs Adelaide United (4 September) and Melbourne Victory (7 September) precedes a clash with Sorrento (20 September) for a testimonial game in honour of Todd Harnwell. With potential FFA Cup games on the 16 and 23 September, Glory are considering adding further fixtures against local teams.
GARCIA FINALLY HOME
Perth Glory recruit Richard Garcia's homecoming was nearly two decades in the making. One of eight new faces in a revamped Glory squad for the 2014/15 season, Garcia was just 15 when he was plucked from local ranks by English club West Ham United in 1997. He enjoyed a successful career in England, including stints at Colchester United and Hull City, before opting to return to Australia two years ago. Garcia naturally attracted Glory's attention but chose to join Melbourne Heart - recently rebranded as Melbourne City - before spending last season at Sydney FC.
Now 32, Garcia jumped at the chance to fulfil his long-held dream when Glory coach Kenny Lowe came calling this year. "I had a burning ambition to end up playing for Perth," Garcia said. "When Perth created a team I was already going overseas and I never got that chance to play at national league level for my home State and my hometown. It's been on my radar for a long time, ever since I was in the UK, to come back and play for Perth. Now I've got that opportunity I'm looking to help the team as much as I can."
Glory have been by far the most active A-League club in the player market over the off- season. Lowe has brought in eight new players and will benefit from the services of returning first-team regulars Scott Jamieson, who has overcome an Achilles injury, and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who is back after an ill-fated loan stint at Vegalta Sendai. Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and Garcia, Mitch Nichols, Youssouf Hersi, Ruben Zadkovich, Diogo Ferreira and Dino Djulbic have joined Glory, while Australian youth international Jordan Thurtell has been added to the goalkeeping ranks.
GLORY MAP OUT PRE-SEASON
Perth Glory are preparing themselves for arguably their toughest pre-season ever. The A-League side’s pre-season scheduled includes a glamour friendly against Spanish club Malaga, three hit-outs against A-League opposition and an FFA Cup tie with Newcastle Jets. There is also a re-match of the 2002 and 2003 National Soccer League Grand Finals with Sydney Olympic plus games against the State team and a number of local clubs.
Glory’s pre-season kicks-off on Tuesday, 15 July, with an evening fixture against Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium (7.00pm). The game is being held in honour of Siggy Kramer, who sadly passed away this week. Kramer started as a goalkeeper with Kiev in 1953 and later became the club’s coach before moving on to President in 1994, a position he held for 19 years. He has left a lasting legacy on local football and it’s fitting that Glory’s first friendly is for the Kramer Memorial Cup.
Glory head to Sydney to take on Adelaide United (20 July) followed by a meeting with former NSL rivals Sydney Olympic (23 July). The highlight of Glory’s pre-season is undoubtedly the 27 July date against La Liga club Malaga. It will be the first opportunity Glory fans will have to watch the club’s new signings, which includes Mitch Nichols, Youssouf Hersi, Andy Keogh and Diogo Ferreira, at Perth Oval. On 5 August Glory travel to Newcastle Jets for their FFA Cup round of 32 game.
The following month Glory come up against the State team (12 August) in the annual ‘Call to Arms’ Cup before playing Gosnells City (17 August), Cockburn City (27 July) and Rockingham City (31 July). A quick trip wast to play A-League clubs Adelaide United (4 September) and Melbourne Victory (7 September) precedes a clash with Sorrento (20 September) for a testimonial game in honour of Todd Harnwell. With potential FFA Cup games on the 16 and 23 September, Glory are considering adding further fixtures against local teams.
COCKBURN LEAVE IT LATE (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Cockburn City broke Floreat Athena hearts as they stole a stoppage time winner to win 3-2, despite Athena fighting back from 2-0 down at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday. Cockburn coach Marc Anthony was pleased with his side’s performance but was frustrated that his team had allowed Floreat back into the game. “Really happy with the result, but the second half performance was extremely below the standards that we set,” he said. “We both went for it to get the winner. A draw was no good for either side. It could quite easily have been them that scored the winner. It’s just one of these games. “Obviously they were always going to come and have a go in the second half and they were by far the better side in the second half to be honest.”
Cockburn’s winner came two minutes into stoppage time as substitute Liam Murray received the ball in the box, turned, and fired it emphatically past Floreat keeper Tom Dixon. Floreat probably should have won the game themselves having already fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2 but missed a slew of gilt-edged chances. Striker Jamie Eames found himself in on goal but put his lobbed effort over the bar before Ashley Corker made a darting run into the box, only to see his shot brilliantly blocked by Cockburn keeper Dejan Aleksic. Aryn Williams, who had scored the equaliser, found space in the box after Aleksic had come to clear a cross but he shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Cockburn had started the game on a strong footing with Connor Kavanagh heading home uncontested in the box after only five minutes. The first half in general was slow paced with few chances until just before half-time when Matt Barlow popped up to head the ball past the keeper for 2-0.
Cockburn came out of the blocks fighting in the second half and got their reward with a goal for Ludovic Boi, who fired the ball home from close range following a nice cut back. Williams found the equaliser following a tidy one-two on the edge of the box before firing the ball low past the keeper. Athena rounded out the game with a badly timed challenge from Alex Govan, who received his second yellow card, leaving Floreat with 10 men for the final minute.
It was Cockburn’s third successive win and gave Anthony hope they could reach the finals. “It’s still going to be difficult but it’s a springboard for us,” he said. “We’ve won three straight now, so we just need to keep putting pressure on the teams above us. We’ve got a lot of hard games to come and we’ll improve and give it a go.”
BURTON GETS THE WINNER FOR BAYSWATER (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling Lions National Premier League WA Top Four Finals hopes hang in the balance after Bayswater City retained their five-point lead at the top with a hard fought 1-0 win at Frank Drago Reserve in a precursor to next weekend’s Cool Ridge Cup Final. Steve Burton’s goal after only 56 seconds won the game for the home side but the result was hard on Stirling, who dominated the second half without converting their opportunities.
Coach Gary Williams was livid after the game. “I thought we deserved all three points today,” he said. “We created numerous chances in the second half but we were not ruthless enough in the final third and that’s been our problem all season. “Our decision making today was poor. The players know that. They’re all really disappointed and I’m really frustrated at the moment.”
For Bayswater, the loss of skipper Trent Kay meant Burton took over the captains arm band and it was his goal that separated the sides. “I’m 30-years-old now - tap ins and penalties are all I’ve got,” he joked. “You won’t see shots from outside the box from me. “We’ve had a little lull in our performances in recent weeks but we are working hard to get back on track and we have done that.”
On a day when day when grounds around the metropolitan area acknowledged the passing of Siggy Kramer with a moment of silence, there was an even more sombre feeling at Frank Drago Reserve. Bayswater’s Ron Rucci and Stirling’s Garry Lazarides, who passed away this season, were also recognised in the pre-match address. The mood was lifted for the home side just seconds in when the Lions failed to clear their lines and Paul McCarthy’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Aleks Vrteski but Burton scored from close-range. It was nearly 2-0 on three minutes when Todd Howarth’s corner picked out the unmarked McCarthy on the back post but his header crashed off a post and away to safety. The home side played some great football early and their one-touch play and movement carved out a number of chances.
With their finals hopes on the line, the Lions lifted and went close to an equaliser late in the half. Phil Arnold made space down the left and cut the ball back to Hayden Doyle whose shot from 10m was saved by Devon Spence. Bayswater opened the second half well - Vrteski had to be alert to save from Burton and Howarth before Gustavo Giron-Marulanda headed over from close range. But the Lions were now getting a foot hold in the game and on 52 minutes Moses Kalau burst clear but Spence narrowed the angle and saved. From the resulting corner, Arnold blazed over from 4m with the goal at his mercy.
It was end-to-end football with both sides going for the win. Arnold fired wide on the hour after good work from Kalau before the lively Marulanda’s shot was tipped over the bar by Vrteski moments later. The Lions were on top and Jamie Coyne and Adam Bachiller were outstanding at the back for Bayswater as they worked overtime to keep the visitors at bay. Spence saved Doyle’s shot in the 80th minute, and two minutes later Kalau’s shot was spilled by the Bayswater custodian but he recovered in time to grab the rebound. Bayswater were indebted to Coyne for clearing off the line in stoppage time after Spence had not dealt with Doyle’s free-kick.
Bayswater’s assistant coach Stewart Moses said it was a tough game but the win would give City an edge in next week’s Cup Final. “We started well today, and we have the psychological edge on them now going into next week,” he said “We will probably go into the game as favourites but they had a couple of players out today, so we will need to prepare well and hopefully get our second piece of silverware this season.”
HAT-TRICK FOR DONINGER ON EMOTIONAL DAY AT INGLEWOOD (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
A healthy rivalry with fellow Perth SC striker Ashley Rosindale is motivating Mark Doninger to continue a scoring spree that hit top gear against Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium on Saturday. With Rosindale on the bench, Doninger scored a hat-trick in Perth’s 4-1 rout at Intiga Stadium on a day when all National Premier Leagues WA teams stood in silence to acknowledge the passing of Inglewood stalwart Siggy Kramer. For more than 60 years, Kramer was involved with Inglewood as a player, coach, committee member, president and vocal supporter and the script might have been written for a home victory, especially when Ryan Clarke opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. But just two minutes later Doninger scored the first of his three as the tie was turned on its head. Doninger and Rosindale are now locked on 10 goals each and both will be pushing for more in the final stages of the season.
Today’s hat-trick hero acknowledged the respect between the two strikers. “We're both trying to be top goal scorer, so we'll see what happens,” said Doninger who likes "reminding ash I've got four in the cup too."
Doninger’s second came in the 37th minute with one for the highlight reels. Playing a volleyed wall pass with Aden Da Luz, Doninger managed to get his toe to the ball on the return pass and took it around the centre back while running the other side of his marker. He then recomposed and slotted past a hapless Luke Martino in a one on one situation. His hat-trick was completed in the 59th minute with a clinical volley from 10m after being left unmarked inside the area.
Inglewood opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Clarke, who chipped Francis Soale with a clever first-time volley after a chipped through ball from Ryan Francis. Perth’s scoring was completed by Matt Milenkovic in the 61st minute after a contentious free-kick was awarded to the home side. The ball was played in and Martino made an effort to punch the ball but Milenkovic beat him to it and headed into an open net.
Inglewood coach Graham Normanton said his side deserved more from the match on an emotional day. “We should have had two penalties no doubt about it,” he said. “Having said that, we found ways of giving them goals today.” Perth moved to second on the table, five points behind leaders Bayswater City. Inglewood are ninth, two points behind ECU Joondalup.
NO GLORY FOR ARMADALE (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
The NPL WA’s two out of form sides cancelled out each other at Alfred Skeet Reserve with Armadale and Perth Glory both scoring from the penalty spot in a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Armadale got off to a bright start with the pacy Faustinho Machochi causing problems and winning the sixth-minute penalty that Jackson Bealey duly converted. But Glory came back and won a spot kick of their own following a tug on Hanafi Ghazali, which captain Blamo Qua Qua slotted home with ease on 21 minutes.
Glory coach John Gibson was relieved his young team ended their run of nine successive defeats but felt they could have taken all three points had they shown some consistency in their play. "We came to put a good performance in and we did that in patches,” Gibson said. “But potentially we leave ourselves open to get caught at silly moments. Happy with a point? No, not really. "I thought we controlled the game and had a lot of possession. We had a lot of opportunities in the final third, but not many clear cut chances - we can be a lot better.”
Gibson's opposite number Lee Bamber declared himself happy with a point considering three of his key players - Alec Solomons, Mitch Castrilli and Billy Quinncroft – were suspended. "I thought we did extremely well with a young side competing against the best youngsters in the state,” Bamber said. “If we'd been clinical in the final third we could have got the three points. The lads that came in (to the side) proved that they can play at this level and they will improve. We just have to try and pick up as many points as possible from now until the season's end.”
Armadale came out of the blocks quickly as they searched for their first league win since March, registering the first shot on target within ten seconds as James Atkins’ attempt was deflected over the bar. And the home side's opening directness resulted in their penalty as Machochi weaved his way towards goal only to be brought to a halt right on the line of the penalty area. Referee Steve Gregory had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Bealey stepped up with confidence to send Glory stopper Luke Radonich the wrong way after just six minutes.
Bealey saw a long-range strike whistle narrowly wide of the upright before the visitors were awarded a penalty, this time an Army defender pulling back Ghazali by the arm as he darted into the box. The ever-improving Blamo Qua Qua calmly slotted the kick into the net with Armadale goalkeeper Matthew Gould guessing incorrectly. Machochi continued to be Armadale's best hope of a break-through from open play with Gian Albano for Glory posing their biggest threat. But a combination of poor finishing and solid goalkeeping ensured these two would finish the day as the bottom clubs in the State's top flight.
TONG LEVELS IN STOPPAGE TIME (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta are all but resigned to missing out on the National Premier Leagues WA minor premiership despite a stoppage-time goal rescuing a point in a 1-1 draw against ECU Joondalup at Grindleford Reserve yesterday. Balcatta went into the game trailing league leading Bayswater City by five points – a gap that blew out to seven points after Bayswater beat Stirling and Perth climbed to second with a win over Inglewood United.
With five games to play, Balcatta assistant Steve Zagami conceded Bayswater were unlikely to let slip their lead. “It’s getable but they need to trip and we need to keep on winning,” Zagami said. “We should have been more clinical with finishing and should have taken much more advantage of the first period, to possibly win the game. “But we’ve had some changes in our personnel, which has probably influenced our game a little bit. But you can’t fault the endeavour of the guys who are playing.”
ECU Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch was bitterly disappointed to have let victory slip after David Foster’s 47th-minute goal was cancelled out by Balcatta captain Adam Tong two minutes into stoppage time. Despite recent strong performances, ECU have failed to win any of their past four matches. “It seems like I’m saying this every week now but we should have come away with the three points,” McCulloch said. “We’ve had some tough luck these last few weeks but in the end there’s not much you can do about it.”
Both coaches were frustrated during the game and received cautions from the referee. ECU started the game strongly but Balcatta should have gone ahead after 12 minutes when Benny Kouakou beat keeper Andy Banks in a one-on-one but the ball hit the side netting. The home side struggled to convert their opportunities, Alex Caniglia coming closest four minutes into first-half stoppage time when his shot bounced off a post soon after Kouakou had been denied by Banks.
ECU’s chances were also limited and when captain Jon Higgins curled in a free-kick it eluded Dejan Spaseski. But Joondalup were in front two minutes after the restart when Foster headed past keeper Clint Davies, who had failed to clear the previous attempt. Balcatta were almost level in the 77th minute but Kouakou’s shot was cleared off the line. But the home side’s pressure paid off when Tong thumped the ball past Banks in the dying seconds of the game.
SUBIACO SHOCK SORRENTO (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Subiaco AFC scored with their only attack of the second half to seal a 3-2 win over Sorrento and extend to five games their NPL WA unbeaten streak. The visitors to Percy Doyle Reserve were ahead at half-time thanks to a brace from Josh Booysen, although Scott Bulloch’s goal ensured the Gulls remained in the hunt. And after the break Bulloch scored again to draw Sorrento level but Subiaco substitute Ger Fitzgerald clinched the winner in the dying moments.
Scottish striker Ian McMurray, who came off the bench to help subdue Sorrento’s aerial threat, felt his side had worked hard for the three points. “Not many teams come up here and get a result,” he said. “We knew they were going to come at us in the second half but we stuck at it and got a bit of luck in the end to steal the winner.”
Subiaco have now won four of their most recent five matches with a draw against Cockburn City the only blemish on what would be a perfect record. “It was a tough start to the season but we were always aware of what we were capable of once things started going our way,” McMurray said.
Booysen put Subiaco in front in the 17th minute with a controlled volley from Jordan Rhodes' chip across goal. Rhodes almost made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when he dashed towards the by-line and looked to cross but shot instead, forcing keeper Curtis Aspden into a fingertip save. The resulting corner was the beginning of a menacing Sorrento counter which led to their equaliser. Winger Jason Mirco crossed the ball to Sean Canham, whose header was parried by keeper Henry Davies into the feet of Bulloch, who knocked it in. Nine minutes later, Booysen put the visitors ahead again with a simple header from Brad McDonald’s deflected cross.
In the second half, Subiaco sat deep and did not even look to counter, surviving waves of crosses aimed towards Canham. When some desperate defending led to a miscommunication at the back, Bulloch neatly lobbed home after Davies had rushed off his line. Sorrento pressed hard for the winner but Subiaco were clinical with their only convincing counter attack four minutes from time - McDonald again crossing for Fitzgerald to tap home.
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell said the poor start had been their downfall. “Maybe we underestimated them a little, we were sluggish and we didn’t move the ball around as quickly as we should have done,” he said. “There was only one team who wanted to play in the second half and that was us but we gave away three sloppy goals and credit to them they took their chances.”
ROCKINGHAM GO TO THIRD
Rockingham City moved into third place on the table after a hard fought 3-1 win against Joondalup City at the Iluka Sports Complex. Ryan Kennedy gave the visitors the lead early, but Joe McQuade levelled for the home side, before Roy Hissey put the visitors back in front just before half time. After the break Joondalup had Peter France and Luke Serra sent off, both for second yellow cards, and Lance Louvie added a third for Rockingham late to seal victory.
It was an even opening, with the visitors looking to reverse the last time the two teams met, when Joondalup ran out 3-1 winners, and they hit the front on 10 minutes. Hissey and Kennedy exchanged passes on the edge of the penalty area and Kennedy raced clear to fire low into the corner of the net. Joondalup didn’t let the early set back deter them and Cyril Sharrock had to be alert to save from Jason Rubidge’s snap shot, but on the half hour the home side were level.
A slick exchange of passes, ended with a long-range shot from McQuade that gave Sharrock no chance. Rockingham hit back, and Gershom Rowland headed against the crossbar from Max Snelson’s free kick, and before the break they regained the lead. Martin Barnes and Kennedy combined, with the latter’s cross headed home by Hissey.
Both sides had chances early in the second half, Trevor Laure’s free kick crashed off the crossbar for Rockingham, before Rubidge was denied by the alert Sharrock. Rockingham was getting the upper hand and Hissey should have scored on the hour, but his shot hit the post, and the follow up was blasted wide by Brian Gartwinga, with the goal at his mercy.
The game then changed when Joondalup were reduced to nine men, when France and Serra were both given second yellow cards. That didn’t stop the home side from pressing for the equaliser and Rubidge was a constant threat, but they couldn’t find the break through. But with the home side pushing forward late they were caught out and Rockingham added a third. Good approach work from Hissey and Maxwell Snelson, ended with a cross into the box and Louvie made no mistake at the back post to seal the three points.
JOONDALUP UNITED WINS TOP OF THE TABLE ENCOUNTER
Joondalup United took a firm hold on the Second Division league title after a hard fought 2-1 win against their nearest rivals Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. A first half brace from Adam Buckley, put Daniel Smith’s side on their way, and despite Ben Fraser pulling one back before half time, United held on to maintain their seven point gap at the top of the table. “I thought we were fantastic today, the whole side worked hard, all over the park,” Smith said. “We had a number of players still missing today but I was proud of the lads, and it was great to have so many fans here today to celebrate the win with us.”
It was a perfect start for Joondalup and they were ahead on five minutes. After a sustained period of pressure, a ball into the penalty area, which wasn’t dealt with by the Forrestfield defence and Buckley was on hand to poke it home from close-range. Joondalup were dominating and it was 2-0 on the quarter hour. A slide-rule through ball from Arran Maplestone sent Buckley racing clear and he finished low past Brad Eiffe.
The visitor’s almost added third moments later, Callum Stocks, Michael Kenny and Garin Collins combined to release Maplestone, but Eiffe spread himself well to deny the big striker. The home side were back in the game on the half hour. Rhys Loxley whipped a corner, which was only cleared as far as Fraser on the edge of the 18 yard box who struck it into the top corner of the net giving James Bosdet no chance. Joondalup almost added a third before half time, Kenny found space on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot flashed inches past the post.
Forrestfield pressed for the equaliser after the break, and Trent Wood’s header went inches over the top, before Chris Perrott’s header from Loxley’s in-swinging corner crashed off the post. Joondalup were hitting on the counter attack and almost nicked another late on, Stocks pace took him clear down the flank, before playing in Josh Whitmore, but Eiffe was out quick to smoother his shot. The home side throw everything at their opposition, but couldn’t find a way past a Joondalup defence well led by Ross Edwards.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND SEVENTEEN
Sorrento v Subiaco AFC
Subiaco AFC continued their good form last week with a come-from-behind win against Floreat Athena, and this week they head north to take on Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Defender George Tchami was outstanding in the win last week, and he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the third placed Gulls. “I thought the boys did very well against a good Floreat side, and we now have our sites on getting a result at Sorrento,” he said. “I trust the strength of our team particularly after our good run of from, and we are now getting the results our play has deserved. It doesn’t worry me that Sorrento is in the top four. We will just go and play our own game, and I’m confident we can get something from the game.” In team news keeper Jack Howard has left the club and is heading to English Championship club Fulham after his university exchange came to an end, and Sam Stone will take his place between the sticks. Sorrento earned a hard fought point at Stirling last week, and will need the win to keep their finals hopes alive. They will be without skipper James Morgan and Brodie Matin due to suspension, while Adam Luca will miss due a knee injury and Michael McGinley has returned to NSW due to work commitments.
Bayswater City v Stirling Lions
NPL leaders Bayswater City meets Stirling Lions at Frank Drago Reserve in a rehearsal for next week’s Cool Ridge Cup Final. Bayswater won for the first time in four games last week at Joondalup, and moved five points clear at the summit. The Lions were held at home last week and the gap between themselves and fourth spot is still five points, so a win is vital if they are to reach the end of season finals. City took the points with a 4-1 mauling, in their first meeting of the season at Macedonia Park, and the Lions will be aware of that and be looking to seek revenge. In team news Bayswater skipper Trent Kay is in doubt with injury, but Chris Saldris returns from suspension, while David Heagney is away. The Lions are awaiting the availability of Dean Evans, the midfielder could be suspended, but the club haven’t been advised by Football West, while Moses Kalau, who is now fully fit, has been excellent on the training track this week.
Balcatta v ECU Joondalup
Balcatta lost ground at the top of the table last week, with the loss to Perth, but they will hope to get back in the winner’s circle when they entertain ECU Joondalup at Grindleford Reserve. It was Balcatta’s first defeat in five games last week, a run of form that has included wins against Bayswater and Sorrento. Coach Ramon Falzon has struggled to fill the void left by the league leading scorer Gustavo Catercione, with Bobby Kouakou struggling with injury. James Sammut has also been carrying an injury, which has limited his playing time, but he is back this week. The home side will also be missing Keiran Stallard, Kris Gate and Matt Izzo, but Paddy Quinn returns from injury. ECU, who were beaten 2-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, was unlucky not to take something from the 1-0 defeat against Bayswater last week, with veteran keeper Andy Banks in great form. “The performance was good last week and we defiantly should have taken something out of the game,” Banks said. “There were plenty of chances for both sides in the first half and it could have gone either way, before a bad call for the penalty in the second half cost us the game. But these things happen in football and you have just got to get on with it and hope it evens itself out by the end of the season.” This week will be another tough game against a well organised side. "Dale (McCulloch) will have us prepared for the game this week and hopefully we will overturn the misfortune of recent weeks and start to climb up the ladder.” In team news Joe Smith (suspended), John Stynes (injured) miss this week, but Ryan Townsend returns. Danny Dixon has been outstanding on the flanks, and with Tommy Amphlett and youngster Henry Durr in good form, they will fancy their chances of getting something from the game.
Inglewood United v Perth SC
Graham Normanton welcomes his former club, Perth SC, to the Intiga Stadium this week. Inglewood continues to struggle and they sit in ninth place, and are coming off a 1-1 draw with Armadale last weekend. They have been in all their games this season, but haven’t been able to turn their dominance into victories. Keeper Luke Martino and midfielder Greg Sharland comes up against their former club, both are vital if they are to make a late charge up the table. In team news Jarrod McNally is out with a knee injury, and Teeboy Kamara is in doubt with injury, but Scott Blackmore returns to the squad. Perth moved level with Balcatta after beating them 1-0 last week, and go into the game full of confidence. Clark Keltie and Mark Doninger continue to give Perth drive from the middle of the park, while Andreas Theodosiades continues to impress in his first season in the top flight. Striker Ashley Rosindale has recovered from injury, and has trained all week, and will come into contention, while Alex Castiello returns to the squad, to replace the suspended James Marocchi.
Armadale v Perth Glory
Armadale and Perth Glory will both be looking to end their poor form, when the pair meet at Alfred Skeet Oval. The Reds are seeking only their second win of the season, and continue to struggle to keep players on the pitch. This week they will be missing Billy Quinncroft, Alecs Solomons and Mitch Castrilli due to suspension and Coach Lee Bamber will but his faith in the young players at the club. “Again we lost a couple of players last week due to over officious officials, but we go on and it will give the kids a chance to impress again this week,” he said. “We look forward to the game, and hope we can give our home supporters something to cheer about this week.” The Glory too have struggled in recent weeks, and haven’t won in nine games, but the youngsters will be doing all they can to give Coach John Gibson is first win in the role. Joe Knowles continues to impress, with five goals this season, while Jacob Collard and Blamo Qua Qua have been in good form in recent weeks. The Glory beat the Reds 4-0 in their last meeting and will have a full squad to choose from, and will fancy their chances of ending their losing streak.
Floreat Athena v Cockburn City
Floreat Athena will be looking to bounce back from last week’s loss at Subiaco, when they entertain Cockburn City at E&D Litis Stadium. Floreat gave away a two goal lead last week, and had Lewis McMahon sent off, so he will miss this week’s game. Bobby Wilson limped off last week and is in doubt, but Ashley Corker will be pushing for a starting role after coming off the bench for the last two weeks. Skipper Callum Fransz and Ludovic Boi, have been a vital cog in the side under interim Coach Glenn Grostate, while Aryn Williams and Jamie Eames will need to be watched closely, both have been on the scoresheet in recent weeks. After a poor run of form Cockburn have won back-to-back games and will want to seek some revenge for the last time the two sides met, when Floreat ran out 5-0 winners at Dalmatinac Park. Ross Diamond returns from suspension this week, while Euen Grant has missed training all week, but is expected to play. Leading goalscorer Liam Murray will be pushing for a start, but with Devon Gibson and Matty Barlow on target last week, he might have to start on the bench again.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND THIRTEEN
The match of the round in Division One takes us to Ashfield Reserve, where third placed Ashfield entertains second placed Shamrock Rovers. Both sides are coming off good victories last week, and Ashfield midfielder Tom Kennedy knows the importance of this week’s game. “The past two weeks have been great performances by the whole squad and the hard work in training is paying off,” he said. “The league has opened right up now, and I think this week’s game against Shamrock is going to be huge. Both teams will be giving it everything for the three points to stay in the title race.” Ashfield will be at full strength for the game, while Shamrock will be missing Darren O'Riordan (Injured) and Brian Patterson (unavailable). Coach John O’Reilly, will also sweating on the fitness of Paul Concannon, Dave Murphy and Charlie Kenna.
Bunbury Forum Force hosts Western Knights at Payne Park, with both sides looking to get back in the winner’s circle, Wanneroo City travel to Walter Padbury Reserve to take on Gosnells City, while Dianella White Eagles and Morley Windmills meet at Dianella Reserve. Mandurah City made it back-to-back wins last week at Gosnells and travel to UWA Sports Park to take on UWA-Nedlands looking to make it three. Midfielder Matt Stares believes the side is gelling well. “The lads are just happy with three clean sheets in a row to be honest and not gifting teams’ goals like we have been doing in the first half of the season,” he said. “Mandurah is a big club with genuine big ambition and all the lads are currently frustrated with are current position so the next half of the season will all play are hardest and try and get up the division. “I know Mick Lyons from the Stirling Days, so I know he will have them organised and fit and they have come up with some good results this season, so it will be a good test for us and were desperate for 3 more points.” In team news, Robbie Hamm is in doubt with an ankle injury.
The final game of the round is on Sunday, when Canning City entertains Swan United at Burrendah Reserve. The home side will be missing the suspended Dean Apelgren, and the injured Daniel Niederberger, while Michael van Dongen will have a late fitness test. United will be sweating on the fitness of Ross Cosgrove, Ebe Cowbrough and Ryan Treacy, but they will be without Callum Burton for the game.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND THIRTEEN
The two top teams in Division Two meet this weekend with leaders Joondalup United making the trip to Hartfield Park to take on Forrestfield United. United sit seven points clear and midfielder Stuart Hartmann believes a good pre-season has been a major factor in their good season to date. “The team is going well at the moment, but that's due to the hard work put in by the squad and coaches’ preseason and training through the season. We try not to look at the table too much and just treat it week by week, and are always looking to improve which is what makes us hard to beat,” he said. “This week is going to be a huge test. I know Forrestfield have a great team so we will have to be at our best to get a result at their pitch. We know we are in for a very tough match.” In team news Joondalup have Tony Taylor back from injury, while Forrestfield have Trent Wood back from suspension. The home side will be without the injured Jason Godfrey and the unavailable Jordan Hart.
Third placed Curtin University travels to Gumblossom Park to meet Quinns FC. The visitors will have Carlo Chiellini, Daniel Young and Nicolay Morland available this week, while Albert Bucchino is in line for a recall after injury. Kingsway Olympic entertain Kelmscott Roos at Kingsway Reserve, while Joondalup City host Rockingham City at the Iluka Sports Complex. Rockingham regain the services of Ryan Kennedy and Martin Barnes from suspension, and Brendan Birney will come into contention, but they will be missing Fraser Marr and Sean Brady due to injury.
In the other games Fremantle United and Balga meet at Hilton Reserve, while Ellenbrook United host Melville City at Arbor Grove Reserve. City will be at full strength, and beat Forrestfield two weeks ago, but lost last week at home to Fremantle, and Graham Herd say’s that loss hurt them. “The win against Forrestfield was huge for us, so the loss to Fremantle United felt like a real let down. No one likes losing, but a loss to your local rivals always hurts that bit extra,” he said. “We are expecting a tough game on Saturday. Ellenbrook have a stronger squad this season, but we have had some good results away from home, and we will be hoping to continue that with this weekend’s trip, heading into the break next weekend.” All games kick off at 3pm on Saturday.
ISRAELI CHAMPIONS TARGET RUKAVYTSYA
Australian Nikita Rukavytsya could be playing UEFA Champions League football this season with reports he’s close to penning a two-year deal with Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv. 27-year-old Rukavytsa, who played for Australia 13 times, is currently contracted to German club FSV Mainz but spent last week trialling with Maccabi in Austria. Rukavytsya played the first half of Maccabi’s 0-0 friendly draw with Sturm Graz after passing a medical earlier in the training camp.
Maccabi ended their stay in Austria on Monday and it is understood talks have since progressed with Rukavytsya about a potential deal. The former Perth SC striker has another year on his Mainz contract but has been out of favour at the club under Thomas Tuchel. He spent last season on loan at second tier outfit FSV Frankfurt alongside Mathew Leckie. Maccabi Tel Aviv won last season’s Israeli Premier League by seven points and are due to face Andorran side Santa Coloma next week in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.
WILLIAMS SUFFERS ASIAN CUP SETBACK
Rhys Williams is facing an uphill battle to be match fit for Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup campaign. Williams has been sidelined since January but was expected to be join his club for pre-season training last week. However, Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has now conceded the soon to be 26-year old may be out of action until February. “I prefer to think about January or February and if they are back in November or December that’s better for me,” Karanka told the Evening Gazette, speaking about Williams and injured team mate Mustapha Carayol. Williams has endured an injury-interrupted couple of years, missing the 2010 World Cup due to a pelvic problem and this year’s event after rupturing his Achilles.
PERTH FLAG SYNTHETIC PITCHES
Increasing demand on playing spaces has led Perth SC to create a $3 million plan to redevelop Dorrien Gardens. The redevelopment would replace existing natural turf with three new synthetic playing fields along with upgrades to parking, lighting and change rooms at Perth’s home ground. The facilities would also be utilised by touch football, gridiron and fitness classes as well as creating a new facility for community groups and local schools.
Use of the main pitch at Dorrien Gardens is currently limited to game days, to give the playing surface time to recover, and club president Gary Marocchi says the installation of synthetic turf would allow more games and training sessions at the venue. “With the existing provision of parks within the City of Vincent at capacity and with no potential to create new spaces for clubs or the community, increasing the usage at Dorrien Gardens is the only viable option,” Marocchi said.
Perth is applying for a Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund State Government grant to cover a third of the redevelopment cost, with the club hoping to win grants from City of Vincent as well as funding part of the upgrade itself. Marocchi said he hoped the redevelopment would start at the end of the 2015 season and be finished by March 2016. Car parking is also a part of the development plans. Perth is holding a public information session about the project on July 16, at 7pm at Dorrien Gardens.
GARCIA HEADS HOME
One of the worst kept secrets of the A-League off-season has been confirmed with former Socceroos attacker Richard Garcia joining Perth Glory on a two-year deal. Garcia completed fitness testing with Glory conditioning staff last week and trained with his new teammates for the first time on Monday. “It was great to start training and meet all the players,” said Garcia. “I’ve been really impressed with the recruiting strategy of Kenny Lowe and feel that the squad he has assembled has a real chance of achieving success this season.”
Garcia’s move to Glory will see him take to the pitch for his hometown club as a pro footballer for the first time since departing as a 15-year old to go to West Ham United. “It will be fantastic to pull on the purple shirt of Perth Glory and represent my hometown club,” he said. “I can’t wait for the season to start.” Garcia spent 13 years with English clubs West Ham, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Hull City, amassing 270 league and cup appearances. He was part of Australia’s squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and in recent years has played for Melbourne Heart, Sydney FC and Minnesota United.
GLORY FRIENDLY CALLED OFF
Perth Glory’s first pre-season hit-out, tonight against local club Perth SC, has been cancelled. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said authorities had refused to sanction the fixture due to the lighting at Dorrien Gardens not being up to the required standard. The club needs official sanctions for all matches for insurance reasons. “You don’t just go and play a game – you have to get it sanctioned,” Brewer said. “There’s a little bit more to it than just turning up and playing, particularly when you’ve got A-League players, with insurance and so on. The venue hasn’t got the sufficient lighting there for us to play.”
The news comes hot on the heels of the cancellation of Glory’s pre-season trip to Malaysia due to logistical reasons. The club is in the process of confirming a small tour of the eastern states, including possible matches against Sydney Olympic and other former National Soccer League clubs. Glory are also looking at playing matches against a West Australian representative team and other local clubs. There are several venues capable of hosting mid-week night matches, including Litis Stadium, Macedonia Park and Intiga Stadium. Brewer said the new pre-season schedule would be confirmed in coming days.
GRIFFITHS RE-SIGNS WITH CENTRAL COAST
Versatile defender Brent Griffiths will return to the Central Coast Mariners for a third season after finalising a new one-season deal with the club. Griffiths, who has played 17 times for the Mariners since 2012, will provide cover and competitiveness in a squad flush with both experienced and developing defensive talent. Griffiths, a former Stirling Lions junior, played youth team football with English club Blackburn Rovers and has A-League spells at Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix under his belt.
Griffiths, 24, is delighted to have inked a new contract with Central Coast and has made it his goal to be a regular on Phil Moss’s team sheet this summer. “For every player in a 23-man squad you have to be pushing for a starting spot,” Griffiths said. “My personal goal is to make that centre-half position or whatever position I play on the pitch my position. The Coast is a great place to play and I think we’ve got the ability to push for the Asian Champions League and also for the League, so hopefully we can back it up and go further than we did last season.”
DE SILVA RELISHES US TOUR OPPORTUNITY
Perth Glory prodigy Daniel De Silva is ready to take the next step in his development when the Young Socceroos embark on a two-week trip to the United States this week. The 17-year-old attacking midfielder signed off on his highly anticipated move to Italian giants AS Roma last month and is one month into his second full pre-season with Glory. Team mate Riley Woodcock and Melbourne Victory defender Scott Galloway have also been selected in Australia’s 20-man squad this month's NTC Invitational Tournament in Los Angeles.
De Silva, who joins Roma during the July transfer period next year, says his immediate focus is on success with the national youth team. "It's a good chance to go to LA and play against some quality teams like Chile and the USA," De Silva said. "I'm really looking forward to the trip. It's for 13 days and it's a good thing to play some matches internationally as well. It's always good to develop against world-class players in international matches." The Young Socceroos left Sydney on Wednesday ahead of games against Bermuda (14 July), Chile (16 July) and the United States (18 July).
Australia’s Under-20 squad for the NTC Invitational Tournament in Los Angeles is Paul Izzo, Awer Mabil, Benjamin Warland (Adelaide United), Shayne D’Cunha (Blacktown City), Shannon Brady, Brandon Borrello, Devante Clut (Brisbane Roar), Marc Marino (Campbelltown City), Liam Rose (Central Coast Mariners), Ben Garuccio, Stefan Mauk (Melbourne City), Jordan Brown, Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory), Daniel De Silva, Jordan Thurtell, Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory), Daniel Alessi, Jaushua Sotorio (Western Sydney Wanderers), Hagi Gligor and Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC).
VALE ZIGGY KRAMER 1937 - 2014 (Courtesy Inglewood United)
It is with a heavy heart that Inglewood United advises the passing of Siegfried ‘Ziggy’ Kramer, a true legend of West Australian football. Born in the Ukraine in 1937, Kramer emigrated to Australia with his family at the age of 13 and three years later embarked on a sixty-plus year association with the modern day Inglewood club.
A goalkeeper by trade, Kramer first played for Kiev (as Inglewood was then known) in 1953 and over the following decade helped the club climb into the top tier of State League football. Upon retirement Kramer turned his hand to coaching his beloved Kiev, guiding them to Division One (1967) and Top Four Cup (1968) titles.
Between 1971 and 2013 Kramer served on the club committee non-stop, as secretary, treasurer and president, the latter a position he held for nineteen years from 1994. At the same time he also served as a board member for the Professional Soccer League (1998-2001) and Soccer Association of WA (2000-2001).
Kramer’s service to the development of football was recognised in 2003 by the Australian Government, who bestowed upon him the Centenary Medal. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia in 2002 and last year was awarded Life Membership of Football West.
LOWE SEEKS MORE ATTACKING OUTLETS
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe plans to further bolster his attacking options for the upcoming A-League season. Glory’s impressive off- season recruiting drive has already netted Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh along with accomplished attackers Mitch Nichols and Youssouf Hersi. And although former Socceroos forward Richard Garcia is also expected to join the club, Lowe feels he still needs more options before the season starts in October. Glory scored a league-low 28 goals in 27 matches last season and Lowe is looking to rectify the problem.
Lowe has two spots left on the roster, including one for a foreign player, but is unlikely to fill them both. “You probably want to bring some more competition in the attacking third,” the Glory boss said. “We haven’t been a high-scoring team. We seem to have a lot of flair and attacking options at the moment, but I don’t think you can have too much of that. Hopefully we can bring someone in that brings even more quality.” Lowe’s new-look squad is slowly coming together ahead of its first competitive match, a first round FFA Cup tie away to Newcastle Jets on 5 August.
OXTOBY RETURNS TO GLORY WOMEN
Almost three years after leaving Western Australia to further her playing and coaching career, Tanya Oxtoby has agreed to return to Perth Glory Women for the 2014 W-League season. Oxtoby, who captained Glory Women through their first four seasons, will re-join the club as assistant coach to Jamie Harnwell, who has welcomed the opportunity to reconnect with an important figure in the club’s history. “It’s so important to reward those people who have shown a long commitment to football in this state, and Perth Glory in particular, and as an ex-captain Tanya fits the bill perfectly,” Harnwell said. “She gave everything as a player and I’m sure she’ll come back ready to give her all in a coaching capacity.”
Oxtoby, who has coached at English clubs Notts County and Nottingham Forest, return to Perth next month after completion of club commitments in England. “It’s an honour to come back to the club I captained and have always felt so passionate about,” said Oxtoby, who was twice named Most Glorious Player during her W-League playing career. “I said when I left to go to England two and a half years ago I wanted to go and experience playing at the highest level overseas and develop and grow as both a player and a coach. I’ve learnt so much in the UK and I can’t wait to give something back to the club I love.”
TWO SENT OFF AS ARMADALE EARN A POINT (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
A dull first half was balanced out by a frenetic second, which had two red cards, an almost comedic goal and a wonder strike as Inglewood and Armadale drew 1-1 at Intiga Stadium yesterday. Armadale took the lead in comical style as a miscommunication between Inglewood goalkeeper Luke Martino and defender Shane Pickering allowed Armadale’s Faustinho Machochi to walk the ball into an unguarded net. But just nine minutes from the end of the 90, a wonderful Greg Sharland free-kick earned Inglewood a point.
Inglewood coach Graham Normanton was frustrated by his team’s performance. “We’ve thrown a lot of points away this year,” he said. “We should’ve won the game; we were comfortably the better side. A screw up at the back cost us the game, we missed simple chances and you can’t do that. “We all have a go at defenders for making mistakes at the back but then you look at the chances we missed and the forwards have got to stand up and take responsibility. We missed a bag full today and we should’ve really won the game.”
In the first half, Inglewood winger David Sesay was guilty of missing one of those chances as he found himself with time and space 5m out but missed the ball during an attempt to score. Striker Ryan Clarke also found himself in on Armadale goalkeeper Mathew Gould several times, only to be denied. Inglewood equalised after Andrija Jukic was pulled down on the edge of the box, allowing skipper Sharland to fire home a brilliant free kick and set up a grand stand finish. The last 10 minutes were substantially harder for Armadale as Billy Quinncroft and Alex Solomons were sent off after scuffles with Inglewood players.
Armadale’s assistant coach Saul Contera was pleased with the result considering the loss of two players. “It would’ve been nice to hold on to the lead but we made a silly error and gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and Greg Sharland scored a great goal,” he said. “After that, we worked hard until the end and we definitely deserved a point.”
The result leaves Inglewood with a major uphill battle to earn a finals berth. “We’re almost out of it,” Normanton said. “There’s only 18 points left and we we’re 12 points out of the four before we started today, so it’s almost impossible really - something’s got to go our way for us to get there.”
Contera said Armadale’s focus was on developing players over the remaining games. “I don’t think we’re worried about points at all,” he said. “I think this year means pretty much nothing in terms of the league ladder because there’s no relegation. There’s not really anything to play for. It’s just about developing the young side that we have.”
BAYSWATER BACK ON TRACK (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City got back to winning ways with an inspired performance away to ECU Joondalup on Saturday. Despite an onslaught of chances from the visitors, the controversial penalty converted by Steve Burton was the only goal, ending the game at 1-0. Bayswater Chris Coyne thought his team should have been six goals up at half-time but was not concerned with the final score. “We’ve got good players that understand what I’m asking them to do and they do it really well,” Coyne said. “We’ll be training three nights a week from now on and hopefully we’ll hit our straps and start scoring more goals.”
Joondalup Coach Dale McCulloch had a different take on the game and felt they deserved a draw. “It wasn’t a penalty,” McCulloch said. “I’ll say it straight, it wasn’t a penalty. “Everyone on the sidelines could see it, coaches could see it. The boy has dived and if we keep encouraging that, diving’s never going to get out of the game. “Don’t get me wrong, we were under a lot of pressure for long periods of the game but we really stuck tight and most of their chances were from outside the box. “I’m really upset for that decision to change a game.”
It was a spirited first-half performance from Bayswater but ECU held firm, largely thanks to the stellar performance of keeper Andy Banks. He made a string of impressive saves, including a one-handed stop to prevent Gustavo Marulanda from scoring. Marulanda was also denied a goal in the 11th minute after it appeared an ECU defender stopped the ball on the goal line with his arm but the handball claim was dismissed by the referee. Joondalup had a few great chances, the most impressive being an overhead kick from Tommy Amphlett in the 15th minute, which bounced off the crossbar. Former Bayswater player Danny Dixon’s curling long range shot also beat keeper Devon Spence in the 37th minute but bounced off the inside of the left post.
The main second-half action came when Hassan El Yassiri was deemed to have been brought down in the box in the 73rd minute. Burton comfortably converted the penalty and three minutes later Bayswater almost doubled their lead when Todd Howarth’s long-range effort snuck into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. It was ruled offside due to interference from another player. ECU hunted for an equaliser but could not penetrate Bayswater’s sturdy back line. Coyne said a strong defence has been integral to their campaign this season. “I was a defender myself for so long so I hate it when the boys concede goals,” he said. “But you can see how much it meant to them today to have won. It’s pleasing as a coach as you miss that camaraderie and celebration in the dressing room.”
MCMURRAY WINS IT LATE FOR SUBIACO (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
A goal deep into stoppage time from veteran striker Ian McMurray gave Subiaco a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Floreat Athena at the WA Athletics Stadium. The 37-year-old came off the bench after 71 minutes, moments after Floreat striker Lewis McMahon had been sent off, and the big Scotsman latched onto a through ball from Alex Randell to fire home the winner. “They weren’t keen on the high balls coming into the area and when I came on the lads put long balls up to me and we got back into the game, which is pleasing,” McMurray said. “It’s getting harder every week for me. I’m not getting any younger but I’m happy to come on help the side out. And it’s always nice to score and I was lucky enough today to score the winner.”
The visitors had raced to a 2-0 lead with goals to Aryn Williams and Lewis McMahon but Jordan Rhodes pulled one back for Subiaco two minutes later, before Ger Fitzgerald and McMurray gave the home side a dramatic victory. English midfielder Alex Randell believed Subiaco were playing with confidence and were getting their rewards. “We gave two sloppy goals away to today but we really showed a great deal of fight to hit back and take the points,” he said. “Macca coming on and scoring the winner, not bad for a 37-year-old hey. “We struggled in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half and they made us pay. But the lads never gave up and again we showed character, which we have all season, but haven’t had the rub of the green in earlier games... that makes it four games unbeaten and the confidence is high.”
The first half was a tight affair with chances few and far between as both sides looked to extend their unbeaten runs. The best chance for the visitors came on eight minutes when John Thornley was sent clear by McMahon but Jack Howard was out quick to save. Subiaco went within inches of the lead seven minutes later. Rowdy Yates was given far too much room on the edge of the penalty area, and his low shot beat Tom Dixon, but flicked the base of the far post and away to safety. It was getting heated on the park and referee Steven Gregory had to speak to McMahon and Subiaco defender George Tchami after the pair squared up just before the break.
Floreat dominated after the break and McMahon’s clever lob from the edge of the box bounced off the crossbar and back into the grateful arms of Howard. But on the hour the visitors’ dominance was rewarded with the lead. Ludovic Boi found space on the left and pulled the ball back to Williams, who fired home from 8m. The visitors doubled their lead five minutes later. Jamie Eames found McMahon wide on the right, and the English striker volleyed home superbly, beating Howard at his near post. It looked like there would only be one winner but Subiaco pulled one back immediately. Rory Feely’s ball into the box found Rhodes, who made no mistake from close-range.
The game took another twist on 71 minutes when McMahon was sent off after an off the ball incident. Subiaco lifted and McMurray’s header crashed off the post moments later and their pressure finally paid off in the 90th minute. Rhodes sent McMurray racing clear down the left hand channel, his ball into the area picked out Fitzgerald at the back post, and he made no mistake from close-range. Both sides pressed for the winner and Floreat almost got it. Boi crossed to Eames, who was in on goal, but a great last ditch block from Nathan Diaz saved the day for Subiaco. With the clock ticking into the fourth minute of stoppage time, a long ball over the top from Feely sent McMurray in on goal, the striker raced clear and finished clinically past Dixon, to seal the win and set off wild celebrations.
“We didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down but that’s football - we gave away a couple of soft goals,” Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan said. “When they had the lad sent off we put an extra player up front and we created a number of chances from then on, and thankfully we took two of them to win the match.”
GLORY GO DOWN AGAIN (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Devon Gibson struck the winner on the hour mark as Cockburn City condemned the young Perth Glory side to their ninth successive defeat and kept alive the Cockerels’ own slim hopes of reaching the NPL WA top four finals series. The 2-1 victory at Dalmatinac Park has left City in sixth place, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Sorrento with six rounds to play. Matt Barlow gave the Cockerels a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute as the home side finished the opening half the stronger. But Glory bounced back onto level terms just three minutes after the interval through Jacob Collard's second effort after his initial shot had struck the woodwork. But Gibson's low strike from distance ensured the hosts took the three points they deserved.
Cockburn coach Marc Anthony acknowledged the Glory side provided tough opposition but felt his side bossed the game after a scrappy first 15 minutes. "We created a number of chances but we made it difficult for ourselves conceding straight after half-time,” he said. “We restricted them and we probably should have had one or two more ourselves. "We expected them to come out straight after the break and they did and they scored - that's something we need to address. But we're glad to have got the three points and we move on to next week.”
Cockburn took total command midway through the first half and went ahead when Barlow was picked out by a long pass. He managed to stretch out a leg to prod the bouncing ball past a static Luke Radonich in the Glory goal. Barlow almost grabbed his second moments later, clipping an effort beyond Radonich but this time the keeper was relieved to see the crossbar come to his aid. But for all their domination the Cockerels could have squandered their lead before the break when Gian Albano - despite being in an obvious offside position – did not play to the whistle. Albano had paused at the raising of the Assistant Referee's flag and by the time the Glory winger realised the referee had overruled his linesman, the chance had gone.
However, in the 48th minute Glory were level again with a potential offside offence a big talking point as Jacob Collard raced away. His first shot was touched on to a post by Dejan Aleksic but the forward followed up well to slam the loose ball into an empty net. Cockburn's winner in the 60th minute was a well-struck shot from around 30m by Gibson that gave Radonich no chance despite a full length dive. Radonich later denied Gibson again with a good double stop and the hosts were left appealing in vain for a penalty following a clumsy challenge on Barlow as City sought to kill off any hopes of another Glory equaliser.
Glory coach John Gibson thought his side were outstanding and deserved more out of the game. "First half we took a while to get going but second half we did really well and the boys stuck it out to the end and showed excellent team spirit,” he said. "We are improving every week and developing nicely."
PERTH TAKE THE HONOURS IN THE DERBY (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
Perth SC’s Mark Doninger converted from the penalty spot as his side secured a 1-0 win in the Ferrari Cup against Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens. A display of sleek Ferraris and Maseratis, reflecting the Italian heritage of both clubs, greeted spectators on their arrival at the ground. And there was plenty of grunt on the pitch, too, with a hard-fought arm wrestle of a match decided from the spot. The victory left third-placed Perth trailing Balcatta on goal difference only.
Perth coach Taki Nicoladis said his team had been acutely aware of Balcatta’s recent string of good form going into the match. “To come here and get a win against a team that were above us and that have been in form for about 8-10 weeks is a great result for us,” he said. “Clarke Keltie and James Marocchi were showed great leadership at the back both in unfamiliar roles, so although we didn’t track hard enough or well enough in the second half, we defended very well today.”
With the added bonus of Adrian Caceres joining the fold, Perth showed they meant business from the start and dominated the first half, creating all sorts of dramas for the Balcatta back line. While Balcatta showed glimpses of their recent winning form, chances for the visitors were few and far between as Perth maintained a defensive stranglehold over the usual suspects Lawrence Shuruma, Alex Caniglia and Carlo Coelho. Recent Perth recruit Jason Barrera added some new options upfront in terms of pace and innovation but lacked a certain connection with his fellow attackers Doninger and Aden Da Luz.
Perth scored the sole goal for the match in the 22nd minute after being gifted a penalty for a trip in the box. Doninger made it look easy as he sent keeper Clint Davies the wrong way. Unable to find any joy before half-time, Balcatta came out hard after the break, hoping to find a way through the previously impenetrable Perth defence. They even tried playing the tall Adam Tong up front in an attempt to force their way through, or over, Marocchi, Keltie and Josh Wilkins but to no avail. Perth were not finding it easy to advance either, passing on a few half chances as their efforts became increasingly defensive. As Ben Meredith missed a real chance from the edge of the box in the dying minutes of the game, Balcatta had run out of time and energy and Perth had done enough.
Nicolaidis said his team were looking very good depth wise but were very much coming through a period of transition. “We haven’t had the same starting 11 for quite a few weeks now and that’s not an easy thing for anyone to deal with,” he said. “With the addition of Barrera and Caceres, and a few of our senior players returning to the mix over the next few weeks, things will start to settle down and we’ll just get better and better.”
CANHAM GRABS LATE EQUALISER (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Sean Canham's 83rd minute goal kept Sorrento's minor premiers hopes alive as they drew 1-1 with Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. David Micevski scored from the spot in the 22nd minute but the Lions couldn't retain their lead for the remainder of the game. Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell said they worked hard for the point. "Stirling dominated for large portions of the first half but I thought we were fantastic in the second," he said. “That’s now four games unbeaten but we just haven’t been sticking the ball in the net.”
Sorrento's defence was impenetrable in the first half but slipped up when they brought down Jack Salter in the box and Micevski smashed in the resulting penalty. Salter could have doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when he latched onto a Micevski flick-on but keeper Curtis Aspden was unchallenged. Sorrento gained composure and hassled the Lions in the air with long balls towards the front men. In the 76th minute Todd Harnwell almost got the breakthrough as he beat keeper Aleks Vrteski in an aerial challenge forcing Rikki Smith to make his second goal-line clearance.
As the Gulls pressed for the equaliser they became exposed at the back and substitute Moses Kalau came close with Stirling’s only shot on target in the second half hitting the inside of the post. Sorrento's pressure paid off when stand-in captain Daryl Platten headed a corner towards goal for Canham to finish. Sorrento were reduced to 10 men in the dying moments when Brodie Martin received a second yellow card but it didn't leave enough time for the Lions to capitalise.
Stirling coach Gary Williams thought his side were the better team overall. "I'm not saying we played the best football but I thought our first-half performance in terms of team work and effort was exceptional," he said. "We needed a win to keep the pressure on Sorrento so to concede a goal so late feels like a defeat." Stirling head into a match against league leaders Bayswater City but Williams is confident. "On our day we can beat any team in the league,” he said. “It's just getting that mental strength and believing we can.”
WINDMILLS RALLY TO SINK CANNING (by Tristan Lavalette, footballwest.com.au)
Canning City coach Paul Van Dongen has savaged his team’s work ethic after their 2-1 loss to Morley-Windmills during All Flags State League Division One action on Saturday. The visitor’s dominated the early stages at Wotton Reserve and led after Michael Van Dongen pounced on a defensive mistake from Jean-Marc d’Avray to give Canning the early initiative. But Canning’s flair disappeared and they struggled to retain possession for a good chunk of the middle stages of the match to let slip a winnable game.
Van Dongen said he gave his team a tongue lashing after the game. “We let ourselves down and we should have gone two up after dominating the first 20 minutes,” he said. “We dropped our heads after letting a cheap goal through and our work rate was down. “We have periods where we lack concentration, don’t work hard enough and give away cheap goals.”
Morley capitalised on Canning’s stupor and levelled the score in the 33th minute when an errant header from Thomas Gibbins went straight to Kyle King, who rifled the ball past goalkeeper Luke Stonebridge. Ryan McGovern gave Morley the lead in the 55th minute when he pounced on a loose ball deep in attack and tapped the ball into the net. After a listless 40 minutes, and with defeat looming, Canning shook off their lethargy and started to attack Morley. But their bid for an equaliser was dealt a blow when Dean Apelgren received his second yellow card in the 78th minute and was sent off.
Despite being handicapped by manpower, Canning dominated the final stages with midfielders Ryan Tucker and Simon Versaico scything through Morley’s defence. But Morley goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo proved the hero when he brilliantly saved two shots in stoppage time.
Morley coach Jason Van Rooy said at his team believed it could win after weathering Canning’s early storm. “Our determination and attitude was the catalyst for the turnaround,” he said. “We allowed them early to get into the game and our guys were not working hard enough. “We had a will to win and were confident we could get the victory once we levelled the score.”
JOONDALUP KEEP THEIR LEAD AT THE TOP (Courtesy Joondalup United)
Joondalup United kept their seven point margin at the top of the Second Division ladder intact, after a 4-1 win against Kingsway Olympic at Forrest Park. First half goals to Josh Whitmore, Stuart Hartmann and Callum Stocks put the home side in control. Liam Hurley pulled a goal back for the visitors after the break, but Adam Buckley added a fourth for the home side late. “Kingsway were a much better side to when we first played them in round one and it was pleasing to see the boys take another three points,” United Coach Daniel Smith said. “The intensity in the first half was impressive to watch and the boys worked hard to make sure another win was registered. The lads that came in were fantastic for us today; it's showing the strength of this squad and the hunger they all have inside them to get the result.”
United were out of the blocks early and ahead after only five minutes, Josh Whitmore finding space in the penalty area, and firing home from four-meters. They doubled their advantage three minutes later; Garin Collins’ free kick found Hartmann whose diving header gave Kingsway keeper Michael Brand no chance. It was 3-0 on the stroke of half time, Stocks received the ball in the penalty area, and his great first touch took him clear of his marker before firing low past Brand from a tight angle, via the far post.
After the break Kingsway were back in the game, when they reduced the margin five minutes in. A long-range free kick from Brett Cutting beat United keeper James Bosdet, and cannoned off the cross bar, but Hurley was quickest to react to home into an empty net. Kingsway went close again on the hour, a great through ball sent John Paul Mills one-on-one with Bosdet, but the striker dragged his shot wide of the target. United added their fourth in the last minute, second half substitute Buckley raced clear to fire home his 10th goal of the season.
GLORY TO FACE SPAIN’S MALAGA
Perth Glory has added a friendly with Malaga CF to their pre-season scheduled. The game, scheduled for 27 July at Perth Oval, will be the first time Western Australia has hosted a La Liga team and will be the first opportunity Glory fans will have to watch their new-look team. “It’s fantastic that ‘Los Boquerones’ will be coming to Australia for the first time in their 110-year history and that Glory fans will get the chance to see a top flight Spanish club playing here in Perth against their team,” said Glory chief executive Jason Brewer.
Malaga, a La Liga mainstay for the past 33 years, play Glory as part of their LFP World Club Challenge which includes a meeting with Adelaide United on 25 July. “They’re going to be bringing a very strong squad to Australia, and this should make for an exciting and entertaining game,” Brewer added. ““The La Liga is one of the strongest and most popular leagues in the world and I’m sure all football fans in Perth and each and every Glory supporter will relish the opportunity to see their team take on Malaga.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND SIXTEEN
Stirling Lions v Sorrento
Stirling will be attempting to close the gap between themselves and 4th placed Sorrento when the teams lock horns at Macedonia Park this weekend. These two couldn't be split after 90 minutes in their clash earlier in the campaign as the game ended two goals a piece. Neither side could take maximum points from their last outing when The Gulls were held 1-1 at home to Northern neighbours ECU Joondalup and Stirling suffered a 2-1 defeat against fierce rivals Floreat Athena. Sorrento are perhaps the form team in the NPL as they have tasted defeat only once since April. The Lions however boast a far superior record when they play on their own patch and will go into this knowing it is a game they cannot lose or face the realisation of the visitors moving 8 points ahead of them on the League Table.
Stirling are facing no fresh injury concerns and should have a full squad of players to choose from. Michael Pugliese completed 45 minutes last week in the U20’s side as he attempts to work his way back to full fitness. He may progress to a full 90 minutes this week but a first team return is still a few weeks away. Sorrento will be without club Captain James Morgan who sits this week out after receiving a red card last week for two yellow card offences. Danny Cain broke his nose playing for the U20’s last weekend but has beat the odds and declared himself fit to play his part. Adam Luca is still doubtful with a knee injury, while Shaun Kilkelly will return to the squad. The Gulls welcome new signing Niccolo Sabatini who is now available for selection after receiving his International Transfer Clearance from the Italian Federation. Niccolo is a 28 years old and a creative midfielder who will add quality and squad depth to Sorrento’s ranks. He last played for Bagni Di Lucca in Italy and has impressed at training since he has been with the club.
ECU Joondalup v Bayswater City
A month ago Bayswater would have gone into this almost pencilling in the 3 points. However, The league leaders have won only once out of the last 5 fixtures and have had their once dominant lead at the top cut to just 2 points. ECU Joondalup don't exactly have the most threatening home record having only registered two wins out 7 but will be hopeful of improving on that record as an out of form Bayswater come knocking. When these two clashed at Frank Drago back in April Bayswater prevailed 2-0 and would be confident of turning their luck around in this one. Joondalup welcome back Charlie Comyn-Platt for this fixture who was ruled out last week due to illness. Tommy Amphlett has also been struggling with illness and didn’t train Tuesday but should get the all clear to play his part against the table-toppers. The only major omition from last weeks squad is Jake Benson-Cooper who is unavailable.
Inglewood United v Armadale
It is getting to that point in the season for Armadale where they will be scrambling for every point as the season is creeping ever closer to the finishing line. Armadale have often flirted with relegation over the last decade in the top flight and have always been able to find that little extra to push themselves clear. Ironically in a season that looks the most likely for Armadale collecting the wooden spoon their will be no relegation but they will be doing everything the can to drag themselves clear of bottom spot. Inglewood have had an indifferent 2014 and overall will be disappointed with their campaign. Inglewood have the players at their disposal to be causing problems at the top of the division but inconsistency has cost them. They will go into this game at Intiga stadium expecting to increase their points tally and must if they have any chance of playing beyond August. The bright news for Armadale is that they have no injury or suspension concerns to deal with going into their clash this week. Josh Kuser could be in line to make his starting debut after impressing lately.
Perth SC v Balcatta
The match of the round sees third placed Perth host Second placed Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens. Balcatta are the form side of the competition having won nine of the last ten games in a sequence that stretches back to the last game between the clubs in which Perth came away from Grindleford Reserve with the spoils. Since then Balcatta's loss to Floreat remains the only blotch on an almost perfect record which has seen them score 23 goals and only concede 3 in the last 10 games. Perth have the opportunity to draw level on points with Balcatta if they can collect maximum points and in the process consolidating their position in the top four. Perth Boss Taki Nicolaidis acknowledges this game is massive in context to how the season will pan out and need something from the game if they are to stay in touch with the leaders.
Perth are hoping that new signing Adrian Caceres will be cleared to play this week after his switch from cross-town rivals Bayswater City. Luka Njegich will also compete for a starting spot as he returns from injury. Alex Castiello is unavailable this week and Perth are still with Craig Simpson and Alex Dunn who are overseas. Ashley Rosindale remains on the sidelines nursing an injury but should be available in the coming weeks. Paddy Quinn returned from injury last week against Armadale and came through unscathed so will once again be in contention this week as will Luke Randazzo. Kieran Colwell should also feature after missing the Inglewood game. There are injury concerns with James Sammut and Benny Kouakou who both will be doing all they can to get themselves ready in time. Three players that will definitely not be in the squad are Gustavo Catarcione, Kris Gate and Matt Izzo who are all unavailable.
Cockburn City v Perth Glory
Perth Glory's season plunged into further misery last time out as they were outclassed by Subiaco at Intiga. Glory have failed to increase on their points tally since round seven and though they have rarely been humiliated, the season is turning from one with high hopes into one where they are looking over their shoulders attempting to avoid 12th place. Glory's young guns will benefit from playing regular football in a more physical environment that the A-League Youth competition has offered and will make them better players and results will eventually follow. There is always entertainment when Cockburn are involved as their goals tally would suggest. In their 15 league games in 2014, spectators have been rewarded with witnessing a total of 65 goals, more than any other side. The Cockerels victory over cellar dwellers Armadale only masked the fact that it was their first 3 points in 8 outings.
Subiaco AFC v Floreat Athena
This fixture only a few weeks ago would have been looked at by many as an easy 3 points for the visitors. That is no longer the case. Subiaco's season has been transformed over the last few weeks and they are now looking like a more tight-knit and confident unit. Having been written off before a ball was kicked this year Subiaco held last season's regular season champions Stirling to a goalless draw on the opening day raising ,any eyebrows. However that bubble burst rather quickly and they lost their following 12 fixtures. The last three weeks have again breathed new life into Subiaco as they have picked up 7 pints out of a possible 9. The visiting side this week have had a roller-coaster of a season. They have won 7, lost 7 and are on their third coach this year. In recent years Floreat are unfamiliar with such distractions as they have been there or there abouts for many years. Subiaco have the same squad as last week to choose as they look to extend their run of form. Ian McMurray returns to the mix and his experience and threat around the box may be key against one of his former sides.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND TWELVE
Western Knights v Ashfield
The match of the round in Division One see the two form sides of the competition lock horns at Nash Field. Ashfield are coming into this game off the back of an astonishing run that has seen them score 19 goals in their last five matches without conceding. The icing on the cake was last weeks away trip to ‘Top of the League’ Bunbury where they were in destructive form as they hammered the side from the South West 4-0. Western Knights started their 2014 League campaign shakily and were only able to pick up 4 points from their opening four games but since then they remain unbeaten and starting to live up to the pre season hype. The signing of Paul Lloyd earlier in the year has proved to be a key component of the Knights recent success as he is finding the net very regularly. This week the Knights have the luxury for the first time this season of a full allocation of players to choose from. Captain David Annal returns after suspension and Johnny Mirco is looking for a start after impressing last week by scoring and setting up a goal when he came on in the last thirty minutes against Dianella. Knights Coach Robbie Dunn has said all his players are raring to go after going down to Ashfield 4-3 in the first fixture of the year. “We fought back from 3 – 0 down to get to 3-3 only to lose 4-3 when we went down to 10 men for the last 20 mins so all the lads are really up for this one”. Squad news for Ashfield is Chris Thackray and Howard Neighbour are out injured, while Matty Wardle and Graham Tough are not available for selection.
Shamrock Rovers Perth v Dianella White Eagles
Shamrock are hot on tail of leaders Bunbury after another hard fought victory over Canning City last week. and coach John O’Reilly was happy to get the win. “Canning we’re a well-structured team and refused to lay down,” O’Reilly said. “They pushed us to the finish, but the overall strength of our squad got us over the line.” O’Reilly will not be taking this week's game against Dianella lightly. “Dianella are not to underestimated, they have pulled off some good results this season. We will be taking them seriously as we do every week,” he said.
Shamrock continue to be able to pick up points when at times things haven't necessarily gone their way. The Irish outfit have won seven out of their last eight outings and would be confident of extending that run. The opening day fixture brought these two together as the met at Dianella reserve, that game ending 4-1 in favour of Shamrock. Dianella went down 4-0 last week in a game against traditional rivals Western Knights in a game they went in as underdogs but it would have hurt them nonetheless. When The White Eagles beat the then 'high flyers' Canning 5-0 five weeks ago they must have thought their season was about to turn for the better. however since then they have only picked up a solitary point from 4 fixtures. Shamrock have lost Dave Murphy through injury for this game and also have to replace Goalkeeper Crosthwaite as he is unavailable for selection. They can call upon the services once again of Aiden Cowzer who is back amongst after recovering from an ankle injury.
Wanneroo City v Bunbury Forum Force
This fixture in Round 1 had high expectations as reigning Division 1 Champions Wanneroo City travelled to Bunbury to take on the side that had controversially been omitted from the NPL. Nobody could have expected that The reigning champions would be on the end of an 8-0 spanking. It was a sign of things to come for both sides and as the season ticks over into the second half of the year and these sides meet again, It is Bottom v Top. Wanneroo are still looking for that first elusive win of the year that I am sure will bring a massive boost to the Northern Suburbs club. Bunbury are coming off only their second defeat of the campaign as Ashfield brought their 8 match winning streak to an abrupt end. The South West side make their longest road trip of the season this week and will be confident of returning to the winners circle.
Swan United v UWA-Nedlands FC
Swan United have the opportunity to jump up 4 places in the division with victory over lower half rivals UWA-Nedlands. They would need other games to work in their favour but it could really kick start their season. Swan's issues are plain and clear for everyone to see, they need to find the back of the net on a more regular basis if they are to climb the table and threaten the teams above them. Swan perhaps surprisingly lost 2-0 at home to fellow strugglers Gosnells City last week after losing only 1 of their previous 4. UWA came away from Wotton Reserve with their biggest win of the season as they put 4 past Morley Windmills without conceding. Mick Lyons has done well to get the most out of a side without much experience at the top level and last week was a reward for his efforts. The Uni side will be looking to get revenge on Swan after they succumbed 3-1 in the revers fixture. Illness has swept through the ranks at Swan Utd this week and could potentially be missing as many as 5 players because of it. Ian Mckean, Steve Cowbrough, Andy O’Neill, Chris Marshall and Callum Burton all missed training earlier in the week. On the upside Swan welcome back Fraser Burt, Tony Vinci and Steve Shore who will come into contention for inclusion in the squad for the weekend.
Mandurah City v Gosnells City
Not one for the purists but these 2 sides will do whatever it takes to gain the points. Both of these sides will be confident of taking home the spoils after both registered victories last weekend and will be eager to go back-to-back. Mandurah have a young side and this was always going to be a rebuilding season for them. One impressive factor in Mandurah's season is their defensive record. They have conceded only 2 more than second placed Shamrock, they now just need to find that attacking spark in the final third. Gosnells have been through a lot of upheaval in recent weeks with players and coaching staff departing but last week they responded well. They will be looking at the next 3 fixtures as key to their season as they play teams around them and potentially could propel up the standings.
Morley-Windmills v Canning City
Canning City are desperate to halt an alarming run that has seen the pick up only 1 point from a possible 15. Second only five weeks ago, joint top with Bunbury, Canning have now dropped down to 5th, 11 points off the pace. Last week Canning pushed hard for n equaliser against Shamrock but fell short but the fact is over the last month they haven't been good enough. Canning have suffered significantly on both the injury and suspension front as well as having players missing due to overseas travel. Morley could jump ahead of their opponents here with a win and will look at this as a good opportunity and have already experienced victory over Canning as they prevailed 3-1 at Willetton Sports Club on the opening day. The Windmills defeat last week was a wake up call they perhaps needed after back to back wins previously. Morley will go into this encounter with no injury concerns and have the same squad to choose from as last week and will take that as a positive as they try and stabilise their season.
Canning have a mixture of good and bad news in regards to team selection. Simon Versaico returns from overseas and should feature from the start as Canning look to get back to winning ways and Simon Correia could feature for the first time this season after being out with a long term injury. One major out for the Blues is Player/Coach Paul Van Dongen. The extent of the injury is at this stage unknown but could potentially end his season and perhaps his career prematurely. He has joined the long list of absentees for Canning which includes Daniel Niederberger, Emlyn Whetnall, Mark Trevisiol, Laurence Cheyne and Nathan Hubbard. Canning have lost the services of Julian Madaschi and Jarrad Smith who have decided to move on but have gained Sam Carrello and Dean Apelgren who will bring with them vast experience.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND TWELVE
This week’s fixtures kick off tonight when Curtin University host Joondalup City at Edinburgh Oval (8.30pm) Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne watched their opponents last week, and is expecting a tough game. “I watched them play Quinns last week, and I was very impressed by the way they played,” he said. “They looked very dangerous on the break, so we will need to be on our toes tonight.” In team news Carlo Chiellini, Daniel Young and Kristian Bevan are all out this week, while Fraser Grant is in line for his first state league start after two hat tricks and a brace in the reserves, as well as Lewis Harvey. Joondalup City welcome back Danny Beattie back from suspension, and Jody Thomson and Sean Kalaher from injury.
Balga host Forrestfield United at Princess Road Reserve, Fremantle United makes the trip to Len Shearer Reserve to take on Melville City, while league leaders Joondalup United welcome Kingsway Olympic to Forrest Park. United are hoping Ross Edwards and Josh Whitmore can take their place in the side, after both missing last week, but they will be without striker Adam Buckley. Kelmscott Roos will have home ground advantage when they entertain Quinns at Frye Park. ‘We are looking forward to the second half of the season and improved results after some close losses kept us at the bottom,” said Roos Coach James Coffey. “We know what's required to move up the ladder and have pledged to bring great effort into full 90 minutes on a Saturday, and with a few players back from injury the team’s depth will improve and give me a few selection headaches.”
Rockingham City hosts Ellenbrook United at Lark Hill, and Coach Rob Crerar is looking for an improvement from last week. “It was definitely a strange game last week, we were the dominant side for all but a crazy 15 minute period, and we need to learn from that and ensure we play for the full 90 minutes, ,” he said. “We are well aware of the threat Ellenbrook pose and we will give them the respect they deserve. In saying that, we are in good form and will be looking to get the win at home.” In team news for Rockingham, Llewellyn Bake is in line to start, after moving from NPL side Armadale, while Lance Louvie, Max Snelson and Matt McDonlad will all come into contention. All games on Saturday kick off at 3pm
LOOK FOR THE SIGNS AND CONTACT SILVER LININGS (by Peter Simcox)
Football is a game we all love and the excitement across the globe is at an all-time high with the World Cup Finals in Brazil, but there is another side of the game that is away from the media, but one that has affected many players in sport and that is Mental Health Issues. It was brought to the attention of Australian sporting landscape when Melbourne AFL player Mitch Clark and English cricketer Jonathan Trott walked away from their sport after suffering depression, but it is an illness that is also showing signs in local football.
Former Floreat Athena, Balcatta and WA State midfielder John Migas has seen the illness first hand, when his older brother Stephen took his own life in November last year. Migas, 29, and his family, were left devastated when it happened, and still today, they didn’t see the signs, and is one of many people hoping to raise the profile on this issue, with the formation of Silver Linings. “Stephen was just your normal Aussie guy, who had been through some tough times, but had always come out on top,” explained Migas, who gave football, the game he loved, away due to the shock. “He never showed any signs of depression to me throughout his life, and I had lived with him for three years. He was always there for me when I needed him most, but would never burden me or anyone else with his own problems.” “In honour of Stephen, with friends and family, we’ve started a fundraising group called Silver Linings to help raise awareness on suicide and help raise money for Lifeline WA. I hope that in starting Silver Linings we can help someone who is suffering in silence like my brother was, to find the strength to reach out and seek help.”
Migas believes the brave decision of Clark, to walk away from his AFL contract due to the illness, made people sit up and take notice. “It’s a very serious problem that I’m seeing more of in today’s society. These sorts of issues can be triggered by a number of things and with sports stars under so much pressure these days to perform and to uphold their image it’s no wonder why we’re seeing more and more of it,” he said. “I think it was very brave of Mitch Clark to come out and be as open about his illness as I know many people suffer in silence. I hope that in him doing so, sufferers can find the strength to also seek help.”
Inglewood United defender Matt Danskin, who is good friends with Migas, has seen the highs and lows of football in his life. He was offered a two-year contract at German Bundusliga club Werder Brenam, before heading back to Perth to win the league and cup with Perth SC. During his time in football the 29-year-old has suffered with injuries, which has affected his life on and off the pitch, and after hearing off the death of Stephen, he knew we as a local sporting group, who is fairly tight knit, should take steps forward in regards to this issue. “Sport and life can be tough and does affect people in different ways,” Danskin said. “Clark and Trott are the latest to show signs of the illness, but stars like Ian Thorpe, and going back to footballers Stan Collymore and Vinnie Jones, it’s an issue that is widespread through-out society and especially involving young men. “So given the numbers of teenage boys, young men and even older men involved in football at a local level it is sure to be affecting many people in the local game.
When he was in Germany Danskin was enjoying life, but that time of his life was dark. “For me personally some of the times where I was to other people "living the dream" travelling the world playing football, they were some of the loneliest and darkest times for me,” he said. “Everyone is different and deals with things in their own way, and on the pitch is a place where you can go out and express yourself and leave the worries that life throws at you behind, but off the pitch is a different story. “I think firstly you have to admit you have an issue then from there you can go about dealing with it. Luckily for me I have an amazingly close family and group of friends who are always there supporting me. It’s also about identifying possible triggers, doing things that make you happy and finding a place of solace when you need a time out.”
Migas has this message to anyone who suffering signs of the illness. “For anyone suffering this illness they should visit www.bluepages.anu.edu.au - which provides information on treatments for depression based on the latest scientific evidence,” he said. “It also provides many help lines to people who require immediate help. They aren’t widely known groups that people are aware of, but I think it’s great that Footballwa.net is doing a piece on Mental Health to help raise the issue again.”
JOONDALUP DEFENCE READY FOR BAYSWATER (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
ECU Joondalup skipper Jon Higgins is confident his side will be a formidable defensive challenge for league leaders Bayswater when they meet in National Premier Leagues WA clash at ECU Football Stadium tomorrow. Higgins credited solid defence for his team’s impressive 1-1 draw with Sorrento in last week’s Rivalry Round. “After conceding four against Floreat Athena last week the plan was to tighten up at the back and be hard to beat,” said Higgins, who had youth spells with English clubs Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. “We knew what to expect from Sorrento. They are big, strong, well organised and have probably bullied us in the last few meetings, so it was good to see the lads step up the intensity and produce a good performance.”
Higgins believed Joondalup’s defence would be further boosted by the return of Charlie Comyn-Platt, who missed last week’s match due to illness. “It’s great to have Charlie back this week,” he said. “He has been one of our top players the last few games and his leadership is very important.”
Joondalup’s approach was reiterated by coach Dale McCulloch. “Dale has worked us hard this week and drilled into us that we need to be disciplined defensively,” Higgins said. “Our players will be up for a huge game, and I think we will make it extremely hard for Bayswater to walk away with the points. “The lads have been looking sharp and are buzzing for Saturday. Hopefully it goes well for us and we can take three more important points.”
GLORY SIGN YOUNG SOCCEROOS ‘KEEPER THURTELL
Perth Glory have added Australian youth international Jordan Thurtell to their plating roster. Thurton, 17, has signed a two-year contract with the club fresh from a spell at the Australian Institute of Sport. “I am excited and thrilled to be signing my first professional contract and to be involved with Perth Glory,” the Queensland-born ‘keeper said. “When I was approached by the club, it wasn’t a hard decision and I couldn’t wait to get over here and start training with the team. To be able to train with Danny Vukovic and Jack Duncan, and to be coached by Danny Milosevic, is such a great opportunity.”
Glory goalkeeper coach Danny Milosevic is delighted to have Thurtell on board for the coming season. “I’ve been following Jordan’s performances in the AIS and Australian National youth team for a number of years,” said Milosevic. “He possess a high technical ability with both feet, good shot stopping ability and very good reflexes and I am confident that he will be an asset for Perth Glory. I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from all the coaches that have been involved with him. He is only young but he has a desire to learn and a very strong work ethic which will hold him in good stead.”
ROUX EXTENDS CONTRACT AT MARINERS
Young right-back Storm Roux has signed a two-year contract extension with Central Coast Mariners. Roux, 21, enjoyed a stellar season with Central Coast, making 25 appearances for the club before being handed his senior debut for New Zealand. “I had such a great time in my first season and am happy to extend my stay,” commented Roux. “I love the boys and am really looking forward to next season. My focus for the next few seasons will be winning things with the Mariners – whether it’s the A-League or the FFA Cup.” Roux started out at Sorrento and spent a season with Perth Glory, where he played once, prior to joining Central Coast midway through 2013.
REFRESHED BIRIGHITTI LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW SEASON
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is still coming to grips with what has been a whirlwind three months. In that short period Birighitti has been dropped to the bench at his club, had a deal with German side Bayer Leverkusen break down and travelled to Brazil with the Socceroos only to miss the final World Cup cut for the tournament. The experiences, good and bad, have only provided motivation for the ambitious 23-year old. “It has been a hectic few months,” he said during a well-deserved break back in Perth. “It has been good to freshen up and catch up with my family and friends.”
Though disappointed not to feature in Brazil – Matt Ryan, Mitch Langerak and Eugene Galekovic got the nod – Birighitti cherished his time in camp in Vitoria. “To be in the squad with the likes of Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and Mark Bresciano – players I looked up to as a young kid,” he commented. “To actually be in camp with them, and get advice from them and for them to lead and show you the way was a dream come true. I was a bit upset I didn’t get on, but I was kind of expecting it. It was more for me to go over and get a bit of experience.”
And while Birighitti was overlooked for the World Cup, national team coach Ange Postecoglou has told the former Perth Sc junior that he is very much in his plans. “I had a long hard chat with the boss (Postecoglou) and he sees me in his future plans with the Asian Cup around the corner and the World Cup in four years’ time,” said Birighitti. “Now it is up to me to get myself back to Newcastle, knuckle down, do well in the pre-season and make sure I am picked for the Asian Cup when it comes around in January. Coming back from a World Cup has done my confidence the world of good.”
After a successful trial in March, Birighitti appeared to be on the verge of joining Bayer Leverkusen, however, the deal fell apart after manager Sami Hyypia was replaced by Roger Schmidt. The trip to Germany coincided with Birighitti’s demotion to the bench for Newcastle’s final four games of the A-League summer. “You are going to have highs and lows,” Birighitti said. “That goes for any footballer. I went through a bit of a low last year. I didn’t think of it as a negative. You learn from your mistakes and make sure second time round you don’t make them.”
Birighitti’s focus is now on Newcastle’s pre-season having put the failed German deal behind him. “That is the last thing on my mind,” he said. “My focus is on getting back to Newcastle and starting the pre-season. My mind is set on Newcastle. We have made some good signings, have a good coach and it’s an exciting time for the club. I can’t wait to mingle with the new boys and catch up with some old faces, Marcos and Adrian Madaschi. I grew up with Adrian (in Perth) and played with Marcos in Adelaide. They are good boys and I can’t wait to get back.”
WILLIAMS SENT HOME FROM TRAINING
Rhys Williams faces further time on the sidelines with no specific date set on his return after missing Middlesbrough’s first pre-season session on Monday. The Socceroos defender, who ruptured his Achilles in January while playing Wigan Atheltic, is being closely monitored in his rehabilitation and will not be rushed back as long as doubts remain over his fitness. Manager Aitor Karanka remains hopeful Williams will take part in a pre-season friendly or two before the new Championship campaign starts next month. Williams suffered the blow of having to miss his second World Cup in a row through injury, having missed the 2010 tournament in South Africa because of a pelvic problem.
HERD GETS A HELPING HAND
Aston Villa defender Chris Herd has turned to his ex-professional father to help whip him into shape for the most important season of his career. Willie Herd, who spent 13 seasons in Scotland’s top flight with Falkirk and Partick Thistle, has been honing the fitness of his injury-jinxed 25-year old son in one-on-one sessions at Villa’s training base in a bid to help the would-be Socceroo get his career back on track. A succession of injuries and an in-house issue with the Villa hierachy last season left the versatile Herd with just two first team appearances and with it all to prove to coach Paul Lambert leading into the final year of his contract.
Lauded as one of Villa's brightest prospects in a breakthrough 2011-2012 season, Herd has been beset by setbacks over the past two years but, according to father Willie, is primed to burst back to his best. “Chris is looking lean and hungry and, after all the injuries over the past couple of years, it’s almost like him starting from scratch again,” said Willie Herd, 54. “He obviously had an issue with the club last year but that has been sorted and he is looking forward, rather than back. Villa gave us the run of their facilities and we worked on a lot of things, from general fitness to ball work.”
“I wanted to do my bit to pass on what I know to help Chris hit the ground running in what is a big season for his career,” he added. “Football is a marathon and not a sprint, and for Chris it will now all be about maturity kicking in. In the past he’s sometimes been a bit over eager to impress and has been playing at a 100 miles an hour. My message has been about pacing himself more and channelling his aggression a little bit ... maybe a case of using his head as much as his body to make things happen on the pitch.”
Despite getting just 171 minutes of game time last season, Herd was named in Australia’s squad which played Ecuador in March after coach Ange Postecoglou went to meet him in Birmingham. But he pulled out at the eleventh hour for “personal reasons”, with Alex Wilkinson – who went on to partner Mathew Spiranovic at the World Cup at the back for Australia – taking his place. It was Postecoglou’s intention to give Herd every opportunity to make his squad to Brazil but his extended absence from Villa’s squad ultimately precluded that. Even so, the door for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup remains ajar for Herd.
The prospect of Herd playing international football is an enticing one, but before that happens he needs to regain his starting spot at Villa. “The message to him when he met Ange was that if he was playing he would have been involved in pre-World Cup camp but it wasn’t to be,” Willie said. “The most important thing for him is do well for his club and make up for lost time. If that happens, I can’t see why Ange won't look at him again. I think there’s a lot more to come from him in terms of development ... he still has a lot to learn.”
Herd burst onto the scene with Villa three seasons ago when he made 20 League and Cup appearances in a variety of roles, including full-back, centre-back and midfield. “Hopefully, given the opportunity, he will take it again, as he did three seasons back,” said Willie. “It’s all about getting games under his belt and I think you will see a much improved player emerge,” Willie said. “He’s had some bad luck with injuries, basically one after another, it’s incredible. But hopefully that’s all behind him now.”
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This page was last updated on the 26th June, 2014