TOP FLIGHT SUITS COCKBURN’S ZAW
Cockburn City youngster Feisal Zaw has no complaints about his first month of top flight football. The 18-year old attacker made the move to Dalmatinac Park over the summer and has not looked back for so much as one moment. “I feel like I’m playing quite well at the moment,” said Zaw. “I didn’t expect it to be easy for me to transition to the National Premier Leagues and it hasn’t been, but the club has made it a lot easier. And it really helps when the team’s doing well as well, morale is high and it translates to all our players and shows in the results we’ve had over.”
Zaw was convinced to try his luck with Cockburn after catching the eye of coach Marc Anthony while playing for Gosnells City in pre-season. “I was going quite well at Gosnells and I was settled there,” said the teenager, a regular fixture of Gosnells eleven last year. “After one of my games I got word that Cockburn were in need of a few wing players and they came down to watch me play. So after a few days I was contacted and came down for training (with Cockburn) and loved the atmosphere … the next training session I signed for Cockburn.”
Under Anthony, Zaw has been encouraged to express himself on the park. “Marc is a great coach to work with,” said Zaw. “I enjoy working with coaches that give me license to keep the ball at my feet and play my own way. I used to play for Armadale and they had a strict playing style that didn’t let players have the ball as much or take on anyone, I feel like I wasted my time there. But Marc is encouraging and as a young player I feel as though it’s important for your coach to have a certain level of confidence and you and that comes off in his style of coaching.”
Anthony has been happy with what Zaw has contributed to Cockburn so far this year. “Young Feisal has made the adjustment to the NPL very quickly and has played very well in the games so far,” said Anthony, a former Scotland Under-21 international. “He is always willing to run at defenders, working hard for the team and also chipping in with a few goals. He’s still young and we hope we can keep improving him as a player.” Zaw rose up thorough Gosnells’ junior set-up to play first team under Alan Dunlop, who allowed the youngster to play the game his own way.
Cockburn play their third game in eight days on Saturday by coming up against breakaway NPL leaders Bayswater. “It is a huge game and Bayswater will definitely be looking to extend their unbeaten run (to eight games),” commented Zaw, who played a key role in Cockburn’s mid-week win over Subiaco AFC. “Cockburn have caused a few upsets already this season and I don’t see Bayswater as anything other than another team we can beat. If we play the way we can we’ll have no trouble beating any NPL team. It just depends if we can execute our game plan on the day.” Cockburn hosts Bayswater from 3.00pm on Saturday at Dalmatinac Park.
FREMANTLE TO DETERMINE THEIR OWN DESTINY SAYS WILE
Goalkeeper Peter Wile is confident Fremantle United will kick-start their Division Two campaign soon enough after getting off to a slow start. The port side entered the season as one of title contenders but have just three points on the board after as many games. And while that record would set off alarm bells at some clubs, Wile says that’s not the case at Fremantle. “We have a lot more to offer, and a lot to prove to ourselves,” said the goalkeeper. “The league this season will be more competitive than ever with twelve clubs, each capable of taking points off each other. We just need to focus on our own progress and capitalise when and where we can.”
Fremantle started the year with the goal of finishing top of the table and that’s still very much the case. “This year is about winning promotion, plain and simple. We have the squad to achieve that, it’s a matter of playing to the level we know and expect of each other,” explained Wile, before highlighting a few areas which are in need of improvement. “We’ve seen a red card in two of our three games so far, so we need to improve our discipline and see out games with eleven men. The other thing to focus on is keeping our foot on the pedal when we’re pressing. We work hard for a period but then drop off – we need to maintain that pressure for longer.”
Wile points to last week’s loss to Joondalup United, who snared the deciding goal in a 2-1 win with only minutes to spare, as a prime example of how Fremantle has been playing. “Last Saturday was a good representation of our season so far – a few ups and a few downs,” he said. “We walked away without any points but we did raise our game in the second half after starting slowly, so I think we’ll be able to carry that into this weekend. There were other positives to come from the game such as the pressure we applied at the start of the second half which resulted in the quick goal Ty Fenwick scored.”
Kingsway Olympic have a near-identical record to Fremantle and it’s to Kingsway Reserve that Wile and his teammates travel on Saturday. “Regardless of how Kingsway have started their season, our focus is strictly on our own position. We have played three winnable games and been competitive so I feel our strength will come through in the end,” said Wile. “We played Kingsway in Round One of the Cup so we have an idea how they play, but it’s been a few weeks since that game and this time we’re at their park. It was a narrow loss last week but we’re coming into some form now and this weekend is a chance to prove it.”
EUROPE CALLS A-LEAGUE STARLET TAGGART
Newcastle Jets’ Adam Taggart applied the finishing touches to his breakthrough season by adding the A-League’s Young Player of the Year award to the Golden Boot. Hovering on the fringe of first team selection twelve months ago, Taggart seemingly has the world at his feet after claiming two of the major awards presented at a gala ceremony in Sydney on Monday night. “It’s nice to get individual awards but it is normally a bonus on top of a successful season,” said Taggart. “It would have been a lot nicer had we made the finals and gone further than we had done in the past few years.”
Taggart has a year to run on his Newcastle contract but the 20-year old has made no secret of his desire for a move to Europe. “There have been lot of big conversations and we are getting to the nitty, gritty stuff,” he said of a move abroad. “It is getting closer and closer. All those leagues are just finishing up, and that is when their real planning starts. Hopefully I will know something in the next three or four weeks. It would be good to ease my mind so I know what I’m doing – whether it is staying with the Jets or going overseas – but at the same time I am not in any rush.”
In all likelihood Taggart will next play his football in the Netherland’s. “Holland is a great destination. It is a real football country. It is not the best league in the world but it is a good stepping stone going from Australia … It would be a great place to go to,” he said. “One of the main priorities for me is to be playing first team football. I’m not expecting to go overseas and play straight away but you want to know that you will have an opportunity. I have got used to first team football, playing week-in week-out and with the best players. It would be so hard to go back and wait a long time.”
Newcastle’s season wound up on Monday but Taggart, along with teammates Mark Birighitti and Josh Brillante, will continue training to ensure they are in good shape if named in a the Socceroos preliminary World Cup squad next month. “’I had a light week last week but am now back into it,” the former ECU Joondalup junior said. “If the opportunity comes to go into camp I want to be raring to go. You can’t allow an opportunity like that to slip by. You have to be doing everything you can. You never know who is going to get selected, and you never know what is going to happen with injuries.”
FA CUP GLORY AWAITS BURGESS
Cameron Burgess insists Fulham’s Under-18 team is taking nothing for granted after helping his club to victory over Chelsea in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup Final. Chelsea took an early second half lead before goals in the space of nine minutes from Moussa Dembélé, Emerson Hyndman and Burgess put Fulham in control. And although Chelsea reduced the arrears late on, Burgess believes the Cottagers will play better in the return leg at Stamford Bridge on Monday. “It’s a great advantage to have but we can’t go into the second leg thinking the trophy’s already ours,” Burgess told fulhamfc.com “We have to approach it like it’s nil-all and start again. Even though we played well in the first leg, we know we can do better.”
Burgess capped an excellent defensive display by nodding in Fulham’s third goal after Liam Donnelly headed Dean O’Halloran’s corner back across the face of goal. “It was a good delivery from Dean and credit to Liam for heading it back across. I just stuck it in the back of the net thanks to being in the right place at the right time,” said Burgess, who was glad Frenchman Dembélé found the net after missing first half penalty. “He’s a great player who’s capable of coming up with a bit of magic and he’s shown that with his header. We’re not a team who have a go at each other when someone makes a mistake; we rally round one another and that’s why we’re a great side.”
Chelsea will consider themself somewhat unlucky to be trailing in the tie but Burgess says Fulham will be ready for whatever the Blues have to offer next week. “We know how they play now, we can be better defensively and we’ll look at the video to make sure we’re spot on for the second leg,” said the former ECU Joondalup junior. “We’re desperate to win. The FA Youth Cup is the ultimate goal for any young player. It’s televised worldwide and everyone remembers the players that won it. It’s a fantastic tournament and it would be unreal to win it.” Regardless of the result on Monday, the long-term futures of both Burgess and Fulham looked bright.
COCKBURN HOME AT LAST
Cockburn City bagged their first home win of the campaign with brushing aside Subiaco AFC 4-1 on a chilly evening at Dalmatinac Park. Liam Murray scored either side of half-time in the Round Three catch-up game with David Araya and Devon Gibson also finding the net for the home side. “It was important to get the goal just before half-time, and we went on with it after the break,” said Cockburn coach Marc Anthony. “They made it difficult for us, like we knew they would, but to get back-to-back league wins for the first time this season is good. The only downside was losing Conor (Kavangh) late in the game.”
The cool conditions made for a lacklustre first half in which both sets of players were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. The first chance on goal came from the hosts when Ross Diamond rattled the crossbar after Gibson and Feisal Zaw combined in the lead-up. Subiaco hit back with Nathan Diaz lifting over the defence for Matt Akehurst but he was denied a shot by Paul Natale last-gasp tackle. The deadlock was broken five minutes out from the break when Murray lost his marker to head in a Ryan Haslett from the left. It should have been two-nil moments later, Zaw delivering a deep cross which an unmarked Haslett blazed high from 4-metres.
Cockburn got their second goal nine minutes after the turnaround when Araya’s long-range effort slipped through the gloves of Sam Stone in the Subiaco goal. His opposite number, Dejan Aleksic, came to the rescue shortly after by brilliantly keeping out Alex Randell’s shot from the edge of the penalty area. Cockburn sealed the win just after the hour when Zaw’s cross from the bye-line was sent into the net by Murray. Diaz grabbed Subiaco a consolation in the 79th minute, the defender easing past three defenders to go inside the area where he finished low. Two minutes later Gibson fired in from 12-metres after taking a pass from Kavanagh, who shortly after was stretchered off with an ankle injury.
WILLIAMS STANDS BY PLAY-OFF COMMENTS
Ryan Williams has no regrets over his assertion English club Oxford United were a sure bet to make the League Two play-offs. Speaking two months ago when Oxford were placed fourth and with a ten-point cushion on those clubs outside the top seven, Williams said “If we don’t get automatic promotion I don’t think we can slip up that much to not get in the play-offs.” Unfortunately, the winger could not have been more wrong with a horrible run of results since putting Oxford out of play-off contention.
Williams, who was reminded of his statement last week as a video clip did the rounds on social media, stood by his words, saying it highlights just how far Oxford have fallen in such a short period of time. “I felt we were in a strong position to go and possibly win the league even,” said the 20-year old winger. “Obviously I don’t take it back. I think it’s good the fans are interacting with us like that … some people might think it’s funny, but it’s not a laughing matter and is quite embarrassing.”
Williams, playing for Oxford on loan for Fulham, failed to hide his disappointment at how the club’s season has fallen apart. “We were flying so high in the middle of the season and somehow we’ve just let it slip,” the former ECU Joondalup junior said. “Confidence plays a big part in football and when we went into the rut we couldn’t get out. When we thought we were out, say against Plymouth, then in the next game maybe we didn’t put in as much effort as we should have to clear ourselves further.”
BROICH THE A-LEAGUE’S BEST PLAYER
Brisbane Roar’s Thomas Broich has created history by becoming the first player to win the Johnny Warren Medal, the A-League’s Players’ Player Award, for a second time. Broich, who also picked up the prize in 2011/12 season, enjoyed another impressive campaign with his exceptional footwork and vision playing a key role in Brisbane topping the table and reaching a third grand final in four years. The midfield maestro won the award, which is voted for by the A-League’s players, with 506 votes ahead of Melbourne Victory’s James Troisi (290) and his Brisbane teammate Luke Brattan (264).
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart picked up the Young Footballer of the Year Award as well as the Golden Boot Award as the A-League’s top goal scorer. Adelaide United’s Eugene Galekovic collected his third A-League Goalkeeper of the Year Award. There were no surprises in the Coach of the Year category where Brisbane’s Mike Mulvey picked up the trophy. The Referee of the Year was presented to Peter Green. Brandon Borrello (Brisbane) scored the National Youth League Player of the Year Award, and Anthony Costa (Adelaide) won that competition’s Golden Boot.
Brisbane’s Tameka Butt scored the W-League’s highest honour, the Julie Dolan Medal, while Welsh International Jessica Fishlock (Melbourne Victory) picked up the W-League’s Players’ Player of the Year Award. The W-League Young Player of the Year Award was taken out by Stephanie Catley (Melbourne Victory) for the second year in a row, and Adelaide’s Melissa Barbieri received the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year Award, also for the second time. The competition’s other award went to Sydney paid Jodie Taylor (Golden Boot) and Alen Stajcic (Coach of the Year) plus Casey Reibelt (Referee of the Year).
GLORY CAN BE A CONTENDER: GRIFFITHS
Midfielder Rostyn Griffiths believes Perth Glory can be a contender in 2014/15 if the club makes the right moves in the off-season. Glory placed eighth on the A-League ladder this summer, registering just seven wins from 27 games, but last week’s coaching appointment of Kenny Lowe on a two-year deal has renewed Griffiths hope in his hometown club. “The next step will be obviously recruiting the right players who will add to the side and then as a club create a footballing style and direction that everyone can follow,” Griffiths told fourfourtwo.com/au “I believe the club has a reasonable basis to build on and if we do the right things during the off-season there’s absolutely no reason why this club can’t be challenging for the title.”
Glory has a strong group of local youngsters – Josh Risdon, Matt Davies, Jack Clisby, Riley Woodcock, Daniel De Silva and Brandon O’Neill – around which the club will build their squad for next season and beyond. “Perth has always produced some really good players and unfortunately for one reason or another they have slipped through the net, so it’s definitely good to see some good, local players coming through,” said Griffiths, who acknowledges the loss of retiring pair Jacob Burns and Travis Dodd. “Losing experienced players is always going to be difficult, you can’t really replace them, but that’s where the younger players have to step up and the club have to recruit wisely to try to replace those players.”
Griffiths made ten appearances and scored twice following his January move to Glory which came after two-seasons with Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F. Looking towards next season, the 26-year old feels Glory needs to create an off-field environment which will fully meet the player’s needs. “I don’t think there’s any A-League club that could say they’re totally happy with their facilities, as there is always room for improvement,” he commented. “We have a good base but of course there’s some things that could be better. Again, it’s something that the club will decide on along with the coach to see what’s best for the players. We really need to make a no excuse environment.”
KAMARA SPARKLES AMID THE GLOOM (with Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Teenager Teeboy Kamara bagged himself a brace to guide Inglewood United to just their second win of the National Premier Leagues season, 3-0 over ECU Joondalup on a gloomy winter’s day at Intiga Stadium. The teams may have entered the break as they started goals at either end of the season half by Kamara set up the win before Ryan Clarke added a third goal for good measure. “I’m happy to be back playing football and scoring goals is just a bonus,” said Kamara, who has been sidelined by an undisclosed medical condition for more than two years. “I’m pleased the team is winning and playing well.”
The first half was a dour affair with the closest either team came to scoring being David Sesay’s dangerous centre which evaded all as it passed through the 6-yard box. The deadlock was finally broken six minutes into the second half when Clarke, whose pace causing Joondalup problems all afternoon slipped the ball through for Kamara to drill into the net. Kamara put away his second goal in the 83rd minute after skipping past the defence and goalkeeper Andy Banks. Clarke got in on the act three minutes later as Inglewood stretched their unbeaten run to five games. Joondalup, by contrast, slip down to third-from-bottom on the back of a four game losing streak.
CATARCIONE’S DOUBLE SILENCES STIRLING
Balcatta jumped to fourth on the National Premier Leagues table following a resounding 3-0 defeat of neighbouring Stirling Lions at Grindleford Reserve. Summer signings Gustavo Catarcione scored twice and Benny Kouakou once to lead Balcatta to their fourth win in five games. “It’s three massive points as it keeps us in the top four,” said midfielder James Sammut, who feels Balcatta are slowly finding top gear. “We were far from our best and yet we beat a good Stirling team by three goals. Hopefully we will soon put together a full 90 minutes of the football we know we are capable of.”
Stirling enjoyed the better of first half possession with David Micevski and Hayden Doyle directing the flow of play from the middle of the park. Captain Andy Brown came within inches of putting them ahead on the quarter hour when he headed against the post from a Doyle corner. The visitors continued to press and with half-time approaching Howard Neighbour got the ball past goalkeeper Clint Davies only to also see it crash into the upright. The magnitude of those misses became evident in stoppage time when Patrick Quinn clipped the ball to the far post where Catarcione placed his header into the bottom corner.
There was a greater sense of urgency from Balcatta when play re-commenced. But it took until the 76th minute for that to be translated onto the scoreboard, Kouakou the architect of a quick break in which he played through to Catarcione who rounded ‘keeper Aleks Vrteski and tapped in at the second attempt after his initial shot came back off the post. Kouakou made the points safe seven minutes later by latching on to Brown’s miss-kick and racing clear to calmly slot into Vrteski’s bottom corner in a one-on-one situation. The loss leaves Stirling, last year’s regular season champions, three points outside the top five in eighth place.
COCKBURN SPOIL HARNWELL’S DAY
Cockburn City refused to bow to the occasion of Todd Harnwell’s 400th appearance for Sorrento by defeating the northern suburbs side 3-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve. A day of drama had both teams score inside twenty minutes, Alan Carroll’s opener cancelled out by Steve McDonald, before Conor Kavanagh put the Cockerels ahead from the penalty late in the first half. Ross Diamond increased that lead but the late sending off of Euan Grant opened the door on a Sorrento comeback. And although Shaun Kilkelly managed to pull a goal back it wasn’t enough to prevent Cockburn from taking home the points.
An assertion of early pressure by Cockburn paid dividends after 13 minutes when a fine cross by Kavanagh was headed in by Carroll. Things stayed that was just seven minutes before Harnwell set-up McDonald who duly restored parity with a neat finish from the top of the penalty box. This pattern would continue throughout the afternoon with the two sets of players trading attacks in search of the next goal. Kavanagh put Cockburn back in the driving seat after 37 minutes, the midfielder felled inside the area and picking himself up to blast into the top corner of Curtis Aspden’s net.
Cockburn doubled their lead eleven minutes into the second half when Devon Gibson combined with Diamond, who applied a confident finish. Throwing caution to the wind, Sorrento pushed McDonald into attack and brought on the fresh legs of midfield pair Jason Mirco and Brodie Martin. Cockburn custodian Dejan Aleksic now found himself called into the action with increasing regularity, and the 77th minute dismissal of Grant, for a second yellow card, only intensified the pressure. Kilkelly cut the deficit with nine minutes left by stabbing in from 5-metres after Cockburn failed to clear a corner. Sorrento threw everything in finding an equaliser but closest they’d come was when Harnwell had a volley cleared off the line.
SUBIACO HUMBLED BY HEAGNEY HAT-TRICK (with Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City striker David Heagney hit the back of the net three times to guide his club to a 5-2 victory over National Premier Leagues cellar dweller’s Subiaco AFC at Frank Drago Reserve. Heagney, whose haul was interspersed by finishes from Trent Kay and James Isaia, was understandably delighted with the spoils of his afternoon. “It’s nice to get a hat-trick at my new club, that’s five in games now,” Heagney said. “We started the game bright and went in four-nil up at the break, but credit to them, they came out fighting and became a solid defensive unit in the second half.” On a weekend when their rivals faltered, Bayswater’s eighth successive win increases their lead to eight points.
It took Kay only 8 minutes to open Bayswater’s account, the defender prodding in after Subiaco failed to sufficiently deal with a corner that went to feet. Sam Mitchinson and Isaia both rattled the woodwork with shots from outside the box as the home side sought to extend their advantage. Their reward arrived on 32 minutes when Heagney burst clear to fire past goalkeeper Sam Stone, who did well to take the pace off his opponents shot. Four minutes later Isaia was allowed to cut in unchallenged from the left and pick his spot high in the top corner. And there was still time for Heagney to nod in at close-range from Isaia’s superb cross to make it four-nil at the break.
The flow of goals continued into the second half with Heagney completing his hat-trick in the 53rd minute by lifting a bouncing ball over Stone. Although the game was now well beyond their reach, Subiaco refused to lie down and three minutes later Laurence Gaughan punished some poor defending by lashing a loose ball into the net. This didn’t phase Bayswater one little bit, the hosts confidently stroking the ball around as they worked for further openings. But the afternoon’s only other goal would come at the opposite end where Jordan Rhodes converted a final minute penalty award after Ian McMurray went down under the challenge of Adam Bachiller.
McMurray, who took charge of Subiaco with coach Gerry McEwan in Europe, was philosophical in defeat. “With the quality throughout the whole of Bayswater’s squad, we knew it was going to be hard,” said McMurray, whose team have taken just a single point from their first eight starts of the regular season. “We had a few chances and never took them, and Bayswater being Bayswater, they had a little sniff and before you know it we’re four goals behind. The work rate and structure was better in the second half, so on the whole we've got to take the positives from that second half.”
DAMAGE DONE EARLY AS PERTH TRIUMPH IN ARMADALE (with Tristan Lavalette, nplwa.com.au)
A couple of goal in the opening ten minutes paved the way of Perth SC to claim a 3-0 victory over Armadale on a wet evening at Alfred Skeet oval. In conditions reminiscent of mid-winter, Perth bullied their way into a commanding position through early strikes from Ashley Rosindale and Mark Doninger before Nick Ambrogio sealed the win just before half-time. “We were outstanding in the first half because it is always hard to come here and play,” said winning coach Taki Nicolaidis. “We have been leaking goals so far this season and that has been a weakness but tonight our back four was outstanding. The conditions were challenging but we were ready for the battle and we’re happy with the result.”
Perth were out of the blocks fast with Rosindale posting their first goal after only 5 minutes, the captain poking into the net after receiving a tidy pass from Aden Da Luz. That lead was doubled in the 10th minute when Doninger unleashing a long-range rocket which soared into Matthew Gould’s net. Armadale’s attempts to hit back were met sternly by the Perth backline, who were quick in turning defence into attack. Strike partners Rosindale and Friday Zico ensured a restless afternoon for the home side who found themselves on the back foot more often than not. Armadale’s defences were breached for a third time in the 37th minute when Ambrogio streamed away to seal victory for Perth.
What had been a steady downfall of rain throughout the first half increased dramatically as the players emerged from the change rooms. Perth, perhaps not surprisingly, eased off the pace and allowed Armadale to see more of the ball. And although there were some moments of hope of the Reds, it was rare that they looked like cutting the deficit with their best plays broken down by a resolute defensive line marshalled by goalkeeper Alex Dunn. Far from impressed with his teams’ efforts, Armadale coach Lee Bamber held a lengthy behind closed doors inquest with his players post-game.
MORLEY MAKE THEIR POINT AT ASHFIELD
Morley Windmills maintained their position on top of the Division One leader board by coming from behind to earn a 2-2 draw from this afternoon’s derby at Ashfield. Jamie Burns and Jay Lang put the home team two-goals to the better but that lead was chalked off early in the second half by Kyle King’s brace. A strong start by Ashfield was rewarded in the 9th minute when Jamie Burns’ stunning header bulged the back of the net. Lang and Reuben Tristao were on top in the middle of the park and on 18 minutes the former doubled Ashfield lead from the penalty spot after a handball inside the area. Matt Battigelli ensured the margin didn’t blow out further by battering away shots from Burns and Joe Briggs leading into the break.
The second half opened with Morley pressing for a way back in and on 49 minutes King found one, the unmarked striker blasting in at close-range after being a corner went to feet. Ashfield were determined to restore their two-goal buffer but Burns was thwarted by an offside flag before both O’Reilly and Briggs were denied by Battigelli in the same passage of play. So it was against the run of play that Morley drew level in the 56th minute when a slip by David Tough let in King who made no mistake beating John Perkins. Luke Colli squandered a trio of opportunities to regain the lead for Ashfield as Morley battened down the hatches, content to take home the single point.
BUNBURY HOLD OUT FAST-FINISHING SHAMROCK
A late surge wasn’t enough to prevent Shamrock Rovers Perth from dropping their first game of the season 2-1 away at Bunbury Forum Force. Substitute Damien Smyth provided the spark for Shamrock in the final fifteen minutes but it wasn’t enough to negate goals from Jon Brooks and Lee Stewart. “We can play better than today’s performance,” stated Shamrock coach John O’Reilly. “It was frustrating to go behind before we stepped up our game. In the second half we had some good passages of play so our goal now is to extend those passages and turn them into goal scoring opportunities.”
Bunbury came out swinging and with just 5 minutes on the clock Jon Brooks applied a smart finish after meeting Jayden Prosser’s cross in from the right. Had it not been for Ashley Crosthwaite then the margin would have increased significantly, the Shamrock goalkeeper denying Prosser, Ryan Stewart and Lee Stewart after each got clear of the defence. Shamrock didn’t begin building momentum until the second half but on 56 minutes they conceded a second goal with Lee Stewart heading in a far post cross by Prosser. Smyth had been in the park only ten minutes when he halved the difference with a fine strike after being put through by Charlie Kenna. Shamrock threw everything they had at their opponents during the final quarter hour as Bunbury held on nervously to claim the points.
CANNING EASE PAST MANDURAH
Canning City moved to within a point of the Division One summit by taking their second win in as many weeks, 2-0 over Mandurah City 2-0 at Burrendah Reserve. Club stalwart Paul Van Dongen found the net early in the first half with Laurence Cheyne following suite after the break. “It was extremely important we take maximum points from this game, not just to stay in touch with the top sides but because we expected to be three from three at this stage,” said Van Dongen. “I was very pleased with the two young guns on the left side, Nathan Hubbard has really made left back position his own and Laurie Cheyne’s hard work was rewarded today with a goal.”
The game was given a bright start with both teams stringing together some promising moves. With 12 minutes on the clock Nathan Hubbard worked the ball forward to Daniel Niederberger whose looping cross to the far post was converted at close-range by Van Dongen. This set the scene for the remainder of a half dominated by Canning but despite the best efforts of Niederberger, Simon Versaico and Cheyne there would be no addition to the scoreline before the break. Mandurah opened the second half strongly and Luke Johnstone was denied an equaliser only by Van Dongen’s goal line clearance. The hosts heeded that warning and on 56 minutes Cheyne beat a couple of opponents before driving beyond Matt Hamnett’s reach from 25-metres.
WANNEROO THROW AWAY LEAD TO DRAW WITH KNIGHTS
Western Knights overturned a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with Wanneroo City at Kingsway Reserve. The home side appeared on course for their first win of the season after Stuart Montgomery and Connor Lynch put them in a seemingly comfortable position, however, Sean French and Paul Lloyd brought the sides level before the opening 45 minutes were out. “After being two-nil up and then to finish with a draw felt like a loss, especially after the chances we had to put the game to bed when in front,” said Montgomery. “It was pleasing that we stuck to our game plan, all the boys worked there socks off and did what was asked of them.”
Wanneroo were on the attack from the opening whistle so it came as no surprise when Zac Aley played to the far post where Montgomery created space for himself before calmly slotting in after 10 minutes. The margin was doubled a few minutes later when Simon Wills intercepted a poor defensive clearance and played in Aley, who squared for Lynch to fire past the goalkeeper. With this the Knights came to life and midway through the half French headed in from a corner. And it wasn’t long after that Lloyd unleashed a thunderbolt that gave Wanneroo ‘keeper Jamie Serra no chance. The second half was littered with opportunities for either teams to take the lead but wasteful finishing meant both had to settle for a share of the points.
COLLINS SNARES JOONDALUP VICTORY
Joondalup United maintained their unbeaten start to the Division Two season with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat of Fremantle United at Hilton Reserve. Josh Whitmore had Joondalup on the board early and, although Ty Fenwick levelled, veteran Garin Collins showed his class with a delicate late chip to settle the game. “Playing a very good Fremantle side on a massive pitch was always going to be a test,” said Joondalup coach Daniel Smith. “It doesn’t matter if you win by one or four goals, sometimes the gritty performances with a late goal gives you more belief than a big win. Instead of heads dropping when it felt it may not be our day, the boys kept believing and got the winner through Garin’s superb chip.”
Joondalup held sway for long periods of the first half thanks in no small part of the central midfield pairing of Whitmore and James Collins. The solitary goal of the period came via Whitmore, who headed into the bottom corner from 7-metres after getting on the end of a long throw. Garin Collins was presented a great chance to double that lead just before half-time but fired straight at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. Fremantle hit back when play resumed, Fenwick’s fierce shot taking a deflection which gave ‘keeper James Bosdet no chance. With this Joondalup sprang back into lifebut luck was against the northerners, Mike Kenny rattling the crossbar on two occasions before a Marc Beattie spot kick was saved. With five minutes left a well-weighted through ball released Garin Collins to lift over the advancing ‘keeper.
JOONDALUP EARN THEIR REWARDS
Joondalup City fended off a late finishing Melville City to take maximum points by 4-3 from the game at Iluka Sports Complex. After a relatively even period it was Joondalup that were first on the scoreboard through Alex Corner’s diving header to a cross from the left by Bobby Melia. Mark Thornton, Jody Thompson and Danny Allen had the upper hand in the battle for midfield supremacy, and it was only a matter of time before the hosts extended their lead. Jason Rubridge put-paced the defence to latch onto Liam Mooney’s long diagonal ball which he rifled in via the underside of the crossbar.
Melville pulled a goal back after the break via a deflected shot from distance by Marcos De Alcantara, which wrong-footed the ‘keeper. However, Joondalup restored their two-goal buffer soon enough with the hard-working Mark Thornton keeping his composure in slotting past the goalkeeper. Melville’s hopes of taking anything from the afternoon appeared to vanish when Kudzi Chigwanda bundled Danny Allen’s cross into his own net. But with twenty minutes to go Simon El Chami got free of the defence and came out trumps in a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. The away team continued to push and in stoppage time Ryan Russell squared for El Chami to tap in, setting up a tense final few minutes.
WILLIAMS TO THE RESCUE FOR ELLENBROOK
Ellenbrook United kept their home win record intact with a dramatic 3-2 defeat of Balga at Arbor Grove Reserve. Paul Williams came off the bench to decide the game with just minutes to spare, adding to earlier finishes by Oliver Landgale and Matt Clarke. The game was given a sobering start when Josh Howie was taken to hospital with a neck injury resulting from a clash of heads with Andreas Bouzinekis. Ellenbrook were soon on the attack after a lengthy delay, Callum Harwood nodding a cross to the far post down for Oliver Langdale who made no mistake at close-range. Balga now sparked to life and a foul on Banin Hashem produced a penalty which Lee James converted. The momentum was now with the visitors and six minutes from half-time James neatly put away his second goal courtesy of Hashem’s delivery.
Balga picked up where they left off after the break, Hashem firing wide after getting past a couple of defenders while goalkeeper Jake Bungert was equal to the challenge posed by Bouzinekis. The home side were struggling for fluency and it was only after the introduction of Williams and Steven Ashford that it entered their game. Daniel Gulliver laid on the equaliser with a 67th minute corner which was met by the head of Clarke, who guided the ball past ‘keeper Michael Dudek. The response from Balga was immediate but James and Hashem failed to hit the target within seconds of eachother, an unmarked Bouzinekis headed wide unmarked and the same played was later thwarted by Bungert. Against the run of play Clarke’s centre found Ashford who helped the ball on for Williams to blast winner into the roof of the net.
CURTIN HIT KELMSCOTT FOR SIX
Curtin University put aside a slow start to inflict a 6-2 thrashing on Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. Eddie Tikoft and Khaled Salhah were the architects of the win with each finding the back of the net along with Rory Binnie, Kristian Beven, Bryce Young and substitute Fraser Grant. Kelmscott made a positive start with Joe Tomlin capitalising on a defensive mix-up to put the hosts head after 18 minutes. With this Curtin sparked into action and just after the half hour Tikoft brought the teams level by heading in from a corner. Binnie showed his class four minutes later by expertly lobbing the goalkeeper, and in the shadows of half-time Beven slotted in after Carlo Chiellini’s deflected shot came his way.
Kelmscott returned for the second half fired up and soon had the ball in the back of the net, however, a dubious offside decision meant Jonathan Ingram’s counted for nothing. Salhah’s constant teasing of the home defence was rewarded on 63 minutes when he smashed in goal number four, and the attacker would have had another if not for a fine save by goalkeeper Sam Cogle. But Salhah was not to be denied and on 74 minutes his short corner was delivered into the area by Dilip Thapa for Young to volley in. Grant rounded out Curtin’s scoring five minutes later with a close-range side-foot. Christian Hogge grabbed Kelmscott a second goal five minutes from the final whistle.
ROCKINGHAM OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT
Rockingham City breathed new life into their campaign by claiming a 2-0 victory from their visit to Quinns. Trevor Laure bagged the only goal of the first half with Alex Grayson netting after the turnaround to give Rockingham their first win of the season. The away team were on top early and Ryan Kennedy’s through ball after 10 minutes allowed Laure to cut between a couple of defenders and fire beyond Daniel McAinsh from 12-metres. McAinish came to the rescue by keeping out a Laure header as well as a crisp free-kick from Kennedy as Rockingham sought a second goal before the break. Quinns best chance of the period resulted from a Chris Williams corner which Brian Cairney sent goalward but was pushed away by Cyril Sharrock.
It was Rockingham who again in the attack after the turnaround. Grayson’s near post header passed out just the wrong side of the target and a goalbound effort from David Clark was turned away by McAinsh. Having weathered the storm, Quinns began working their way back into the game with Cairney glancing narrowly wide of the upright. As the hosts pushed forward in search of an equaliser they ran the risk of being caught short at the back, and that’s exactly what happened with Laure’s inch-perfect cross headed in at close-range by Grayson. Quinns mounted a late charge to salvage their afternoon. John McGahern hit the post after being put through with only the ‘keeper after which Cairney rattled the crossbar with a vicious volley.
GOALS FLOW FOR MACLAREN (with Kelechi Osunwa, nplwa.com.au)
Australia youth international Jamie Maclaren snared his second hat-trick in seven days as Perth Glory demolished Floreat Athena 5-0 under lights at Litis Stadium. The Glory youngsters showed no mercy to their opponents with Joseph Knowles and Harry O’Brien complimenting Maclaren’s haul. “I knew I was going to play two or three games in the NPL and I set my self a target of scoring as many goals as I could,” said Maclaren, who has registered eight goals in his past three games. “(To) get these goals to send off my season is a good thing.”
With both teams coming off sizeable wins – Glory 6-0 victory over Armadale and Floreat 5-0 against Cockburn City – this game was guaranteed to be full of goals. Glory settled into the game quickly by taking a 7th minute lead via Knowles, who was presented with the easiest of tap-ins after Maclaren’s lob over advancing goalkeeper Tom Dixon came back off the crossbar. Floreat immediately set about replying but found very few openings in a defence marshalled by Brandon O’Neill and Jack Clisby. Maclaren doubled the visitors lead just before the break by rolling into an empty net following a mix-up between Dixon and Mark Walsh.
Glory continued to dictate terms following the turnaround against a Floreat side that was increasingly showing the effects of playing three games in seven days. O’Brien kept his composure in the 61st minute to lash goal number three into the net after meeting Maclaren’s centring ball from the left. Ten minutes later Maclaren steered his second past Dixon and with the final whistle approaching the young striker completed his hat-trick. “I thought our boys were very professional today,” said Glory coach Scott Miller. “Everything we asked them to do they did.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND SEVEN
It is neutral’s football fans delight this weekend with National Premier Leagues games all across the long weekend. It all kicks off tonight, with the game of the round when the improved Perth Glory travels to Litis Stadium to take on Floreat Athena (7.00pm). “We know they have some big names coming into their side, so we can’t be complacent,” said Floreat custodian Tom Dixon. “It’s been a hectic week for us with three games but since Peter Murphy has come on board the lads have put in some solid performances, so we are quietly confident.”
On Saturday afternoon it’s the local derby between Balcatta and Stirling Lions at Grindleford Reserve. Fourth-placed Balcatta have turned the corner after a stuttering start to the season, but their only home game to date ended in a loss and that’s some they want to rectify. “It’s a massive game for both clubs if they want to keep up with the rest of the leaders,” Balcatta captain Adam Tong said. “Stirling are a quality team and are lead well by Andy Brown, but we are playing well and go into the game full of confidence. It’s a local derby so I’m sure both sides will be up for it.”
Cockburn City will look to bounce back from last week’s heavy loss when they tackle Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. However, the home team have every intention of making it an afternoon to remember for long-time captain Todd Harnwell in his 400th appearance for the northern suburbs club. National Premier League leaders Bayswater City are expected to collect maximum points for the seven straight time when bottom of the table Subiaco AFC ventures to Frank Drago Reserve for the first time.
The evening fixture has Perth SC travelling to Armadale (7.00pm). Reds goalkeeper Matthew Gould has conceded six goals in the last two games but has every intention of keeping a clean sheet this time out. “The last two league results have been disappointing and the score line wasn’t a fair reflection of either game,” said Gould. “Saturday will be a tough game but if we but in a performance like we did at Bayswater in the Cup, I think we can take the points.” Nathan Costello and Jackson Bealey will miss the game through suspension while Perth defender Craig Simpson will undergo a late fitness test.
The round comes to an end on Sunday with Inglewood United hosting ECU Joondalup at Intiga Stadium. “We are unbeaten in the last four games and it’s important to keep that run going,” said Inglewood midfielder Sean Browne. “We are scoring goals for fun – seventeen in our last four games – but Joondalup will be desperate for the points after losing their last two games.” David Perich returns from injury for the hosts while Joondalup welcome back Joe Smith and Tommy Amphlett. All National Premier Leagues games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm unless stated otherwise
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND THREE
Morley Windmills go shooting for a third straight win when they call in on near-neighbours Ashfield in the pick of tomorrow’s Division One action. “It has definitely been a great start for us this year,” said Morley goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo, who unfortunately misses the game through suspension. “We’ve been focusing more on our performance and game plan than our opponents. That said, it’s always a tough game against Ashfield and usually delivers plenty of entertainment.” Mathew Battigelli will line-up between the posts for away team while Ashfield welcome back defensive pair Graham Tough and Nick Davies.
Gosnells City sit jointly alongside Morley at the top of Division One and are tipped to take the points over home side UWA-Nedlands. Second-placed Bunbury Forum Force tackles Shamrock Rovers Perth at Payne Park. Not a lot has gone right for Wanneroo City so far this season, the northerners leaking goals at an alarming rate while yet to score themselves, and it’s hard to see their fortunes changing much when Western Knights visit Kingsway Reserve. Swan United coach Salv Tadaro has six starters unavailable for the black and whites trip to Dianella White Eagles.
Striker Daniel Niederberger is planning to lead Canning City to their second win in eight days when they face Mandurah City at Burrendah Reserve. “It was good to get back in the winner’s circle last week,” said Niederberger, whose team are strengthened by the return of Simon Versaico and Jarrad Smith. “Mandurah have always been a hard team to beat and the league restructure has affected Division One in that some teams have a lot of new faces, it’s not like you can predict how teams will line-up at the moment and we know it will be a tough contest.” All six Division One games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND THREE
The opening weeks of the new season have been tough on Balga but victory tomorrow at Ellenbrook United may just be what the doctor ordered according to coach Martyn Day. “Neither club has made a great start to the season and both will fancy their chances of winning,” said Day. “We’ve found it a big step up from Sunday football, the game is a lot quicker and any mistake you get punished. Ellenbrook are in the same boat as us and we’re looking to get some points on the board this weekend.” Balga captain Gary Shorto will miss the game through injury while a late decision will be made on Kyall Osborne.
Melville City are riding high after back-to-back wins but tomorrow face a daunting trip to Joondalup City. Forrestfield United regain Jason Godfrey, Trent Wood, Jordan Hart and Lynden Pywell for their home date with Kingsway Olympic. Adam Buckley (family commitments), Stuart Hartmann (injury), Lee Sheppard (flu) will be absent from the Joondalup United line-up when they tackle Fremantle United at Hilton Reserve. A first win of the season is up for grabs when Kelmscott Roos and Curtin University pit skills at Frye Park. Rockingham City are minus Reece Frank (overseas) and James Hesketh (injury) for the game at Gumblossom Park against Quinns. All six Division Two games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
400 NOT OUT FOR SORRENTO CAPTAIN HARNWELL
Sorrento captain Todd Harnwell will play his 400th game for the northern suburbs club when they host Cockburn City this weekend. Harnwell, 34, has been part of the Sorrento family since his junior days and can’t imagine playing football anywhere else. “It’s great to be able to do it at Sorrento,” Harnwell said of his impending milestone. “It’s my childhood club and that’s the main reason that I’ve been able to achieve it, because they’ve treated me well, so I’ve stayed with Sorrento my whole life.
Harnwell first played for Sorrento at the age of seven and progressed through the club’s youth ranks before joining the first team squad ten years later. He had stints at Perth Glory and Sengkang Marine (Singapore) but Sorrento was always home. “I really don’t know why it’s so special to me. The club is just like family to me, both literally and metaphorically,” he said. “There are boys there like Big Macca (Steve McDonald) who I’ve played with since I was ten, and I’ve even coached a number of the younger lads coming through.”
There have been many highs amongst Harnwell’s 399 games to date with the attacker singling out a few in particular. “I think winning the Cup as captain was special, especially given it was the trophy that had eluded us for so long,” explained Harnwell. “My first year playing with the first team in 1996, when we got beat in the Cup Final at Stirling. I was only 18-years old and missed out on selection but the build up to the game was a buzz. I remember the game well so it was great to achieve that feat.”
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell has enjoyed being along for the ride with his younger brother. “Todd has been an integral part of the Sorrento first team for longer than most players’ total careers. His standards have never dropped and even this season at the age of 34 he has been one of the sides’ best performers,” said the former Perth Glory defender. “Off the field he has been one of the constant influences in the dressing room and he has a never say die attitude that characterises the club. A fact emphasised by his long period as captain.”
As children, the Harnwell boys engaged in some spirited sibling rivalry competition in the backyard and Jamie feels those battles played a big role in his younger brothers’ development. “He is an intense competitor, nurtured through plenty of one-verses-one games between the two of us as kids,” said the Sorrento coach. “He is an intelligent player and uses his body well for a player of his size. He has been a pleasure to play with and now coach at Sorrento, and his achievements in playing 400 games and winning everything in the State League are a credit to him.”
The Harnwell name is synonymous with Sorrento who are these days presided over by Derek, Todd and Jamie’s father. “I would like to think the Harnwell’s have had a positive influence on Sorrento, my mum (Kaye) has slaved in the canteen and helped with the books,” said Harnwell. “However, the club’s success has come from the hard work of many people who give of their time and efforts, such as Kerry Slater and Alan Gray, and we will be doing all we can for them to have a successful season this year.” Sorrento takes on Cockburn City from 3.00pm on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
MITCHINSON WANTS TO TEST HIMSELF AT BAYSWATER
New Bayswater City midfielder Sam Mitchinson knows he will have to work hard to break into the National Premier Leagues pacesetters starting eleven, but he is up for the challenge and looking forward to working with Chris Coyne. “I’m really excited to work with Chris, and he has done a great job at Bayswater,” Mitchinson said. “I knew him from our time at Perth Glory, and I’m looking forward to developing my game under his guidance. Bayswater have assembled a very strong side and I will need to work hard to establish myself in the team.”
The 21-year old joined the Frank Drago Reserve club from A-League side Melbourne Heart last week, despite having a number of offers to stay in Melbourne with Victorian clubs. “With my contract at the Heart coming to an end I started receiving offers from Victorian National Premier Leagues sides,” explained Mitchinson. “The money on offer in Victoria was significantly more, but the chance to get back home and kick start my career again with Bayswater was more appealing.”
The midfielder was left frustrated in his final season with Heart, in which he managed 15 outings in the red and white stripes. “Unfortunately, for me, the signing on-loan of Aziz Behich meant I had a frustrating time football wise last season,” he said. “He played my position in the team and under the agreement in his contract if fit he had to play a certain percentage of games. He remained injury-free and suspension-free until the end of the season, and by then the new coach John van Skip had decided I wasn’t in his future plans.”
Mitchinson began his football in the academy set-up at English club Walsall before immigrating to Perth in 2005, where he joined Subiaco AFC. He enjoyed a couple of seasons with Cockburn City followed by stints in the National Training Centre and Perth Glory. A season with Victorian club Oakland Cannons lead to a deal with the Heart. “I’ve enjoyed all my clubs and had many highlights,” he said. “Reaching the National Youth League Grand Final with Perth Glory was special, my Glory senior debut against Melbourne Victory in 2012 was up there to as was signing my first professional contract with the Heart.”
Mitchinson came up through the National Training Centre under the tutelage of new Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe and Gareth Naven. “I owe a lot to Kenny and Gareth, who have both played massive part in my development,” Mitchinson explained. “I enjoyed my time with the NTC and in the A-League with Glory, however, I had to look elsewhere for a professional contract.” Mitchinson will be line to make his home debut for Bayswater on Saturday against his former club Subiaco at Frank Drago Reserve.
DJULBIC BACK IN GLORY COLOURS
Rugged defender Dino Djulbic is happy to be home after signing a two-year deal with Perth Glory. 31-year old Djulbic has played in Germany, China, United Arab Emirates and on the Gold Coast since leaving Glory in 2009 and is understandably delighted to return to the club where his professional career began. “It’s great to be back at Glory, the club where I made my professional debut and which has given me so much, both on and off the pitch.” Djublic said of his re-signing. “It’s been over five years since I last played for Glory and I am looking forward to once again playing in the A-League … it’s great to be home.”
Bosnian-born Djulbic rose to prominence on the local scene with Perth SC and also played for Victorian clubs Frankston Pines and South Melbourne before being picked up by Glory in 2009. Over one and a half seasons he donned the purple of Glory on 34 occasions before an unsuccessful spell with German club Rot Weiss Ahlen. Upon returning to Australia he joined Gold Coast United, gaining 40 outings, where his defensive nous caught the attention of Chinese club Guizhou Renhe, for whom he played 56 times across two seasons and represented Australia. Djulbic most recently played in the United Arab Emirates for Al-Wahda.
Djulbic has made a big impression in the Glory hierarchy, having trained with the club for the past few months. “He has already demonstrated over that period what an asset he will be for the club,” chief executive Jason Brewer said. “His track record is exactly what this club needs, his experience, presence and leadership is what the club and in particular our developing players will greatly benefit from and I know he can’t wait to get back in front of the Perth Glory supporters after a few years away from home.” Djulbic will re-establish ties with his new team mates when Glory commence pre-season training in June.
LOWE “SURPRISED” TO LAND GLORY COACHING GIG
New Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe admits he was as surprised as anyone to win the top job on a permanent basis, but says he now faces an ongoing challenge to avoid getting the sack. Lowe beat out a host of candidates from Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand to secure a two-year A-League coaching deal. Lowe took over as interim coach of Glory following Alistair Edwards’ sacking in December but his record of four wins from 17 starts was hardly the stuff dreams are made of. “I’m surprised a little bit,” Lowe conceded. “At the end of the day I’m not really high profile but I think I’ve got qualities that will allow me to do well.”
Lowe’s ability to smooth tensions amongst the player group after a rift opened up between Edwards and senior players is understood to have been crucial in him securing the job on a full-time basis. His extensive knowledge of the A-League and ten-year involvement in West Australian youth ranks also weighed heavily in his favour. “I don’t need to win anyone over,” said Lowe, who knows he in for a tough couple of years. “There’s only two things that I can guarantee will happen while I’m at this club. One, I’ll get the criticism. And two, I’ll get the sack. That’s guaranteed, I just hope it’s a while down the road.”
Lowe made it clear his goal is to lead Glory back to the pinnacle of Australia football. “We want to be a club that’s challenging every year,” said Lowe. “At the moment you probably look at two or three clubs that before the season starts you can say they’ll be there or thereabouts. You actually don’t say that about this club at the moment. Bit by bit, year by year, hopefully that improves and it gets to the stage where people talk about Perth Glory like they talk about Brisbane Roar, Central Coast (Mariners) and (Western Sydney) Wanderers.”
With Jacob Burns, Travis Dodd, Ryan Edwards, Adrian Zahra, William Gallas, Steven McGarry and Darvydas Sernas all set to move on, Lowe will be given the opportunity to reshape the Glory squad. He will look to recruit players in their mid to late 20s while continuing to develop the talented group of youngsters already at the club. “You’ve got to get footballers,” Lowe said. “That’s the type of coach I am, I like players who can play the game. We need to be an energetic, competitive, quick, ball-playing side, and those are the type of players that you need to look for.”
Lowe had been critical of the players’ poor fitness levels this season and will boost the football department with the addition of specialist strength and conditioning staff. He is yet to determine the make-up of the rest of the coaching structure, but will be working to provide stronger links between the football department and club administration. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said Lowe’s passion had played a key role in winning him the job and described the new coach as one of the best credentialed candidates in the country. Lowe is Glory’s fifth coach in the seven years since Tony Sage became part of the ownership structure in 2007.
GOALS IN MACLAREN’S SIGHTS
Australia youth international Jamie Maclaren is clearly enjoying his first taste of National Premier Leagues football with Perth Glory. The 20-year old striker hit the back of the net four times in last week’s big win against Armadale but is expecting goals to be much harder to come by where Glory visits Floreat Athena on Friday night. “The NPL WA is a decent league and every game is competitive, and you have to turn up and perform at your best each week to get the result,” said Maclaren. “Floreat have been getting impressive results recently since they changed coaches, so it should be quite an interesting game, and we will need to be at our best.”
Glory made a slow start to National Premier Leagues life but an influx of A-League players, including Riley Woodcock, Brandon O’Neill and Maclaren, has transformed their season. “It’s good to see some of the young first team players asking for more games and minutes, and we are working hard on the track and we are getting used to the big bodies in the opposition,” said Maclaren, who is hopeful of putting a few more goals away this weekend. “It’s always great to walk away with a solid and comfortable performance, and to get four (goals) is great on a personal level in terms of confidence … let’s hope I can continue that into Friday night.”
CENTRAL COAST’S ROUX REFLECTS ON BREAKTHROUGH SEASON
Storm Roux may only be 21 but, during a season of upheaval, he has emerged as the unsung hero of Central Coast Mariners campaign. The New Zealand international signed on with Central Coast at the start of the season and expected he would have to bide his time before breaking into the senior squad. Roux has achieved more than that with the young defender making the right-back role his own. “I’m very pleased with how it’s all happened this season,” said Roux, who managed only a single appearance for Perth Glory last season. “Hopefully in the future I can just keep playing more games and keep doing well with the side.”
Roux, the A-League’s Player of the Month for December, says Central Coast’s season has been made all the more satisfying given a string of mid-season changes at the club. Long-serving coach Graham Arnold left to be replaced by Phil Moss, while key trio players Trent Sainsbury, Daniel McBreen and Michael McGlinchey also parted company with the club. “I think a lot of people wrote us off after everything that happened — new coach, players leaving,” he commented. “There were big changes and a lot of people thought we wouldn’t even make it to the top six. But we finished third (and) hopefully we can take it all the way and show the people that doubted us that we are good enough.”
Central Coast have developed something of a reputation for unearthing young talent with Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan, Mile Jedinak and Roux all benefitting from the club’s support. “Arnie (Graham Arnold) brought me in, but obviously Mossy (Phil Moss) was the assistant at the time, so they both worked with me,” he said. “Since Mossy has been in charge he has kept trying to help me improve my game. And all the other players, the older players especially, they help the young boys at training and they help them outside of football as well. So it’s a very good club to be at if you’re a young player coming through.”
GLORY INSTALL LOWE AS HEAD COACH
Kenny Lowe will lead Perth Glory into the next two seasons after being revealed as the club’s new head coach. Lowe, who stepped in as interim coach following the sacking of Alistair Edwards in December, signed on for the job full-time with an undertaking to ensure a more youthful brand of football for the Glory faithful to follow. “He is one of the most qualified coaches in the country, with his AFC Pro License, and he is by far the best youth development coach in Australia, nobody knows the talent that we have in this state better than Kenny Lowe,” chief executive Jason Brewer stated.
Lowe, who guided Glory to just four wins from his 17 games at the helm, topped a field of more than 50 candidates from Australia and overseas to win the head coach role. “He’s the most prepared for the job by far,” Brewer said when asked what gave Lowe the advantage. “When he first came in as interim head coach, he already had analysed every game over the past two seasons, he already knew which players he thought the squad needed and he already had an idea on what type of improvements the footballing department needed to ensure long-term success.”
“Another key point of difference with Kenny is that he’s passionate,” Brewer continued. “We had candidates that matched Kenny’s talent, but none matched his passion and I believe that is what we need more of in this club. Every player, coach, admin member and volunteer must match the passion of the supporters and members for this club to be great again. That’s what we need to pride ourselves on.” Lowe’s appointment is expected to be the first of many changes in Glory's football department during the off-season. It is understood the club will move on addressing issues in the areas of strength and conditioning, player recruitment, coaching recruitment, player rights and welfare.
NICOLAIDIS LOST FOR ANSWERS AFTER CUP EXIT
Perth SC coach Taki Nicolaidis was left scratching his head after his team crashed out of the State Cup 3-1 to Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The writing was on the wall early for Nicolaidis’ team after conceding an own goal and subsequent finishes by Blake Adams and Feisal Zaw only compounded their miserable day out. “We were well short of our best and our guys didn’t have the desire and want, as Cockburn were hungrier and more determined,” Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis told footballwest.com.au “We didn’t deliver and I hope this can act as a catalyst because that type of performance was well below expectations.”
Cockburn needed only 6 minutes to take the lead, David Araya’s cross causing panic in the away defence with James Marocchi deflecting the ball into his own net. But it wasn’t long before Perth drew level, Ashley Rosindale heading past Dejan Aleksic after getting on the end of a slick passing move. Cockburn pressed to regain the lead after 20 minutes when Adams tucked in from close-range after goalkeeper Alex Dunn parried Zaw’s shot on the run. The game opened up in the second half with Aleksic and Dunn working overtime between the posts. Zaw sealed the win on 73 minutes with a composed finish past Dunn.
STYNES HITS FOUR TO TAKE DOWN SHAMROCK
ECU Joondalup moved into the last eight of the State Cup with a resounding 5-2 win over Shamrock Rovers at the Edith Cowan University campus. Jon Stynes played the starring by hitting four goals for the home side with Jake Benson-Cooper getting the remainder. “We were pleased with the lads’ efforts today,” Joondalup’s assistant coach Craig Stevenson said. “We felt we were in control for the majority of the play and were disappointed we didn’t capitalise on more opportunities. But to be in the draw for the next round (of the Cup) is exciting for the club.”
Only 12 minutes were on the clock when Joondalup edged ahead, Stynes heading in from close-range from a Jon Higgins’ corner. The gap widened just after the half hour when David Foster played into the path of Stynes, who coolly finished from 6-metres. Shamrock returned fire three minutes later through a ball over the top which Gino Hampshire poked forward for Ciaran Hoey to finish past Andy Banks. A stoppage time error by Banks was punished with Cassidy nodding in the equaliser after the Joondalup goalkeeper spilled a corner. But there was still time for Benson-Cooper to place low into Ash Crosthwaite’s net in a one-on-one situation.
Shamrock emerged from the break determined to make it three-all, and although the visitors showed plenty of endeavour their delivery into the final third lacked the quality required. Joondalup showed them how its done by adding a fourth goal just after the hour, Stynes latching onto Andy Higgins’ long ball which he took around Crosthwaite before firing into an empty net to complete his hat-trick. The result was put beyond doubt in the 77th minute when Stynes picked the ball in the middle of the park, drove forward and expertly chipped into the net from 18-metres.
STIRLING TEAR INTO ROCKINGHAM
Stirling Lions showed no mercy on demolishing third tier Rockingham City 8-1 in their State Cup meeting at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Daniel Micevski helped himself to a hat-trick with Howard Neighbour also grabbing a brace amid finishes from Dennis Galan, Hayden Doyle and David Micevski. “We spoke before kick-off about getting off to a fast start and getting the first goal and we did that,” Stirling assistant coach Daniel Stoitis said. “I was most impressed with the players’ attitude and application for the whole 90 minutes to continue to be positive and be disciplined.”
Galan needed only 7 minutes to opened Stirling’s account, the defender volleying in from 5-metres following a short corner move between Doyle and Daniel Micevski. A foul on Clayton Arnez soon after allowed Daniel Micevski to double Stirling’s lead from the penalty spot soon after. It was all one-way traffic and with 12 minutes gone Daniel Micevski’s clever back heel released Doyle who duly made it four-nil. Jack Salter’s cross from the left was converted by an unmarked Daniel Micevski, then Neighbour added another from a David Micevski corner. Daniel Micevski completed his hat-trick before half-time after latching onto a Doyle through ball.
Rockingham returned from the break hoping to stem the flow of goals and, hopefully, pinch one of their own. And that they did in the on the hour via a quick counterattack which caught Stirling unawares as Alex Grayson raced away to finished low past Aleks Vrteski. The visitors responded in the only way they knew, Tim Hill sending Neighbour on his way to finish into the net after 71 minutes. The final whistle wasn’t far away when David Micevski completed the route with a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area that passed through a sea of legs to nestle in the corner of the net.
FIVE-STAR FLOREAT SILENCE SORRENTO
New coach Peter Murphy guided Floreat Athena into the State Cup quarter-finals with a 5-0 thrashing of Sorrento at Litis Stadium. The dismissal of Sorrento striker Sean Canham late in the first half tilted the game in the hosts favour but it wasn’t until after the break that Ashley Corker and Mark Walsh each bagged a double with substitute Yves Mwilia also on the scoresheet. “It was a great effort from the boys, we got what we deserved,” Corker said. “Obviously a sending off went in our favour but still we had to stay focused and complete the task we set out to do, which was win.”
The first half was a largely uneventful period with neither team creating much in the way of genuine chances on goal. Floreat suffered a setback after 25 minutes when Bobby Wilson was forced out through injury, his place taken by Mwilia. The games’ decisive moment arrived nine minutes later, Canham issued his marching orders by referee Steven Gregory after lashing out at goalkeeper Tom Dixon whilst attempting to get on the end of a through ball. Floreat now stepped up the pace and Jamie Eames was unlucky not to send them into the break with the lead when his angle strike smashed into the upright after making his way around Curtis Aspden.
The second half was six minutes old when Floreat broke through, Corker making no mistake from close-range after being found by Jack Allen. Mwilia got down the left in the 72nd minute to deliver an inviting cross which Corker headed in kill off Sorrento’s hopes of a comeback. Goal number three came five minutes later when Walsh punished poor defending to fire low past a stunned Aspden. With three minutes remaining Mwilia slotting in after combining to terrific effect with Eames. The game was in stoppage time when Walsh grabbed his second of the afternoon to send Floreat into the knock-out competition’s last eight.
BAYSWATER MAKE HARD WORK OF CUP WIN
Back-to-back State Cups remains the goal for Bayswater City after grinding out a 3-1 win over a tenacious Armadale side at Frank Drago Reserve. Steve Burton scored twice and Jamie Coyne once to cancel out Alex Clarke’s first half finish and book Bayswater into the last eight of the prestigious knock-out competition. “It was a typical Cup tie,” said Bayswater attacker David Heagney. “They made it hard for us but in the end we were too strong. We had a tough game against Stirling (Lions) on Saturday and (today) we were a little below par, but I thought we worked tirelessly and got the rewards.”
Armadale attacked from the opening whistle and had lively striker Faustinho Machochi not sprayed an early chance wide then the day could have finished much differently. Having survived the scare, Bayswater took a 16 minute lead, James Isaia’s corner headed goalward by Trent Kay with Burton toe-poking the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Gould. It didn’t look good for Armadale but within four minutes they were back on level terms courtesy of Jason Barrera’s fine defence-splitting pass in to Clarke, who rounded Devon Spence to stroke into an empty net.
Clarke and Alec Solomons caused Bayswater a few problems at the back early in the second period as Armadale sought the lead. Home coach Chris Coyne read his players the riot act and on 73 minutes Brian Farrell’s teasing cross from the left was turned in from 4-metres by Burton. Armadale continued to take the game up to their opponents with Machochi and John Thornley both wasting good opportunities. Those misses were compounded in the 81st minute when Jamie Coyne stepped up to a dead ball which he blasted into Gould’s net from 18-metres to seal the game.
SPIRITED JOONDALUP SENT DOWN BY BALCATTA
Balcatta booked their place in the State Cup quarter-finals by fending off third tier club Joondalup United 3-1 at Grindleford Reserve. Gustavo Catarcione put the hosts in front with Benny Kouakou netting either side of half-time to make the game safe, while Joondalup’s solitary reply came from Mike Kenny. “The boys did the club proud today and held possession for long periods,” said Joondalup coach Daniel Smith. “It was also pleasing to get such a confident referee who really got control of the game early on and let the game flow freely, and I thought we gave them a good game.”
Joondalup went close to grabbing the opening goal after 20 minutes but Josh Whitmore blazed over the crossbar from 8-metres. Nine minutes later Balcatta had the lead, Adam Tong’s shot deflecting off Catarcione and into the net. The margin was double just after the half hour when James Sammut released Catarcione whose centring ball was converted at close-range by Kouakou. Balcatta’s third goal arrived on the hour, Kouakou and Catarcione combining on the edge of the penalty area before the former found the corner of the net. Joondalup continued to push forward and in the final minute Kenny finished low past Clint Davies after being played in by Alex Wild.
STATE CUP PREVIEW, ROUND TWO
Third tier club Curtin University will be out to cause an upset when they travel to Subiaco AFC in tomorrow’s second round of the State Cup. “It’s the last sixteen of the Cup and we are one of five new clubs to the State League, so to make it to this stage is good,” said Curtin coach Campbell Ballantyne. “Subiaco have had results better than people expected so far in the National Premier Leagues (but) we go into the game as underdogs, which is fine by us.” Curtin midfielder Rory Binnie will be pushing for a starting role after coming off the bench last week.
Another State League newcomer, Joondalup United, have their sights set on claiming the scalp of Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. “It’s a very tough draw for us but were hoping to give a good account of ourselves,” said Joondalup coach Daniel Smith, whose team defeated Bunbury Forum Force in the last Cup round. “You need a lot of aspects going for you as underdogs to win the game, we will have to wait and see, but we will prepare for the tie like we do for every game we play.”
Rockingham City hosts 2010 State Cup winners Stirling Lions. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to play against one of the top National Premier Leagues sides,” said Rockingham coach Rob Crerar. “We know it’s going to be a difficult game but, like any game, you need to approach it with a winning mentality. To knock-off a side like Stirling would be up there in terms of Cup upsets, but there is no reason we can’t be the giant killers.” Reece Frank, Rafael Insurralde, Alex Grayson and Max Snelson have been added to Rockingham’s squad for the occasion.
There are also three Cup ties which feature only National Premier Leagues teams. Perth SC journeys south to Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City provided the opposition. Floreat Athena have home ground advantage against Sorrento, and Cup holders Bayswater City welcome Armadale to Frank Drago Reserve. Inglewood United are on home soil to third tier Fremantle United, and Shamrock Rovers heads to the northern suburbs for a showdown with ECU Joondalup. All eight State Cup games commence tomorrow at 3.00pm.
FOOTBALL MOURNS THE LOSS OF 20-YEAR OLD DYLAN TOMBIDES
One of Australia’s most promising footballers, West Ham United’s Dylan Tombides, has lost his battle with cancer. Tombides, 20, passed away with his family by his side on Friday following a three-year battle with testicular cancer. The young striker was honoured by his London club prior to yesterday’s home game with Crystal Palace. In moving scenes at Upton Park, Tombides’ father Jim and brother Taylor carried his shirt into the middle of the ground as the entire stadium united for a minute’s applause.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce described Tombides as one of the bravest characters he has ever met. “Nobody fought his dreadful disease as hard as this lad,” Allardyce said. “Football was his life and he didn’t miss a day’s training even when he wasn’t fit enough to train because of his treatment. He had an incredible hunger for life, which was why he fought this terrible disease so strongly. All of our thoughts are with Dylan’s family at this time.” West Ham has retired Tombides’ number 38 shirt in his honour.
Tombides was widely considered one of Australia’s brightest young footballing talents. Born and raised in Perth, he played juniors for Wembley Downs, Stirling Lions and Perth SC before moving to Macau in 2008, and within a year he’d joined West Ham, aged 15. A regular scorer for the Hammers youth and reserve teams, Tombides earned his place on the bench for the final English Premier League game of the 2010/11 season. A few months later, while on international duty at the Under-17 World Cup, Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer after a routine drug test returned an abnormal result.
Tombides immediately commenced treatment in London and it wouldn’t be until twelve months later that he again kicked a football after being given the ‘all clear’ by specialists. Upon working his way back to full fitness, Tombides was rewarded with his first team debut against Wigan Athletic in the League Cup fixture of September 2012. His return to the international stage arrived three months ago with selection in Australia’s squad for the inaugural AFC Under-22 Championship in Oman, where the Olyroos progressed to the quarter-final stage.
Away from the football field, Tombides has been working hard to raise awareness of male cancer through his support of the ‘One for the Boys’. He had recently been receiving further treatment in Germany, spending his 20th birthday in hospital from where he posted a thank you message via twitter to those who had supported him and vowing to continue fighting the disease. Following Tombides’ passing his brother Taylor, a West Ham youth player, tweeted “R.I.P. Dylan my beloved brother you will be missed, but never forgotten you was a massive inspiration to everyone.”
BURTON’S DOUBLE GIVES BAYSWATER THE POINTS
Bayswater City continues to lead the National Premier Leagues table after a 4-1 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. It was a sombre day for West Australian football on Saturday, after the sudden death of former Stirling Lions player Dylan Tombides in the UK. A minute of applause was observed prior to kick off by players, coaches and supporters alike, to honour the youngster. Some of the goals scored on the day were Tombides like; Steve Burton bagged two for the visitors, while James Isaia and Jamie Coyne’s long-range strikes were outstanding, while the Lions’ goal was a stunning curling shot from David Micevski. “We worked hard today and got our rewards at the end of the day,” said Burton. “My partnership with David (Heagney) is going well, and we played together in the UK, but it’s still early days and we hope to continue the form in weeks to come.”
The Lions opened brightly and Devon Spence had to be alert to save David Micevski’s free kick after only three minutes, before the Bayswater custodian saved another David Micevski shot five minutes later. But against the run of play the visitors hit the front. New signing Sam Mitchinson found space down the left, and his cross picked out David Heagney, who was bundled down by Jack Salter and referee Michal Jasinski pointed straight to the spot. Burton stepped up to send Aleks Vrteski the wrong way and give Bayswater the lead.
Both sides had chances early in the second half, Ali Ghoulami’s shot flashed just wide of the post for the Lions, before Trent Kay’s header from Todd Howarth’s corner flew inches over the top for the visitors. Then on 59 minutes the Lions levelled. Doyle picked the ball up in the middle of the park and ran at the Bayswater defence, he held off two defenders before pulling the ball back to David Micevski, who w curled a stunning shot into the bottom corner of the net.
It was the home side on top and they went close again moments later. Again it was Doyle in the centre of the action. The former Perth Glory midfielder wasn’t closed down and his shot from the edge of the penalty area was superbly saved by Spence. Bayswater need a lift and they brought on Isaia for Adam Bachiller and the midfielder had an immediate impact as the visitor hit the front on 63 minutes. Heagney was played in by Howarth, who in turn picked out Isaia, who fired home from 20-yards, giving Vrteski no chance.
It was 3-1 eight minutes later, Heagney’s first touch gave him space in the penalty area, and he played in his strike partner Burton. The Lions defence looked for the off side flag, that never came, and Burton slotted home low past Vrteski. The icing was put on the cake, two minutes from time. Coyne picked up the ball in the middle of the park, racing forward and firing home a stunning long-range shot, to make it an emphatic 4-1 win and keep Bayswater’s 100% start to the season.
PERTH GLORY THRASH ARMADALE
Armadale’s poor start to the start continued with a 0-6 defeat at the hands of Scott Miller’s Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium. Perth Glory senior players were on target, Jamie Maclaren bagging four, while Matthew Davies and Harry O’Brien adding the others. It’s worrying times for Lee Bamber’s side, making it back-to-back games Armadale has conceded six goals. “"It was a great game today by the boys, it shows they're learning,” Glory Coach Scott Miller told the NPL-WA web site. “I mentioned last week that we need to get used to the men's game and the players did that, they simply just played their way around Armadale today."
The home side dominated from the outset and were ahead on 11 minutes, Harry O’Brien finding the net after great lead up play. It was 2-0 fifteen minutes later, Cameron Edwards good approach work picked out Maclaren, who fired past Matthew Gould. Maclaren added his second on 35 minutes, as the Glory took control of the game.
It was one-way traffic as the Glory continued to dominate and Maclaren completed his hat-trick with a long-range strike on 65 minutes. But he wasn't finished there as he added his fourth, and the Glory’s fifth on 78 minutes, to bag his sixth goal of the season. O'Brien had the opportunity to add a sixth late on, but Armadale custodian Gould saved his spot kick. But on 86 minutes they did add their sixth; Davies converted converting from the spot and sealing a memorable result.
BALCATTA LEAVE JOONDALUP WITH THE POINTS
Balcatta moved into fourth spot on the table after a 2-0 win against ECU Joondalup at the ECU Sports Arena. A goal in each half by Luke Randazzo and Gustavo Catarcione giving Ramon Falzon side a third win on the road this season. I thought the boys played really well today and deserved the points,” said Balcatta defender Kieron Stallard. “We looked very comfortable at the back and we took our Chances going forward. They (ECU) have improve a lot since last year and think they will do well as they were missing probably a couple of their best players against us but we are happy with the win.”
ECU, who were without Tommy Amphlett, John Higgins and Joe Smith, struggled early and Balcatta looked threatening and they hit the front on 35 minutes. Randazzo and Carlo Coelho combined on the edge of the penalty area to set up skipper Adam Tong, whose shot from 12-meters was well saved by Andy Banks, bur Randazzo was quickest to react firing home from close-range for his fourth goal of the season.
Dale McCulloch’ side looked to hit back immediately and Dejan Speseski sent Jon Stynes in on goal but the young midfielder fired wide when well placed. Both of the sides had chances late, Balcatta were dangerous on the break but Banks stood tall to deny them while Tong and Kieran Stallard were solid at the back for the visitors, while Charlie Comyn-Platt had a goal disallowed for a foal on keeper Clint Davies.
Both sides went for broke in the second half but it was the visitors who created the better chances. Benny Kouakou and Catarcione both tested Banks, but the Joondalup custodian was in fine form to deny him. Moments later David Foster tested Clint Davies who saved well, while Genaveo Human and Jake Benson-Cooper failed to find the target for the home side.
The crossbar then came to the home sides rescue midway through the half, but on 65 minutes they scored the vital second goal. Catarcione started the move, the Brazilian picking out Kouakou on the left, he continued his run and when Kouakou crossed into the penalty area he fired home from close-range.
FLOREAT GIVE MURPHY A PERFECT START
Peter Murphy began his rein at Floreat Athena starting with a bang, after a stunning 5-0 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Former Perth Glory midfielder Ludovic Boi helped himself to a hat trick, with other goals to Bobby Wilson and Jamie Eames, to give the former State Coach a perfect start in his first game in charge at the club. “I'm very happy. I came into the game wanting to see commitment, passion and hard work and they obviously showed it and worked really hard for each other," Murphy told the NPL-WA web site. "I said to the boys at half-time to sit in, show discipline and work hard. At 3-0 we knew Cockburn would change things and come at us for the first 10/15 minutes - after that we started to counter attack and probably could have had another two had the final ball got through.”
It was the home side who began the brighter and Feisal Zaw overhead volley was superbly saved by the alert Tom Dixon. That save became more important on seven minutes, when Floreat opened the scoring. Wilson was given far too much space in the penalty area and the midfielder headed home powerfully from Aryn Williams’ corner.
It went from bad to worse for the home side and three minutes later Floreat doubled their advantage. English striker Eames found space on the right hand side of the penalty area, and fired low past Dejan Aleksic into the far corner of the net. The Cockburn keeper was working overtime and he raced out moments later to deny Eames, before Wilson saw his shot from long-range whistle inches over the bar.
Cockburn looked for a quick response, but Zaw’s shot was cleared off the line, and with skipper Callum Fransz and Mark Walsh outstanding Floreat steadied the ship. Then on the half hour they added a third. Boi was on the end of a great team move, to fire low past a shell-shocked Aleksic. The home side continued to struggle after the break, and chances were few and far between, although Papa Kpatar tested Dixon, who saved well.
Despite having plenty of the ball, Cockburn struggled in the final third, but Floreat showed them how to do it late. The home side were pushing players forward and Boi raced clear to add his second on 80 minutes. Jonty Turner fired wide for Cockburn when well-placed late on, before Eames finished the rout five minutes later, firing in via the post, to give Cockburn a disastrous start to their home games in the NPL.
A SIX GOAL THILLER AT DORRIEN GARDENS
Inglewood United Coach Graham Normanton’s return to his former club Perth SC ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Friday Zico and Ashley Rosindale both scored in the opening 10 minutes at Dorrien Gardens, with Ryan Clarke pulling one back before the break. Rosindale added his second just after the restart, but Scott Blackmore and a Clarke strike two minutes from time to salvage a well-earned point for the visitors. “We started off really well in the first 20 minutes, but got too complacent and let them get on top of us for the rest of the half,” said Perth defender Alex Castiello. “We then came out to a good start second half but again got complacent, and it was disappointing to concede the late goal and drop two points.”
It wasn’t a perfect start to proceedings for the home side when they lost influential midfielder Clarke Keltie on five minutes through injury; he was replaced by Andreas Theodosiades. Despite the set- back, Perth were ahead two minutes later. An inch perfect cross from Mark Pritchard picked out Zico, who fired home at the back post. It was 2-0 moments later; Rosindale raced clear to fire low past Luke Martino.
Inglewood, who won for the first time last week at Armadale, were in no mood to let this one slip and they were back in the game four minutes before half time. A defensive mix-up let in Clarke, who raced clear and finished with aplomb past Alex Dunn. The home side pressed late in the half, but Mark Doninger, Theodosiades and Aden Da Luz all failed to find the target.
After the break the home side stunned Inglewood with a goal in the first sixty seconds. Craig Simpson’s through ball sent Rosindale clear, who outpaced Jonathan Stripe, and fired low past Martino, much to the displeasure of United coach Normanton. His demeanour was improved three minutes later, when they reduced the margin again. Perth failed to clear Greg Sharland’s corner and Blackmore was on hand to fire home. Both sides had chances in a hectic second half but Clarke had the last word, firing home with two minutes remaining after Perth failed to deal with a set piece.
GULLS FLY HOME WITH THE POINTS
Sorrento kept in touch with the unbeaten Bayswater at the top of the NPL-WA table after a 4-2 win against Subiaco AFC at the WA Athletics Stadium. Todd Harnwell opening the scoring on the half hour, before a double from Recce Vittiglia and a Sean Canham goal gave them the win. Subiaco’s consolation goals came from Jordan Rhodes and Nathan Diaz. “Suddenly you start wanting the ball more and you want to play, so that helped,” Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell told the NPL-WA web site. “We pushed an extra player up front and they had to come and press us which gave us more room to play once we broke the press.”
Subiaco, who were still looking for their first win of the season, were behind on the half hour. Subiaco failed to clear their lines, and the loose ball was picked up by Canham, who crossed the ball to the back post and Harnwell headed past Sam Stone from close-range. The home side pressed looking for the equaliser but couldn’t break down a Sorrento defence well led by Shaun Kilkelly and Steve McDonald.
After half time Subiaco pushed men forward looking for the equaliser and they were picked off again five minutes in, Vittiglia picking up the loose ball in the penalty area and finishing clinically past Stone. It was 3-0 on the hour, a long throw from James Morgan caused problems in the Subiaco defence and Vittiglia finished fired home from 4-meters. To the home sides credit they continued to press forward and they were rewarded on 72 minutes. Rhodes burst into the penalty area after a neat back heel from Guy McDonald, and finished low past Curtis Aspden.
The visitors restored their three goal lead in the 90th minute, great work down the right hand side and Vittiglia, ended with a great cross from the bye line and Canham headed home from four-meters. The home side scored a consolation goal in stoppage time, Nathan Diaz beat a couple of Gulls defenders, and curled the ball into the top corner from long-range.
KREDS LEAVE IT LATE FOR UWA
Mandurah City and UWA-Nedlands have fought out a 4-4 draw at the Hyundai Stadium on Saturday, and Alex Kreds stoppage time goal gave both sides a share of the spoils. UWA were out the blocks early and opened the scoring after only two minutes, Kevin Fields firing home from the penalty spot after Alex Kreds was brought down in the area. They doubled their advantage on 10 minutes, Kreds finding the net after Mandurah keeper David Keenan failed to hold a long-range shot from Manuel Aparis. With steam coming out of the Mandurah coaches’ ears the home side pulled one back ten minutes before half time, new signing Alain Lengliz firing home at the far post,
The home side levelled just after half time, Craig Young was hauled down in the box and Craig Tone scored past Alan Kiely from the spot kick. Mandurah hit the front on the hour, Matt Stares was given too much room in the box and he fired low into the corner of the net. But UWA were back on level terms ten minutes later. A mazy run from David Cox allowed him time and space to deliver from the left, but Mandurah's Robbie Hamm turned the ball into his own net via the underside of the bar.
Moments later Young gave the home side back the lead, his long-range shot flew into the net giving Kiely no chance. They thought they had increased their lead shortly after, but Daniel Brockwell’s goal was disallowed for offside, much to the dis-pleasure of the Mandurah side. The visitors pressed late and were rewarded with the equaliser. A long searching ball into the box from Robbie Black, found Kreds, who coolly finished on the half volley into the far bottom corner of the net, to give both sides a share of the spoils
GOSNELLS CONTINUES GOOD START
Gosnells City continued their perfect start to the season, after a 1-0 win against Wanneroo City at Kingsway Reserve. Wanneroo, who were thrashed 8-0 at Bunbury last week, were on the back foot early, and Scott Pereira sent Wade Farmer clear, but his shot flashed wide. Moments later it was Farmer again, he was put through after a great dummy from Chris Holland, but again the striker failed to find the target.
Those misses were forgotten on 35 minutes, when the visitors hit the front. Ben Howe wasn’t closed down in the middle of the park and his shot from long-range deflected off Holland and into the net. Both sides had chances after the break, the best fell to the home side five minutes from time, Bradley Ryan’s long-range shot was heading for the top corner of the net but Tom Allen produced a stunning save to deny him, and earn all three points.
CANNING GIVES SWAN SIX OF THE BEST
Canning City bounced back from last week’s home defeat by thrashing Swan United 6-0 at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors were off to a flyer and head on the quarter hour. Josh Findlater won the ball in the middle of the park, before cutting in from the wing and firing low past Bobson Koroma from the edge of the penalty area. It was 2-0 five minutes later, Paul van Dongan wasn’t closed down on the edge of the penalty area and he fired home.
The home side were struggling to cope with the pace of Canning and they made it 3-0 on the half hour. Mark Trevisol and Tom Gibbins combined to find Findalter, whose long0range shot flew into the top corner of the net. It was 4-0 on the stroke of half time, Paul van Dongan played a one-two with Daniel Neiderberger, who was brought down in the penalty area and the striker picked himself up to score from the spot.
It was an even second half with United creating chances, but failing to find the net. The icing was put on the cake for the visitors late, scoring two late goals. Jarrad Smith firing low past Koroma with ten minutes remaining, before Smith added his second, and Canning six five minutes later to give the visitors and emphatic win.
SHAMROCK AND ASHFIELD SHARE THE SPOILS
Shamrock Rovers and Ashfield have fought out a 1-1 draw in an entertaining encounter at Grimley Oval. Shane Cassidy gave the home side the lead midway through the second half, but Jamie Burns levelled to give both sides a share of the spoils.
The home side started well and went close to the opener on 10 minutes, Gino Hampshire was sent through but John Perkins was alert to save. Ashfield hit back on 25 minutes, Luke Colli’s cross found Karl O’Reilly, whose shot was superbly saved by Ash Crosthwaite. Ten minutes later Damien Smithers’ volley was heading for the top corner, but Perkins pulled off a great save to deny him.
Both side pressed after the break, Hampshire was again denied by Perkins. But on 55 minutes minutes the home side hit the front. Charlie Keena’s corner picked out Cassidy, who headed home from 5-meters. The visitors lifted and levelled 10 minutes later. A hopeful ball into the penalty area found Burns, who shrugged of a defender, rounded Crosthwaite and scored into an empty net. The home side almost nicked all three points, Smithers cut in from the right, but his low shot was too close to Perkins, who saved at his near post.
JOONDALUP AND FORRESTFIELD IN SIX GOAL THRILLER
Second division promotion favourites Joondalup United and Forrestfield United have fought out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Forrest Park on Saturday afternoon. Rhys Loxley and Chris Perrott gave the visitors a two goal lead early, before Marc Beatie pulled one back just before half time from the spot. Adam Buckley levelled just after half time, and Garin Collins thought he had won it before Ben Fraser late equaliser. “I'm pleased to come away with a point against a very good Joondalup united side that will do very well this season,” said Loxley. “We showed a lot of character on the pitch and it was good to see a few of the young lads taking their chance through the absence of a few key players.”
Both sides were cagey early but it was the visitors first on the board. Joondalup gave up possession in the middle of the park, and the cross into the box was headed powerfully home by Loxley. It was 2-0 moments later; a corner from Loxley was headed home by Chris Perrott. But the home side were given a lifeline just before half time, Buckley was brought down in the penalty area and Beatie fired past Brad Eiffe.
The second half started well for Joondalup and they were level two minutes in, Buckley’s 25-yard shot flew into the net giving Effie no chance. It was end-to-end football with both sides having chances, but on 90 minutes the home side hit the front. Collins found space down the flank and his cross shot flew into the far corner of the net. It looked like the home side had won it late but Forrestfield had other ideas. Deep into stoppage time, a long-throw from Josh Appleby picked out Fraser, who fired home via the post to set of wild celebrations from Forrestfield players and supporters.
GALLAS LOOKING FOR GLORY REDEMPTION
Perth Glory’s French defender William Gallas has set his sights on securing a contract extension at Perth Glory as he bids to help the club atone for its under-achieving season. The 36-year-old former Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham stopper, who finished an injury-hit season strongly, declared his desire to pass on his experience to a young squad while maintaining he still has the drive and passion to continue his professional career for at least two more seasons.
Gallas’s future at the club will hinge on the requirements of who eventually takes the reins at nib Stadium, but he insists that he is driven far more by his love for the game than marquee wages, “My intention is to stay on at the club but the decision is not mine. It is in the hands of the club and it may depend on who is the coach for next season also. But I feel the job is not done for me – and I want to try and finish what I have started here in a playing sense,” he said.
The Glory struggled in the season, and Gallas said the departure of Alistair Edwards didn’t help. “It was a hard season for us with a change of manager (the sacking of Alistair Edwards in December) and obviously a young team, which didn’t have that week to week consistency,” he said. “Obviously when you are not getting the results you want it hurts and I would love the chance to stay on and play my part in bringing better times to the club next year.
The marquee defender still has the desire to succeed and would like to prove that with the Glory. “For me, it’s not about money. If it was I would not have come to Australia in the first place. For me it’s about the passion to play the game. If that’s still there, then why would you want to stop?” “I have a winning mentality and it was difficult at times but we can turn things around in the future for sure – but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment. “Players have to make sacrifices and I think with my experience I can help guide a lot of the younger guys and give them some directions and hopefully help them improve their games a little.”
Gallas said if Glory is to recapture the prowess, which took it to the grand final two years ago, players have to take it upon themselves to put in the extra time necessary to be the best. “It’s not enough just to turn up for training for a couple of hours then head home,” he said. “The younger players particularly need to have that hunger and be prepared to do extra work to make themselves and the club a success. “I would like to play my part in helping to instil that because there’s a lot of potential at this club and what we produced this season wasn’t enough and was a big disappointment to all of us.”
Buddy Farah, the agent who brought Gallas to Glory, said: “William has a lot still to offer as a player and also in mentoring role and he is not driven my money – more by sheer professionalism and a hunger to keep performing at a good level. “For me, Glory keeping him is really a no-brainer.”
GLORY YOUNGSTER CLOSE TO EUROPEAN DEAL
Perth Glory midfielder Daniel De Silva is still pinching himself after a recent trip to Italy, which has seen the teenager close to signing with AS Roma. The 17-year-old spent eight days in the Italian capital with family, to work through a potential deal with the Serie A giants. While nothing has been finalised as yet, it appears a formality he will sign with Roma in a lucrative deal that will see him become team-mates with the likes of Italian internationals Francesco Totti and Danielle De Rossi. The teenager will remain with Glory next season until he turns 18, and he told of his delight to footballaustralia.com.au.
"I went over to discuss a few things with them - it worked out well," De Silva said. "It's such a prestigious and big club and it was great to see the players and how they train and play the facilities and the set up and coaches. It was a really enjoyable trip. "I got to see the Colosseum and a bit of Rome while I was over there as well which was nice. "Rome is the most beautiful city I've ever seen. It's very ancient, there's a lot of history and culture there which was great to see.”
De Silva, who made his Glory debut as a 15-year-old this season, watched a few training sessions, caught the 2-1 defeat of Torino and saw one of his heroes in action, Italian superstar Francesco Totti. "He's such a great player, it's a shame he knocked the Socceroos out of the (2006) World Cup," De Silva said. "He's a great player and had a really great career in the game. It will be a shame when he retires. "Just to be able to be there and train with those players would be something special and great for my development."
De Silva is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, as he prepares with the Young Socceroos ahead of October's AFC U-19 Championships in Myanmar, a tournament where the top four teams will qualify for next year's U-20 World Cup. "My parents raised me pretty well and I know it's very important to stay humble and not get a big head about it because then people view you in a different way," he said. "Whenever I come to these camps I don't put myself above anyone and I don't expect anyone to do that for me as well. "I'm just a regular kid trying to make it into the team. I really respect that. They treat me the same as any other player and it's the same for them as well."
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND SIX
The National Premier Leagues continues on Saturday and the pick of this week’s games being Bayswater City’s visit to Macedonia Park to take on Stirling Lions. Lions coach Gary Williams has a number of players returning from injury, as they look to end City’s unbeaten start to the season, but he knows it will be difficult. “I am looking forward to the game on Saturday, they are top of the league for a reason, so it will be a real test to see how far we have come as a side over the last 2 to 3 months,” he said. Moses Kalau is available for selection for the home side, along with David Micevski and Phil Arnold, which is a massive boost ahead of the game. Bayswater keeper Devon Spence say’s they head into the game full of confidence. “We’re unbeaten this season so we are full confidence, but they beat us at their place last season, so we will be looking to change that on Saturday,” he said. “It’s never an easy game down at the Den, especially against a wounded Lion. Stirling does have some players out, but it’s the team we are playing and not the individuals.”
Both ECU Joondalup and Balcatta will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeats, ‘We’ve had mixed results in the last couple of weeks, but on the positive side we have blooded a couple of youngsters in recent weeks which bodes well for the club for the future,’ said Joondalup assistant coach Craig Stevenson. “The squad has been working extremely hard at training to ensure our shape, and we are aiming to put in a strong performance on Saturday, against a good Balcatta side.” In team news Ryan Lowry returns from suspension for the home side, but they will be missing David Caine, Joe Smith and Tommy Amphlett, while Balcatta will be missing Kris Gate.
Armadale coach Lee Bamber will be looking for a huge improvement from last week’s 6-1 defeat against Inglewood, when they travel to take on Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium. “It was a bad day at the office against Inglewood, but we move on, and I will be looking for a response from the players this week,” he said. Bamber will be sweating on the fitness of Billy Quinncroft, Sam Loveless and Luke Bogoni, but do have Jackson Bealey and Faustinho Machochi due to suspension. Peter Murphy takes control of his first game for Floreat Athena for the visit to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City, and the home side welcome back Paul Natale and Euen Grant.
Graham Normanton takes Inglewood United to Dorrien Gardens, to face his former club Perth SC. Inglewood welcome back David Perich and Andrija Jukic from injury for the trip, while the hosts regain the services of Ashley Rosindale, and Mark Pritchard will be pushing for a starting role after coming off the bench last week. Subiaco AFC entertains Sorrento at the WA Athletics Stadium. Sorrento will have Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson pushing for a starting role after recovering fully from long term injury, while the home side are at full strength.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND TWO
In the second week of the First Division the pick of the round is Ashfield’s trip to Grimrey Reserve to take on Shamrock Rovers. ”I think it will be a tough game. Shamrock are always a quality side and are coming off a good win against Dianella,” said Ashfield midfielder Tom Kennedy. “Everyone has been working hard at training and will be up for a battle.” New import Craig Miles is hoping to get clearance to play, while Graham Tough is still missing.
Wanneroo City will be looking to bounce back from last week’s thrashing in Bunbury, but will face another tough test with Gosnells City heading to the Kingsway Reserve. “Any team coming off such a heavy defeat is going to redeem themselves,” said Gosnells striker Chris Holland. “We head there with a game plan, which we have worked on all week at training and are expecting nothing less than three points, and it would be nice personally to get on the scoreboard for the season.” Gosnells will still be without their injured skipper Michael Louge, while the Roo’s hope new signing Anthony Campbell is available, as Stuart Montgomery is out with a knee injury.
In other games Western Knights will look to bounce back from their first up defeat at Ashfield, when they host Bunbury Forum Force at Nash Field, while Swan United will looking to continue their good start to the season when they entertain Canning City at the Swan Italian Club. Morley Windmills host Dianella White Eagles at Wotton Reserve, while Mandurah City and UWA-Nedlands will look for their first wins of the season when they meet at the Hyundai Stadium in the late game (5pm).
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND TWO
All roads will lead to Forrest Park on Saturday where title favourites Joondalup United and Forrestfield United do battle. “Saturday will be a real challenge against a good side on their ground,” said Forrestfield Coach Rod Banjac. “I expect a free flowing game as both sides have players with plenty of skill, pace and passion to entertain and I hope there is a big crowd on hand to watch it. It’s a long trip up north, and we don’t expect them to be generous, but we will be going for all three points.” Forrestfield lose Trent Wood and Jordan Hart, while the home side will be missing Gareth Davies, and have brought in Mike Kenny to the squad as cover.
In other games Balga play their first home game in the Saturday competition for 17 years when they meet Fremantle United at Princess Road Reserve, and they welcome back striker Lee James back from injury. Kelmscott Roos entertain Olympic Kingsway at Frye Park, while Joondalup City makes the trip to Lark Hill to take on Rockingham City. Melville City and Ellenbrook United meet at Len Shearer Reserve. The round opened last night when Curtin University drew 1-1 with Quinns at Edinburgh Oval.
MURPHY TAKES CHARGE AT FLOREAT
Floreat Athena has appointed Peter Murphy as senior coach, to replace Chris Barbas, who resigned his position two weeks ago. The Scotsman is eagerly awaiting the challenge at the Litis Stadium, and he’s happy to be back in WA football. “It’s a huge club, and it’s huge challenge for me, but one I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I’ve watch a few games this season in the NPL, and I know what we need to be successful, it’s now down to the hard work and getting the players to play the way I want to.”
Floreat had to work hard for the three points last week against Subiaco AFC, and Murphy will be looking for more of the same when he takes charge of his first game against Cockburn City on Saturday. “I’ve seen the results from the last two games the club have played there, and it’s not good reading,” Murphy joked. “It’s a tough first up game, but Glen Grostate has the players ready for the challenge, and we will look to take something out of the game.”
Murphy, the former Armadale and WA state Coach, has his own thoughts on the new league structure, but knows he can’t do anything about it. “Some of the changes in the new NPL do concern me, but that’s only my views,” Murphy explained. “The point’s system and salary cap is a massive change in the game and I’m not sure if it will achieve any real outcomes, but only time will tell.”
The Scotsman immigrated to Perth from Scotland in 1984 and joined East Fremantle Tricolore, before joining Perth Italia. While at Perth, Murphy helped them to the 1990 and 1991 Super League Grand final victories, and the club's 1993 league title. He won the D'Orsogna Cup with Italia and Stirling Macedonia, and played in the National Soccer League with Melbourne Croatia, before winning the league's top goal scorer with Swan IC as a 33-year-old in 1995, and he has played for the WA state side on a number of occasions.
The 53-year-old, who still plays for Perth Saints in the Vets, will get down to business at the club immediately, but he isn’t going in, swinging the axe. “I’ve been in this game for a while and that’s what you don’t do,” he said. “The squad is talented and I need to give them the opportunity to perform and show me they want to play for this club, and that will come out in the weeks to come.”
A NEW NEIGHBOUR IN AT THE DEN
English striker Howard Neighbour has settled in well at Macedonia Park and his brace last week earned the Lions a 2-2 draw against Sorrento. The 27-year-old made the decision to head down under after a mate told him about the club, and he’s happy he decided to make the move. “Things are going really well at Stirling, and the club have made me really welcome, and it’s always nice to find the back of the net at a new club, and it helps you settle in quickly,” he said. “I’d spoke to my mate Rikki Smith, who joined them in the off season, and he told me about the club and they invited me down to pre-season training, and the rest is history, and now I call Macedonia Park home.”
The draw at Percy Doyle Reserve moved the Lions up to fourth on the table, and Neighbour said it was a tough game. “Friday night was a hard match we didn't play well at all first half, too much easy passing and not enough forward penetrative passes, which we improved on second half,” explained Neighbour. “It was nice to score the goals but the second half performance from the lads was great, and I was just happy to take my chances when I got them.”
The striker who had a season at Bognor Regis in the Ryman Southern League, and the last two seasons in the UK at Pagham FC in the Sussex County League, has found the football in the National Premier League a lot more intense, but he’s enjoying it. “The league here is a good standard, higher than the one which I was playing in England. The intensity here is high and if you’re not switched on you will get beat,” he said.
Lions’ coach Gary Williams was delighted to get Neighbour to the club after losing a few strikers from last season. “Howard has been a great addition to the squad, and he has contributed a huge amount to our recent performances,’ Williams said. “He has a great first touch and holds the ball up well and attacks crosses, which has resulted in a few goals. He is valued by his team mates and hopefully his good form will continue this week.”
The Lions squad has changed dramatically from last season, with a number of new faces, but Neighbour believes Williams has the side playing well. “The squads looking good we have a few quality first team players returning soon from injury, which will make us even stronger,” he said. “. Gary has done a great job so far, and after winning the league last season I can only see us improving as the season goes on.”
This week the Lions face their toughest test of the season when they take on the unbeaten Bayswater City, but Neighbour, and the rest of the Lions players are looking forward to the challenge. “It’s always good to play the best, and Bayswater are at the top of the table for a reason,” he said. “I'm looking forward to the match, and so are the rest of the lads and we know it will be a tough game but the training this week has lifted and were ready for the challenge.”
SUBIACO ON THE IMPROVE SAYS YATES
It’s been a tough start to life in the National Premier League for newcomers Subiaco AFC, but defender Rowdy Yates believes they are on the improve and believes they are learning quickly what it takes to compete in the top level. “The club have big ambitions and it’s good to be part of that. There’s a great bunch of lads here and we are being looked after well by the club,” said Yates. “It has been a big step up to the NPL, not only for me but the club as well. I think we have held our own in every game we've played so far and have been unfortunate in a couple of games not to of taken more points.”
Last week Subiaco dominated the chances against Floreat Athena, and were unlucky not to come away with the points, but Yates believes they are getting used to the pace of the league and wins will come. “I thought we were unlucky on Saturday not to have come away with at least a point. We created the better chances but lacked quality in the final third and just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. We are improving every game under Gerry (McEwan) and it won’t be too long before it starts to happen for us,’ explained Yates.
The 23-year-old played for ECU Joondalup as a junior, before moving to Wanneroo at 15. He was part of last year first Division wining Roos’ team, before heading to Subiaco with his former coach. “I’m enjoying being back with McEwan who gave his league debut when he was coach at Wanneroo and my first taste of first team football aged 16, and I’ll always remember that,” said Yates. “He has a knowledge and passion for the game like no one else and we all learn a lot from him. He gives us a lot of confidence and self-belief which is important for the team to have when results haven't gone our way.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Subiaco with Sorrento heading to the WA Athletics Stadium on Saturday, but Yates is looking forward to the challenge. “Sorrento will be a big test for us. They are a physical and well-structured side so it will be hard to break them down,” said Yates. “But if we can take our chances I think we will have a good chance of getting something out of the game. The lads are determined to get our first three points of the season so we will be well up for it.”
THE NUCLEUS IS THERE FOR GLORY : LOWE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe says there were plenty of positives to come from Perth Glory’s failed season. Glory entered 2013/14 with high hopes but it proved a bumpy ride with Lowe taking the reins following the mid-season sacking of Alistair Edwards, itself the end result of a rift with senior players. The change of coach sparked a tumultuous period of upheaval for the club which included training ground and post-game bust-ups between players and coaching staff. It all came to an end on Sunday when Glory conceded a stoppage time goal to fall to a 2-1 defeat at Sydney FC after dominating large periods of the second half.
Lowe feels there have been major benefits from the season, including significant game time to the club’s youth contingent, including Jack Duncan, Riley Woodcock, Matthew Davies, Brandon O’Neill, Jack Clisby and Daniel De Silva. “If you said to the younger players, those around 17-18 years old, you would play around fifteen games this season they would have laughed,” said Lowe. “But all of a sudden we have got kids in the group now who have that (experience). You have to give them experience, but sometimes it means you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.”
While this season did not go according to play, Lowe is confident Glory is in a strong position for future success. “There is a nucleus there,” said Lowe, who remains hopeful of being offered the coaching role on a full-time basis. “If someone thinks I’m good enough to do the job, I’m more than glad to take it. I think I have proved that, but that is just personal opinion. The guys at the club have been open and honest, and very, very supportive. But they have a big decision to make because they want the best for the club.”
MISSING THE SIX “COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE” SAYS TAGGART
Adam Taggart has labelled Newcastle Jets’ failure to reach the A-League finals as “completely unacceptable”, saying both the players and the club need to take responsibility for the situation. Newcastle were consigned to seventh spot despite carving out a 2-0 win over Adelaide United on Friday night. “There’s six teams that go into the finals every year and very few that miss out, so for us to miss the finals for four seasons in a row is completely unacceptable,” Taggart told footballaustralia.com.au “For us players it’s something we really need to have a good look at ourselves and understand what kind of club we want to be.”
Taggart, whose 16 goals were rewarded with the Golden Boot award, believes Newcastle’s failure to accumulate significant points against the A-League’s lesser lights ultimately cost them a finals appearance. “We beat all the top teams, including Brisbane (Roar) three times, yet teams like Perth (Glory) we were struggling to get results,” 20-year old Taggart said. “That’s something that just can’t happen. If your beating the top sides you have to keep that motivation and consistency when you’re playing the so-called bottom sides, at your home ground especially. The Golden Boot’s lovely but it would have been even better to make the finals and really try and carry this campaign on even longer.”
ARNOLD KEEN ON GLORY
Graham Arnold admits he would be hard pressed not to coach Perth Glory next season should the club come forward with a firm offer for his services. Arnold emerged as a surprise frontrunner for Glory’s full-time coaching position last week after splitting with Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. “It (Perth) is definitely a job that would interest me,” Arnold said the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper. “I’ve always looked at Glory as one of the glamour clubs of the A-League, they’ve under-achieved this year and there’s been some turmoil around the club. You want to be successful, you want to fill that Shed and stadium each game and get them back to the glory days when they were the benchmark of the NSL (National Soccer League).”
SYDNEY BOOKS FINALS BERTH
Richard Garcia struck deep in stoppage time to book Sydney FC into the A-League finals with a 2-1 victory over Perth Glory at the Allianz Stadium. Terry Antonis’ superb long-range strike gave the hosts the lead but in the shadows of half-time Rostyn Griffiths grabbed Glory a deserved equaliser. A nervy second period ensued and it looked as though there would no addition to the scoreline when Garcia settled matters in the final seconds of the regular season. Sydney ended the home and away in fifth position and will meet rivals Melbourne Victory in next weekend’s finals, with Glory placing eight on the final ladder.
Sydney may have dominated early possession but the first shot on goal came at the other end where Chris Harold’s effort flew narrowly past Vedran Janjetovic’s post. It didn’t take long for the Sky Blues to return fire with Antonis calling goalkeeper Jack Duncan into the action. Alessandro Del Piero whizzed a dead ball just wide and Milos Dimitrijevic wasn’t far off target from distance. Although there was a lack of urgency in Sydney’s play, they got the breakthrough on 38 minutes when Antonis’ low strike from 30-metres found the bottom corner. Glory conjured an equaliser with virtually the last action of the half, an unmarked Griffiths finishing at the back post from a Nebojsa Marinkovic corner.
Del Piero seemed destined to restore the hosts’ lead soon after the restart but Duncan somehow blocked his stab from point-blank range. After that scare Glory took a scrappy game by the scruff of the neck, however, they failed to create anything in the way of a genuine chance on goal. Sydney weren’t a great deal more successful, although Garcia forced a save from Duncan as the clock wound down. Just when it appeared Glory had done enough to earn a point, Garcia latched onto Del Piero’ lofted through ball to score the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO SEASON PREVIEW
There’ll be plenty of thrills and spills in this year’s expanded Division Two. Competition newcomers Joondalup United have been installed as red-hot favourites to win promotion but should they falter then Forrestfield United and Joondalup City are ready to pounce. This week Brett Klucznik takes a look at the twelve clubs before the footballwa.net team is joined by Richard Kreider, author of ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, in offering their thoughts on how season 2014 will pan out...
PERTH TAKE OUT ITALIAN DERBY
Perth SC ran out 2-1 winners in a hard fought Italian derby against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Adam de Luz gave the visitors the lead in first half stoppage time, before Mark Pritchard doubled their advantage with ten minutes remaining. Benny Kouakou pulled one back for the home side late, but Perth hung for the points, and the bragging rights. “I thought the whole team played well, and we controlled the game for long periods of the match, and we deserved the three points,” said De Luz. “It was great to score the goal on the stroke of half time, it gave us a lift going into half time and we went on with it after the break to bounce back from last week’s loss against Bayswater.”
It was a lively opening to the game, with a number of players playing against their former clubs, but referee Trent Fleskens kept a close eye on proceedings. Chances were few and far between, but on the stroke of half time the visitors hit the front. Clark Keltie’s through ball sent Friday Zico racing clear of the offside trap, the striker squared the ball to Da Luz who slotted the ball home from 8-meters.
Balcatta were out of the blocks early after half time but Craig Simpson and new signing Alex Castiello keeping them at bay, but against the run of play, Perth almost added a second. Nicholas Ambrogio was sent clear of a static Balcatta defence, but keeper Clint Davies came to his sides rescue saving well from the strikers shot. Balcatta weren’t going to go away and went close to the equaliser moments later, Perth failed to clear the ball from a corner, and Adam Tong’s snap shot was well saved by Alex Dunn.
On the hour Perth thought they had added to their lead, but Zico’s header was disallowed for offside. Then Ambrogio was brought down in the penalty area by Kieran Colwell and Perth thought they had a penalty, but the referee waved away their protests. The vital second goal came with 10 minutes remaining. Zico was brought down 20-meters from goal, and second half substitute Pritchard hit the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.
Davies then had to be alert to save Pritchard’s shot from the edge of the penalty area, as Perth looked to kill off the game. The home side pressed late, and Gustavo Catarcione fired wide with the goal at his mercy, and in the first minute of stoppage time they found a lifeline. Kouakou run and powerful shot flew past Dunn, to set up an exciting last couple of minutes, but Perth hung on take the points.
SUBIACO PAY THE PENALTY
A penalty five minutes from time from Floreat Athena English striker Jamie Eames has given them a 1-0 win against Subiaco AFC at the E&D Litis Stadium. Subiaco defender Laurence Gaughan was adjudged to have handled the ball, rather harshly, but Eames fired home to give new Coach Chris Grostate tenure off to a good start. “We battled hard today, but overall I think we deserved the points,” said Eames. “We kept the ball well and were patient, and we knew we would break them down, and we got the opportunity with the penalty, and I was happy to score it.”
It was the visitors who opened brightly, and Jordan Rhodes’ shot after only three minutes was superbly saved by Tom Dixon. Rhodes was a real handful for the Floreat defence and his shot from 12-yards flashed wide of the post on the quarter hour. The first opportunity for the home side didn’t come until 28 minutes, Blair Govan’s cross picked out Zdenek Bezxdek, whose header was saved by Sam Stone. The Serbian striker went close again eight minutes later.
Aryn Williams’ cross from the right found the unmarked Bezxdek, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over from six-yards. Both sides had late chances to take the lead into the break. First on 43 minutes, Gaughan’s shot was deflected goalwards, and Guy McDonald’s flick was saved on the line by Dixon. Then in stoppage time Williams’ corner from the right was met by Bobby Wilson, his header from six-yards was superbly saved by Stone.
Like the first half Subiaco began well and went close in the opening minutes. This time Rhodes’ slide rule pass slid in Matt Akehurst, but his shot from the angle went into the side netting. Moments later Mark Walsh’s header back to the keeper was short and Akehurst nipped in. He rounded the keeper but the angle was tight and he failed to find the target.
But with five minutes remaining the home side broke the deadlock, in controversial circumstances. Eames raced clear down the left, and he crossed into the penalty area looking for a team mate, but Gaughan under pressure from Ludovic Boi, slipped and fell on the ball, and to his, and the rest of the Subiaco players disbelief referee Alex Azcurra pointed to the spot. Eames kept his nerve and fired past Stone to give Floreat the points..
BAYSWATER CONTINUE PERFECT START
Bayswater City maintained their lead at the top of the NPL-WA table after a hard fought 2-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve. First half goals from David Heagney and Declan Hargreaves made it five wins from as many games for Chris Coyne’s side. “We totally deserved the win and we could have added a few more on the day," said Bayswater striker Steve Burton. "They fought hard and made it difficult for us in the second half and Devon Spence had to make a few good saves late on."
The home side, which are the only unbeaten side in the league, opened brightly and were ahead on 16 minutes. Adam Bachiller’s diagonal pass picked out Burton, who played in Heagney, who finished clinically past ECU keeper Andy Banks. The ECU custodian was a busy man saving well from Todd Howarth and moments later producing another smart save to deny Brian Farrell, before Howarth’s long-range shot smacked off the crossbar.
ECU looked to hit back and Jon Stynes should have done better when picked out by Jake Benson-Cooper’s cross, but Spence was alert to save. But as they looked to get back into the game, it was Bayswater who added a second three minutes before the break. Howarth wasn’t closed down in the middle of the park and he picked out Hargreaves, whose shot from 18-metres flew into the top corner of the net, giving Banks no chance.
The visitors opened the second half well, and when Tommy Amphlett was brought down on the edge of the penalty area, John Higgins’ free kick beat Spence, but crashed off the crossbar. Spence then came to his sides rescue again on the hour, pushing away John Higgins’s goal bound shot. Both sides had chances late. Substitute Danny Dixon hit the wood work after good work from Heagney, before Spence tipped around the post John Higgins’s free kick, but the home side ran out winners.
GLORY LET IT SLIP AGAINST THE COCKERELS
Perth Glory let slip a two goal lead to draw 5-5 with Cockburn City at Intiga Stadium. A brace from Harry O’Brien, and singles to Rocco Pizzata, Bor Bor Sambindi and Jamie Maclaren, was cancelled out by Feisal Zaw, Julian Teles, Jonty Turner, Papa Kpatar, and a late Alan Carroll strike. “Glory coach Scott Miller was at a loss about the sides defending. “When we got to 5-3 we stopped still and Cockburn came right over the top of us and probably looked more likely to score their sixth,” he told the NPL-WA web site” “Again, every week we are going to be challenged by big bodies, but we’ve got to learn now, it’s a man’s game and you’ve got to be able to hold leads.”
The visitors began the game brightly and they were ahead after 26 minutes. Zaw was sent down the right, before cutting in and firing low past Fraser Greenwood. They doubled their advantage six minutes later, Zaw the provider this time, his cross headed home by Teles. Greenwood was keeping his side in the game with a number of good saves, and they were back in it six minutes before half time, O’Brien scoring against his former club. Then in first half stoppage time Pizzata fired home from 18-meters to send the sides to half time level.
The Glory came out after the break full of confidence and scored twice in the space of three minutes. First on 51 minutes Sambindi shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected off a Cockburn player to send the ball over a stranded Dejan Aleksic. Then three minutes later it was 4-2, a long ball into the area found O’Brien, who fired home into an empty net after. Then on 69 minutes, Cockburn were back in the game. Substitute Kpatar crossed to Jonty Turner, who lost his marker and fired home.
But four minutes later the Glory added their fifth. Jacob Collard won the ball in the middle of the park, and found Qua Qu, who beat the offside trap and crossed to Maclaren who scored from close-range, and it looked game over. But Cockburn had other ideas, and reduced the margin on 82 minutes. Kpatar volleying home after being picked out by Ryan Haslett’s corner. Greenwood produced a stunning save moments later as Cockburn pressed, but there was little the keeper could do when the visitors snatched a point on 87 minutes. Devon Gibson’s cross headed home Carroll to end and extraordinary game.
INGLEWOOD GIVES ARMADALE SIX OF THE BEST
Inglewood United opened its league account after a 6-1thrashing of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Ryan Clarke gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time, but just after the break Armadale striker Faustinho Machochi was sent off. Nicolas Tatasciore then levelled on the hour for the ten men, but from then on it was one-way- traffic with Clarke, Ryan Francis, Henock Butshire, Greg Sharland and John Stripe giving Inglewood their first win of the season. "It was a great win for the club and we truly needed it," said Inglewood midfielder Sean Browne. “We’ve been a little unlucky in a few games this season but today we were on our game and got the rewards, hopefully it’s onward and upwards now.”
Inglewood dominated the first half without creating any clear cut chances, while Armadale defended stoutly with Billy Quinncroft and Nathan Costello working overtime. But with Clarke and Francis a constant threat, it was just rewards when the visitors took the lead in first half stoppage time. Clarke finding room in the penalty are to fire home past Matthew Gould.
It was a horror start to the second half for Armadale with Machochi receiving his second yellow card from Adam Fielding on 52 minutes and was sent off. That didn’t deter the home side and they equalised eight minutes later, Tatasciore firing home from four-meters. That was as good as it got for Lee Bamber’s side, and Inglewood went back in front on 70 minutes, Francis’ chip giving Gould no chance.
The floodgates then opened, substitute Butshire tapped home the third on 80 minutes, after a turn over by Armadale in the middle of the park, before Sharland scored a curling free kick from the edge of the penalty area three minutes later. The icing was put on the cake late with Clarke adding his second and Stripe headed home the sixth late to give Graham Normanton his first win in the NPL-WA.
ASHFIELD EDGE KNIGHTS IN SEVEN-GOAL THRILLER
Jamie Burns struck just minutes from the final whistle to earn Ashfield a 4-3 win over an under-strength Western Knights outfit at Ashfield Reserve. Two goals from Burns and singles to Jay Lang and Joe Briggs cancelled out quick succession finishes by Sean French, Paul Lloyd and Johnny Mirco. The home side could not have wished for a better start to their season with Lang calmly converting a one-on-one with goalkeeper Scott Rowe after only 12 minutes. A driving run out of midfield by Briggs in the 33 minute took him past the Knights defence to slide the ball into an empty. Controversy erupted four minutes from the break when Burns took the difference to three goals, albeit amid loud appeals for offside from the away side.
The deficit was cut six minutes after the restart with substitute French heading Josh Noorgate’s cross into the far corner. French turned provider two minutes later when he glided past a trio of defenders before teeing up Lloyd, who side-footed in from 9-metres. And by the 55th minute the teams were level, Mirco nipping in between defender and goalkeeper after French turned the ball over. The Knights were up in arms shortly after when Lloyd was felled from behind inside the area after out-pacing the defence, however, the referee over-looked the misdemeanour and signalled for play to continue. The momentum shifted back in the hosts favour late on and with five minutes to go Burns shot on the turn flashed underneath the ‘keeper to decide the outcome.
Knights boss Robbie Dunn said he had mixed emotions about the day’s events. “I was extremely pleased with the boys fighting spirit, but also horrified by our naivety shown in the first half,” commented Dunn, whose team finished the afternoon with ten men after losing Craig Riley, Robbie Phelan, Ben Coulter and Tom Sellers to injury. “Today showed me though that we have a great group of players and when we get some luck and keep eleven players on the field then we will do very well. We now have seven injured senior players and that will really test our depth in the next month. That said, I know the lads will come through.”
SHAMROCK WITH A LATE FLOURISH
A late flow of goals allowed Shamrock Rovers Perth to begin the new Division One season with a resounding 4-1 win over home side Dianella White Eagles. Mike Pritchard, Will Pender and Gino Hampshire struck in the closing minutes after Shane Cassidy brought the sides level in the first half. A good size crowd was on hand to see Dianella take an early advantage when a defensive slip was punished with a powerful shot into the net. The away side responded with a barrage of attacks but both Barry Mulligan’s lob and a powerful Cassidy header clattered into the crossbar. Cassidy, however, was not to be denied and from a Mulligan free-kick to the far post he headed in the equaliser.
Shamrock wasted no time in resuming the attack after the interval and David Murphy should have given them the lead from the penalty spot but his tame effort was kept out by Justin Scarvaci. The pressure on Dianella continued to mount and through some solid defensive work it looked as though the hosts would earn themselves a share of the points. But those hopes vanished with five minutes to go when substitute Pritchard scored neatly from inside the penalty area. Shamrock captain Pender made sure there would be no late revival from Dianella by putting away his team’s third goal, and 17-year old Hampshire had been on the park just minutes when he rounded out the scoring.
FORRESTFIELD HIT BALGA FOR SIX
Forrestfield United made an early statement of intent by thrashing Balga 6-0 in the opening round Division One fixture at Hartfield Park. A tentative start by both teams gave no indications of the whitewash which was about to unfold. Forrestfield slowly began to get into rhythm with close-range chances coming the way of Trent Wood and Rhys Loxley, while Forrestfield goalkeeper Brad Eiffe foiled Michael Bangura following a defensive error at the other end. It wasn’t until just before the break that the deadlock was broken, Jordan Hart receiving a through ball which he placed in the back of the net.
Any hopes Balga had to getting back on level terms vanished within minutes of the restart, Jason Godfrey doubling the host’s advantage from only a few metres. Forrestfield were now beginning to assert their authority over the game against a Balga side that struggled for any meaningful possession. Trent Wood put the result beyond doubt by scoring twice in the space of a few minutes midway through the half as the margin began to balloon. Loxley capped a lively performance by also finding the back of the net twice in the final fifteen minutes to give coach Rod Banjac a dream start to the winter campaign.
JOONDALUP MAKE A WINNING START
Joondalup United scored their first three State League points by defeating Kingsway Olympic 2-0 at Kingsway Reserve. Goals either side of the break from Adam Buckley and team captain Aaran Maplestone were enough to give Joondalup victory on the opening day of the new season. “We planned for a battle and we got one … Kingsway will be a tough place for teams to go to so we are happy to leave there with three points,” Joondalup coach Danny Smith commented on the hard-fought win. “The way the players reacted to our instructions, before the game and at half-time, shows that the team is listening and believing in what we are planning. .”
Joondalup were on the attack from the outset with wide players Tony Taylor and Maplestone asking questions of the home defence. And it didn’t take long for that approach to be rewarded with Buckley racing clear to coolly finish past the oncoming goalkeeper. Garin Collins appeared to have doubled their lead with a stunning shot from distance which crashed against the underside of the crossbar, however, the assistant referee ruled the ball did not cross the line. The pressure remained on Kingsway after the turnaround and when Maplestone completed a neat move by hitting the target the game was effectively over. Even so, Joondalup continued to push and substitute Callum Stocks was unlucky not to add a third goal.
ELLIOT GETS QUINNS THE REWARDS
Quinns opened the new season by sneaking a 4-3 win over Division Two newcomers Kelmscott Roos at Gumblossom Park. The better of early play came from Quinns but with their first attack Kelmscott almost snuck the lead, Glory Bahigwa brilliantly denied in a one-on-one with Dan McAnish. Without skipping a beat Quinns again pushed forward with Liam McGurk cutting in from the right to slip an inviting ball through for Brian Cairney, who poked between the ‘keeper’s legs after 10 minutes. The margin was doubled soon enough, this time with Dom Elliot tapping after meeting Alex Sallery’s squared pass. And Quinns’ hold over the game would have been further strengthened had Elliot not been caught offside before Cairney netted.
Kelmscott pulled a goal back soon after with Christian Hogge flicking on a long ball for Moussa Mbambe, who nipped in ahead of the defence to beat McAinish from 7-metres. Two minutes later Joe Tomlin got on the end of another searching ball forward to bring the teams level. Sallery was unimpressed and on the half hour he stabbed into the net at the second opportunity after slicing past two defenders. There was still time for Kelmscott to draw level with Jonathan Ingram drilling in from 16-metres after playing a neat one-two with Tomlin. The deciding goal arrived just after the hour when Cairney linked to terrific effect with Elliot, who made no mistake with his finish from 10-metres.
ELLENBROOK TAKE THE HONOURS
Ellenbrook United honoured their first ever State League appearance by out-scoring Rockingham City 4-3 at Arbor Grove Reserve. The home side made a dream start with Oliver Langdale tapping them into an opening minute lead following an error by Rockingham custodian Cyril Sharrock. Going ahead gave Ellenbrook the confidence they needed and shortly after it was two-nil, Paul Williams nodded down a long ball for Craig Allen to slam in on the half-volley at close-range. A response was needed from Rockingham but despite openings for Roy Hissey and Matt McDonald it was Ellenbrook that held the upper hand after 45 minutes.
It was more of the same after the turnaround, Callum Harwood tucking in goal number three after latching onto a booming clearance by goalkeeper Jake Bungert. And more poor defending by the visitors was punished by Williams, who was allowed a free header inside the 6-yard box. Rockingham may have thought their day couldn’t get any worse but with twenty minutes to go it did in the form of a red card to Sean Brady. Four goals down and playing with ten men, Rockingham now decided to come to life. Reece Frank, Hissey and captain David Clark hit the back of the net in quick succession but, ultimately, it was too little too late to Rockingham who ventured home empty handed.
SYDNEY KEEP GARCIA WAITING
Sydney FC attacker Richard Garcia is yet to learn if he has a future with the Sky Blues. The former Socceroo is out-of-contract at the end of current campaign and has yet to hear much from his club about a new deal. “I’m only 32 and I feel great so still have plenty left in me,” said Garcia, who counts West Ham United and Hull City among his former clubs. “As far as the A-League I can’t really answer that until I see what offers I have in front of me, but I’m enjoying playing in Australia. I would never say never to Asia but it’s not on my radar at the moment.”
Utilised on both wings as well as an out-and-out striker, Garcia has been one of Sydney’s best performers over the summer. “I’ve done all right this season, I’ve scored goals and had assists but it’s been a hard season with constant changes to the squad and team,” commented Garica, scorer of five goals in 21 appearances so far this season. “I’ve moved position a lot and we really haven’t had a chance to settle as a team. Injury and those changes to the squad have made it hard to have a consistent line-up, which is probably why we as a team have been inconsistent.”
GLORY SHAKE-UP LOOMS
The make-up of Perth Glory’s squad for next summer could be very different with the futures of several senior players up in the air. The sounding of the final whistle tomorrow in Sydney will signal the end of existing contracts for veteran defender William Gallas Adrian Zahra, Steven McGarry and Shane Smeltz. It is understood McGarry and Zahra have been offered new deals but it is unclear whether the club intends to retain Smeltz and Gallas, both who have struggled with injury this season. Team captain Jacob Burns (retired) and fellow midfielder Travis Dodd (released) have already been confirmed as not being part of the set-up along with on loan pair Ryan Edwards and Darvydas Sernas, who will return to Reading and Gaziantepspor respectively.
LIONS HIT BACK TO SHARE THE SPOILS
Stirling Lions scored two second half goal to take a share of the spoils, in a 2-2 draw with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. A goal in each half from Todd Harnwell looked to have The Gulls set for the points, but English striker Howard Neighbour scored twice to give the Lions a point. “It was a game of two halves, Sorrento set up really and were hard to break down getting 2-0 ahead and we seemed to come home with a wet sail,” said Lions keeper Aleks Vrteski. “In the end of the day it was a fair result, in a pretty entertaining spectacle for both sets of fans.”
Sorrento hit the front after only 17 minutes. Reece Vittiglia made space down the left and cut inside two Lions defenders before pulling the ball back from the bye-line, and Harnwell fired home from close-range. Both side struggled to create clear cut chances, with both Aleks Vrteski and Curtis Aspden having little to do. The Lions almost levelled just before the break. A corner by Hayden Doyle was only cleared to Andy Brown on the edge of the box, the Lions skippers shot was cleared off the line by Danny Cain.
The home side were out of the blocks early in the second half and six minutes in they doubled their lead. Cain’s in-swinging corner beat everyone and crashed off the far post, but Harnwell was quickest to react to home from close-range. It looked all over, but Gary Williams’ side had other ideas and four minutes later they pulled one back. Neighbour was given far too much space in the penalty area and he fired home from eight-meters.
The Lions were now on top and they were rewarded on 77 minutes with the equaliser. It was Neighbour again, the striker finishing low past Aspden from six-meters. The visitors almost nicked all three points late on. Ali Ghoulami raced down the right, and he had Daniel Micevski in the box, but the cross from the midfielder was well cleared by the alert Daryl Platten to deny them.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND FIVE
This weekend’s National Premier Leagues round kicks into life tonight with Sorrento hosting Stirling Lions at Percy Doyle Reserve (8.00pm). “It’s always a tough game against Stirling, they have a quality squad with a good mix of experience and youth,” said Sorrento defender Danny Cain. “If we can play like we did against ECU Joondalup in the second half last week, we will be a strong chance of taking the points and continue our good start to the season.” Sean Canham and Ryan Pearson are back in contention for the home team while Stirling are bolstered by the return of David Micevski and Phil Arnold.
The remainder of the action takes place on Saturday, when Perth SC travels to Grindleford Reserve for the traditional derby. “It’s early in the season but this is a real six-pointer,” said Perth coach Taki Nicolaides. “Balcatta have potential match winners in Gustavo Catarcione and Benny Kouadio plus the experience and stability of Adam Tong and Kieron Stallard at the back. They are playing with lots of confidence, having won their last three games, and we will need to be on our toes for the full 90 minutes.” Balcatta defender Patrick Quinn is nearing his recall but playmaker Kris Gate remains sidelined by injury.
Top of the table Bayswater City have home ground advantage over third-placed ECU Joondalup. Steve Burton and Chris Saldaris are likely to come straight back into Bayswater’s first eleven after being rested last time out, while Joondalup’s 17-year old defender Gareth Crawley is in line for to make his league debut. The return of Dannie Richman, Faustino Machochi and John Thornley has given Armadale a massive boost ahead of their home date with Inglewood United, who are likely to be without Joseph Pullella. Cockburn City will be minus Euan Grant when they tackle a full-strength Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium.
Rowdy Yates is well aware Subiaco AFC needs to be on top of their game when they travel to Floreat Athena, who have lost three on the bounce. “Saturday is a big game for us, although every game we play this year will be a challenge,” said Yates. “We played Floreat in pre-season and they were a very strong team, and I’m sure they will want to bounce back from recent results.” Work commitments rules Phil O’Callaghan out of the Subiaco line-up while Floreat pair Callum Fransz (back) and Ludovic Boi (hamstring) will undergo late fitness tests. All five Saturday games kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND ONE
Western Knights could not have asked for a tougher game to open the new Division One season, away to Ashfield. “The players are looking forward to playing against a good team like Ashfield first-up,” said Knights boss Robbie Dunn, who remains confident despite being without midfield trio Luka Jukic, Steve Purton and Nick Carroll through suspension. “I’ve watched Ashfield twice in the pre-season and have identified some weaknesses which we might be able to exploit. We’re looking to get off to a good start in the league, a win here will give us great encouragement and confidence going forward.”
Bunbury Forum Force returns to Division One with a home date against a Wanneroo City side that bears no resemblance to that which topped the table last year. Mike Lyons and Salv Todaro take charge of UWA-Nedlands and Swan United for the first time in league competition at McGillivray Oval. Shamrock Rovers Perth are tipped to open their campaign with a comfortable victory at Dianella White Eagles. Walter Padbury Reserve hosts Gosnells City verses Mandurah City. The round concludes on Sunday when Division One title favourites Canning City welcome Morley Windmills to Burrendah Reserve. All six Division One games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND ONE
Kelmscott Roos step back into the State League arena after a 20-year absence with a road trip to Quinns on day one of the Division Two season. “There are no big expectations on the group this year. We have a young side and learning the right way to play football comes first, if that means we drop a few points then so be it,” said Kelmscott coach James Coffey. “We have a strong-willed side that will never give up so, hopefully, we can bring that to the contest this weekend. Our players are ready to impress, work for each other and battle for the three points.”
Joondalup City and Curtin University are two of the league’s better footballing sides and each wants to make an early statement of intent at Iluka Sports Complex. It’s derby day at Hilton Reserve with Fremantle United and Melville City locking horns. Joondalup United are expected to take home all three points from their visit to Kingsway Olympic, likewise Forrestfield United who are home to Balga. State League debutants Ellenbrook United have a difficult first-up encounter against Rockingham City at Arbor Grove Reserve. All six Division Two games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
NPL LEARNING CURVE HAS BEEN STEEP ADMITS GLORY’S GREENWOOD
Perth Glory goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood feels his team have learnt a lot from the first month of the National Premier Leagues. Glory spluttered their way through the opening rounds of the season but after picking up their first win of the fledgling competition Greenwood says things are very much on the up. “It’s been a huge learning curve for the squad,” said Greenwood. “Things may have not gone to plan in the opening games but now we’ve registered our first win the lads know what it takes to bring the same intensity to every game we play.”
Like many of the Glory squad, Greenwood bounced straight from a summer in the National Youth League to the NPL. And although the latter is only four games old, 18-year old Greenwood has already noticed some significant differences between the two competitions. “Everyone in our squad played in the NYL last season and I think we would all agree it’s more physical in the NPL, that’s for sure,” said the ‘keeper. “I think we know what we need to bring to our game in order to deal with the slightly different game style.”
Greenwood’s football story began in his hometown of Bunbury. “When Josh Risdon started playing for the Glory it occurred to me that it is possible to come from a country town and become a professional footballer,” he said. “Rizzo moved up when he was a similar age to myself, and my then school teacher Cory Hugo suggested I play for Shamrock Rovers, who were across the road from my school. I played there for two seasons before moving to Bayswater City, where I played a season under Alun Vernals and Chris Coyne.”
Greenwood is one of many local youngsters to have come under the wing of Willie McNally. “I never had goalkeeping training until I moved to Perth, and Willie took me on when I was about 16 and he got me to where I am now,” explained Greenwood, who has honed his skills over the past year with Glory coaches Neil Young and Jason Petkovic. “Like most young footballers of course it’s my dream to turn professional but for now all I’m focused on is doing whatever is best for the me and the Glory NPL team.”
Glory will be pulling out at all the stops to get another win on the board this weekend when they face Cockburn City, the club coach Scott Miller led to the Division One championship in 2012. “It’s a big game for us and of course Scotty. We all respect him highly and really want to get one over Cockburn for him, especially after they just beat in the pre-season,” commented Greenwood, who has the utmost respect for coaches Miller and Gareth Naven. “They are really professional at their job and expect only the best from us. On and off the field they dedicate so much time to coaching, it’s something that I personally really appreciate.”
ARNOLD SOUNDED OUT FOR GLORY ROLE
Former Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has emerged as a candidate for the coaching job at Perth Glory next season after parting ways with Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. Arnold joined the J-League side five months ago but after failing to get a win from his first six games has decided to cut short his time in Japan, citing concerns about the attitude and age of his squad. It is understood Glory have been aware of Arnold’s concerns for at least a fortnight and were monitoring the situation. Chief executive Jason Brewer has been in regular contact with Arnold since Sendai took Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic on loan six weeks ago.
Brewer conceded Arnold, who guided Central Coast Mariners to last year’s A-League Championship, was not on the short list of six candidates for the coaching role at Glory before confirming he had not come into the mix. “Clearly it would be remiss of us not to consider him for the role, even given how far down the track we are,” Brewer said. “He’s got a fantastic track record, he’s a proven coach and he had big success at Central Coast. That’s the sort of success that we're looking to achieve here.” Glory will face stiff competition to luring Arnold west with the coaching jobs at Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC also up for grabs.
NEWCASTLE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE SAYS TAGGART
The A-League’s top goal scorer Adam Taggart believes Newcastle Jets have nothing to lose heading into Friday’s must-win clash with Adelaide United. Newcastle must beat fourth-placed Adelaide, and hope Perth Glory upset Sydney FC on Sunday, in order to sneak into the top six on goal difference. “That’s the way we’ve got to go into it, we’ve got nothing to lose,” Taggart said. “We need to go out absolutely firing from the start to try and get not only the result but the biggest result we can get in terms of goal difference. We absolutely need a result and the only way we can get into the finals is by scoring numerous goals.”
With 90 minutes of regular season football remaining Taggart leads the race for the Golden Boot award by three goals from Melbourne Heart’s David Williams, however, the 20-year old insists his focus is purely on getting Newcastle into the finals. “For me, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. There’s still one more game this the season and the main priority is to try and get in the finals,” he said. “If scoring goals is how I can help the team then that’s exactly what I want to be doing and the Golden Boot would be lovely to get but the reason you play in the A-League is to play finals football.”
Taggart’s breakout season has come amid calls for his selection in Australia’s World Cup squad, but he remains philosophical about his chances of heading to Brazil. “It’s not been too much in my mind, if you don’t put in the performances than you don’t get a chance,” he said. “My main focus has to be on week to week for the Jets and if I can get a reward from that then great (but) at the end of the day I’m still young, I’m only 20 years old. Learning and developing as a player and person is a massive goal of mine and to be able to focus on the Jets that’s what’s helped the most.”
FRIENDSHIPS “ADD A BIT OF SPICE” TO DERBY: STALLARD
Scottish defender Kieron Stallard will put friendships aside when Balcatta hosts traditional rivals Perth SC this weekend. The Balcatta-Perth derby is one of the most anticipated games on the local football calendar and Stallard is looking forward to being part of the occasion. “It’s a bit weird for me, I know it’s a massive game for both clubs but all the Perth boys are our good mates,” Stallard said. “Everyone will be giving their all for the win, and I’m sure there will be a lot of banter flying about during the game. There has been a number of players move between both clubs, recently Mark Doninger left us to join Perth, which will add a bit of spice into it.”
Stallard, who joined Balcatta on the eve of the inaugural National Premier Leagues season, feels his team is getting better with each outing. “Everything is going well at the club, we have got a good bunch of lads and I think we have one of the best squads in the league,” said the 24-year old. “New coach Ramon Falzon has assembled a whole new team and we are starting to gel. We have a lot of young lads but there’s no divide between the young and older experienced lads, which is pretty good. Obviously having a few British lads always helps, but I’m doing twice the running now having to cover Tongy (Adam Tong).”
Balcatta took nothing from their opening two games of the season but things appear to have turned around with back-to-back wins over Armadale and Inglewood United. “We’ve now got two wins in a row and are playing better every week. If can win the next three or four games then it will have been a great start for us,” said Stallard. “We didn’t have the best of starts but Bayswater and Sorrento are the two hardest away games we will play all season. We actually performed well in both the games but didn’t have a full-strength squad for either, and having Kris Gate sent off against Sorrento killed us.”
Stallard came up through the ranks at Falkirk and after a couple of seasons with Airdrie he headed to Australia where he played initially for Cockburn City. “I loved my time at Cockburn, we had a great season,” the defender explained. “They have a great bunch of lads and my best mate – Euen Grant – is there, I’m good mates with coach Marc Anthony and still keep in touch with president Heidi Lazzaro. I’ve always been welcomed back for a beer whenever I’ve been down watching them. If I hadn’t moved nearer the Perth CBD, then I’d probably still be playing for Cockburn.”
Such was Stallard’s impact at Dalmatinac Park that midway through last season Stallard he was offered a place in the Central Coast Mariners Academy. “The Mariners experience was amazing for me, they have unbelievable facilities and very professional set up,” said Stallard of his time in the New South Wales Premier League. “The standard of the league is great, and I met some good mates over there and still keep in contact with a lot of the people from the club, including their former coach Lawrie McKinna.” Balcatta welcome Perth to Grindleford Reserve on Saturday from 3.00pm.
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE SEASON PREVIEW
The 2014 Division One season swings into action next weekend with competition expected to be red-hot at both ends of the table. Canning City, Ashfield and Western Knights are the frontrunners for top honours, while the battle to avoid relegation is expected to be between Swan United, Gosnells City and UWA-Nedlands. This week Brett Klucznik takes a look at the twelve clubs before the footballwa.net team is joined by Richard Kreider, author of ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, in offering their thoughts on how season 2014 will pan out...
SAINSBURY CLOSING IN ON ZWOLLE RETURN
PEC Zwolle defender Trent Sainsbury could not have timed better his return from injury. 22-year old Sainsbury been sidelined for the past two months with a fractured patella suffered on his Dutch debut. He has recently resumed full training and is hopeful of being available for this weekend’s away game with RKC Waalwijk. “The injury is coming along well,” Sainsbury told fourfourtwo.com/au “The knee still has some soreness, but it’s manageable and it’s not getting any worse. I can still play while it’s not fully healed, but it was a hard one to diagnose because they’d never seen it before.”
Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior, is hoping to force his way into the Zwolle squad for the upcoming Dutch Cup final with Ajax, as well as gain Socceroo selection for the mid-year World Cup in Brazil. Although uncapped by Australia, he is was part of the squad for last year’s East Asian Cup and would have been called up by coach Ange Postecoglou against Ecuador last month had it not been for injury. “It gave me extra motivation to push myself and get fit again,” he said. “If I was in his (Postecoglou’s) sights then, then hopefully I can get to that stage again to be up for selection for that final squad.”
Despite his return to fitness, Sainsbury insists he has plenty of hard work ahead if he’s to come into Zwolle’s starting line-up. “We’ve got three centre backs who are playing well,” he said. “I don’t know anyone’s names over here, so I don’t have that fear factor of going up against anyone. I spoke to the coach (Ron Jans) and he knows I want to push hard for this World Cup spot, but he’s got to juggle 23-24 players at the same time and keep them happy. I need to work harder than the rest of the players and show what my capabilities are.”
Sainsbury admits his Zwolle debut, which came only days after signing for the club in late January, is something of a blur. “I was jetlagged and falling asleep on the bus on the way to the game,” Sainsbury said. “Going out for the warm-up I had no idea what was going on, I just stayed five metres behind and copied every one else. I didn’t know any of the boys’ names, I was learning them on the pitch. It was a bit hectic but I thought I did okay given the conditions. I’m glad I got my debut out of the way.” Whenever it arrives, Sainsbury’s second outings in the Netherlands will be a lot less dramatic.
DE SILVA’S ITALIAN MOVE TO SET NEW AUSTRALIAN TRANSFER RECORD
Perth Glory are poised to smash the Australian transfer fee record with the impending sale of 17-year old sensation Daniel De Silva to Italian giants AS Roma. De Silva, a Stirling Lions junior, is believed to have agreed personal terms with Roma last week on a deal that could eventually reap Glory as much as $2.5 million. It is believed the two clubs are in the final stages of transfer negotiations from which Glory is likely to receive an initial payment of $500,000, but the fee could blow out to five times that amount depending on appearances and sell-on fees. The transfer would smash the previous Australian record of $1.3 million paid by Chinese club Guangzhou R&F to Central Coast Mariners in 2012 for De Silva’s Glory teammate Rostyn Griffiths.
SMELTZ CRITICAL OF GLORY’S “TERRIBLE DECISION”
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz has laid the blame for Perth Glory’s season of struggle squarely at the feet of the club hierarchy. Smeltz, who has made just 13 appearances in an injury plagued summer, believes Glory’s failure to put sufficient resources into their support staff – in particular the sports science department – had a massive impact on the team’s chances of being competitive. “Glory’s strength and conditioning coach was axed before the beginning of this season,” Smeltz wrote in his column for the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper. “It was a terrible decision and I have no doubt we have been affected as a result, both individually and as a team.”
Smeltz feels he would have made a greater contribution to Glory’s season had the club appointed a strength and conditioning coach. “My current problem was only a minor (groin) tear, there is no way it should have cost me five weeks on the sidelines,” said the striker. “I was feeling good a fortnight ago before my symptoms went backwards, mainly because we didn’t adhere to a proper procedure that should have been in place. It seems the team is paying the price for decisions that were made before the season … we can’t afford to be left behind the eight-ball compared to rival teams because we don’t have the right support for the players.”
The situation got so bad that midway through the season Glory appointed William Gallas’ personal trainer from France to help out. “This is the first season I’ve played in my career where my club hasn’t had a strength and conditioning trainer,” Smeltz said. “Our physio has done the best he can, but has had to deal with a huge workload which has made it difficult. Following my hip operation in the off-season, I had to do my rehab basically by myself. My hip is fine so there is no problem there, but ideally players should be guided through their rehab.” Despite missing more than a third of the season Smeltz is Glory’s top scorer with four goals.
LOWE HAILS PLAYERS AFTER HARD-FOUGHT WIN
Interim coach Kenny Lowe rates Perth Glory’s 3-1 weekend win over Central Coast Mariners as the team’s best performance since he took charge in December. Glory dictated terms from the opening whistle to give retiring captain Jacob Burns a fitting farewell in front of 11,127 fans on Saturday night at Perth Oval. “The last three or four performances have been good and we are slowly, slowly starting to gel,” Lowe said. “The lads who have come in are starting to get to know each other and I think the change in our shape has helped. The spirit, attitude and desire to actually make a statement was fantastic.”
It is unlikely Lowe will be retained as head coach beyond the current season but he will take some consolation from Glory’s late season revival. “We actually executed to a tee everything that we worked on this week and when you do things like that, you can see belief in people’s faces and that has happened for three or four weeks now,” Lowe said. “You can see the belief growing and it’s been pleasing for the players and for everyone, including the fans. We get off the bottom as well. I don’t want to be tarred with that, but we still have a week to go so we can’t get too carried away.”
GLORY CAPTAIN BURNS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns is confident in the future direction of the club and wants to remain involved after hanging up his boots at the end of the season. Burns, 35, announced his decision to retire at an emotional media conference on Friday which was attended by the entire Glory playing squad. The combative midfielder made his last appearance in front of the Glory faithful in last night’s win over Central Coast Mariners. The final game of Burns’ stellar 20-year professional career, which took in England, Poland and Romania in addition to Australia, will be away to Sydney FC next week.
Burns, who consulted family and friends before making one of the toughest decisions of his life, said it was important he bow out of the game on his terms. “A lot of players are forced to finish through injury or other things. But for me to finish at the top was very important to me,” commented Burns, who wore his heart on his sleeve throughout his 114 appearances for Glory. “The past five years leading this club has been an honour, something that I’ve cherished. To get paid to do something you love – what more could you ask for.”
Glory is yet to name their coaching team for next season but Burns is nonetheless confident the club are on track to return to the top of Australian football’s pecking order. “The people at the club, behind the scenes, are pushing ever so hard for success,” Burns said. “I’m fully confident that this club, moving forward, will not be a team that just makes finals and then goes up and down. We’ll be a team that consistently stays up there and an attractive team that players want to come to, and be a fantastic pathway for players to come through and go on to other things.”
Burns considers the 2011/12 A-League Grand Final, where he was named best on ground, as one of the highlights of his Glory days. “It was a very special moment for me. To be honoured in such a way by receiving an individual accolade is something that I share with my fellow team mates and our loyal supporters,” said Burns, who has spoken with Glory chief executive Jason Brewer about a future role at the club. “I would love to be heavily involved in the club beyond my playing days, that’s for sure. I would love to be able to share the experiences that I’ve had and bring that to this club.”
WORLD CUP ALL BUT OVER FOR WILLIAMS
Rhys Williams’ faint World Cup hopes appear to be over with Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka stating the defender won’t play again this season. Williams revealed last month his recovery from an Achilles injury, suffered in late January, was ahead of schedule and that he was hopeful of being selection in trhe Socceroo’s squad for Brazil. However, Karanka told the ‘Evening Gazette’ it was unlikely Williams would see any game time before the English season is out. “Rhys is recovering but I don’t think it is possible for him to play this season,” said Karanka. Williams, 25, missed the last World Cup due to a pelvic injury and now looks set to miss out again.
GLORY SEND OFF BURNS IN STYLE
Perth Glory moved out of bottom spot on the A-League ladder and dented Central Coast Mariners’ top two aspirations with this evening’s 3-1 at Perth Oval. Steven McGarry’s penalty conversion got the show on the road before a late finish by Sidnei and an own goal earned Glory back-to-back wins in what was retiring captain Jacob Burns’ final game on home soil. “I thought the spirit, attitude and desire to actually make a statement was fantastic, and I’m pleased for the players,” interim coach Kenny Lowe said. “They have worked ever so hard and they have been hammered. Burnsy gets hammered, but he has finished on a high and I don’t think he could have written it himself. Even I felt quite emotion there when he came off.”
Glory dominated the opening minutes with Chris Harold almost netting an attempted cross after 6 minutes. Goalkeeper Liam Reddy did well to keep that shot out only to have John Hutchinson bring down Burns at the follow-up, and with the resulting spot kick McGarry slotted into the bottom corner of the net. McGarry had a chance to score a second five minutes later but his long-range effort just wide of the upright. Burns then went from hero to villain by bringing down Kim Seung-Yong as he charged towards goal, Nick Fitzgerald making no mistake from the spot to bring the team level after 19 minutes. The home side continued to dictate terms and Rostyn Griffiths should have done better than head high from close-range in the 35th minute.
The second half followed much the same pattern, wingers Harold and Sidnei both going agonisingly close to regaining the lead for Glory. Mitchell Duke was introduced just before the hour to immediate effect, the youngster narrowly missing a header that would have put Central Coast in front. However, Sidnei sealed their fate when he volleyed in a cross from Nebojsa Marinkovic in the 71st minute to help Glory to just their seventh win of the season. The night went from bad to worse for the away team when defender Zac Anderson scored an own goal as he attempted to thwart Sidnei’s 84th minute run, assistant referee Michael Jasinski raised his flag for offside but was over-ruled by referee Stephen Lucas.
GRAYSON SENDS ROCKINGHAM INTO NEXT ROUND
Summer recruit Alex Grayson bagged a hat-trick to lead Rockingham City to a resounding 6-2 defeat of Sunday League side Kingsley in this afternoon’s State Cup encounter at Chichester Park. It took only three minutes for Grayson to make his mark, the striker opening Rockingham’s account with a crisp half-volley from 25-metres. Kingsley was still getting over that when Matt McDonald increased the gap with a deflected shot that wrong-footed goalkeeper J.Chiat after 10 minutes. To their credit, Kingsley remained focused on midway through the half they deservedly pulled a goal back. Half-time was looming when an exquisite series of passes was complimented by Grayson’s second goal.
Kingsley returned to the field of play with a greater hunger for goals and within five minutes a well-placed header brought the gap back to a single finish. The home fans’ sensed an upset but their increased voices served to spur Rockingham back into action. Darren Clark and substitute Marlon Ramirez combined to put the ball with Grayson, who delicately lobbed the ‘keeper to complete his hat-trick. There was still plenty of run in the Rockingham side as evidenced when youngster Blade Atkinson got in behind the defence to make it five-two. Some fancy footwork by Merrick Law ended with him lashing the final goal of the game into the top corner.
JOONDALUP UNITED TIP BUNBURY OUT OF CUP
Bunbury Forum Force has been bundled out of the State Cup by third tier newcomers Joondalup United, who ran out 3-2 winners this afternoon at Beldon Park. Goals inside ten minutes from Garin Collins and Arran Maplestone sent Joondalup on their way before Mark Beattie made it three-nil. Bunbury hit back though Kenny Taylor and Lee Stewart but were unsuccessful in their attempts to draw level. “The guys got our game plan spot on, I couldn’t be happier with the result against a quality side,” said Joondalup coach Daniel Smith. “This win will be up there as the best result in our clubs short history.”
Collins was only a couple of minutes into his Joondalup debut when he put the northern suburbs outfit in front by nodding in an inswinging Tony Taylor corner. Maplestone tightened his teams grip on the game eight minutes later, the Joondalup captain firing past the advancing goalkeeper after being played clear of the defence. The margin blew out even further in the 35th minute with Beattie sending the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot after Josh Whitmore drew a foul. Bunbury pulled a goal back just before half-time, Taylor tucking past James Bosdet on the counterattack. And while Stewart doubled their tally midway through the second half it was too little and too late to rescue Bunbury.
HEAGNEY STARS ON BAYSWATER DEBUT
State Cup holders Bayswater City booked their place in the next round of the knock-out competition by easing their way past Ashfield 5-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. Damien Catalano and Declan Hargreaves had the home team in a comfortable position by the break after which new signing David Heagney, Adrian Cacerers and Sahr Musa added to the tally. “Hopefully this campaign is as successful as the last one,” commented Hargreaves, whose team recognised the danger of underestimating their Division One opponents. “We knew Ashfield were not going to easy beats, and Chris Coyne emphasised the fact that words mean nothing – it’s all about the actions on the pitch.”
There were early chances for both teams to go ahead but Heagney headed wide and Branimir Mikulic drew a low save from goalkeeper Devon Spence. Bayswater got the end result they were after on 23 minutes, Brian Farrell playing in Heagney whose shot came back off the post and from 3-metres Catalano made no mistake with the rebound. The home side continued to ask questions of the Ashfield backline and Heagney again blasted into the upright after being picked out by Adam Bachiller. It was left to Hargreaves to double their lead in the 33rd minute with a far post finish after Perkins blocked another shot from Heagney.
It was more of the same after the break and a clever back heel by Heagney put Hargreaves in the clear only to have Perkins stand tall and make the save. A rare foray into attack by Ashfield ended with Tom Kennedy firing over the crossbar as the visiting team attempted to find a way back in. However, that door was slammed shut in the 70th minute when Heagney finished low into the net after being set-up by Farrell. Four minutes later captain John Kearney played through for Caceres who coolly put away goal number four. The scoreline was made complete six minutes from the end when Musa slid a low shot into the net via Farrell’s through ball.
ECU JOONDALUP SCRAPE OUT WIN
Third tier outfit Forrestfield United gave ECU Joondalup a run for their money but, ultimately, were out-shot 3-0 this afternoon at the Edith Cowan University campus. Goals from Jon Higgins, Jon Stynes and substitute Gareth Crawley were what decided the State Cup tie but the second half dismissal of Ryan Lowry ensured Forrestfield maintained the pressure right to the very end. “I’m happy to get through the first round of the Cup,” said Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch. “It wasn’t the most entertaining of games but we did enough to get through. Once the game settled after 30 minutes we were quite comfortable, the only negative was sending off of Ryan Lowry.”
Forrestfield made clear their intention early with Chris Perrott’s long-range strike destined for the top corner before goalkeeper Andy Banks tipped it over the crossbar. Trent Wood and Rhys Loxley then combined down the left flank with the latter’s low shot flashing just the wrong side of the upright. Joondalup slowly found their rhythm and on the half hour grabbed the lead, Jon Higgins firing in from 10-metres after being afforded far too much space on the edge of the penalty area. Stynes added another in the shadows of half-time by reacting quickest after ‘keeper Brad Eiffe did well to push Jon Higgins’ free-kick onto the bar.
The home side emerged from the break determined to make the game safe. A stunning black by Eiffe prevented Tommy Amphlett from adding another to the hosts tally, and shortly after Stynes’ shot crashed into the post. Forrestfield were by no means down and out, Ben Fraser cutting the ball back for Jordan Hart who could only shoot straight at Banks. Lee Jones was causing no end of problems for the away team and on 70 minutes another fingertip save denied him the goal his performance deserved. The sealer came ten minutes later when substitute Crawley fired in after good work from Amphlett.
HOLMAN HAT-TRICK LEADS FREMANTLE HOME (with Chris Andrawes, Football West)
Fremantle United saw off Olympic Kingsway 4-2 in a spiteful State Cup tie at Hilton Reserve. Madison Holman was the star of the afternoon with a hat-trick for the home side, who had Ty Fenwick also on the scoresheet in a game that featured eight bookings and a straight red card to Fremantle’s Angus Vos. “When we went down to ten men it got more difficult so we dropped one up-front, pulled back into midfield, we just tried to hold out at three-nil but we never really felt under threat,” Fremantle assistant coach Rob McVey told footballwest.com.au “Tempers were getting frayed, but there was nothing too vicious, a few bad tackles both ways.”
The only goal of a tense first half arrived after 11 minutes when Holman stuck the ball in an unguarded net after goalkeeper Karl Crimes failed to hold a cross. A delightful shot on the turn by Holman extended Fremantle’s lead and when substitute Fenwick put a dead ball in the net the game appeared to be over. However, Kingsway was thrown a lifeline in the 63rd minute when Vos’ late tackle earned him an early shower. With twelve minutes to go Andy Griffiths’ long-range finish kept alive the hosts comeback hopes. Holman punished a defensive error c=to complete his hat-trick in the final minute of regulation time, and before the final whistle sounded Griffiths grabbed another for Kingsway.
DONINGER GRABS FOUR AS PERTH THUMP PORT KENNEDY
Mark Doninger ensured Perth SC’s safe passage to the next round of the State Cup by netting four times in this afternoon’s 7-2 victory over Port Kennedy at Dorrien Gardens. Aiden Da Luz, Josh Wilkins and Liam Boland were also on target for the home side again a gallant Port Kennedy side, whose efforts were rewarded with a goal late in each half. Cheered on by a small band of travelling supporters, Port Kennedy started positively and forced Perth custodian into making the first save of the afternoon. However, their hopes of causing an upset were dealt a blow in the 11th minute when Wilkins teed-up Da Luz for the opening goal.
The floodgates were prised open in the 27th minute, Da Luz delivering from the left for Doninger to head in. Three minutes later Doninger fired in a loose ball from the top of the penalty area to make it three-nil. Nick Ambrogio set-up Wilkins to add his name to the scoresheet before Port Kennedy pulled a goal in the shadows of half-time. The second half was only a few minutes old when Doninger completed his hat-trick. Boland had the honour of scoring Perth’s sixth goal after which Doninger converted from the penalty spot to make sure there was no comeback from the away team. Even so, Port Kennedy continued to battle and on 67 minutes they were rewarded with a second goal.
DEFENSIVE JOONDALUP CITY ALMOST HOLD OUT STIRLING
Stirling Lions left it late to see off Joondalup City 2-0 this afternoon at Iluka Sports Complex in the first round of the State Cup. Joondalup were on the back foot throughout but it wasn’t until the final fifteen minutes that Howard Neighbour and Daniel Micevski managed to breach their defences. “It was a real battle, we knew it was going to be a tough physical encounter,” said Stirling captain Andy Brown. “We dominated possession overall and put extra pressure on ourselves by not putting away early chances. They never really threatened and parked ten players behind the ball. It took persistence but we finally broke them down.”
Stirling attacked from the outset with Brown heading an early chance agonisingly wide of the target. A goal line clearance denied Dennis Galan the go-ahead goal, Daniel Micevski rattled the crossbar with a vicious strike and Neighbour was thwarted in a one-on-one with the Joondalup goalkeeper. Daniel Micevski brought another good save from the ‘keeper after the turnaround, while a scrambled clearance robbed Hayden Doyle after 70 minutes. Neighbour got the goal Stirling were after five minutes later by nodding in from Daniel Micevski’s delivery. There were only a couple of minutes left when a foul on Neighbour resulted in a Stirling penalty which Daniel Micevski smashed it into the roof of the net.
CURTIN PROGRESS FROM UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE (with Al Martin, Football West)
Curtin University came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over UWA-Nedlands from their first round State Cup meeting at McGillivray Oval. Midfielder maestro Carlo Chiellini and Nathan Smith found the net within minutes of each other late in the second half to cancel out Sime Lozic’s opener. “I think it sometimes takes conceding first to find that killer instinct and start converting chances,” Curtin coach Daniel Jones told footballwest.com.au “Carlo Chiellini is an outstanding player and since our former captain has departed we’ll be looking for more performances like that from him and Eddie (Tikoft) in the middle of the park.”
Chiellini determined the flow of play throughout the first half with his vision and distribution from the middle of the park. UWA bustled their way into the game after the turnaround and on 57 minutes Lozic rose highest to head Jordan Menchetti’s corner into Calum McMulkin’s net. Alex Kretowicz was then presented a golden opportunity to double his team’s lead but a heavy touch allowed McMulkin to take possession. Poor defending at the other end allowed an unmarked Chiellini to bring the teams level after 72 minutes with a glancing header to Kristin Bevan’s corner. And four minutes later Jonathan Krawec delivered an inviting centre from the lead which an under pressure Smith just managed to touch into the net.
BROWNE DOUBLE SEES INGLEWOOD THROUGH
Inglewood United picked up their first win in over a month by defeating North Perth United 4-1 in this afternoon’s State Cup encounter at Woodville Reserve. Irish midfielder Sean Browne helped himself to a brace with Ryan Francis and Ryan Clarke also on the scoresheet, while substitute Keith Donnegan grabbed North Perth a late consolation. “Hopefully it’s the first (win) that kicks us on in the season,” said Inglewood coach Graham Normanton, whose team is winless after four league games. “We scored four great goals – the goals we scored were superb. That’s the way we’ve been this season. We’ve had to score great goals and then we concede cheap goals.”
As was expected, Inglewood attacked from the outset but it took until the 37th minute for that approach to pay dividends, Jarrod McNally pulling the ball back for Browne who picked his spot in Andy Stewart’s net. That lead was doubled two minutes before the break when captain Greg Sharland’s clipped pass over the defence was allowed to bounce by Francis before the midfielder deftly lobbed over the exposed goalkeeper. 67 minutes were on the clock when Clarke cut inside his marker to fire low past Stewart, and four minutes later the midfielder picked out the run of Browne to fire in number four. With fifteen minutes to go Paddy Montgomery released Donnegan to bag North Perth a consolation.
DODD RELEASED BY GLORY
Injured veteran Travis Dodd has likely played his final A-League game after being released by Perth Glory. Dodd has not made an appearance since damaging knee ligaments last March and, following an assessment by Glory’s medical team, it has been decided the midfielder will not be offered a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the season. “Given the severity of his injury, Travis has been unable to play this season and will continue his rehabilitation and recovery work with the club,” chief executive Jason Brewer said. “On behalf of everyone at the club we wish Travis Dodd all the best.” Dodd played 48 times for Glory, scoring nine goals, during his three seasons with the club.
STATE CUP PREVIEW, ROUND ONE
The State Cup takes centre stage this weekend with a full complement of games spread across the metropolitan area. The prestigious knock-out competition provide an opportunity for lower league teams to shine and that’s exactly what Forrestfield United are aiming to do away at ECU Joondalup. “If we don't get caught out by the pace of the game in the early stages, I believe that we will do well,” said coach Rod Banjac. “We will give it a good go, and will treat this game as another pre-season game as we prepare for the league opener next week.”
Ashfield will be out to avenge last year’s Cup Final day loss to Bayswater City when the teams meet again at Frank Drago Reserve. “It’s a draw one most clubs would have liked to avoid, however, we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Ashfield boss Paul Dundo. “It is always great to gauge yourself against the best, and this weekend provides us that opportunity. We are looking to cause an upset – it’s what Cup football is about – and the lads are looking forward to an exciting game.” Bayswater are bolstered for the occasion with captain John Kearney and new signing David Heagney available for selection.
Division Two newcomers Joondalup United come face-to-face with Bunbury Forum Force at Beldon Park. “Bunbury, in our eyes, are the toughest non-NPL side in the draw so we will need to be at our very best to come away with our name in the hat for the next round,” said coach Daniel Smith, whose team thumped Kwinana United 10-1 in Preliminary Round of the Cup. “We lost a couple of key players with knocks last weekend so I would imagine a very different starting side.” Bunbury also have some absences in Jon Brooks (suspension), Oliver McGee (suspension) and goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery (injury).
Salv Todaro has home ground advantage when his new-look Swan United takes on Sorrento. “It’s been a very long pre-season, it will be good to finally get involved in an official game,” said Todaro, whose club won the Cup in 2003 and 2004. “The National Premier Leagues teams have had four weeks of high intensity games and Sorrento have been achieving some good results. With Trevor Morgan and Jamie Harnwell at the helm they will be a very tough opponent. However, Swan has a great Cup tradition and we will be trying our best to add to it.”
A much-changed Wanneroo City makes the long trip south to play top flight side Cockburn City. “It’s a tough game, but we had a tough game last week against Canning City just to make it this far,” said Wanneroo player-coach Stuart Montgomery. “All players like to compete against the best and Cockburn have some of the best players in the state. Were’ well aware they are a level above Canning and that we will have to be at our best on the day.” Wanneroo will be sweating on the availability of several players, whereas Cockburn are full strength.
Not a lot has gone right so far in the NPL for Inglewood United and coach Graham Normanton is hopeful a win away at North Perth United can kick start their season. “North Perth won the amateur premier league title last season, and there are a lot of good players in that league, so we know we will face a testing time,” he said. “I don’t want to make excuses for our failure to pick up any points so far in the NPL, but we’ve been very competitive and some schoolboy errors have cost us dearly. We’ve played some teams off the park. I’m confident we’ll bounce back.”
The other Round One State Cup games are Curtin University vs UWA-Nedlands (McGillivray Oval); Dianella White Eagles vs Armadale (Dianella Reserve); Fremantle Croatia vs Shamrock Rovers (Len Packham Reserve); Fremantle United vs Kingsway Olympic (Hilton Reserve); Joondalup City vs Stirling Lions (Iluka Sports Complex); Kingsley vs Rockingham City (Chichester Park); Perth SC vs Port Kennedy (Dorrien Gardens); Mandurah City vs Subiaco AFC (Hyundai Stadium); Melville City vs Balcatta (Len Shearer Reserve) and Floreat Athena vs Perth Royals (Litis Stadium).
CACERES DREAMING OF CUP GLORY
Attacker Adrian Caceres will draw inspiration from his experiences in the English FA Cup when Bayswater City commences their State Cup defence this weekend. Bayswater defeated Ashfield in last season’s Cup Finals and those two teams meet again on Saturday in the opening round proper of the State Cup, which this year serves a qualifying event for the inaugural FFA Cup. “All the players are buzzing, everyone wants to be in it and it should be a good tournament,” Caceres told footballaustralia.com.au at the prospect of playing against teams from other States. “The A-League put a benchmark there, now the lower leagues are following ahead and I think that it’s really important to have a cup competition”
Caceres gained over 100 A-League appearances for Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix, and the prospect of again facing national league opposition excites the 32-year old. “That’s what the Cup is all about. One day the little guys can go up against the big boys,” he said. “You see it in England where a lower league club plays the likes of Manchester United or Chelsea or Arsenal. There’s a buzz around the city, the stadium, everywhere. It’s a good thing. There's also the exposure for players which they sometimes might not get and they might get a lucky break and get seen. It would be nice to play playing against Victory or Perth Glory again.”
Caceres is familiar with the romance of Cup football having played for Yeovil Town in the 2004/05 English FA Cup. “I’ve got some very fond memories of the Cup over there, it was such great times,” he recalled. “For a little club like Yeovil playing against (then) premiership clubs like Bolton and Charlton was awesome, a very good experience. My club got through a couple of the early rounds which was a great thrill. The fans are very passionate about (the Cup) over there. The supporters get behind you as a player and you love to play for them. I’m sure it will be something similar here.” Ashfield host Bayswater in Round One of the State Cup from 3.00pm on Saturday.
FRUSTRATED GRIFFITHS HITS OUT AT CENTRAL COAST
Defender Brent Griffiths has lashed out at Central Coast Mariners over the club’s inability to advice whether he will be offered a new deal. Griffiths, who joined the defending A-League champions in 2012, concedes he has no idea for where he’ll be playing football in 2014/15 with is current contract due to expire at the end of the season. “I’ve not had anyone speak to me about next season,” Griffiths told fourfourtwo.com/au “I’m not going to lie and say I’m not frustrated. I’d like to know whether I’m going to be here or not. Right now I’m off-contract for next season and looking for a gig.”
Griffiths has been restricted to just nine outings this season for Central Coast, who are the 24-year old’s third A-League club after Perth Glory and Wellington. “I’ve been having one-year contracts for the last three, four years in the A-League,” he commented. “I’ve been in the A-League five years now and never really cemented a two or three-year contract. It’s a tough league (to break in to), one of the hardest leagues in the world – there’s only ten teams and with visa spots as well. The left-sided centre half position is what I’m striving for, whether that is at the Mariners, in Asia or another A-League club, I’m open to possibilities.”
Griffiths played the full 90 minutes of his clubs’ 1-0 Asian Champions League win over Beijing Guoan in mid-week. “I wasn’t sure if we were going to get the result to be honest,” he said. “It was a good win in the end to be fair, the boys dug deep. Hopefully we can get another draw or a win and move us up to the top and the next stage of the ACL. For me the Asian Champions League is the pinnacle of football in Australia … if you’re getting 40K to win, it’s not something you’re getting in the A-league and it’s great exposure for players and great exposure for teams.”
Central Coast have turned their season around in recent weeks, winning their last five A-League games as well as picking up two wins and a loss in the ACL. “Rosey’s (teammate Josh Rose) said the ACL has helped our form in the A-League and vice-versa (and) I think he’s bang on the money with that,” said Griffiths. “A few of the boys are using the depth of the squad and everyone’s challenging for positions in the squad. Especially coming up to finals football, everyone wants to play, everyone wants to get the exposure and play in big games. Right now we’ve got 23 players who can all challenge for spots.”
Regular game time in the A-League for Griffiths has been has limited, the defender featuring just 35 times since making his Glory debut in 2010. “t’s frustrating to not be playing week-in-week-out and any player who tells you different is one hundred per cent lying,” he said. “But that’s a testament to the club and the boys, and especially the Mariners football team in that no-one feels left out. You don’t see anyone moping around that they’re not good because they are when we get our chance. I think every single player in our team has stepped up to the plate when they got their opportunity. We’ll see when it comes to the finals and hopefully we can give it a good nudge.”
VELAPHI NONPLUSSED BY KICK TO THE HEAD
Melbourne Heart goalkeeper Tando Velaphi says copping a boot in the head from Brisbane Roar’s Besart Berisha is just something that happens sometimes in football. Berisha was shown a straight red card after lunging for the ball only to have his boot strike Velaphi in the head as the ‘keeper came out to smother a dangerous through ball. “It was just one of those things in the game – a couple of players going at the ball,” Velaphi said. “The referee sees what he sees and the rest is history I suppose. It’s part of the game. I could see what he (Berisha) was trying to do and so I just tried to get on with things.”
The incident capped an eventful week for Velaphi. Just days after signing a one-year contract extension, the 26-year old was told by coach John van‘t Schip that he would make his first start of the season against. The former Perth SC junior said the fact that he had to wait until the third-to-last round of the season to make his Heart debut was “just the nature of the business” given the form of incumbent Andrew Redmayne. “I probably haven’t played as much as I would have liked, but they’ve seen something in me and I’m happy to stay … everything is looking up,” he said. “It wasn’t a hard decision for me. I’m enjoying my time here.”
BARBAS QUITS FLOREAT
Coach Chris Barbas has parted company with Floreat Athena amid mounting pressure from within the National Premier Leagues club. Barbas resigned from the head coach role at Litis Stadium on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the club stumbled to a third successive loss which slips them to third-from-bottom after four games. It is understood Barbas had been under pressure to reverse Floreat’s recent form slump while unrest within the player group is also believed to have been a factor. Barbas, a former State representative, guided Floreat to the 2012 Grand Final and last month’s Night Series final during his two and a half years at the helm.
GRIFFITHS SAVOURS FIRST GLORY WIN
Midfielder Rostyn Griffiths could not be happier about Perth Glory finally getting the monkey off their back. Glory snapped a ten-game winless run with Sunday’s dramatic 2-1 defeat of Newcastle Jets, who looked on course to triumph when late goals by Nebojsa Marinkovic and Chris Harold stole victory for the home team. “It was a massive win for us,” Griffiths told fourfourtwo.com “I felt like it’s been coming over the last few weeks. The boys have started to gel and everyone including myself is approaching full fitness, it’s just unfortunate it’s at the end of the season. We dominated most of the play, showed good character and stuck to the game plan to get our rewards.”
Griffiths has made eight appearances for Glory since joining the club in January but Sunday marked the first time he tasted victory with his hometown club. “The win over Newcastle has given us confidence but mostly it’s given us that winning feel back,” Griffiths said. “(Interim coach) Kenny (Lowe) didn’t talk too much (after the game), he just told us to enjoy the win and carry that on to next week of course. I would like to see Kenny stay on (as coach next season) but most importantly for the club I would like a decision to be made sooner rather than later so we can all move on in the same direction.” Glory remains on the bottom of the A-League ladder, equal on 25 points with Melbourne Heart, who had a better goal difference.
Injury plagued defender William Gallas may have played his last game for Perth Glory after limping out of the weekend win over Newcastle Jets with a hamstring problem. Gallas hobbled from the field for treatment during the first half of the game and didn’t reappear after the break with youngster Brandon O’Neill taking his place. The 36-year old had scans on his right hamstring yesterday and, with only two games left in the season, appears unlikely to play for Glory again. “We’ll assess it, but even if it’s a grade one (tear), it’s going to be a couple of weeks,” interim coach Kenny Lowe commented.
Gallas missed nearly two months with a calf problem soon after signing with Glory, and in recent weeks has battled a number of minor injuries. “Last week (against Western Sydney Wanderers) William had a knock and should’ve come off the pitch (but) he went back on because he didn’t want to let the guys down,” revealed Lowe. “We brought Riley Woodcock into the group in case William rolled over in the warm-up, but he was adamant that he was okay …maybe he shouldn’t have played, but that’s the type of guy he is.” Gallas has been restricted to just 13 appearances for Glory in five months.
ZANE HAS THE BACKING OF TAGGART
Newcastle Jets’ striker Adam Taggart has praised the influence interim coach Clayton Zane has had on his club’s battle for a place in the A-League finals series. Zane took up the reins just over two months ago and, after a slow start, Newcastle have begun to find their groove under the former Socceroo. “Clayton came in with a real positive attitude and gave everyone a bit more freedom to implement their own game on the pitch and work to eachothers’ strength,” said Taggart. “I think we’ve all started to do that now. He’s done a great job and the mood in training has been really good.”
Zane is almost certain to be in the mix when the Newcastle hierarchy begin to look at full-time coaching options for next season. Taggart said Zane had the support of the players but says it’s up to the club to select the best man for the job. “We knew him well before he was the head coach when he was the assistant so a lot of players, including myself, are very close with him,” said Taggart. “He’s someone who always wants to improve you individually which for myself and other young players is really helpful. We’re all happy with Clayton, we’re just hoping we can all go into the finals together.”
GLORY REWARDED FOR THEIR PERSISTENCE SAYS LOWE
Interim coach Kenny Lowe says Perth Glory’s surprise win over Newcastle Jets was a worthy reward for their persistence after one of the most difficult periods in the club’s history. Glory fans had all but conceded their team would collect its first ever wooden spoon when goals in quick succession from Nebojsa Marinkovic and Chris Harold scored an unlikely 2-1 win and restored belief they could avoid finishing last for the first time in their 18-year history. Glory’s triumph ended a ten-game winless run and comes just days after it was revealed Lowe was one of six candidates on the shortlist to coach the team next season.
Lowe, who last tasted victory when Glory defeated Melbourne Heart in mid-January, was full of praise for his players. “I thought we controlled the tempo of the game, especially in the first half without really being incisive or threatening,” said Lowe following his third win from 15 games as Glory coach. “We had a game plan, we executed it and we scored goals from that game plan … it’s payback for how they’ve conducted themselves since I’ve been at the club.” Glory remains in last place on the A-League table but drawn alongside with Melbourne Heart on 25 points with two rounds remaining.
GLORY OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT AT SUBIACO
Perth Glory collected their first National Premier Leagues win by out-scoring Subiaco AFC 2-1 at the WA Athletics Stadium this evening. The early signs were positives for Subiaco, who went ahead through Jordan Rhodes, before Glory kicked into life with goals from Harry O’Brien and Riley Woodcock. “Subiaco was always going to be a tough encounter, but the lads showed who wanted the three points more,” said Glory custodian Fraser Greenwood. “We didn’t panic after going down early, we stuck to our game plan and played some good football. We’ve got our first win so confidence is high and it’s only up from here.”
Subiaco made the best possible start with Rhodes making no mistake from the penalty spot after referee Matthew Southern spotted a 9th minute handball by Hanafi Ghazali. This setback didn’t appear to phase the away team and on 28 minutes they were level, Joe Knowles shot was blocked by goalkeeper Jack Howard who was helpless as O’Brien put away the loose ball at close-range. Glory didn’t stop there and six minutes before the break they added another when Woodcock rounded Howard to tuck into an empty net after intercepting a stray back pass.
After the break it was Subiaco that asserted the greater influence with Glory limited only to the occasional counterattack. Ian McMurray found space inside the area but fired wide when it seemed easier to hit the target. Greenwood then came to the rescue with an instinctive block to keep out substitute Ger Fitzgerald’s header from only a few metres. The game was in stoppage time when Subiaco appeared to snatch an equaliser, Guy McDonald bundling the ball in at close-range but celebrations were immediately cut short with referee Southern whistling for a foul in the lead-up.
Although disappointed with the result, Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan was happy with what he saw from his side. “We deserved a point,” McEwan told nplwa.com.au “It was a strange decision in the last minute that denied us a draw … I saw the ball go in the back of the net I never saw an offence but apparently the referee told some of my players it was dangerous play. I’m quite happy with how we’re playing. We’re playing our hearts out and playing some good football but we’re not getting any results. We need to be patient and the results will come.”
NEWCASTLE STUNNED AS GLORY COME FROM NOWHERE
Perth Glory scored twice in the final few minutes to snap their ten-game winless run with a 2-1 triumph over Newcastle Jets this afternoon at Perth Oval. Newcastle appeared set to take home all the point after Adam Taggart struck his fourteenth goal of the season to give them a 61st minute lead. But with six minutes to go Nebojsa Marinkovic brought the sides level with a long-range free-kick to which Chris Harold added shortly after with a neat header. Despite the result Glory remains last on the A-League ladder, although now equal on points with Melbourne Heart.
A lacklustre first half was punctuated by injuries in both camps, Newcastle losing Zenon Caravella after 17 minutes and William Gallas not reappearing for Glory after the break. The home side may have enjoyed the better of play but it was Newcastle than carved out the better scoring opportunities. A miss-hit pass by Glory goalkeeper Jack Duncan in the 9th minute opened the door for Taggart, who fired into the side netting from an acute angle after pouncing on the loose ball. Duncan came up trumps four minutes from the break by dropping his legs to block Taggart’s shot after being played clear by Kew Jaliens.
Taggart made amends for those misses in the 61st minute, the striker ghosting in behind the defence to volley into the back of the net from an inch-perfect David Carney cross. Glory heaped pressure on the away defence as full-time loomed but Jaliens and Josh Mitchell were in an uncharitable mood. It took a wonder-strike to bring the sides level after 83 minutes, Marinkovic curling a dead ball from 23-metre into the top corner of Ben Kennedy’s net. Glory regained possession shortly after the restart, Sidnei clipping the ball to the top of the 6-year box where an unmarked Harold powerfully headed in the winner.
FOREIGN COACH NEEDS TO BE “TWICE AS GOOD” AS A LOCAL SAYS BREWER
Perth Glory may have several foreign candidates on their six-man shortlist but the club remains wary about appointing a big-name overseas coach. Chief executive Jason Brewer says there are risks with bringing in someone from abroad as Glory prepare to make a final decision on who will lead them into next season. “As a club we’ve got to make sure we don’t get dragged into is the current euphoria over foreign coaches and what they can bring,” Brewer told thewest.com.au “We’ve got to be careful of that.”
Brewer said local knowledge would be taken into account when Glory’s make their decision on a coach. “You can get some great foreign coaches or you can get a good Australian coach,” Brewer said. “My view is the risk associated with bringing a foreign coach in means that he’s got to be twice as good as a local coach because he’s not going to have that knowledge of the A-League and local players. He’s got to adapt to how the league works and the little intricacies of our league.”
BAYSWATER WEATHER THE STORM
Bayswater City chalked up their fourth straight win in the National Premier Leagues by accounting for arch-rivals Perth SC 2-0 on a wintry afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. Chris Saldaris gave away team an early lead but it wasn’t until shortly before the final whistle that Steve Burton secured the points. “It was fantastic to get a win against my former club,” said Bayswater defender Trent Kay. “The game was a very tight one, both teams had opportunities to score but at the end of the day we took ours and they didn’t. I’m very happy the way we defended as a team to keep our unbeaten start to the season intact.”
Perth began brightly with Ashley Rosindale fashioning an opportunity for Mark Pritchard, who place wide of the mark with only Devon Spence to beat. Play swung straight to the other end where Alex Dunn was at his brilliant best in turning away James Isaia’s curling free-kick. Robert Sciascia lifted high before Rosindale shot wide as the home side monopolised play. Those misses were punished on the quarter hour when Saldaris’ shot on the turn flashed into Dunn’s after Perth failed to respond to a corner. Burton thought he’d doubled Bayswater’s lead only for his efforts to be ruled out by an offside flag.
Mark Doninger came within inches of bringing the sides level ten minutes into the second half when his goalbound shot was halted on the line by Kay. Bayswater substitute Adrian Caceres should squandered the chance kill off the game five minutes later by blasting over the crossbar. Doninger then had the ball in the net but, like Burton, an offside flag meant it counted for nothing. The decisive second goal finally arrived on 83 minutes, Caceres laying the ball off for Burton to finish a great team move. There was still enough time for a Perth comeback but Spence was having none of it, thrusting out a glove to deny substitute Aden Da Luz.
STIRLING MOVE INTO FIFTH
Stirling Lions season continues to gather momentum following a 2-0 defeat of Floreat Athena on a wet afternoon at Macedonia Park. First half goals from English striker Howard Neighbour and captain Andy Brown were enough to give Stirling their second win from as many games, a result which moves them to fifth on the National Premier Leagues ladder. “It’s been a topsy-turvy start to the season for us,” said Stirling goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski. “We’re starting to find our feet and it helps getting some experienced players back. It’s great to have Brownie back, he was outstanding today, and the young players feed off him.”
It took Stirling only 12 minutes to open their account, Neighbour heading in powerfully from 5-metres after meeting a Hayden Doyle corner. Floreat thought they’d levelled on the half hour when Vrteski moved sharply to capture Bobby Wilson’s volley, with Floreat players claiming the shot had crossed the line. As if to rub salt into that wound, Doyle delivered a 40th minute corner to the far post where Brown headed in to make it two-nil. Stirling came within inches of adding other when Neighbour’s header crashed into the crossbar with Doyle again the supplier.
Floreat came out from the break swinging, Jack Allen flashing wide from distance and Wilson forcing a good save from Vrteski. The visitor’s task was made all the more difficult as the gentle drizzle turned in to a full-blown downpour. Neighbour almost grabbed his second goal on 73 minutes when played through by Jack Salter, however, his lob over Tom Dixon drifted just past the post. Stirling were luck not to have Neighbour sent off for his crunching tackle on Allen, whose exit on a stretcher left Floreat to play out the final few minutes with ten players.
SORRENTO JUMP BACK INTO WINNERS CIRCLE
Sorrento claimed victory, and bragging rights, from the northern suburbs derby after defeating ECU Joondalup 3-1 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Jon Stynes had the home side ahead early but after that it was all downhill as Reece Vittiglia, Brodie Martin and Todd Harnwell swung the game in Sorrento’s favour. “It was a tough game but we deserved the points … I thought it was our best performance of the season,” said Sorrento defender Shaun Kilkelly. “Joondalup have started the season well so it’s great to come up here, get the points and jump ahead of them on the table.”
Joondalup could not have wished for a better start, Jon Higgins’ corner picking out Stynes whose close-range header resulted in a one-nil lead. Lee Jones should have done better than nod wide, while Tommy Amphlett also failed to hit the target as Joondalup continued to dictate terms. Sorrento eventually got into gear and on the stroke of half-time were level, Vittigilia curling a dead ball up and over the defensive wall and into the top corner of Andy Banks’ net. Tensions boiled over soon after following a rash challenge on Joe Smith by James Morgan, who was fortunate not to receive his marching orders.
The second half was just a few minutes old when Daryl Platten’s ball into the area wasn’t dealt with by the home defence before Martin bundled it over the line from close-range. Benson-Cooper came close to putting the team’s level for a third time with a bullet-like shot that brought a superb save from Curtis Aspden on the hour. With rain tumbling down, the quality of play deteriorated with neither team able to string together their passes and delivery into the final third all too often failing to hit its mark. Harnwell made the game safe for Sorrento with a final minute dink over Banks.
BALCATTA THUMP LUCKLESS INGLEWOOD (with Al Martin, nplwa.com.au)
Inglewood United’s miserable start to National Premier Leagues life continued with a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Balcatta at Intiga Stadium. Luke Randazzo capped an eye-catching display with a double as Gustavo Catarcione and Carlo Coelho also found the back of the net. “This is the performance I want to see, discipline and structure but also creativity and expression in attack,” said Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon, who was particularly pleased with his team’s ability to absorb some intense pressure early in the second half.
The home side made a bright start with Scott Blackmore poking the ball beyond Clint Davies to punish Balcatta’s failure to sufficiently deal with a 17th minute corner. With the very next play Balcatta were level, Randazzo slamming into the net after goalkeeper Luke Martino blocked Benny Kouakou’s explosive shot from 8-metres. A swift exchange of passes gave the away team a 25th minute lead, Adam Tong starting the move at the back which culminated in Kris Gate playing through for Catarcione to send into the net.
Ryan Francis and Sean Browne heeded the call of coach Graham Normanton after the break by seizing control of midfielder. However, the closest Inglewood came to scoring again was a dipping long-range effort by Greg Sharland. Hopes of a home team revival were snuffed out after 76 minutes when Randazzo played a tidy one-two with Catarcione before squeezing the ball beneath the onrushing Martino. The icing was put on the cake four minutes later when Coelho finished neatly from just inside the penalty area after Ben Meredith did well to keep the ball alive from Martino’s superb save.
Normanton may have found it difficult to hide his disappointment at Inglewood’s fourth straight loss, but the experienced coach remains confident he can turn their season around. “The easy thing to do would be to throw in the towel,” said Normanton after the final whistle sounded. “But we’re not going to implode, we’ll work harder and break the cycle. I know my methods work and I’ll stick with them and steer it around.” Where Inglewood remains rooted to the foot of the ladder, Balcatta jump up to sixth courtesy of two wins in eight days.
CURTIN IN SEVENTH HEAVEN (courtesy Curtin University)
Curtin University piled on five second half goals to defeat Kelmscott Roos 7-5 in this evening’s State Cup Preliminary Round encounter at a rain-drenched Edinburgh Oval. Carlo Chiellini and substitute Daniel Yellend each bagged a brace with Daniel Young, Nathan Smith and Albert Bucchino also on the scoresheet for the home team. Kelmscott made a positive start with Jonathon Ingram scrambling the ball in at close-range after 19 minutes, and not long after Glory Bahigwa doubled their lead. Chiellini pegged a goal back from a dead ball only to have the visitors post a third goal through joseph Tomlin, whose fierce shot flew into the top corner of Grant Heard’s net. In the shadows of half-time Chiellini converted a soft penalty awarded for a push on Kristina Bevan to make it three-two.
Goals continued to flow after the interval. Young restored parity with a crisp finish only for Kelmscott go to go back in front via Ingram’s’s powerful header at a corner. Curtin’s response was to hit three goals in devastating ten minute burst. Captain Kye Middleton laid on the equaliser for Smith, who shortly after provider for Bucchino. Yelland had been in the pitch only minutes when he sent the ball past Kelmscott’s goalkeeper for a six-four scoreline. The away side refused to give up the chase and they persistence was rewarded when Tomlin’s effort deflected in off defender Bryce Young. Yelland completed the scoring with sublime finish in the 79th minute to send Curtin into next weekend’s First Round proper of the knock-out competition.
CANNING KNOCKED OUT BY WANNEROO
A new-look Wanneroo City bucked the odds to surprise Canning City 3-1 at Kingsway Reserve. Simon Wills scored twice on debut with player/coach Stuart Montgomery getting the remainder to send Wanneroo into Round One proper of the State Cup. “I couldn’t be prouder of the boys today. To come away with a win against one of the Division One title favourites will give us some much-needed self-belief and confidence,” said Montgomery. “We have had to build a new team in five weeks – I’m the only player still at Wanneroo from last year – and, as if that wasn’t stressful enough, we lost two strikers to injury leading into the game and have three players overseas at the moment.”
Goalkeeper Luke Serra laid the foundations for Wanneroo’s first goal by playing the ball forward to Montgomery, who slipped a pass in to Heath Sinclair and while his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper Wills was on hand to prod in the rebound. Canning hit back before half-time, albeit with a fair dose of luck, when Nathan Hubbard’s low cross from the left was inadvertently turned in by defender Stuart Siddall. Wanneroo regained the upper hand after the Canning backline allowed a Serra booming clearance to bounce, and in nipped Montgomery to tuck in their second goal. Wills sealed the result by netting at close-range after the ‘keeper spilled a Montgomery free-kick from the top of the area.
SHAMROCK CELEBRATE NEW BEGINNINGS (courtesy Shamrock Rovers Perth)
Shamrock Rovers Perth honoured their first outing at new home Grimrey Park by thrashing Morley Windmills 7-2 in today’s Preliminary Round of the State Cup. The early pace was set by Shamrock who stormed to a comfortable three-goal lead inside the half hour courtesy of Will Pender, Darren O’Riordan and Barry Mulligan, the latter quality volley which gave the goalkeeper little chance. The door was prised opened on a Morley comeback with Joey Tadesse converting two penalties in the space of a few minutes leading into the break.
Not to be denied, Shamrock return to the park in a positive frame of mind. On the hour O’Riordan fended off his marker before driving in a low cross which Mulligan glanced between goalkeeper and post. The flow of goal continued five minutes later with Paul Concannon nodding in from David Murphy’s delivery. Ten minutes after that Michael Lawson teased his way forward before blasting into the roof of the net. And the final whistle wasn’t far off when Michael Pritchard finished at the far post after some good work down the left by Pender.
ATKINSON SENDS ROCKINGHAM THROUGH
A first half Blade Atkinson header was enough to earn Rockingham City a 1-0 victory over Gwelup Croatia at Lark Hill Reserve. It looked as though Gwelup would live up to the pre-game favourite tag by going on the attack from the outset, only to be turned away time and time again by their host’s backline. Rockingham eased into the game and on 20 minutes they took the lead via some link-up play between David Clark and Max Snelson before the latter crossed to the far post where Atkinson converted at close-range. It was very nearly two-nil shortly after, Alex Grayson shrugging off his marker with a neat turn only to shoot straight at goalkeeper.
The second half begun much like the first and if not for a diving Cryil Sharrock then a low shot would have brought the team’s level. After weathering the storm Rockingham began to hit on the counterattack with Atkinson, Grayson and Hissey all featuring prominently. Grayson was presented a great opportunity to make the game safe when he got on the end of a defence splitting Atkinson pass, however, the Gwelup ‘keeper proved up to the challenge with a fine save. Chance continued to fall Rockingham’s way and it was another Atkinson header which looked like produced the games second goal before a defender intervened with a goal line clearance.
FORRESTFIELD TOO GOOD FOR BALGA
A first half fade-out paved the way for Forrestfield United to defeat Balga 4-2 in their State Cup meeting at Hartfield Park. Balga hit the ground running with a series of attacking raids on their opponent’s goal, between which stood Brad Eiffe who impressively kept out the best the visiting team could offer. Having eased themselves into the game, Forrestfield took the lead after 20 minutes with Rhys Loxley netting first meaningful attack. In the minutes that followed Steban Sibincic and Trent Wood hit the target for a three-nil lead at the break, after which Jordan Hart added another to Forrestfield’s tally. Balga’s refusal to concede the game was rewarded by goals from Michael Bangura and Jimmy Rowlands.
ASHFIELD STUN HAMERSLEY WITH SECOND HALF BLITZ (courtesy Ashfield)
Ashfield qualified for the opening round of the State Cup following a commanding 6-1 defeat of Hamersley Rovers at Ashfield Reserve. All the damage was done at the start of the second half when Jay Lang, Branimir Mikulic, Chris Thackray and Tom Kennedy each found the net, after which Mikulic and Jamie Burns rounded out the scoreline. Hamersley were on the back foot from the outset with Lang forcing a good save from the goalkeeper and Karl O’Reilly blasting high inside the opening few minutes. Kennedy squandered perhaps the best chance of the period when his shot flew past the ‘keeper only to crash into the upright. Ashfield must have been wondering what they had to do to stick the ball away as they headed into the break, still level at nil-all.
That question was answered during a blistering eight minutes burst at the start of the second half in which Ashfield piled on four goals. Lang broke the deadlock by threading between ‘keeper and post after O’Reilly’s deflected shot came his way. Three minutes later Lang delivered a dead ball onto the head of Mikulic, who doubled the margin, and Thackray applied a cheeky back hell after exchanging passes with Ruben Tristao and Lang. A cross from substitute Joe Briggs’ evaded all except Kennedy, who viciously drove his shot across the ‘keeper. Hamersley were then gifted a consolation goal against the run of play. Mikulic put away goal number five before Burns bustled his way through the defence to complete the scoring.
JOONDALUP PUT TEN PAST KWINANA
Kwinana United offered little resistance as Joondalup United ran out 10-1 from today’s State Cup encounter at Charonia Park. A four goal haul from captain Arran Maplestone was completed by finishes from Greg Pellow, Callum Stocks, Adam Buckley, Josh Whitmore, Tony Taylor and Mark Beattie but coach Danny Smith felt the northerners should have had a few more. “I’m delighted with the result,” commented Smith before taking a critical eye to his teams’ performance. “The overall play could of been better and the finishing needs to improve, on another day we won’t be able to afford to miss six or seven one-on-ones.”
An uneventful opening spell was punctuated on 20 minutes when Pellow stabbed in at close-range following a Taylor. The floodgate opened immediately and from another corner, this one delivered by Lee Sheppard, Stocks fire doubled the difference. Before half-time arrived the margin had blown out to seven goals with two to Maplestone and once each for Buckley, Whitmore and Taylor. The deficit was cut after the break when Robert Bain’s back pass went horrible wrong. Maplestone completed his hat-trick, then added another for good measure after a sublime passing move down the left. Beattie rounded out the scoreline when he made no mistake from the penalty.
RIVALRY ROUND HAS COYNE FIRED UP
Chris Coyne will return to the club at which he started out in today’s National Premier Leagues rivalry round. Perth SC provided Coyne the springboard to a successful career in England 18 years ago but as coach of Bayswater City he will be doing his utmost to plot his former club’s demise at Dorrien Gardens. Coyne joined West Ham United in 1996 and over a dozen seasons made in excess of 300 appearances for West Ham United, Brentford, Dundee, Luton Town and Colchester United before seeing out his playing days with Perth Glory and Chinese club Liaoning Hongyun.
Coaching success has come quickly for Coyne, who gained seven caps for Australia, the 35-year old guiding Bayswater to the 2012 State Championship, the State Cup and back-to-back Night Series titles. Amongst the highlights of last year’s successes was an 8-0 thrashing of Perth but Coyne expects today’s game to be much closer. “Perth was my club when I was a kid and I always enjoy going back there,” he said. “Rivalry Round is a great idea and we’re looking forward to it as a club because Perth are on the crest of a wave and we’re not doing too badly ourselves.”
Coyne said he would emphasise to his players the importance of the club’s history ahead of the Italian derby. “I remember when I was a kid going and watching the big games,” he said. “I remember the history and the tradition and how much it meant. This is a special round and it’s important to the club and the community. We should never lose sight of the ethnic ties and the foundations of these clubs because without that history you’re not playing for a lot. It’s important for the players to realise and respect that.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND FOUR
ECU Joondalup have home ground advantage over northern neighbours Sorrento in the pick of the weekend’s National Premier Leagues action. Joondalup have made a strong statement of intent but captain Jon Higgins says they’ll need to be in peak condition to maintain their unbeaten start to the new season. “Sorrento are always pretty intense meetings and we know they are going to be well organised, big and strong,” said Higgins. “We are in a great place at the moment, the lads are physically and mentally as fit as I’ve ever seen an ECU team and we are banging in a few goals … hopefully there will be a big crowd come along.”
Bayswater City’s quest for a fourth successive win takes them to arch-rivals Perth SC. “It’s always a massive game against Perth. We beat them in the Night Series but the Perth team has changed a great deal since then,” said Bayswater striker Steve Burton. “I have a few friends at Perth and I’m glad they’re going well, but we will want to keep our winning run going and are prepared to work hard to get what we want.” Bayswater captain John Kearney is closing in on his recall, however, the news is not so good for Perth who will be missing Mark Pritchard through work commitments.
Daniel Micevski is quietly confident ahead of Stirling Lions’ game with Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park. “The league is very tight and all points will be tough to get this year,” said the Stirling attacker. “Floreat has had two poor results and I’m sure they will want to bounce back, so we will have to be at our best to get anything from this game. We still have a long list of injuries and are hoping for the boys get back as soon as possible.” Phil Arnold and Clayton Arnez come back in for the home side, who have Jovo Pavlovic and Michael Pugliese also knocking on the selection door.
Balcatta playmaker James Sammut returns to Inglewood United for the first time since his summer move. “It’s going to be a difficult game. Inglewood has a good squad and Normo (coach Graham Normanton) will get them firing, it will only be time before they get some points on the board,” said Sammut. “In saying, that I’m very confident with the squad we have and that we can come away with the three points.” Balcatta are at full-strength for the occasion whereas Inglewood are likely to be without Matt Danskin and Andrija Jukic. All Saturday games kick-off at 3.00pm.
Rivalry round concludes on Sunday when Subiaco AFC welcome Perth Glory to the WA Athletics’ Stadium (6.00pm). Both teams are winless after three games and Glory coach Scott Miller says his team are ready to change that. “I’ve known (Subiaco coach) Gerry (McEwan) a long time and they will be really focused and disciplined and a great test for us,” Miller said. “We want to win games - that’s the whole point of football.” Subiaco welcome Jordan Rhodes back into the line-up but will be missing Mitch Steinberg (suspension) and Phil O’Callaghan (work). Cockburn City verses Armadale has been pushed back to next month due Dalmatinac Park being unavailable.
INGLEWOOD WILL REVERSE POOR RUN ASSERTS PULLELLA
Rookie defender Joseph Pullella maintains Inglewood United are a far better side than their lowly position suggests. The inner city club stump up the National Premier Leagues table with a trio of losses but Pullella says that record fails to reflect the quality of football they have been playing. “We don’t deserve to be nil and three after three games,” said22-year old Pullella. “Anyone who watched us against Sorrento and Bayswater City would have seen us playing some great football. We’re disappointed to have no points on the board, it’s well below the goals we’ve set as a team, but we are confident we can turn the bad run of results around.”
Inglewood was on the verge of collecting their first point of the campaign last weekend when a final minute goal condemned them to a third straight loss. “To say we were devastated is an understatement. To match it with a team like Bayswater for almost all of the game and then concede in the dying seconds was hard to take,” commented Pullella who, result aside, saw positives in his team’s performance. “Bayswater have been the benchmark for the last couple of seasons and we were really pleased with the way we played. Once we settled down, especially in the second half, we had control of the game and really took it to them.”
Pullella has already learnt a lot in his first season of senior football, which comes following extended period away from the game. “Last year was my first year back playing after three years out, due to study and travel, and I had a really successful season with Inglewood’s reserves,” said the former Perth SC junior. “I’m really grateful to Normo (coach Graham Normanton) for giving me the opportunity to play first team, and to the boys for making me feel welcome and part of the team. With every game I play I’m growing in experience and getting used to higher intensity and pace of the game.”
Inglewood will be pulling out all the stops to open their season account this weekend, when they host Balcatta in the fourth round of NPL fixtures. “Balcatta had a good win over Armadale last weekend, they have a good squad and it’s going to be a tough game,” commented Pullella, who feels the time is right for Inglewood to kick-start their campaign. “For us, the hunger and positivity is there. We go into the game confident we can get the result we want and start getting some points on the board.” Inglewood and Balcatta pits skills from 3.00pm on Saturday at Intiga Stadium.
GLORY EDGING CLOSER TO NEW COACH
Perth Glory are close to deciding who will lead the club into 2014/15 after narrowing their coaching shortlist to six candidates. Chief executive Jason Brewer confirmed the club hierarchy were nearing a final decision after months of planning. “It’s a massive decision to make and I’ve been adamant that we’ve got to go through a thorough process and do our due diligence,” Brewer told thewest.com.au “We cannot make the same mistakes of the past. But now the sooner we can get down to a couple (of candidates), the sooner we can make the decision.”
With as many as nine spots in the playing squad to be filled in the off-season, Brewer recognises the urgency in appointing a new coach. “That will remove uncertainty and allow us to really push ahead with signings, with re-signings and some strategic decisions regarding the football department and how it’s structured,” commented Brewer, who confirmed interim coach Kenny Lowe was a chance to be reappointed. “He is one of the five or six shortlisted names that we’ve put together (from) a total submission in excess of 50 (candidates).”
DIXON AT HOME WITH BAYSWATER
Winger Danny Dixon is enjoying life with Bayswater City following a whirlwind spells with English club Carlisle United. Dixon, 19, has been honing his skills for the past couple of years at Carlisle, where he played regular academy football and trained with the first team. Now back in Perth, the talented teenager has set his sights on bringing success to Bayswater and chasing an elusive professional contract. “Everything is going great at the moment,” he said of his joining Bayswater. “Everyone at the club is friendly and are always trying to encourage you … I think that is the main reason why I have settled in so quickly.”
The opportunity to be coached by former Socceroos defender Chris Coyne was the key factor in Dixon’s decision of where he would play this year. “When I came back from England I spoke to (Bayswater’s) assistant coach Stewart Moses and he asked me to come down for pre-season training,” he commented. “After a few sessions Chris spoke to me and asked me to sign, which I was over the moon with because of the experience and standard of the squad already. Chris has been a professional all his life and played at a very high standard so he is someone who can give you advice and teach you things.”
Dixon, who was born in England and initially moved to Australia in 2009, thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent at Brunton Park. “I played for Carlisle United academy for two years and really enjoyed it. I trained a little bit with the first team but not enough to get myself a contract,” explained Dixon, a former Sorrento, Floreat Athena and ECU Joondalup junior. “At the moment I’m enjoying my football at Bayswater and I’ll be doing everything I can to bring success to the club this season. At the same time, it’s my dream to become a professional footballer and would move anywhere in the world to follow my dream.”
Dixon marked his return to the local scene by scoring the only goal of Bayswater’s opening round defeat of Armadale. This weekend he get to experience his first traditional derby with Bayswater travelling to arch-rivals Perth SC. “We’re under no illusions – the game against Perth will be tough,” said Dixon. “They have had two good wins against Floreat Athena and Sorrento, and it’s the Italian rivals so it’s a big game in that sense as well. Hopefully we will be able to keep our winning streak going and stay top of the table.” Dorrien Gardens hosts the Perth-Bayswater derby from 3.00pm on Saturday.
GRIFFITHS IN FOR THE LONG HAUL
Midfielder Rostyn Griffiths is yet to feature in a winning team for Perth Glory but that’s not to say he regrets signing for his hometown club. Glory have slumped to last place in the A-League on the back of a ten-game winless run and Griffiths, who joined the club in January, intends playing his part as the club sets about building towards next season. “When I came back it was good for me at the time because I was injured, but also I came back because I’m passionate for Perth Glory,” Griffiths told thewest.com.au “I want to see them do well and I used to watch them growing up. I want to try to build something here and that needs to be done from top to bottom.”
Glory have been under the command of interim coach Kenny Lowe since Griffiths arrival and the midfielder says for the club to move forward they need to settle on a permanent coach sooner rather than later. “We’ve certainly got everything that you need to be a successful team,” said Griffiths, who played his junior football for ECU Joondalup. “We just need that bit of stability and somebody that knows they’re going to get the job so they can start building for the following season. Then as a player you’ve got to adapt to the style of what that person wants to do. That hasn’t happened yet because we’re not sure what’s going on.”
Glory host Newcastle Jets on Sunday and after that have two games left in which to get enough points on the board to avoid collecting their first wooden spoon in the club’s 18-year history, and at the same time restore the fans’ faith. “The fans are always the most important part of football,” he said. “If they’re not there, then there’s no point playing. The Perth fans are probably not happy at the minute, as we aren’t as players. The next three games are an opportunity for us to try to win them back over. During the off-season we need to win them back and get them back again because the (crowd) numbers have obviously dropped off in the last few weeks.”
COMYN-PLATT RELISHING NORTHERN DERBY
It may not rate as one of his greatest derby moments but ECU Joondalup defender Charlie Comyn-Platt is nonetheless looking forward to this weekend’s home clash with Sorrento. The northern neighbours are both riding high on the National Premier Leagues table after three games, Joondalup in second place with Sorrento one point behind, and Comyn-Platt is tipping Saturday’s game to be just as close. “Games between the two clubs are always a good battle, and we’re not expecting anything different on Saturday,” Comyn-Platt told thewest.com.au “They are well organised and have an experienced line up, so it will be a tough game. It will be an exciting game to watch.”
Comyn-Platt, 28, joined Joondalup in 2009 after playing with success in England with Bolton Wanderers, Swindon Town and Rochdale, amongst others. The towering defender featured in several Lancashire derbies, with a trip to Manchester City while with Bolton particularly memorable. “My best derby moment in the UK was when I was at Bolton and I made the first team squad for a trip to Maine Road to take on Manchester City in the English Premier League,” he said. “It was a great buzz for me as I’ve been a City fan since I was a kid. Unfortunately I didn’t make the bench but it was a great experience for me.”
WHEELER OFFERS YOUNG FEMALE ‘KEEPERS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
Ambitious young female goalkeepers are being offered an exciting opportunity to be trained by the Matilda’s most decorated goalkeeper, Tracey Wheeler, and former Perth Glory shot-stopper Kristy Teschinsky. Wheeler, who represented Australia on 49 occasions between 1989 and 2000, has teamed up with former student Teschinsky and the Beckenham Angels club to provide young ‘keeper’s a unique coaching experience. “Kristy and I have got a lot out of the women’s game and want to give something back,” explained Wheeler. “Specialist goalkeeper training for young women is a rare commodity. Developing the necessary agility and ability to read the game is hard to do on your own.”
Wheeler and Teschinsky will jointly conducted specialist ‘keeper training every Thursday night through the coming winter at Beckenham’s home ground of Redcliffe Reserve in Belmont (until mid-April) and Mills Park in Beckenham (from mid-April). As an added bonus, the opportunity exists for one of the attendees to play regularly for Beckenham, who in the last couple of year have won the Premier Division championship (2012) and State Cup (2013). “Our reserves goalkeeper has had to withdraw for this season and we are still deciding on a ‘keeper for the Division One side,” commented Wheeler. Further information about ‘keeper training with Beckenham contact Wheeler on 0423 031 912.
SOCCEROOS DRAW SOUTH KOREA AT ASIAN CUP
Australia have been drawn in the same pool as heavyweights South Korea for next year’s Asian Cup. The opening game of the 16-team tournament will be played between host nation Australia and Kuwait on 9 January. The Socceroos then meet Oman (13 January) before taking on fellow World Cup contestants South Korea four days later in their final game of the group stage. As top seeds, Australia avoid top-ranked sides Japan, Iran and Uzbekistan, who were each drawn into one of the four groups. However, South Korea, who have qualified for eight successive World Cups were placed in the second pot of teams after temporarily falling outside Asia’s top four.
DAVIES ADMITS TO STEEP LEARNING CURVE
Young defender Matthew Davies has gone through a rollercoaster ride of experiences this season with Perth Glory. Glory, winless in their last ten outings, is rooted to the bottom of the A-League table and 19-year old Davies is the first to concede he hasn’t had the easiest of transitions to national League football. “The run of results hasn’t been ideal so it’s been an interesting introduction to senior football,” Davies told fourfourtwo.com/au “Morale and effort has still been consistently good among the playing group all season though. The biggest learning curve has been the adjustment to senior football and its cutthroat nature.”
Davies was promoted to the senior set-up at the start of the season and has made 15 appearances since debuting in October. And while not a lot has gone right for Glory on the park this season, the teenage right back says the team cannot afford to dwell on their poor run. “We just have to pick ourselves up and not feel sorry for ourselves. We’ll try and finish off the season with some good results and look to rebuild some belief,” he said leading into this weekend’s game with Newcastle Jets, who are coming off a 5-0 thrashing of Wellington Phoenix. “It’s a massive ask (but) we won’t make it easy for them to come and get a result at our home ground.”
VELAPHI RESIGNS WITH HEART
Melbourne Heart have shored up their defensive options for next season with goalkeeper Tando Velaphi agreeing a one-year contract extension. Velaphi stopper joined Heart from crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory last year and, although he is yet to make an appearance for the club, the 26-year old has proven a worthy back-up to first-choice ‘keeper Andrew Redmayne. “To be part of this club next season is exciting,” said Velaphi, a former Perth SC junior. “The players and staff have been very supportive and I’m eager to continue my career here at Heart.” Velaphi joins Jason Hoffman and David Williams in resigning with Heart for the summer of 2014/15.
MCKEAN JOINS SWAN FOR FINAL HURRAH
The opportunity to be reunited with coach Salv Todaro was all it took to convince Ian McKean to sign on with Division One side Swan United for the coming winter. McKean, 34, was a key figure in Ashfield’s run to last year’s State Cup final, and although his departure from that club has surprised many the Scotland-born defender says moving to Swan is what’s best for him. “I have a lot of time for Salv,” commented McKean. “He is a great coach, he knows how to get the best out of the players at his disposal and there’s reasoning behind everything he does.”
The focus at Swan this season will be on rebuilding and McKean is looking forward to doing his bit in settling the club up for future success. “I think Salv knows exactly what I can provide to Swan and it’s definitely not my lightning pace and quality technique,” joked McKean. “As a team I feel that aiming to win one game at a time and playing out the coach’s game plan – in this initial rebuilding phase – would be our target. I know a bit of the Swan history and everyone has a goal to make the National Premier Leagues, but looking at where Swan finished last year, this season will be a challenge.”
Todaro is delighted to have gained the services of McKean, who has enjoyed spells with Queens Park, Balcatta, Morley Windmills and Ashfield in the past eight years. “Ian brings to Swan the experience that we require to assist the young boys within the team to make the transition into senior football,” said Todaro. “He has leadership qualities that will bring the team together in what is essentially a rebuilding year for us, and mostly he is a hard-working player who has a never-say-die attitude that will see us be a very competitive team this year.”
McKean admits leaving Ashfield was a big step to take. “It was a very difficult decision,” he said. “I have some really good mates there (but) with the strength of the squad they currently have I simply wasn’t confident of getting enough game time to justify playing one more year before I hang the boots up. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ashfield, the constant craic with the guys was fantastic. It’s a great club with a good structure and ambition behind the scenes to drive them forward, and I wish them all the best for the season ahead.”
CENTRAL COAST PRIMED TO STORM INTO FINALS
New Zealand international Storm Roux says Central Coast Mariners are timing their run perfectly heading into the A-League finals. Central Coast have turned their season around with wins from three of their last four games moving them into joint third place alongside Melbourne Victory. “I feel we did well,” said Roux of the weekend’s come-from-behind defeat of Melbourne Heart. “It’s very hard coming off a mid-week game in Asia to back it up in the A-League with all the travel and everything. And after going through a rough period a few weeks ago I think we’re coming into form at the perfect time heading into the finals.”
KERR LOOKS TO THE WORLD CUP
Matilda’s attacker Sam Kerr has set her sights on another World Cup appearance as she enters one of the most important periods of her career. 20-year old Kerr is awaiting clearance for her return to the United States of America where she will link up with Western New York Flash. And while success at club level rates high on Kerr’s priority list, it is in the international arena that her main focus lies. “My goals this year are just as a team to qualify for the World Cup,” Kerr told Shayne Hope of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “You love to have personal goals, but team goals are the best ones and to go to a World Cup was the best, so to go again would be a nice feeling.”
The Matildas will attempt to defend their Asian Cup crown in Vietnam this May. Kerr, who scored Australia’s goal in the 2010 tournament finale against North Korea, is mindful of the impact such international success can have. “Last time we won the Asian Cup, there was a lot of respect gained for our team and women’s football in general,” said Kerr. “These are the things we want. We want to be full-time professionals and that’s the type of thing we have to do to become full-time professionals. We have to be successful because people want to follow successful teams. Last time when we won, that’s what happened and to do that again would be awesome.”
Kerr enjoyed a stellar 2013, starring for the Western New York and winning the W-League championship with Sydney FC. The livewire attacker is looking forward to a second season in the United States, after which she intends returning to the W-League. Kerr is unsure which club she will be playing for in Australia, with Perth Glory Women a distinct possibility. “I would love to come home to Perth and play at home because I’ve lived away for two years but what’s best for me football-wise, I’m not sure yet,” Kerr said. “We’ll see how the season with the Flash goes and how much I’m missing home.”
BIRIGHITTI A STEP CLOSER TO EUROPE
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has flown to Germany where he’ll meet with representatives of Bayer Leverkusen. Widely recognised as one of the A-League’s best shot-stopper, Birghitti has been linked with an end-of-season move to the Bundesliga giants, who have been closely monitoring the 22-year old’s progress. His departure comes on the end of an eventful fortnight which included a training ground bust-up with teammate Tyler Regan and an error-riddle display against Central Coast Mariners, amid claims he was distracted by a potential move to Germany. Birighitti will return to Perth on Saturday ahead of Newcastle’s away game with Perth Glory the following day.
NEW YORK SIGN WILLIAMS
Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams will play the coming season in the United States of America after inking a deal with Western New York Flash. Williams, a two-time W-League Goalkeeper of the Year, joins fellow West Australian Samantha Kerr at the club where she’ll hold the number one spot. “I’m really excited to be here, especially being able get involved with the club at the start of the season,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to playing with a world-renowned team that has a history of appearing in championships. I’m really excited to see what the season has to hold and to play in front of an American crowd.”
Williams’ opportunity for a second spell in the United States – she was part of the Chicago Red Stars squad in 2009 – came after regular ‘keeper Adrianna Franch suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during Western New York’s first pre-season training session. “After an unexpected season-ending injury in the first week, we’re very fortunate to be able to find a top goalkeeper that was available to come to our club right away,” Western New York coach Aaran Lines said. “Lydia will be able to come in and impact our team immediately.” Williams is the sixth Australian to sign on for the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League campaign.
WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH ADMITS GLORY BOSS
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe concedes his team is simply not good enough after crashing 3-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers yesterday. In fact, Lowe found it difficult to find any positives to come from the result which kept Glory at the bottom of the A-League table, three points behind Melbourne Heart. “When you’re dominated like that by a good side, I think you’ve just got to put your hands up,” he said of the Western Sydney loss. “Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to people and say ‘that was top notch’, because they were top notch.”
Lowe took a philosophical stance in addressing the reasons behind Glory’s ten-game winless run. “It showed that we’re not good enough,’ he added. “You actually look inside, you don't look outside for excuses or ways out. You actually take a long hard look at yourself and really ask the question ‘have I really given everything?’ Probably some of the young boys have, just unfortunately they’re not of the quality they need to be at the present moment. (Against Western Sydney) they just got out-fought, out-run, out-battled and outplayed, but that’s life.”
Lowe, who took up the coaching reins in December on an interim basis, feels he could do well if awarded the position permanently. “Bottom of the league … I think we’ve coped admirably, and we’ve tried, but that’s down to other people to decide what they want to do,” said Lowe when asked about his chances to stay with Glory for 2014/15. “I’m passionate, I care and we’ve got a lot of boys in the change room who are like that. I’d certainly love to be around, I think I’ve got some qualities that could help but again, that’s out of my hands.”
GLORY STARLET DE SILVA EYES ITALIAN DEAL
Midfield prodigy Daniel De Silva is on the verge of a record-breaking multi-million dollar move to Italy’s Serie A, one of the world’s biggest domestic leagues. De Silva, 17, left Perth with is family on Friday and is understood to be close to agreeing a deal with an unnamed Italian club, who have been in discussions with football agent Frank Trimboli. Perth Glory, who signed De Silva thirteen months ago, will pocket a record transfer fee for a player leaving the A-League should the deal eventuate. The current record stands at $1.3 million which Chinese club Guangzhou R&F paid Central Coast Mariners in 2012 for West Australian midfielder Rostyn Griffiths.
De Silva has made just a dozen A-League appearances, ten of which have been off the bench, since debuting for Glory in March last year. A deal with the Serie A club would almost certainly involve the midfielder being loaned back to Glory until the end of his existing contract, which expires at the end of next season. “We can all agree that Daniel is an exceptional talent that has had major interest from abroad,” said Glory chief executive Jason Brewer, who made clear the club’s desire for De Silva to play at the highest possible level. “We feel that it is our moral obligation as a club to best facilitate his future as best we can.”
De Silva has come a long way since initially being spotted playing juniors for Kingsway Olympic and Stirling Lions. He trained with Everton in 2012 and caught the eye of scouts from Inter Milan and Manchester United at a Nike All-Asia Football Camp. Last year, he made international headlines at the Under-20 World Cup where he became Australia’s youngest international goal scorer. De Silva’s family are believed to have knocked back a reported $1 million offer from Italian Serie A club Catania last year, following rave reviews of the teenager’s progress with Glory and Australia’s youth teams.
HAPLESS GLORY OUTCLASSED BY WESTERN SYDNEY
Western Sydney Wanderers turned in one of their best performances of the season to spank A-League cellar dwellers Perth Glory 3-0 at Parramatta Stadium. Goals from Jerome Polenz, Mark Bridge and Tomi Juric ended Western Sydney’s three game winless streak and jumped them back into second spot on the ladder. But the situation is far from rosy for Glory, who have now gone ten games without tasting victory and will play the final three games of the season for pride, desperate to avoid collecting the wooden spoon for the first time in their 18-year history.
Western Sydney were a class above their opponent throughout the 90 minutes and at no stage looked to be in any danger. After a somewhat scrappy start the game sprang into life when Youssouf Hersi tested Jack Duncan twice in the space of a minute, the Glory custodian coming up trumps on both occasions. Jerome Polenz sent a shot harmless over the crossbar, Brendon Santalab was foiled by a magnificent tackle from William Gallas, and Hersi brought the best out of Duncan with a fierce drive from close-range. The hosts deservedly went ahead four minutes from half-time when Polenz volleyed in after his initial shot was blocked.
Glory didn’t call Ante Covic into action until eight minutes into the second half when Jamie he denied MaClaren. A quick break on the hour was rewarded with a second goal for Western Sydney, Bridge creating enough space for himself to beat Duncan with a marvellous curling shot. The hosts were in complete control and on 78 minutes newly introduced substitute Juric made it three-nil with a splendid rising shot after being served by Hersi. Duncan was kept on his toes right up to the final whistle by denying Hersi for the fifth time in stoppage time.
MCCARTHY TO THE RESCUE
A goal deep in stoppage time from Paul McCarthy scored Bayswater City a thrilling 3-2 win over neighbouring Inglewood United at Frank Drago Reserve. Bayswater twice went ahead through Brian Farrell and Sahr Musa only to have Jarrad McNally and Ryan Francis level proceedings, however, there was no time left for the visitors to respond when McCarthy put away their third goal. “It was epic,” said Bayswater goalkeeper Devon Spence. “When they equalised I thought we had let two points slip, but Macca pulled a stunning goal from his box of tricks for us to come away with the win.”
Bayswater came out swinging and were unlucky not to go ahead after 2 minutes, Todd Howarth picking out Danny Dixon whose back post volley brought a superb reflex save out of goalkeeper Luke Martino. Dixon was in again moments later, courtesy of Burton, but Martino provided his foil for a second time by making the save. The home side continued to pressure and 16 minutes Shane Pickering coughed up possession to Farrell who streamed forward before firing low into the net from 10-metres. Martino prevented the margin from increasingly before the break by saving from Farrell, while Burton flashed a header just over the crossbar.
The opening stages of the second stanza were all Inglewood and the teams would have been level had an alert Devon Spence not saved from Francis. As it was they needed to wait only until the 56th minute for parity to be restored, Francis driving down the left and while his low shot was blocked by Spence the rebound fell invitingly for McNally to fire in from the edge of the area. Inglewood’s dominance continued but Greg Sharland’s effort from distance was straight at Spence. And Ryan Clarke had the target in his sights when Trent Kay’s last-gasp tackle robbed him of the shot.
So it was very much against the run of play that Bayswater regained the lead on 81 minutes, a slip by Connor Devlin letting let in Burton whose cross to the back post was slammed in at close-range by substitute Musa. Inglewood refused to give up the chase and two minutes into stoppage time Clarke, having dispossessed McCarthy, raced clear and centred for Francis to fire in from the edge of the area. It looked as though that would be it when McCarthy’s brilliant shot on the turn from a Damian Catalano cross flashed past Martino to decide the game.
FLOREAT HAVE NO ANSWERS TO FREE-SCORING JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup extended their unbeaten start to the new season by stunning Floreat Athena 4-1 at Litis Stadium. Ryan Townsend headed the visitors into an early lead before captain Jon Higgins increase the difference to three goals at the break. Jon Stynes added another shortly after the resumption to move the northern suburbs side to within two points of leaders Bayswater City. “Teams are struggling to keep up with the high intensity football we’re playing at the moment,” said Stynes. “I’m enjoying the style we’re playing and I’m happy to have scored a couple goals this early in the season.”
Joondalup made a flying start by taking the lead after only 10 minutes when Joe Smith returned a partially cleared corner back into the area where Townsend rose highest to head past Tom Dixon. The margin was doubled after 23 minutes via Higgins, who powerfully headed in from a Tommy Amphlett corner. It took only a further two minutes for Higgins to make it three-nil, the midfielder giving Dixon no chance with a free-kick awarded for a foul on Amphlett. Floreat were fortunate not to concede again when Amphlett volleyed crisply on target only for Dixon to save.
The second half was seven minutes old when Joondalup put away their fourth goal, Stynes tapping in the loose ball after Lee Jones’ shot was blocked by Dixon. The Floreat custodian did well to thwart Amphlett again moments later, likewise Andy Banks at the other end where Heagney’s shot was tipped over. But otherwise it was pretty much one-way traffic with David Foster, Genaveo Human and Jake Benson-Cooper each going close to adding themselves to the scoresheet. The game almost at and end when Heagney scored Floreat’s consolation from the penalty spot after a hadball call went against Benson-Cooper.
PERTH GO BACK-TO-BACK THANKS TO ROSINDALE
Summer signings Ashley Rosindale and Mark Pritchard did all the damage as a rampant Perth SC carved out a 5-3 victory over Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Rosindale wrote himself into the history books by striking the first hat-trick of the National Premier Leagues while an industrious Pritchard was handsomely rewarded with two goals. “It was a big win for us, not only was it an important three points but it was good for the team confidence to beat one of last year’s finalist for the second week in a row,” said Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis. “All the players were buzzing after the game.”
Mark Doninger signalled Perth’s desire to be first on the scoreboard by hitting the post after only four minutes. Controversy erupted two minutes later when referee Michael Jasinski inexplicably ruled a foul against Danny Cain and with the dead ball Pritchard curled past the defensive wall and the reach of Curtis Aspden. Not content with a single goal lead, Perth continued to attack but Pritchard and Rosindale were both foiled by Aspden. Their persistence paid dividends in the 16th minute with Rosindale getting his angles right to head in from a Robert Sciascia corner.
There was a fair degree of good luck six minutes later when Reece Vittiglia’s shot deflected off defender James Marocchi and past Alex Dunn to bring Sorrento back into the game. Sean Canham came within inches of putting the teams back on levels terms soon after with a curling attempt which passed out the wrong side of the upright. With Sciascia and Friday Zico providing plenty of width, Perth re-established control soon enough. Goal number three arrived eight minutes from half-time, Pritchard curling past a diving ‘keeper after being afforded time and space on top of the area.
Sorrento started the second half well and on 54 minutes Vittiglia struck the ball into an empty net following an aerial clash with Dunn, who appeared to have been impeded by his opponent. This had a galvanising effect on the away team and in the 64th minute they returned fire, Rosindale putting away his second goal after a nice run by Zico. Those celebrations had barely subsided when Platten guided into the net after Cain’s header on a James Morgan’s corner came back off the post. But the day belonged to Perth with fifteen minutes remaining Rosindale completed his hat-trick by converting a Pritchard corner.
STIRLING MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR CHANCES
Stirling Lions recorded their first win of the season by eking out a scrappy 2-0 victory over Perth Glory at Macedonia Park. Returning attacker Daniel Micevski had the home side ahead at the break with substitute Jack Salter sealing the result late on, however, the outcome may have been quite different had Glory remembered to bring their finishing boots. “It’s always good to get the three points,” Micevski commented. “It was a solid team effort and a deserved result … but the best is still to come from Stirling.”
The first sign of Glory’s wasteful came soon after kick-off, Joe Knowles placing wide when he should have at minimum tested goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski from 9-metres. The experience of Micevski, Hayden Doyle and captain Andy Brown prove vital as Stirling steadied the ship before going on to control the remainder of the half. But the hosts had to wait until the 28th minute before being rewarded, Tim Hill finding the feet of Micevski whose shot flashed across Fraser Greenwood to nestle inside the far bottom corner.
It was only after the introduction of Borbor Sambindi early in the second half that Glory really started to ask questions of the Stirling defence. On several occasion the visitors worked the ball to within sight of goal but on each occasion a lack of composure resulted in rushed shots, none of which caused concern for Vrteski. Stirling too was wasteful in their finishing but with five minutes to go Hill intercepted the ball in midfield and played a delightful pass through the defence which Slater latched onto before applying a clinical finish from 9-metres.
BAMBER PLANS TO RIGHT WRONGS ON THE TRAINING TRACK
Armadale coach Lee Bamber lamented “silly mistakes” following his teams’ 4-2 loss to Balcatta at Alfred Skeet Oval. Sam Loveless scored a brace for the home side but it wasn’t enough as Benny Kouakou and Gustavo Catarcione netted twice each to give Balcatta their first win of the new season. “To concede four goals at home is disappointing and something we will have to address in the week,” said Bamber. “I can’t criticise the players for their commitment, they fought back well after (being two-nil down at) the break, but it was little mistakes that cost us in the end … it was one of those days.”
Early possession was relatively evenly shared with both teams prodding forward cautiously. Balcatta were perhaps the more enterprising and just before the half hour strike partners Kouakou and Catarcione combined with the former blasting into the top corner when faced by only goalkeeper Matthew Gould. That lead was added to seven minutes from the break, Catarcione allowed far too much space with a shot on the turn which flew into the net. Armadale should have cut the deficit before half-time but Faustinho Machochi somehow failed to connect in the box, somehow the striker failed to connect after being found unmarked by Jason Barrera.
Armadale resumed the attack after the restart and in the 56th minute Loveless slammed into the net after ‘keeper Clint Davies moved sharply to keep out his initial spot kick. Four minutes later and the teams were level, Dannie Richman cutting the ball back for Loveless to side-foot in from 5-metres. That was as good as it got for Armadale who, in the 65th minute, failed to pick up Kouakou who shot truly following a short corner move. The game was made safe on 78 minutes when Catarcione converted from the spot after Kouakou had been brought down. Armadale pressed last but the crossbar denied Luke Bogoni’s what would have been little more than a consolation.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND THREE
There are a number of intriguing showdowns in the third round of the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA. The pick of the action takes place at Intiga Stadium were Perth Glory and Stirling Lions are both focused on scoring their first win of the season. “We’ve had a good week on the track and have a full squad to choose from, giving the coaches some tough decisions to make,” said Glory’s Joe Knowles. Jacob Collard has recovered from injury and is pushing for a spot in Glory’s starting line-up, and it’s a similar situation at Stirling where Andy Brown and Clayton Arnez are again available.
Perth SC striker Ashley Rosindale is expecting a tough afternoon at Sorrento. “They are consistent, organised, hardworking and direct side who make it difficult for the opposition, so we will need to be at our best,” said Rosindale. “Last week’s win (at Floreat Athena) has given us a boost in confidence, but we know we can improve in certain areas.” Perth attacker Friday Zico should take his place in the starting eleven despite exiting last week’s game at half-time through injury, while Sorrento’s options have been strengthened with the return of playmakers Scott Bulloch and Jason Mirco.
Armadale must play to their strengths if they’re to get the better of a new-look Balcatta at Alfred Skeet Oval. “We know it will be a tough game, they haven’t had the best start to the season but they do have a completely new line-up,” said Armadale defender Sam Loveless, whose team chalked up their maiden NPL win last time out. “We need to hold onto the ball and make the right decision to make the most of our possession. We head into this game full of confidence and looking to make it back-to-back home wins.”
League leaders Bayswater City have home ground advantage against an Inglewood United side yet to register a point. John Kearney returns from injury for Bayswater whereas Inglewood remains without Matt Danskin and Andrija Jukic. Floreat Athena are minus a trio of key players for their game with ECU Joondalup at Litis Stadium. Injury prevents Ludovic Boi, Jamie Eames and Mark Walsh from stepping onto the park but the home side do regain the services of Bobby Wilson. Cockburn City’s home date with Subiaco AFC has been re-scheduled to late April. All five games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
VRTESKI CONSIDERS STIRLING “STRONGER THAN LAST YEAR”
Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski says it will only be a matter of time before Stirling Lions start hitting their straps and surge up the National Premier Leagues standings. Stirling have struggled through the opening rounds of the new season, scrapping together just a single point from two games, but Vrteski nonetheless rates his team as being better than that which topped the Premier Division last year. “The potential is there for us to be a stronger team than last year,” said Vrteski. “Once we have our full quota of players available we will able to match it with anyone.”
Injury has been cruel to Stirling so far this year with no fewer than eleven player’s – including Phil Arnold, Daniel Micevski, Danny Milne and captain Andy Brown – unavailable last weekend. “From last season’s Grand Final squad I think we have had only two or three players available,” said Vrteski, who feels things will turn around with the return of some familiar faces. “No one can tell you experience doesn’t count and we’ve got some experienced bodies coming back into the side. Andy Brown, Jovo Pavlovic and Clayton Arnez are due back in the next fortnight and in the following weeks there should be a few more.“
Vrteski has no complaints with the outcome of last weekend’s home loss to Cockburn City. “The 3-0 result was a fair result, we weren’t really at the races and the result told that,” said the goalkeeper. Even though Stirling had nothing to show for their endeavours on the day, there were nonetheless some positives to come from the game. “Five 19-year olds got the opportunity to have a taste of first team football and what is required of them to be competitive at this level,” added Vrteski. “The last couple of weeks have been a huge learning curve for a lot of the players.”
Stirling’s search for their first win of the home and away series takes them to Intiga Stadium on Saturday afternoon for a date with Perth Glory. “There’s been a lot of soul searching and I believe there will be a positive response from within the camp,” said Vrteski, who played for Glory when they last fielded a team in the local league in 2002. “One game does not make a season but the beauty of football is that you do get a chance to rectify things. We have a lot of self believe within the player group and go into every game confident in our ability to get a positive result.”
ARMADALE “ON THE WAY UP” REVEALS CONTERA
Armadale will not be resting on their laurels after chalking up their maiden National Premier Leagues victory says to Saul Contera. The Reds fended off a late revival from Subiaco AFC last weekend to collect maximum points for the first time in the new competition by a 2-1 scoreline. Contera, who joined the coaching staff over the summer, saw plenty of positives in the performance but feels there is still some way to go before they reach their potential. “We won’t be getting carried away with one result,” said Armadale’s new assistant coach. “We know we must work hard week in, week out to reach a higher standard.”
Goals either side of half-time from Mitch Castrilli and new signing Fasutinho Machochi earned Armadale their first National Premier League win last weekend, 2-1 over Subiaco AFC. “It was fantastic to get three points on the board,” said Contera before. “But there is still much work to do to get to the level we want to get to. Everyone at the club has their feet planted firmly on the ground. We know it will take a little bit of time to get to where we want, but we are working very hard. I have come to a fantastic club in Armadale, who are very much on the way up.”
Contera, 29, joined Armadale over the summer and has nothing but the highest of praise for his new club. “It has been quality,” he said of the way he has been warmly welcomed into the fold at Armadale. “I couldn’t have asked for a better reception to the club from everyone – the players, coaches, committee and team managers. There is a massive support network at Armadale for coaches and players, and the club is run very well. That can only mean well for the future and all of the coaching staff hope to bring Armadale the success they deserve.”
The summer was a busy time for Armadale coach Lee Bamber, who strengthened his on-field team by dipping into the transfer market. “The squad is stronger than it has been in the last few years with some quality imports,” Contera said of the Reds playing stocks. “Alec Solomon’s and Matt Gould, who have only just arrived, plus the addition of Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts, John Thornley and Faustinho Machochi means people have to work harder to earn a position. It gives Lee and myself some nice little headaches when it comes to team selection.”
Contera took his first tentative coaching steps with Floreat Athena before making the move to Balcatta as assistant to Michael Roki in 2011. When Roki departed on the eve of last season it was to Contera that the club turned. “I had a good time at Balcatta, I developed a lot and learnt a lot,” commented Contera, who battled a lengthy absentee list in guiding the club to ninth place last season. “You can only work with what you have got and I did the best I could with what I had at my disposal … I wasn’t disappointed when I was moved on.”
Nonetheless, Contera is focused on getting one over his former club on Saturday afternoon at Grindleford Reserve. “For the club, Balcatta are another side that we want to beat (but) for me personally, it would be a little sweeter if we get the points,” said Contera, who recognises his team will need to be at their best to take anything from the game. “Balcatta have recruited heavily so they have a much stronger and completely different squad than last year. On paper they are a top four side. It will be very tough but we are always confident of causing an upset.”
GLORY HEAD EAST WITHOUT SIDNEI
Perth Glory winger Sidnei Sciola has been ruled out of this weekend’s game with Western Sydney Wanderers. The exciting Brazilian was omitted from the 18-player squad for Sunday’s meeting at Pirtek Stadium by the groin injury suffered in last week’s home loss to Melbourne Victory. Ryan Edwards, Josh Risdon and Riley Woodcock were all promoted to the squad, which will be cut by two on match day. Despite struggling with injury in recent weeks, central defenders Michael Thwaite and William Gallas appear likely starters, however, star striker Shane Smeltz remains sidelined by a groin complaint.
Western Sydney bolstered their squad with the return of Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic and Japanese marquee player Shinji Ono. Coach Tony Popovic could make several changes to his starting line-up after securing a 1-0 mid-week win over Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale in the Asian Champions League. Glory are winless in nine matches and rooted to the foot of the A-League ladder with four regular season games to play. With their finals hopes all but gone, the playing group has refocused their attention on avoiding what would be the first wooden spoon in Glory’s 18-year history.
SORRENTO TEST ONE KELTIE IS LOOKING FORWARD TO
English import Clark Keltie believes the physical component of Sorrento’s game will be a good gauge for whether Perth SC are ready to challenge for the National Premier Leagues title. Keltie, a veteran of over 300 games in England and Iceland, has seen enough of Sorrento during his year in Perth to know what to expect from the Gulls at Percy Doyle Reserve this weekend. “I watched them in the first week and they are a physical side and are hard to beat, especially at their place, as we found last season going down in both games,” Keltie told thewest.com.au “If we’re going to be successful this time around, we have go to these sorts of places and pick up points.”
Perth has come a long way since last season and Keltie has faith in the player’s coach Taki Nicolaidis brought into the senior squad over the summer. “We have recruited well and added some quality in all areas of the park. We have a good mix of experience and youth in the side this season,” said the midfielder who gained his first start of the season in last week’s 4-1 defeat of Floreat Athena. “It wasn’t a good first half performance from us but we finished clinically, which was missing in the draw against Perth Glory the week before. We worked hard until the final whistle ... it was a step in the right direction for us.”
TAGGART CONFIDENT NEWCASTLE CAN FIRE
The A-League’s top finisher Adam Taggart is confident his partnership with wingers Joel Griffiths and David Carney will continue to flourish as Newcastle Jets continued to push towards the end-of-season play-offs. Carney gained his first start for Newcastle on the left flank against Central Coast Mariners last weekend while Griffiths bagged his first goal of the season in the same game. “It’s been perfect the way we’ve fit in so quickly, it was nice on the weekend and it’s only going to get better,” Taggart told newcastlejets.com.au “Dave and Joel are still getting match fit each week, the combinations are there it’s maybe just that final ball or final product that we need to get right.”
Carney and Griffiths each brings something vital to the table in Newcastle’s quest for a top six berth according to Taggart. “They’re both individually very good and very different which is something you need, you don’t want two wingers exactly the same,” he said. “Joel’s a natural goal scorer and is always looking to find the back of the net, Dave’s got a wand of a left foot and is always looking to take people on technically. It’s great having the two differences in there and for someone like me it’s great to have two players who are really looking to play forward and create opportunities for me … I don’t see why we can’t put a few more goals away.”
Taggart is hungry to add to the eleven goals he’s already put away this season in pursuit of the Golden Boot award. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the Golden Boot, of course I want it, goals are all I think about,” Taggart, who sits jointly at the top the scorers charts alongside Melbourne Heart’s David Williams. “It’s motivation in training to work harder and get better at finishing and stay more composed so when game day comes you’re ready. But at the same time it wouldn’t matter if I’d scored one goal or twenty goals, I’d still be trying to do exactly the same thing going onto the pitch.”
Newcastle enter the fourth to last round of the season in seventh place, but with only three points separating themselves, Adelaide United and Sydney FC. Taggart admits last weekend’s loss at Central Coast was bitterly disappointing but believes the team can put themselves back in the frame by taking the points over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday. “The league is so close, you get a couple of wins on the trot you’re straight back in it as we realised in the last few weeks,” he said. “We’ve got another big opportunity this weekend against Wellington who are coming off a decent performance so they’ll be ready to go but at the same time we’re at home to get three points.”
THWAITE URGES GLORY TO SETTLE ON A COACH
Defender Michael Thwaite has called on Perth Glory management hierarchy to get a hurry along with the appointment of a permanent coach. Kenny Lowe has been in charge of the team on an interim basis since December’s sacking of Alistair Edwards. The club have received a wide range of applications for the full-time role which club owner Tony Sage and chief executive Jason Brewer are in the progress of reviewing. With the season drawing to a close and a large number of players coming out of contract, Thwaite says the time has come for Glory to get serious about focusing their energies on 2014/15.
Thwaite has played under Lowe, Edwards and Ian Ferguson since joining Glory in 2012 is adamant Glory’s on-field problems do not stem from the coaching department. “I would like to see that decision (on a coach) made now and we can even build for the rest of this year and for next,” Thwaite said. “In the last two years I’ve had three great coaches, it’s just about the players being accountable now. Everybody in the last two years has had a chance and especially this year the whole squad’s had a game. It’s up to us to change the pattern of the year.”
Thwaite, who signed a two-year contract extension in December, said Glory should sign players who could instil a winning mindset at the once-proud club. “It’s all about mentality and we want players here at Perth Glory with that winning mentality, whether that’s this year or next year,” Thwaite said. “I think that’s one thing that needs to change. That’s always probably (previously) existed at this club. We’ve always been a heritage club that battles hard with a chance to win and we need that winning mentality back.” Glory are winless in nine matches and sit last on the ladder with four games left to play.
BABALJ ON THE MEND WITH ALKMAAR
AZ Alkmaar attacker Eli Babalj has continued his rehabilitation following a six-month injury lay-off by scoring twice in the first half of his teams’ 8-2 friendly win over ADO 20. Babalj, making just his second appearance for Alkmaar since a hernia operation in September, put away two of his teams opening three goals to lay the foundations for the win. “It’s great for Eli to have scored twice,” coach Reinier Robbemond told az.nl “Today he played for an hour according to the plan … his next steps in training are up to him.” Babalj also featured in the first half of last week’s defeat of Roda JC.
TRAINING BUST-UP BLAMED FOR BIRIGHITTI’S FORGETTABLE NIGHT
Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane has conceded a training ground fight with teammate Taylor Regan may have had a bigger effect on Mark Birighitti than first thought. Birighitti and Regan came to blows at training last Monday and the spat was clearly still on the young goalkeeper’s mind with the 22-year old at fault for two of the three goals conceded in Saturday’s derby loss to Central Coast Mariners. “You never know how it is going to affect an individual and maybe it did have a bigger effect on him than we thought,” conceded Zane.
Birighitti was caught napping when Central Coast defender Eddy Bosnar drilled a free-kick in after just 41 seconds. And the Newcastle shot-stopper’s fumble of Matt Simon’s attempt offered up the third goal to Glen Trifiro two minutes from full-time. Zane refused to point the finger at his ‘keeper, saying his experiences of the last week will make Birighitti a better player in the long run. “Biri’s knows the score, that’s part of his development,” added the coach. “It’s been a very very tough week for the boy and pointing fingers at anyone is not going to help anyone.
ZICO STUNNER SETS UP PERTH WIN
Perth SC picked up their first National Premier League win by thumping Floreat Athena 4-1 this evening at Litis Stadium. An early goal of the season contender by Friday Zico opened the visitors account with Craig Simpson, Ashley Rosindale and Mark Doninger also hitting the back of the net. “We came out hungry and we set the tone from the first whistle,” Zico commented. “We worked hard during mid-week training and the result showed, the boys were up for the game. We played well as a team and I thought we could have had a couple more but we’re happy with the victory.”
Perth waited only 5 minutes before opening their account through a brilliant volley from Zico after meeting Robbie Sciascia’s cross to the far post. The margin was doubled in the 20th minute when Mark Doninger’s corner was powerfully headed in by Simpson at close-range. Ten minutes later Mark Pritchard’s free-kick found its way to Rosindale, who swept the ball past Yousri Gharsallah. Floreat showed a bit more fight after the interval and on 56 minutes Jack Allen pulled a goal back following a neat interchange between Ludovic Boi and David Heagney. Perth were soon back on the attack and when Doninger fired in six minutes later the game was effectively over.
HOWARTH STARS AS BAYSWATER WIN BIG
Bayswater City made it two wins in as many weeks by coming from behind to defeat Balcatta 5-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. Todd Howarth orchestrated the win by providing the ammunition for Steve Burton, Chris Saldaris and Paul McCarthy to find the net. “He’s still an A-League standard player and athlete that never should have left (the competition),” Coyne said of his star midfielder. A brace from each Burton and Saldaris were complimented by McCarthy, and negated finishes by Luke Randazzo and Ben Meredith.
Balcatta got the jump on their hosts by going ahead after only 5 minutes, Meredith cutting the ball back for Randazzo to shot low past goalkeeper Devon Spence. That lead should have been doubled shortly after when Benny Kouakou played through Randazzo, however, the attackers finish this time was side. Although slow to get going, Bayswater equalised in the 24th minute with Burton heading in a Howarth free-kick. Eight minutes later Howarth delivered with another perfectly weighted dead ball which this time was nodded in by Saldaris.
Bayswater stepped up the pace after the break with Saldaris scoring his second from Howarth’s in-swinging corner after 55 minutes. Meredith gave his team a glimmer of hope ten minutes later by scoring after a scrappy exchange inside the area. It didn’t take long for the hosts to re-establish control via another Howarth corner which McCarthy headed through a crowded goalmouth. The final whistle wasn’t far away when Burton got on the end of a Damien Catalano cross to put away Bayswater’s fifth goal.
TEEBOY LINED UP FOR INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United are poised to score a major coup with the recruitment of former Adelaide United striker Teeboy Kamara. An Australian youth international, Kamara became the A-League’s youngest ever player when he stepped out for Adelaide at the age of 15. Inglewood has been in discussions with the now 18-year old for several weeks and will await the outcome of a physical before bringing Kamara into the match day squad. “It’s fantastic for Inglewood,” coach Graham Normanton told thewest.com.au “He wants to re-establish himself as a quality footballer and it’s great that he sees us as a stepping stone back into the A-League.”
Normanton is hopeful Kamara will be declared match ready in time for next weekend’s neighbourhood derby at Bayswater City. “He runs like the wind, he goes past people like they are standing still and he’s got very good feet,” Normanton commented. “You can see he’s played at a decent level.” Kamara, a Liberian refugee who moved to Australia when he was six, gained his first national league outing with Adelaide in late 2011 and a week later agreed to a three-year professional contract. Unfortunately, he has not played competitive football since due to an undisclosed medical condition that has preluded him from playing contact sport.
LOWE LAMENTS YET ANOTHER LOSS
Perth Glory interim coach Kenny Lowe said naivety is costing his side valuable points following another heartbreaking loss. Glory’s winless run extend to nine games after Archie Thompson scored a late winner to send Melbourne Victory home from Perth Oval last night with a 2-1 win. Lowe feels the fact Glory fielded six players aged 23 or under played a big role in the final result. “It’s not a lack of quality, it’s a lot of naivety,” he said. “There was a bit of frustration from the older players because of the lack of intelligence at times, but that comes after you’ve had 50 or 60 league games, not five or six.”
Glory has won just twice from thirteen starts since Lowe’s appointment in December. And while the 52-year old is keen to remain in charge he is not willing to speculate on what might lie beyond the final four games of the current season. “I’d love to be around to have an influence on them further down the line, but whether that happens I haven’t got a clue,” Lowe said. “Can I coach? Yes I can coach, but it’s down to the other people to make the choices and the way before. Hopefully they make the right decision and whether that right decision is me or someone else, I hope it’s the right decision for the club.”
THOMPSON LATE SHOW SINKS GLORY
Melbourne Victory moved up to second on the A-League table after snatching a 2-1 win over Perth Glory tonight at Perth Oval. Archie Thompson decided the game in the final minute of regulation time, capitalising on some brilliant lead-up work, to earn the away side all three points. Up until that moment the game appeared headed for a draw after Mark Milligan turned into his own net before atoning by converting a late first half penalty. The result extends Glory’s winless run to nine games and puts the club on the cusp of finishing the season in last place for the first time in their 18-year history.
There wasn’t a great deal to get excited early on. Nebojsa Marinkovic chanced his luck from distance after 11 minutes but the shot was straight at goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, while Gui Finkler sent a dead ball whizzing wide from 18-metres. Milligan was credited with breaking the deadlock after 27 minutes when Thwaite’s header at a corner ricocheted off the Melbourne captain’s knee and into the back of the net. Tom Rogic went close to equalising three minutes later but was unable to beat the outstretched glove of Jack Duncan. Milligan evened the ledger after 40 minutes by calmly converting from the penalty spot after James Troisi was held back by Matt Davies.
Both sides had early chances in the second half, Marinkovic curling across goal before Thompson headed wide at the other end. Jamie Maclaren’s low centre was sent out for a corner by Scott Galloway, then Troisi’s shot on the run stung the palms of Duncan. The final twenty minutes failed to produce any further openings and neither side would have had any complaints about the points being shared. But with 89 minutes on the clock Troisi played a slide rule pass into the path of Thompson, who took a couple of touches before firing the winner goal low past an exposed Duncan.
CANHAM PUNISHES INGLEWOOD SLOPPINESS
Sorrento made the most of their limited chances to register a 2-1 win over Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium. On the balance of play Inglewood deserved at least a share of the points, however, a stunning Ryan Clarke goal wasn’t enough to overcome Sean Canham’s second brace in as many weeks. “We are happy with the result but we didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” said Sorrento stalwart James Morgan. “To be successful you sometimes have to grind out results and today we soaked up a lot of pressure then hit Inglewood on the counter attack to score our two goals.”
Genuine chances on goal were few and far between in an opening stanza that had the defences on top. Inglewood enjoyed the better of early possession but it took an error from Danny Cain to let in Clarke whose shot from 14-metres was deflected wide. David Perich looked set to post the go-ahead goal on 33 minutes when Curtis Aspden instinctively turned away his close-range shot after creating space for himself. Play swung straight to the other end where Michael McGinley moved the ball across the top of the area for an unmarked Canham to rifle inside the far post for a one-nil lead.
The second half followed much the same pattern and another quick break by the away produced a second goal after 59 minutes, Todd Harnwell clipping the ball to the far post where Canham headed with precision across Luke Martino. Canham was unlucky not to have another three minutes later when his deflected shot had Martino scrambling along the goal line. Clarke’s low centring ball was just out of David Perich’s reach as Inglewood sought a way back in. But that door would have closed had Adam Luca not headed over the top from dead in front of goal in the 66th minute.
Clarke took it upon himself to half the deficit at the very next play, the midfielder cutting in from the right before elegantly curling across Aspden and into the top corner. With this Inglewood stepped up their game. Livewire attacked David Sesay twice gave Aspden reason for concern before Ryan Francis’ dipping effort landed on the top netting. Greg Sharland squandered a golden opportunity by skying a low centre from Jon Stripe. Their final chance to salvage the afternoon fell to Perich but he scuffed wide when it seemed easier to hit the target.
JOONDALUP TAKES THE GLORY WITH SECOND HALF BLITZ
Perth Glory’s youngsters were given a harsh lesson in the realities of senior football after a rampant ECU Joondalup pilled on five unanswered second half goals to triumph 5-2 winners at the Edith Cowan University campus. Tommy Amphlett struck twice with Lee Jones, David Foster and Jon Stynes also on the scoresheet to cancel out defender Joe Knowles’ first half opener. “We’re delighted with the second half performance,” said Joondalup assistant coach Craig Stephenson. “The lads stuck to our game plan and it went our way today. We’re beginning to gel as a team and we have depth in the squad this year, which only bodes well for the season ahead.”
The opening half was a tight affair with little in the way of genuine goal scoring opportunities. Glory claimed the upper hand after 24 minutes when hesitant defending was punished by Knowles, who fired in from the edge of the area. This seemed to spark the home side into life. Jones twice came within inches of bringing the sides level while Fraser Greenwood moved sharply keep out a Ryan Townsend header. Joondalup picked up the second half where they left and on 49 minutes Jon Higgins perfectly weighted pass released Jones who made no mistake sending his shot past Greenwood.
The floodgates were now open and there was nothing Glory could do halt the flow. Amphlett was afforded too much space in the middle of the park and from 22-metres blasted into the corner of Glory net. The home supporters were still celebrating when Jones cut the ball back for Amphlett to tap in goal number three at close-range. A shell-shocked Glory conceded again in the 81st minutes, this time it was Foster who nodded in on the end of a Genaveo Human cross. And in stoppage time Stynes headed in from a few metres after Amphlett rattled the crossbar.
ARMADALE GET ON THE BOARD
Armadale recorded their first win of the new season by accounting for against Subiaco AFC 2-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval. Goals either side of the break from Mitch Castrilli and Faustinho Machochi laid the foundations for the win but assistant coach Saul Contera says there were plenty aspects of the Reds game that needs improvement. “Lee (Bamber) and I were not happy with the performance as we lacked some composure and our passing was not up to the level we expect,” said Contera, whose team played with an extra man for 75 minutes. “We are happy to register our first three points, but we need to work on areas of our game.”
Only 15 minutes had passed before Subiaco’s game plan went out the window with Mitch Steinberg collecting a straight red card for bringing down Jackson Bealey. Goalkeeper jack Howard prevented their position from getting any worse by diving correctly to keep out the resulting spot kick taken by Billy Quinncroft. It took until three minutes from the break for Armadale to capitalise on their numerical advantage, Castrilli unleashing a fierce strike from the top of the area which gave Howard no chance. The home crowd were ready to celebrate again soon after but this time Howard moved sharply to keep out Sam Loveless’ deflected long-range strike.
Armadale could not have wished for a better start to the second half, Jason Barrera sending an inch-perfect ball into the path of Machochi who raced clear to fire low past Howard. Two-goals down and a player short, Subiaco refused to give up the chase. The visitors enterprise was rewarded in the 73rd minute when Phil O’Callaghan netted at close-range after Laurence Gaughan flicked the ball on at a corner. The closing stages were tense with both teams going close to posting further goals without success. Subiaco were lucky not to finish with nine men after Alex Randell’s cynical foul on Alex Clarke drew only a booking from referee Tim Mihevc.
COCKBURN LEAVE STIRLING LICKING THEIR WOUNDS
Cockburn City scored a trio of late goals to see off an under-manned Stirling Lions 3-0 at Macedonia Park. Devon Gibson broke the deadlock midway through the second period and looked like that would be enough before David Araya and Papa Kpatar made sure of an away win in the final ten minutes. “We played some good football in the first half and we got our rewards in the second half,” said Gibson. “(Coach) Marc (Anthony) moved me forward in the second half, he knows he’ll always get 100% from me and I popped up with another goal … as a team we’re happy to get the first win under our belt.”
Despite the absence of no fewer than eleven players, there were plenty of positives to come from the first half for Stirling. Vladamir Naumovski was sent clear by Jack Salter but the striker fired wide when faced by only goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. And a few minutes later Aleksic was at full-stretch in tipping over Naumovski’s crisp shot on the turn. Those missed were compounded on 68 minutes when Gibson glided past his marker to finish into Aleks Vrteski’s net from 6-metres. With nine minutes to go Araya blasted goal number two into an empty net after Vrteski fumbled a cross. And shortly after an unmarked Kpatar convert at close-range from Ryan Haslett’s delivery.
GLORY STRIVE TO AVOID WOODEN SPOON
Captain Jacob Burns insists the current crop of Perth Glory players have no desire to become the first in the club’s 18-year history to finish bottom of the national league. An eight-game winless has slipped Glory to the foot of the A-League table, and another failure tonight at home to Melbourne Victory will take the club one step closer towards their first ever wooden spoon. “No one wants to get that,” Burns said at the persective of finishing in last place. “Everyone wants to be successful and get up there. We’re well aware of the history of the club and how our fans want to see results. There’s a tremendous drive to move up that ladder, that’s for sure.”
Burns indicated this week his desire to stay with Glory beyond this season but has shelved contract talks until the end of the campaign. The 35-year old midfielder remains focused on restoring team pride and giving fans hope for the future with a positive finish to Glory’s season from hell. “I think it’s very important that we put in a good performance,” Burns said. “There’s five games to go and we need to collect as many points as we can. The club’s been through an awful lot this season. We want to show our fans that we’re playing for the jersey and we’re doing everything we can to get this club going in the right direction. There’s a lot to play for still.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND TWO
The pick of this weekend’s action takes place at Litis Stadium on Sunday evening when Floreat Athena take on neighbours Perth SC (7.00pm). Goalkeeper Alex Dunn won a league title with Floreat but this weekend he’ll be pulling out all the stops to keep his former club scoreless. “Floreat against Perth is always a big game full of excitement,” said Dunn. “Floreat are coming off a good win and we are looking for our first three points of the season so it should be a great game.” Perth regains the services of midfielder Clark Keltie while defence-minded Ashley Corker comes back in for Floreat after serving suspension.
A minutes silence in memory of Vince Radcliffe, who passed away during the week, will proceed Inglewood United’s home game with Sorrento at Saturday. Shane Pickering and Scott Blackmore are pushing for inclusion at Inglewood whereas Sorrento is likely to go with an unchanged line-up. Stirling Lions and Cockburn City picked up a point each last time out but each wants all three from their meeting at Macedonia Park. Perth Glory defender Joe Knowles heads to the northern suburbs to play against his former club ECU Joondalup for the first time. Andy Banks (broken nose) and Ryan Townsend (calf) are in doubt for the hosts.
Attacker Ian McMurray says Subiaco AFC will need to step their game up a notch at Armadale if they’re to collect more than the single point gained last weekend. “It will be another very tough game, like every game for us this season,” said McMurray, who team held Stirling Lions scoreless last time out. “By all accounts Armadale played very well last Saturday so we will have to work harder than last week to get anything from the game. It’s never an easy place to go but hopefully we can carry on from Saturday and get a something from this game.” Jordan Rhodes and Phil O’Callaghan are knocking on the selection door at Subiaco.
Bayswater City has home ground advantage for the second time in as many weeks when they face traditional rivals Balcatta on Sunday at Frank Drago Reserve. “Games between these two teams are always tight and I’m expecting no different,” said Bayswater’s James Isaia, who was quick to recall the five-goal drubbing his team inflicted on Balcatta in pre-season. “We gave them a bit of a shake-up in the Night Series, so I’m sure they will be out for some revenge.” Todd Howarth and Paul McCarthy are available for the home side while Balcatta have James Sammut and goalkeeper Clint Davies coming in. All games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm unless stated otherwise.
GLORY BACK ON HOME SOIL
Perth Glory returns to Perth Oval on Saturday evening for a make-or-break encounter with Melbourne Victory. The home snapped a four-game losing stream last time out by picking up a point at Wellington Phoenix, and they’ll be looking to go one better this weekend in front of their loyal supporters. Central defensive pair William Gallas and Michael Thwaite have overcome minor injury concerns and will be tasked with keeping tabs on a free-scoring Melbourne attack. Glory remain a mathematic chance of qualifying for the top six play-offs but those hopes were dealt a savage blow with confirmation Shane Smeltz is to miss the game with a groin problem.
A host of big names come back into the Melbourne side for the trip west. Captain Mark Milligan and striker Tom Rogic return to the squad following international duty, Nick Ansell is available after serving suspension while Adama Traore and veteran Archie Thompson is knocking on the selection door. Melbourne do not have the greatest of records in Perth, where the visitors have won only three times from thirteen trips. Kevin Muscat’s men are looking to cement a top four spot, and could even finish the round in second place should everything go in their favour this weekend. Glory and Melbourne square off at Perth Oval tomorrow (6.45pm kick-off).
AMPHLETT KEEN FOR GLORY
ECU Joondalup midfielder Tommy Amphlett is looking forward to pitting skills with a young Perth Glory outfit in the northern suburbs tomorrow afternoon. Amphlett opened the new season with a brace in last weekend’s six-goal draw with Cockburn City and the 25-year old is eagerly anticipating coming up against his former club. “It will be a great contest with both sides looking to get their first wins on the board,” Amphlett told thewest.com.au “(Playing for Glory) made me a better player but I’ll be looking forward to this game and getting one over them. They have a talented young side that have played together all season in the National Youth League, so we will need to be at our best.”
Amphlett came up through the junior ranks at Joondalup before spending three season in the A-League with Glory, playing 27 games. Since being released in mid-2012 he’s fielded offers from clubs in Asia but knocked them back to be with his partner, Lydie, and their new-born son, Jaxon. “My agent was contacted by a couple of clubs in Asia but they didn’t fit into my plans at the time,” Amphlett explained. “It’s been a hectic year for me but I thought it would be better to stay in Perth and play for Joondalup, who have been great to me since I left Glory ... I want to do my bit in bringing success to the club.”
SPENCE PLANS FOR A BAYSWATER CLEAN SWEEP
Bayswater City won’t end the year happy unless every trophy on offer is in residence at Frank Drago Reserve. The inner city club already has the Night Series in their possession and goalkeeper Devon Spence says it’s their intention to make a clean sweep of this year’s trophies. “So far so good for 2014,” said Spence, who was between the posts when Bayswater defeated Floreat in the Night Series final earlier this month. “The squad has depth and some good new players on-board, I think this year is going to be about consistency for us. There are four possible trophies on offer and we want to make it four out of four. But for the time being we will be taking it one game at a time.”
Bayswater made a positive start to their home and away campaign by eking out a 1-0 win over Armadale last weekend. The win came courtesy of a Danny Dixon goal just after half-time and Spence readily acknowledges there is plenty of room for improvement. “The overall performance was a bit lacklustre, we showed glimpses of what we were capable off but didn’t stick to it enough,” said the ‘keeper. “We took a few huge positives from the game in that we created a lot of chances and defended strongly for the entire game. Armadale gave us a good run but we knew they would come out with a determined attitude, and it showed in the football they played on the day.”
Spence’s opposition this weekend is provided by Balcatta, who lost their opening game of the season to Sorrento. “Facing a team that has just come off a loss is always dangerous, there is no doubt will be looking to bounce back,” commented the 23-year old shot-stopper. “But that doesn’t concern us and we won’t be worrying about any of the new players they acquired over the off-season – all we are focused on is playing our football. We’ve got home ground advantage for the second week in a row and that is something we very much want to use to the full.” Bayswater welcome Balcatta to Frank Drago Reserve from 3.00pm on Sunday.
NICOLAIDIS TURNS TO ‘NATURAL LEADER’ KELTIE
The experience of journeyman Clark Keltie will be a welcome addition to the Perth SC squad for Sunday evening’s trip to high-flying Floreat Athena. Keltie is back in contention after missing the opening day draw with Perth Glory through suspension, and coach Taki Nicoladis is hoping the former Darlington SC and Rochdale midfielder will provide Azzurri the spark that was missing last weekend. “Clark is a natural leader, his standards are high and that rubs off on the rest of the squad,” said Nicolaidis. “There are very few players in this league that can boast over 300 games experience as a professional footballer.”
Nicolaidis is well aware there will need to be a significant improvement on last weekend’s performance if Perth is to stand any chance of getting a result against Floreat, who are coming off a resounding 3-0 win over Inglewood United. “(Against Glory) I felt we had a few too many players not winning their individual battles, and missed chances in the last fifteen minutes was the difference between earning three points and one point,” Nicoladis commented. “Athena are flying at the moment and we will need to be at our best to come away with the three points. The midfield battle will be very interesting and it could be the difference between either team winning or losing.”
Nicolaidis enjoyed a stellar career with Floreat, both as a player and coach, but sentiment will be put aside on Sunday night as he attempts to guide Perth to victory. “I’ve spent the majority of my life at Athena and can gladly say that I have many fond memories and friends there,” he said. “However, I’m now into my third year at Perth and during this time everyone at the club has made me feel welcomed and wanted, which has made me proud to call it my home. As I have done for the last three years, I put all my emotions aside during the game and will be doing my very best to walk away with the three points after 90 minutes.”
BABALJ ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL
Striker Eli Babalj has taken a big step in his recovery from injury with his first competitive outing in more than six months. Babalj was in the starting line-up for AZ Alkmaar’s 1-0 loss to Roda JC on Monday night before being replaced at the break as planned. The 22-year old had been on the fringe of first team selection at Alkmaar last year onto to be thrown onto the sidelines after undergoing hernia and adductor surgery. Babalj, who has scored twice in as many appearances for the Socceroos, could be an outsider for the World Cup squad.
With the Socceroos light-on in the finishing department and few Australian’s playing regularly at big European clubs, Babalj knows things can quickly change. “Everyone dreams of playing at a World Cup. I’m only 22 and I’m sure there’s a couple more World Cups that I can make,” he said earlier this year. “I’ve just got to concentrate on breaking into AZ. I’m not thinking about the national team at all, you’ve got to play for your club and I’m sure if I do, which is one of the biggest clubs that any of the Australian boys are playing at, I’m sure the national team will take care of itself.”
MATILDA’S DO IT TOUGH IN CYPRUS
The Matildas have placed seventh at the Cyprus Women’s Cup after defeating Italy 5-2 in the minor place play-off game. There was little joy to be had for Australia in the group stage where a draw with the Netherlands (2-2) was followed by losses to France (3-2) and Scotland (4-2). West Australian pair Sam Kerr and Lydia Williams featured prominently throughout the tournament, the former scoring twice while the latter worked tirelessly to repel opposition attacks. The Cyprus Women’s Cup was won by France, who defeated reining trophy holders England 2-0 in the final.
A spirited Matilda’s performance against the Netherlands saw them fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 in their opening game of the tournament. Goals from Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt had the Dutch in control at the break, however, Katrina Gorry and Michelle Heyman came off the bench to score within minutes of eachother to level the game. Australia’s hopes for a top four finish were effectively ended by a 3-2 loss to France. The damage was again done in the first half with Marie-Laure Delie, Elodie Thomis and Louisa Necib hitting the net before Sam Kerr and Emily Van Egmond returned fire.
The Matilda’s completed their group schedule with a 4-2 loss to Scotland. As was the case in previous games, Australia punished for a slow start with Jane Ross bagging a brace and Lisa Evans also on the scoreboard for a comfortable half-time lead. Michelle Heyman netted twice after the interval, one either side of Ross’s third goal. It wasn’t until the play-off round that Australia hit their straps with a 5-2 thumping of Italy. The Matildas opened up a three-goal buffer courtesy of Emily Van Egmond (2) and Sam Kerr to which Katrina Gorry and substitute Hayley Raso added in the second half. Alessia Tuttino and Patrizia Panico grabbed Italy two consolation goals late in the game.
VALE VINCE RADCLIFFE
The football community is in mourning following the passing of former State representative Vince Radcliffe. Born in 1945, Radcliffe made 24 appearances for English-club Portsmouth between 1963 and 1967 before moving on to Peterborough United, Rochdale and Kings Lynn. He moved to Australia in the early 1970’s and after, a spell with Western Suburbs (New South Wales), headed west where he turned out for Olympic Kingsway and Sorrento. In retirement he turned his hand to coaching Sorrento, Stirling Macedonia and Bassendean Caledonians and later was assistant coach and team manager with Inglewood United. Radcliffe passed away yesterday after living with Alzheimer’s in recent years. His contribution to football will be celebrated at Intiga Stadium on Saturday when Inglewood and Sorrento lock horns.
FULL EXTENT OF GLORY TURMOIL YET TO BE REVEALED: BURNS
From the outside it appears Perth Glory have lurched from one disaster to the next this year but long-time captain Jacob Burns is confident things will be viewed differently once the truth comes out. Glory have slipped to last in the A-League following a the mid-season sacking of coach Alistair Edwards, the result of a rift with senior players, while some training ground and post-game bust-ups indicate tensions within the camp remain high. Burns is desperate to help the club rebuild and says he is looking forward to the day when the full truth about this season’s controversies comes out. “A lot of people around the game have voiced their opinion,” he said. “But in good time some things may come out that may change people’s ideas of the goings on about the club.”
Burns, who turns 36 next month, has made 111 appearances for Glory since joining the club in 2009. Out of contract at seasons’ end, the midfielder has put talks about his future on hold as Glory attempt to move away from the bottom of the league ladder. “I love this club. I’m not entertaining any of them talks at the minute,” Burns confirmed. “I think the club’s been through enough. I think first and foremost my concentration is on getting results, turning in good performances, leading the boys and getting us as far up the ladder as we can in these next five games. That kind of stuff all takes care of itself but I can tell you one thing, I won’t be playing anywhere else. This is very much my club.”
HERD REMAINS IN WORLD CUP CONTENTION: POSTECOGLOU
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has kept the door open for Aston Villa defender Chris Herd to stake his claim on a spot in the Socceroos squad for this year’s World Cup in Brazil. Herd, 24, was a late withdrawal from the squad which faced Ecuador last week for “personal reasons” but Postecoglou has no intention of holding that against the talented 24-year old. “We’ll allow Chris the privacy and the time to get over what he needs to get over,” Postecoglou said. “Should he become available for Aston Villa and start playing, then he’s still in contention.” Postecoglou will name his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad by 15 May, with the final 23 players to be decided by 6 June.
PEOPLE’S GAME SALUTES PERTH KANGAROOS
Perth Glory will pay tribute to the games rich history in Western Australia when they host Central Coast Mariners on the final day of the A-League season. The ‘People’s Game’ fixture aims to raise the profile of West Australian football with Glory donning the state’s black and gold colours while the Perth Kangaroos, who won S-League championship twenty years ago, will also be celebrated. “We’re looking to make this ‘People’s Game’ a regular feature for the WA footballing community and we hope that it becomes something that supporters look forward to each year,” club chief executive Jason Brewer said. The ‘People’s Game’ between Glory and Central Coast takes place on Saturday 5 April at Perth Oval, kick-off 6.30pm.
MANAGER PLEAS FOR WILLIAMS TO BE CAUTIOUS
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has urged Rhys Williams to be careful in his bid to be fit for Australia’s World Cup campaign. An Achilles injury picked up while on club duty in January is expected to force the 25-year old defender out of the mid-year event in Brazil, however, Williams is determined to give himself every chance of being selected by coach Ange Postecoglou. Karanka, however, is calling for Williams not to be in any hurry to get back to full fitness. “The most important thing for Rhys is that he concentrates on his rehab and what he needs to do in the next few weeks,” Karanka said. “If he starts thinking about the World Cup in the summer, there is a risk he could suffer a new problem that would wreck everything for him.”
Karanka stressed importance of Williams, who missed the 2010 World Cup due to a groin injury, taking his recovery one small step at a time. “It is better for him to concentrate on the work that he has to do, and then if the World Cup becomes a possibility, that will be great,” added the Middlesbrough boss. “He needs to focus on the next couple of weeks, and then one or two weeks before the end of the season, we can all look at where his recovery is. It is better for us all to be very careful with him. But if his rehab goes well, then he can play the last few games here and possibly play in the World Cup too. That would be very good for everybody.”
BIRIGHITTI IN TRAINING GROUND BUST-UP
Newcastle Jets have dealt internally with a training ground bust-up which left defender Taylor Regan with blood streaming from a cut eye following an altercation with goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. A number of teammates were forced to step in to separate the pair, leading to a temporary halt to today’s session, before Birighitti exited training early. While the cause of the flare-up is unknown, Birighitti and Regan were hauled before club officials following the angry spat. “We’ve spoken to both Mark and Taylor about the incident and have dealt with the matter internally,” said Newcastle chief executive Robbie Middleby, who is confident the issue has been resolved.
PERTH’S MAROCCHI DYNASTY CONTINUES
Jordan Marocchi has some big shoes to fill when he pulls on his Perth SC kit for the first time this year. The Marocchi name is synonymous with the inner-city club and when 5-year old Jordan steps out in the clubs famous Azzurri shirt he will become the fourth generation of his family to do so. “Perth SC means a great deal to the Marocchi family and has provided us with fantastic opportunities, wonderful friendships and a lifetime of great memories,” Jason Marocchi, Jordan’s father, told inmycommunity.com.au “So when Jordan pulls on the sky blue shirt for the first time this season, I hope he also gets to enjoy these experiences, playing the game that we all love.”
The Highgate family’s association with Perth stretches back to 1948 when Saverio, Jordan’s great-grandfather, played in the club’s inaugural team. Saverio and his wife Doris are both life members of the club and each of their four sons – Bruno, Leo, Eric and Gary – played for Perth and remains actively involved in the club to this day. Bruno is coach of the under-14s, Eric is at the helm of the under-15s while Gary, whose glittering playing career was highlighted by the captaincy of Australia, was last year voted president of the club. In addition James Marocchi, Gary’s son, is a member of the first team squad. Jordan will be the eleventh Marocchi to represent the club over the past 65 years.
CANHAM GETS SORRENTO OFF TO A FLYING START
Sorrento began life in the National Premier Leagues with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat of Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve. English import Sean Canham put the home side in front midway through the first half only to have Adam Tong levelled proceedings on the stroke of half-time. Balcatta went down to ten men with the sending off of Kris Gate after which Canham put away the deciding goal. “We had a few chances to finish the game after the break and we dominated possession,” said Balcatta captain Adam Tong. “There only was one team that looked like they wanted to score. But we failed to convert and Curtis Aspden was in great form to deny us on a number of occasions.”
It was even opening to the game with both sets of players failing to make the most of their chances. Sorrento slowly began to take control and on 25 minutes edged in front through Canham, who headed in at close-range from a Daryl Platten cross. Play continued to be end-to-end as the teams traded attacks but some early season rustiness in the finishing department meant neither goalkeeper was seriously tested. It looked as though Sorrento would take their lead into the break, however, Tong had other ideas, the defender advancing forward before unleashing a powerful shot from 18-metres that flew past a helpless Aspden.
Balcatta opened the second half strongly and were unlucky not to go ahead with Luke Randazzo hitting the crossbar and Carlo Coelho volleying the follow-up wide. Gustavo Catarcione was twice denied, by the upright and then Aspden who also keep out a shot from Gate. The game was turned on its head in the 67 minute when Gate was shown a straight red card for his tackle on Reece Vittiglia. Sorrento capitalised eight minutes later when Canham headed the deciding goal past Damien Stanoevski from a Scott Bulloch cross. Todd Harnwell came close to adding another for the hosts late on while Tong curled narrowly wide in stoppage time.
GLORY STUMBLE IN WELLINGTON
A late Kenny Cunningham goal has earned Wellington Phoenix a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory from today’s A-League meeting at Westpac Stadium. It looked as though Williams Gallas’ first half side-foot would decide a scrappy encounter, however, with five minutes to go Glory’s defence buckled and Cunningham nodded in the equaliser. The home side created the better of first half openings but Glory youngster Jack Duncan refused to be beaten between the posts. With their first meaningful attack Glory took the lead, Jacob Burns slipped the ball through for Gallas to blast into Glen Moss’ goal with 34 minutes gone. Wellington’s response was swift but after squirming past three defenders Roy Krishna could only finish into the upright.
It was a much different Glory side which return for the second half with Brandon O’Neill and Jamie Maclaren replacing injured pair Michael Thwaite and Shane Smeltz. Even so, the visitors seemed set for victory until Wellington lifted a notch for the final ten minutes. Krishna was thwarted in a one-on-one with Duncan, who was fortunate not to concede a penalty after clashing heavily with Cunningham a few minutes later. Matthew Ridenton then squandered a golden chance by lifting over the top from 6-metres. The hosts persistence paid dividends in the 85th minute when Tyler Boyd’s cross made its way to Cunningham who nodded the bouncing header past Duncan.
ZANE TALKS UP TAGGART FOR WORLD CUP
Newcastle United coach Clayton Zane has hailed Adam Taggart as a strong chance to make Australia’s World Cup squad after the 20-year old strengthened his teams’ finals hopes with a 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart. Taggart struck at close-range eight minutes into the second half to move to top of the A-League’s goal scorer charts with eleven finishes. “He has to be a bolter for Brazil,” Zane said following today’s game. “I would take that type of player just to give him the experience because he’s going to be in the national set-up for some time. If (Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou) has got a spot at the back-end of the squad that he picks, a spot for a young player, I’m sure he’s already got Taggs in mind as one of those.”
FLOREAT START WITH A BANG
Floreat Athena signalled they will be one of the inaugural National Premier Leagues teams to beat after accounting for Inglewood United 3-0 under lights at Litis Stadium. Goals in the space of a few minutes from Jamie Eames and Mark Walsh set the home side down the road to victory before Ludovic Boi made the game safe midway through the second period. “It was always our aim today to make sure we got away with the three points,” Floreat coach Chris Barbas told nplwa.com.au “We definitely want to make sure that we can consolidate and have good performances throughout the year … today was one of them.”
The early play with evenly shared with both teams working their way forward in search of the first goal. It arrived after 17 minutes when David Heagney’s defence-splitting pass released Eames, who made no mistake finding the net. Six minutes later Walsh was allowed to walk through the Inglewood defence pretty unchallenged before squeezing his shot past Luke Martino. Inglewood showed more spirit in the second half but could find no way past goalkeeper Yousri Gharasallah, whose superb save from Ryan Francis was one of many. Boi immediately killed off the visitors comeback hopes by tucking in the follow-up from a Mwansa Musonda shot that hit the post.
Inglewood coach Graham Normanton was far from impressed with his teams’ defensive efforts. “The third goal was a comedy of errors,” said Normanton, before admitting he didn’t know quite how Floreat scored the sealing goal. “I turned around and the ball was in the back of the net, the goalkeeper had comfortable possession and the next thing it was in the back of our goal. It was one of those strange situations, but when there’s a turn like that, when you should score and you don’t, then they go up their end and do score with something they shouldn’t score from, it kicks you in the backside.”
SPENCE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Armadale were left to rue missed opportunities as Bayswater City took out the honours on day one of the new season to the tune of 1-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. Danny Dixon grabbed the lone goal of the afternoon but it was goalkeeper Devon Spence that played the starring role with a string of saves to thwart the away team, particularly Faustinho Machochi. “I tried to stay as big as I could put the pressure on their striker, and the defence did well in backing me up,” said Spence. “It wasn’t our best performance, we didn’t stick to our strengths and that opened us up a bit.”
The opening pace was quick with both teams keen to stamp their authority on the game. The first chance on goal arrived in the 6th minute when Sahr Musa side-footed wide after meeting Brain Farrell’s ball in behind the defence. Two minutes later Machochi had the crowd on their feet after dancing along the top of the penalty area only to curl past the post. Bayswater settled the better with Jamie Coyne and James Isaia pulling the midfield strings. Alex Gould did well to turn Steve Burton’s vicious strike away from the bottom corner and later Musa headed against the crossbar, much to the relief of the Reds custodian.
Armadale were hitting on the counterattack and really should have taken a 22nd minute lead after Machochi latched onto a through ball and rounded goalkeeper Devon Spence only to shoot across the face of goal. Play swung straight to the other end where Dixon’s low attempt was deflected wide by Gould. Farrell and Dixon were causing the visiting defence all sorts of problems out wide but poor delivery robbed Bayswater of any further meaningful chances before the break. And Spence ensured the ledger would remain even by standing up to Machochi after he broke free of the defence.
The decisive moment arrived three minutes into the second half with Dixon side-footing in on the end of an elegant passing move. Unfortunately, the remainder of the game was memorable only for a series of glaring misses. Burton arrowed low and beyond the far corner after catching out the defence, Spence was off his line early to again deny Machochi and an unmarked Damian Catalano had his shot blocked by the advancing Gould. Sam Loveless’s centring pass presented Machochi a late opportunity to grab an equaliser but, like earlier, Spence spotted the danger and smothered at his opponent’s feet.
HONOURS EVEN BETWEEN GLORY AND PERTH (with Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Perth Glory returned life in the local league by drawing 1-1 with Perth SC on a warm afternoon at Intiga Stadium. Lawrence Shuruma struck Glory’s first goal of the National Premier Leagues season but, ultimately, it wasn’t enough with Friday Zico’s finish late in the first half giving Perth are share of the points. “The boys really stepped up in their first game against the big boys today and we were rapt with the way we knocked the ball around,” said Glory coach Scott Miller. “Today we had enough possession to create more goal chances, but they are new boys getting used to each other so we’ll work on that.”
The Glory youngsters were on the front foot early with Riley Woodcock rifling just over the crossbar from Harry O’Brien’s delivery. This set the scene for an opening spell in which Glory enjoyed the better of possession and posed the greater threat in the final third. Their enterprise was rewarded in the 20th minute when Woodcock crossed to the far post where Shuruma tucked in at close-range. Glory were unlucky not be awarded a penalty in the 42 minutes after Woodcock was felled by Josh Wilkins. Minutes later the game was level, Wilkins’ cross was tamed by James Marocchi and on the half-volley Zico blasted into the net.
The tempo dropped for the second half with neither team able to gain the upper hand. And while the attacking nature of both teams continued each was guilty of conceding possession far too easily in the final third. As the clock ticked down Perth found an extra burst of energy. Zico should have scored from close-range after being set up by Wilkins, however, his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood. Luka Njegich pushed down the flank to cross for Ashley Rosindale whose header passed out beyond the top corner. And in stoppage time substitute Mark Doninger won possession deep in attack but was unable to capitalise.
STIRLING FRUSTRATED BY SUBIACO
A defence-focused Subiaco AFC have held Stirling Lions to a scoreless draw on the opening day of the inaugural National Premier Leagues season. Stirling dominated possession and dictated the tempo across the 90 minutes of action but were unable to find an avenue to goal, much to the frustration of coach Gary Williams. “Their tactic for today was to stick ten men behind the ball and nick one off a corner or free kick,” Williams told nplwa.com.au “I knew one or two players and I knew the way they were going to set up, so that didn’t surprise me, but individually I didn’t know too much.”
Subiaco made a promising start with Ger Fizgerald and Ian McMurray forcing a brilliant double save from Aleks Vrteski in the Stirling goal. Play was at the other end two minutes later when Danny Milne headed against the upright from a corner to the front post. Daniel Micevski should have put the visitors ahead following a goalkeeping error but the attackers’ first touch was poor and the chance lost. Hayden Doyle also squandered a golden opportunity by skewing wide when it seemed easier to hit the target. Jack Howard made sure Subiaco would finish with a share of the points by expertly touching a second half Doyle free-kick away from the top corner.
The point gained was a pleasing outcome for Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan, who rated the result as a high watermark of his time with the club. “For the seven years I’ve been here this has been the pinnacle,” said McEwan of Subiaco’s first top flight outing after a four-decade absence. “I just want to be able to look at ourselves on a Sunday morning and know that we gave our best and if you can do that, you’ve done alright.” The result augers well for Subiaco, who had several players still adjusting to the pace and demands of top flight football.
SIX-GOAL THRILLER LIGHTS UP JOONDALUP (with Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
It was raining goals at the Edith Cowan University campus where ECU Joondalup and Cockburn City played out a spirited 3-3 draw. Cockburn twice went ahead through David Araya and Devon Gibson but on each occasion the hosts draw level through an own goal and Tommy Amphlett. It looked as though Amphlett had struck the winner with eleven minutes to go but there was time enough for Conor Kavanagh to salvage the visitors a share. “It’s disappointing not to take all three points, I thought we created enough chances to win three games today,” said Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch. “But you have to remember it’s the first game of the season and I’m not going to be down on the boys.”
Cockburn were out of the blocks quickly and by the 7th minute had the lead early, Gibson finding Araya whose bullet-like shot from 18-metres flew into Andy Banks net. That lead was wiped out on 20 minutes when Amphlett’s in-swinging corner flicked off the head of Kavanagh, sending the ball past a stranded Dejan Aleksic. The momentum was back with Cockburn after 35 minutes, Gibson finishing with aplomb from 11-metres after Euen Grant’s free-kick deflected into his path. But with half-time looming Amphlett drove out of the middle of the park and evading three defenders before firing low past Aleksic. Joondalup would have held the lead at the break if not for Paul Natale’s last ditch tackle which denied David Caine a certain goal.
Whatever McCulloch said at half-time worked a treat. David Foster’s shot crashed into the upright within three minutes of play resuming and not long after Aleksic was called up on deny Amphlett. Banks came to the hosts rescue on the hour by tipping Araya’s long-range attempt onto the crossbar, then six minute later Jake Benson-Cooper was thwarted by Aleksic. It was Joondalup that gained the upper hand after 79 minutes, Lee Jones releasing Amphlett whose low finish was too good for Aleksic. There was no desire on Cockburn’s behalf for that to be the end of the scoring and with four minutes to go Kavanagh fired the equaliser low beyond Banks from 15-metres after being teed-up by Julian Teles.
SENIOR GLORY PLAYERS CLEARED FOR NPL DUTY
Perth Glory’s hopes for the coming National Premier League season have received a massive boost with several senior squad players granted approval to play in the fledgling competition. Late yesterday, Football Federation Australia cleared Jack Duncan, Jack Clisby, Brandon O’Neill, Cameron Edwards, Jamie Maclaren, Chris Harold, Daniel Da Silva, Harry O’Brien, Riley Woodcock and Matthew Davies for the NPL side. Additionally, players on the long-term injury list, such as Socceroos defender Scott Jamieson, will also be available to play five NPL games as part of their return to match fitness.
Glory chief executive Jason Brewer says the inclusion on Glory’s young players in the NPL side is further indication of the club’s commitment to youth development. “One of our key objectives from participating in the NPL was to provide the opportunity for our National Youth League squad to play in an all year round program,” he said. “Nearly every one of these players has played in the A-League this season and I hope that their inclusion in the NPL will assist in raising the profile of the local football in WA.” Glory kicks off its NPL program tomorrow against Perth SC at Intiga Stadium.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW, ROUND ONE
The much-vaunted National Premier Leagues kicks off this weekend with games across the metropolitan area. Armadale could not have asked for a more difficult first-up opponent than current State champions Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. “If we get beat by less than three goals we’ll have done better than most other teams,” joked coach Lee Bamber. “We’re looking forward to the challenge and go into the game with a plan that will hopefully start our season off on a positive note. We have worked really hard on our fitness over the pre-season and we will be more competitive (than last season).”
It may be round one but the importance of a Stirling Lions win over top flight newcomers Subiaco AFC is not lost on coach Gary Williams. “Subiaco will be out to prove a point to the football community, so we will need to be at the top of our game to achieve the objective of getting the three points,” said the Stirling coach, who team travels to the WA Athletics Stadium. “They are also at home, which will give them a distinct advantage. However, if we want to be challenging this year these are the types of games we need to get points from.”
Taki Nicolaidis takes a new-look Perth SC outfit to Intiga Stadium to play Perth Glory, who are back on the local stage for the first time in a decade. “The game on Saturday against Perth Glory will be a very tough task for us,” Nicolaidis said. “They have just finished a full season (in the National Youth League) and will be very fit and well-organized. There is a lot of talent in their squad and we will need to be at our best to beat them.” Also on Saturday is ECU Joondalup verses Cockburn City, and a twilight encounter between Floreat Athena and Inglewood United at Litis Stadium (7.00pm).
The round concludes on Sunday when Sorrento welcome Balcatta to Percy Doyle Reserve. “It’s going to be a good first-up test,” said joint Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell. “We drew with Balcatta in the Night Series but we have fine-tuned how we are going to play against them and are looking to starting with a win. The players have responded well to what Trevor (Morgan) and I are trying to implement and, as always, there is a great crack and team spirit.” All games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.0pm unless stated otherwise.
DOOR OPENS FOR GLORY’S DUNCAN
Perth Glory fans may get a sneak peak of the future when Jack Duncan take the gloves for this weekend’s game against Wellington Phoenix. The 20-year old shot-stopper has been biding his time at Glory this summer following an off-season switch from Newcastle Jets, where he made his only previous A-League appearance off the bench in 2011. He has worked hard at training under the tutelage of goalkeeping coach Neil Young and regular ‘keeper Danny Vukovic, whose move of earlier this week to Japanese side Vegalta Sendai has opened the door Duncan’s promotion to Glory’s starting eleven.
Duncan acknowledges he had big shoes to fill but feels he is ready to step up. “This is exactly why I wanted to come here, with the hope that he (Vukovic) might want to move on to bigger things and I might get a chance,” Duncan said. “It was a big move for me to make but I guess it’s paid off in a sense, now I’ve just got to try and do the job.” Duncan takes confidence from the relationship he has formed with experienced central defensive duo Michael Thwaite and William Gallas, while he has previously played youth team football alongside Josh Risdon, Jack Clisby, Riley Woodcock and Matt Davies.
Duncan, an Australian youth international, intends making the most of the next six games to prove his worth and securing a permanent spot with Glory for next season. “When I found out that Vuka was going, I guess the mindset changes a bit,” he said. “You start to focus on what you need to do on the weekend a bit more. Of course you feel a bit of pressure, but no more than usual. You kind of go into every game with a bit of pressure so it’s just a different game I guess. I’ve got to look at it as just another game and try to settle down early, get the nerves out and it should be all good.”
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON PREVIEW
A new chapter in West Australian football will be written this year with the National Premier Leagues becoming Western Australia’s peak competition. Reigning State champions Bayswater City are widely expected to led the race for top honours alongside Stirling Lions, however, it would take a brave man (or woman) to write off Sorrento and Floreat Athena. The battle at the other end of the table is likely to be just as tight with Subiaco AFC, Armadale and ECU Joondalup touted to struggle.
The team which finishes top of the regular season table will represent West Australia in the national NPL play-off series, however, it will be the Top Four series winner that is crowned State Champions in mid-September. This week Brett Klucznik takes a look at the twelve clubs before the footballwa.net team is joined by Richard Kreider, author of the spendliferous ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, in offering their thoughts on how season 2014 will pan out...
WILLIAMS WON’T GIVE UP ON WORLD CUP DREAM
Injured defender Rhys Williams hasn’t given up on his dream of representing Australia at this year’s World Cup. Williams’ hopes of being part of the festivities in Brazil appeared over when he ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing for Middlesbrough in late January. An injury of that type typically involves a six-month lay-off, however, Williams says his recovery is progressing faster than expected and he hopes to make a full recovery in time for the tournament in June. “I think I’ve got about a 10 or 15 per cent chance of making it,” Williams said. “Everything’s running smoothly, I’m a bit ahead of where I should be.”
Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior, appeared a likely World Cup selection after featuring in November’s friendly with Costa Rica, Australia’s first outing under new coach Ange Postecoglou. The Achilles injury is the latest in a long list of setbacks the 25-year old has endured in recent years, amongst them a pelvic injury which forced him to miss the World Cup four years ago. “It’s not nice to be known for missing two World Cups. I think that gives me the drive and hunger to try to get back,” he commented. “I don’t want to rush this injury. It is a boy’s dream to play at a World Cup, hopefully, I can make that dream come true.”
Even if he does recover in time, Williams concedes he will struggle to build match fitness with the English season finishing in early May. But a dearth of Australian defenders playing at high levels could see led Postecoglou to take a chance on Williams when he announces his preliminary squad in May. “Postecoglou) has made it clear that he’ll take the players that he thinks can represent the country the best,” said Williams, who will commence a running program later this month. “Hopefully if I get back on time I can put my foot back in the door. I just need to keep concentrating on getting fit, hoping this injury heels properly and don’t rush it too much.”
WELLINGTON DEAL “A DREAM FOR ME” SAYS TIMMINS
Wellington Phoenix have signed English-born defender Shaun Timmins as an injury replacement player for the remainder of the A-League season. Timmins, who played locally for Sorrento and ECU Joondalup, has been training with Wellington for some time and was offered a spot in the squad after Reece Caira suffered a fractured cheek bone. “You don’t want to wish harm on anyone, but sometime you just need a bit of luck to make the breakthrough and this might be mine,” 22-year old Timmins said. “When you have tasted professional football you miss it and it would be a dream for me to get back into it.”
Timmins comes with a sound footballing pedigree having come through the junior ranks of English club Coventry City before signing a one-year professional contract with Birmingham City. “I loved my time at Birmingham but it didn’t help that they got promoted to the Premiership, and rather than keep some of the young pros they could afford to buy experienced players,” commented Timmins, a Republic of Ireland youth international. “I had a trial at Sheffield United but wasn’t really enjoying my football so decided to do something different and headed to Perth.”
Timmins moved to Western Australia in 2001, playing two seasons at Sorrento before switching to neighbouring Joondalup last year. “The climate was great and I loved the city but the standard of football wasn’t that good so I moved on to Melbourne for a challenge,” said Timmins, who headed to Victoria midway through 2013. “At Green Gully, (coach) Roddy Vargas said he thought I was good enough to play A-League and gave Ernie a call.” Merrick was suitably impressed that he arranged for Timmins to play for New Zealand national league side Team Wellington while still training with Phoenix.
SOCCEROOS GO DOWN TO ECUADOR
A goal in stoppage time condemned a ten-man Australia to a heart-breaking 4-3 loss to Ecuador from this evening’s friendly at the Den in London. Two goals from Tim Cahill and another from Mile Jedinak had the Socceroos three-nil up before the game swung in Ecuador’s favour with the red carding of substitute goalkeeper Mitch Langerak. “The first half was some of the greatest football I’ve ever seen from the Socceroos,” said Cahill after becoming Australia’s all-time leading scorer. “The youngsters really impressed me. (But) when we had the man sent off, that’s when the damage was done. If it’s eleven versus eleven, we are not losing that game.”
Australia started well with new captain Jedinak getting off the first shot on goal and that was quickly followed by a Cahill header which was halted by goalkeeper Adrian Bone. That attacking approach paid dividends after 8 minutes when Cahill nodded in Mark Milligan’s headed from a far post Tommy Oar corner. Seven minutes later Gabriel Achillier’s pull on Cahill prompted the referee to point straight to the penalty spot from where Jedinak slotted in goal number two. A quick break in the 32nd minutes resulted in another increase to the margin, Matthew Leckie advancing down the left before delivering an inch-perfect cross which a diving Cahill headed into the Ecuador net.
Ecuador emerged for the second half with a lot more spark and were duly rewarded on 55 minutes when winger Antonio Valencia set-up Fidel Martinez. Minutes after Langerak was shown a straight red card for a bone-jarring challenge on Antonio Valencia, and Segundo Castillo made no mistake in pushing the spot kick past Australia’s third ‘keeper of the night, Brad Jones. Ecuador drew level when Antonio Valencia advanced inside the area and cut the ball back for Enner Valencia to guide past Brad Jones. With just a minute left and a draw looking likely, a defensive mishap allowed an unmarked Edison Mendez to snare the deciding goal.
NEW ERA IN WEST AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED
West Australian football moved a step closer to its official National Premier Leagues kick-off with this morning’s season launch at Fraser’s Restaurant in Kings Park. The inaugural NPL commences this Saturday with a quartet of afternoon fixtures plus a night game before the round concludes on Sunday at Percy Doyle Reserve. The event, attended by in excess of 100 guests, also served to premier a promotional video which ties the sport’s history and traditions to a new NPL, which aims to steadily improve Australia’s state-based senior competitions and drive better junior development.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg emphasised there is still plenty of work ahead to ensure the NPL achieves its aims. “On Saturday, we will reach a major milestone when the NPL finally kicks off and all those players, officials, supporters and volunteers, who have contributed along the way, deserve enormous credit,” he said. “The start of the NPL represents the end of a long period of planning but there will continue to be a need for hard work and a collective effort to ensure its success. We can’t expect the NPL to be a magic bullet for the sport but if we all embrace it, I have no doubt it will ensure our game continues to prosper.”
SMELTZ UNDER INJURY CLOUD
Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz is in doubt for Sunday’s game to Wellington Phoenix after suffering a groin injury while in camp with New Zealand. Smeltz was expected to be named as a substitute for the Kiwi’s friendly against Japan tonight, but the 32-year old withdrew from the squad as a precautionary measure only hours before kick-off. “After consulting with the medical staff it was decided the injury would hinder his performance,” New Zealand coach Neil Emblen said. “There was also the potential of further aggravation, especially given the rain that has fallen today.” Glory will assess Smeltz and determine what role he’ll play against Wellington when he joins the squad in New Zealand.
FARINA EARNS GARCIA’S PRAISE
Attacker Richard Garcia has thrown his backing behind Frank Farina, declaring the Sydney FC coach can lead the club into the A-League finals. The Sky Blues are languishing in the bottom half of the table and engaged in a cut-throat race to reach the end-of-season play-offs. Farina has come under fire from the fans and media alike this season but Garcia has nothing but praise for the way his coach handled himself as the pressure has mounted. ”I can think of no better man than Frank to have in a crisis if that was the case,” Garcia told theworldgame.sbs.com.au “With him around you would not even know that there was a crisis at the club.”
If not for Farina’s refusal to listen to the critics then Sydney wouldn’t even be in finals contention according to Garcia. “I’ve got to give it to Frank. He has been really consistent throughout. His mood and the way he acted at training never changed,” he added. “We as a group have sat down and discussed our situation and made sure we kept our heads too. And despite the criticism he was copping he never lost sight of the long-term goal which is for us to make the finals. And because of the fact that we have always been there or thereabouts he always had the belief that we players would put our game together and play some good football, maybe around finals time.”
Garcia may not score many goals but when he does find the net it tends to be with extraordinary finishes. He brought the house down with a glorious dipping shot against Wellington Phoenix and last weekend came off the bench to volley in from the narrowest of angles against Central Coast Mariners. ”I knew I did not have much space to hit it,” Garcia said of the latter strike. “I had to go as quickly and as high as I could even though there was a risk I would sky it. I knew the defender was coming across and if I hit the ball any lower the goalkeeper would have saved it … sometimes you hit those and they don’t even hit the target but it slipped in.”
Garcia is expected to return to the starting line-up for Saturday’s derby with Western Sydney Wanderers. “I was ready to start last week but the coaching staff tried to do the right thing by me and decided to use caution. But I should be okay for the derby and if I get the opportunity I will be ready to take it,” he said. “It’s a big game regardless of whether it’s a derby or not. We need the three points to shoot up the table. You always want to put one over your cross-town rivals and we as a group need this result because they have been doing well and we have been performing inconsistently.”
TAGGART RUES HOME FORM
If Newcastle Jets are serious about participating in this seasons A-League play-offs then they must start picking up points on home soil according to striker Adam Taggart. Newcastle’s early home form was strong but a six game winless run means they’ve taken only ten points from ten games at Hunter Stadium this season. By contrast Taggart’s team have picked up sixteen points from eleven road trips. “We’ve let our home fans down a bit,” Taggart said. “But we’re doing the best that we can and we’re working on it week in and week out. We just need to get that click going again back at home. It’s really unacceptable to be dropping points at home.”
Taggart is at a loss to explain why Newcastle has performed better away from home. “We train the same regardless of where the game is at,” he said. “We’re training harder and harder each week, working on more things, working on our weaknesses and improving our strengths. I think it just comes down to a mental thing … it’s been pretty frustrating. It seems to be the story of our season this year – we’ve beaten all the top teams and done really well away from home, but when we’re expected to win and the emphasis has been on us to pick up three points, it’s sort of been our downfall. It’s where we must improve.”
BOSTON SNAP UP DE VANNA
Australian international Lisa De Vanna has signed on with Boston Breakers for the coming National Women’s Soccer League season. The 29-year old striker scored five goals in sixteen outings with New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC last year and is looking forward to a similar return for her new club. “I am delighted to be joining the Boston Breakers this season and cannot wait to arrive to start the new campaign,” De Vanna said. “I played against Boston last season and saw that they are a young team with lots of talent, so I hope with my experience and the recruiting of new head coach Tom Durkin sets us up for the challenge of winning the league this season.” The new NWSL season kicks off in mid-April.
VUKOVIC LOANED TO JAPAN’S SENDAI
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is hoping to force his way into Socceroos contention after securing a five-month loan deal with Japanese side Vegalta Sendai. Vukovic is regarded one of the A-League’s best shot-stoppers but the 28-year old sits down the national team pecking order behind Mitch Langerak, Brad Jones and Mathew Ryan. The loan provides Vukovic the opportunity to play as many as 20 games before Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou names his World Cup squad in May. “It allows me to continue playing at a high level over the coming months and leading up to the World Cup,” he said. “Hopefully this will enhance my chances of selection.”
Vukovic, who departs for Japan tomorrow, will miss the final six games of Glory’s season but says the clubs have a readymade replacement in Australia under-20 international Jack Duncan. “I would have loved to have finished the season with Glory but due to the transfer window closing in Japan, this isn’t possible,” he said. “I have full confidence that Jack will come into the side and do a good job for the team. He has worked hard all season and deserves his chance between the posts.” Vukovic will return to Glory in August should Sendai not take up the option to buy Vukovic at the end of his loan spell.
SOCCEROOS GO WITHOUT HERD
Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd has withdrawn from the Australia squad on the eve of their friendly with Ecuador. The uncapped Herd was due to join the Socceroos camp in London yesterday when Villa officials confirmed the 24-year old would be unavailable for selection in all competition until further notice due to personal reasons. “We have been made aware that Chris will be unavailable for selection at club level until further notice as he works through some personal issues and we will respect that,” Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said. Korea-based Alex Wilkinson has been added to the squad for this week’s game.
WILLIAMS EXCITED BY OXFORD’S FINAL PUSH
Ryan Williams has set his sights on helping Oxford United secure a place in League Two’s play-off series. Fifth-placed Oxford have the comfort of a seven-point cushion over Plymouth Argyle, who sit just outside the play-off positions, meaning the U’s are well-placed to claim a top-seven finish. “We’re in a win-win situation I guess, because if we don’t get automatic promotion I don’t think we can slip up that much to not get in the play-offs,” Williams said. “It’s exciting, who wouldn’t want to be in this position? Hopefully we can do our best and get automatic promotion. It’s what we all want. I know the fans love to go to Wembley, but I’m sure it would be better for their nerves if we can get a top-three place.”
MAKECHE MAKES MALAYSIAN MOVE
Striker Ndumba Makeche has opted to open a new chapter in his fledgling career by signing with Malaysian Premier League side Felda United. Makeche parted company with Perth Glory by mutual agreement late last week to take up a one-year deal with Felda, who are in pre-season mode for their 2014 campaign. The 21-year old starred on the local stage with Stirling Lions and Inglewood United, leading to his recruitment by Glory in mid-2012. First team opportunities were few and far between for Makeche during his two seasons with Glory, making only five appearances. He initially caught the eye of Felda officials in December by scoring four goals in Glory’s friendly win over the Malaysian side.
BURTON SECURES BAYSWATER PRE-SEASON SUCCESS
Bayswater City captured back-to-back Night Series trophies by defeating Floreat Athena 2-0 in this evening’s final at Dorrien Gardens. A goal either side of the break by Steve Burton made all the difference and secured Bayswater their fourth piece of silverware in twelve months. “Floreat played well and made it difficult for us but I thought we deserved the win in the end. We looked good going forward and kept it tight at the back,” said victorious captain Trent Kay. “It’s great for the club to go back-to-back in this competition, but it doesn’t stop there. We’re looking to continue our form into the new National Premier Leagues season and go back-to-back in that too.”
Proceedings got underway with both teams expressing a clear desire to open their account early. James Isaia’s cross from the left was headed wide by Burton then a few minutes later, and at the other end, Ludovic Boi’s long-range effort was saved by Devon Spence. Shots from Ashley Corker and Callum Fransz fizzled over the top as Floreat kept probing for openings. But as the half came to an end that momentum switch in Bayswater’s favour and an alert Yousri Gharsallah tipped over Mark Walsh’s attempted clearance from Isaia’s cross. The pressure paid off in the 39th minute when David Costello somewhat harshly ruled a foul against Corker on Burton, who duly sent Gharsallah the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Bayswater were fast out of the blocks for the second half, Burton crashing an initial shot against the upright with his follow-up deflected wide by Walsh. Floreat responded in kind on 53 minutes but Spence was out quickly to save bravely at the feet of substitute Jamie Eames after he streamed clear of the defence. The all-important second goal arrived just before the hour when Jamie Coyne combined with Adam Bachiller whose cross to the far post was nodded into the net by Burton. And it would have been three-nil ten minutes had Paul McCarthy not stabbed wide from 5-metres after meeting Danny Dixon’s low delivery. To their credit, Floreat continued to press but neither David Heagney nor Boi were able to conjure a late consolation.
Bayswater City: Devon Spence, Adam Bachiller, Trent Kay, James Isaia (Andy Reale 90), Chris Saldaris, Todd Howarth, Paul McCarthy, Brian Farrell, Jamie Coyne, Adrian Caceres (Danny Dixon 54), Steve Burton (Declan Hargreaves 86)
Floreat Athena: Yousri Gharsallah, Mark Walsh, Blair Govan, Ashley Corker, Cameron Yorke (Jack Allen 68), Callum Fransz, Aryn Williams, Zedenick Bezdek, Ludovic Boi, Mwasna Musonda (Jamie Eames 46), David Heagney
Bookings: Saldaris (35), Corker (30), McCarthy (43), Boi (71), Spence (80)
Referee: David Costello
BUNBURY TAKE THIRD WITH SHOOT-OUT WIN (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
A ten-man Bunbury Forum Force claimed third place in the Night Series by out-shooting a youthful Inglewood United 5-4 on penalties in this evenings minor place play-off at Dorrien Gardens. Bunbury captain Oliver McGee netted the decisive spot kick in a tense shoot-out, and in the process erased the bitter memory of a penalty miss in last week’s semi-final. “I missed the one last week and nobody wanted to take it this time, but we scored and got the win,” said McGee. “Now we’re all looking forward to the start of the season.” The teams had earlier finished level at 4-4 after regulation time with Bunbury playing the majority of the second half a man down following a straight red card to Jon Brooks.
Inglewood’s dominance of the early exchanges was rewarded on the quarter hour when Paddy Doyle’s shot on the turn from 22-metres found the top corner of Ryan Montgomery’s net. Bunbury drew level in the 33rd minute through Lee Stewart, whose shot from the left deflected off a defender and past goalkeeper Jake Luik. Three minutes later they had another after McGee was afforded time and space to fire inside the upright following a corner. Stewart then nabbed his second goal after picking the ball up on the edge of the area and stabbing in at the near post. Inglewood were not to be outdone and on the stroke of half-time Jarrod McNally tapped in after his initial shot was saved by Montgomery.
Bunbury’s night took a turn for the worse when Brooks received his marching orders from referee Matt Southern after catching an opponent with a stray elbow only minutes into the second half. Inglewood capitalised in the 65th minutes through David Sesay’s low cross which Ryan Stewart had the misfortune of turning into his own net. Bunbury retook the lead ten minutes later, substitute James McCleary dancing into the area to slot in what looked to be the winner. However, Inglewood equalised again with just four minutes remaining after a mix-up between Montgomery and his centre backs allowed McNally to side-foot into an open net.
Inglewood United: Jake Luik, Jaedon Ewen (Hayden Dodgson 71), Paddy Doyle, Connor Devlin, Ryan Treacey (Achamteleh Endalk 58), Mathiang Mathiang, Dhuors Chol, David Sesay (Marc Eldridge 65), Cameron Sutton, Jarrod McNally, Abdul Sesay
Bunbury Forum Force: Ryan Montgomery, Jarred Mort, Ryan Stewart, Oliver McGee, Craig Aldridge, Bright Ababio, Kieran Quinn (Jayden Prosser 63), Jon Brooks, Lee Stewart (James McCleary 72), Kenny Taylor, James Bergin (Michael Farmer 58)
Bookings: Stewart (72)
Dismissals: Brooks (50)
Referee: Matt Southern
ADELAIDE TRUMP GLORY YOUTH IN SEASON FINALE
A superb Anthony Costa hat-trick steered Adelaide United to a season-concluding 4-2 win over Perth Glory Youth this morning at Thebarton Oval. The home side enjoyed the better of early play but it was from Glory that the first goal came after 21 minutes, Joe Knowles luring goalkeeper Paul Izzo off his line before evading Jordan Elsey and popping the ball into the back of the net. Falling behind seemed to spur Adelaide into life and just before the half hour Awer Mabil transferred the ball to Jake Barker-Daish who thundered it beyond Luke Radonich. The hosts continued to attack and captured the lead on the cusp of half-time when Anthony Costa drilled in from the left flank after taking a pass from Mabil.
Adelaide came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage in the 54th minute but Ryan Edwards blocked Ryan Kitto’s shot after Radonich was caught out of position. However, the home side weren’t to be denied in the 63rd minute when Costa muscled home his second after whizzing into a vacant goal. Glory reduced the deficit thirteen minutes courtesy of a fine solo effort from Slobodan Vulin on the counter attack. Exciting striker Borbor Sambindi had a chance to bring the sides level but after getting free of the defence he lost control. Substitute Donovan Pollock and Costa forcing Radonich into back-to-back saves as Adelaide pressed late. Then, in extra time, Costa sealed his hat-trick by converting a sublime ball from Bruce Kamau.
INEXPERIENCE OUR UNDOING SAYS LOWE
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe feels his teams overall lack of experience cost them dearly against Brisbane Roar last night. Lowe was left to wonder what might have been after Glory squandered a handful of early chances to a Brisbane side that was slow out of the blocks. “You can’t do two things against this side,” Lowe said. “You can’t not take your chances, and we had one or two that were half decent, really early on in the game that may have changed the dynamic. And then you can't give them the first two goals, because there's no coming back from that.”
Brisbane went ahead early in the second half through Ivan Franjic with experienced midfielders Liam Miller and Thomas Broich ramming home the host’s advantage. “At the end of the day we’ve got a number of inexperienced guys and they’ve got a number of experienced guys in their top third,” said Lowe in pinpointing the difference between the teams. “Their experienced guys produced where our inexperienced guys did ever so well for so long, but the odd lapse here and there, it just hurts you, especially when they’ve got the quality that they’ve got.”
An error by 19-year old centre-back Brandon O'Neill, who had moments earlier been cramping up, provided Brisbane the opportunity to double their lead late in the piece. Lowe expressed little sympathy for O’Neill, saying his mistake would prove a learning experience. “No, I don’t feel sorry for him,” he said. “You know why? Because it will make him, he'll remember it. It won’t be a nice experience but he’ll remember it, it will be burnt in his memory, and he’ll have a little bit of pain. And you know what? He’ll be better for it, the kid.”
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