GLORY GOING FOR CUP SUCCESS
Perth Glory will head into their maiden FFA Cup outing with their strongest possible line-up and determined to win the game. Glory have been drawn away to A-League rivals Newcastle Jets in the opening round of the new knock-out competition and chief executive Jason Brewer says they’ll be going all out for the win. “We would love to be the inaugural winners of the Cup,” Brewer told fourfourtwo.com/au “We had the whole club together, players and staff for the draw. We even invited the coaches and management of Stirling (Lions) and Bayswater (City) to make it a bit event. We’re very excited by the competition.”
Glory finished eighth last season, two points above bottom-placed Melbourne City, but have recruited strongly during the off-season with Mitch Nichols, Ruben Zadkovich, Dino Djulbic, Youssouf Hersi, Andy Keogh and Diogo Ferreira amongst the newcomers. “The whole squad is pretty much bedded down and training all together now, so looking for a tough pre-season,” Brewer commented. “We will definitely be putting out our strongest team for the FFA Cup. It’s a competition we want to win. Our club needs success and it would be great to head into the A-League season for our fans knowing we are still in the FFA Cup competition and with the full A-League season ahead of us.”
Local clubs Stirling and Bayswater have both drawn A-League opponents in the Cup, with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory set to head west. “Both Stirling and Bayswater know the task ahead of them,” Brewer said. “Chris Coyne, the coach of Bayswater, will certainly be getting his team fired up for it and has plenty of experiences from his time in the UK with the FA Cup. If there is anything we can do to help we most certainly will. The draw is great for football in WA and it would be fantastic to see one or both of them pull off an upset … it would really set the tone of the competition.”
TAGGART EYES PREMIER LEAGUE RETURN WITH FULHAM
Fresh from his full World Cup debut with the Socceroos, striker Adam Taggart says the next challenge is getting his new club back up where they belong - the English Premier League. Taggart, who recently turned 21, arrived back in Australia late last week and, although clearly fatigued, found it difficult to contain his excitement at the prospect of joining English Championship side Fulham. “It was something I really wanted to do,” Taggart said of his move to the London club. “To go overseas and test myself at the next level at such a great club with such a great history with great coaching staff. It’s the next challenge for me to improve and develop. For us, we’re looking to get back to that top league.”
Taggart’s world has been turned upside down in the space of seven short weeks. He entered May as the leading goalscorer of the 2013/14 A-League season and an outside chance to sneak in to the Socceroo’s squad for Brazil. Taggart gained his first World Cup appearance by coming off the bench late against the Netherlands and a few days later started Australia’s final group game against World Cup holders Spain. Fast forward a couple more days and he has a three-year deal with Fulham, whose star-studded squad includes Costa Rican attacker Bryan Ruiz, former England internationals Kieran Richardson and Scott Parker, experienced goalkeeper Martin Stekelenburg and German right back Tim Hoogland.
Asked about the Socceroos’ campaign at the World Cup and the former ECU Joondalup junior said the Socceroos had surprised a few around the world. “We really wanted to show the world what we can do and our preparation, staff and players were absolutely fantastic throughout,” said Taggart. “In the end we didn’t come out with the results but measured ourselves against the best teams and players in the world. Now we know where we’re at. It’s all about moving forward, improving as a team, country and individuals. Hopefully next time we can go that step further in four years.”
As for the doubters who predicted this young and inexperienced Socceroos would be smashed in all three games? “I think we proved them wrong, in terms of the way we wanted to play,” Taggart commented. “And we surprised some top teams, especially Holland. That was some of the best football Australia has played. It again shows the direction the country is heading in. We’re pleased with our progression but at the same time we want to be a winning country and compete with the top sides in terms of results and getting through that group stage. Which needs to be a must for the next time (at Russia 2018).”
WILLIAMS BACK FOR MIDDLESBROUGH
Defender Rhys Williams has been declared fit for pre-season training as he recovers from the ruptured Achilles which ruled him out of Australia’s World Cup campaign. The Middlesbrough squad return to Rockliffe this week and team boss Aitor Karanka said although 25-year old Williams was not yet ready for full contact sessions, he has been working diligently in the gym. “Rhys should be fit for the start of the season,” said Karanka. “His recovery is coming along very well. He will work with the first team squad and we hope he will be fit for the start of the matches.”
BAYSWATER AND LIONS DRAW THE BIG BOYS IN FFA CUP
NPL-WA sides Bayswater City and Stirling Lions have received bumper draws in the first round of the inugraul Westfield FFA Cup, with home games against A-League sides Melbourn Victory and Brisbane Roar respectively. The draw of 32, was made live on Fox Sports on Friday morning, and the WA pair booked tie’s against A-League oppotion but the players are looking forward to the challenge.
Former Perth Glory keeper Aleks Vrteski, who ironiaclly made his A-League debut against the Roar in 2006, when they were called Queensland Roar, is delighted with the draw, and believes it is great for WA football. “It’s fantastic for football not only in Australia but especially in WA. Its a great motivator for all players in the NPL to rub shoulders with the best in the country and also prove themselves to be good enough for the next level,” Vrteski said.
Bayswater skipper Trent Kay will go toe to toe with Besart Berisha at Frank Drago Reserve, but he acknowledges the work done by President Gerry Maio and the coaching staff at the club to get them this far. “All credit goes to Gerry and our coaching staff, and everyone behind the scenes that have worked extremely hard to get the club where it is today,” he said. “It’s absolutely fantastic news for Bayswater, Stirling and WA football. As players you want to play against the best teams possible and now we get that opportunity. “I've spoken to a few of the lads and they are all buzzing to mix it up with one of the biggest clubs in Australia.”
City midfielder Declan Hargreaves, who has burst onto the WA football scene this season with the club, can’t wait to take on the Victory. “It’s very exciting for all the lads, especially getting the chance to play against an A league team,” he said. “I think it will be good for the club to see how we go against them, and you never know in the cup anything can happen on the day.”
Lions, and former Perth Glory midfielder, David Micevski, who also made his A-League debut against the Roar, believes the WA football public will support the game. “It's a fantastic opportunity for us to test ourselves against the countries best and I hope we get a massive crowd at Macedonia Park,” he said. “Drawing the A-league champions Brisbane is massive for our club but it also puts Stirling Lions on the map in Australian football. Having started my career as a junior at the Lions it's fantastic for the club to host the most successful A-league club to date. For me personally I made my A-League debut for Perth Glory against the Brisbane and now I have the opportunity to play against them again where my football career began. “Being involved in this competition was one of our main objectives this season and what's to say we can't pull off one of the biggest surprises in Australian football, and proceed to the next round. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
When hearing the news of the draw Lions’ skipper Andy Brown was delighted. “Unbelievable draw,” he said. “It’s a great test for the Stirling lads and a huge coup for the club. As players who never made it to the next level, for whatever reason, you always hope that you get a chance at taking a scalp if one of the big clubs and they don’t get much bigger than Brisbane Roar. It’s going to be a huge night at The Den and who knows we may get something out of it.”
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg was delighted for Bayswater and Stirling on a draw that would generate excitement and interest in the local game. “People talk about the romance and magic of England’s FA Cup and we’ve immediately got something pretty special with the first Round of 32 draw of our own Westfield FFA Cup,” Hugg told the Football West web site. “This is fantastic for Bayswater and Stirling and for all the hard work they have done on and off the field. But it’s also a chance for football fans to get excited by these David-versus-Goliath contests and the possibility of a giant killing.”
The Full draw is - Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory, Melbourne City v Sydney FC, Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United, Broadmeadow Magic (NNSW) v Brisbane Strikers (Qld), Sydney United 58 FC (NSW) v FNQ Heat (Qld), Parramatta FC (NSW) v St Albans Saints (Vic), Olympic FC (Qld) v Melbourne Knights (Vic), Manly United (NSW) v Sydney Olympic (NSW), South Hobart (Tas) v Tuggeranong United (ACT), Hakoah Sydney City (NSW) v Palm Beach Sharks (Qld), South Springvale (Vic) v South Cardiff (NNSW), Blacktown City (NSW) v Bentleigh Greens (Vic), South Coast Wolves (NSW) v Central Coast Mariners, Bayswater City (WA) v Melbourne Victory, Adelaide City (SA) v Western Sydney Wanderers Stirling Lions (WA) v Brisbane Roar - Note: Dates, venues and kick-off times will be announced Mon 30 June
LIONS FOCUS RETURNS TO ATHENA (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
After the excitement of this morning’s Westfield FFA Cup draw, Stirling Lions will get back to business on Sunday when they take on Floreat Athena in a National Premier Leagues WA match at E&D Litis Stadium. Stirling have earned a glamour FFA Cup tie against Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar but they will not be distracted from the immediate job at hand. Despite last week’s stunning 5-1 win against Perth Glory’s NPL WA team, midfielder Dean Evans knows his side has room for improvement.
“Last week was a positive result for the club, and obviously it was great to score five goals,” he said. “But again we started slowly and went behind in the game, which has been a bit of a problem for us of late, and we will need to get that right against a confident Floreat side.” There will be added spice to the game for Evans, who will line-up opposite his old teammate Ludovic Boi in midfield. “Games between the two sides are always an entertaining spectacle, especially with so much history and passion between them,” Evans said. “We know it means a lot to both sets of fans. “It’s always good fun to come up against ex-team mates and Ludo and I both know that there’s a job to do.”
The Lions welcome back skipper Andy Brown from suspension. Aleks Vrteski and Phil Arnold also return to the squad. Floreat go into the game without suspended Bobby Wilson, but skipper Callum Fransz believes it will be a great game and has been impressed with the promotion of the Rivalry Round. “I think our fixture is one that truly justifies the title ‘Rivalry Round,” he said. "With a young and strong supporter base, it's fantastic to have a rivalry round to give added enthusiasm to the hype. It also gives the players a little bit more to play for, and helps them understand the passion of the supporters.” Fransz moved back to a central defensive position last week and will look to continue his impressive form after the 4-1 win at Joondalup. “Finally we've proven to ourselves that we are contenders for the top four, and that we can play good football and win games,” he said. “But we know we will have to be at our best.”
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND FIFTEEN
It’s Rivalry Round in the National Premier League-WA, with some tasty Local Derby’s across the metropolitan area.
Bayswater City v Balcatta
The pick of the round is at Frank Drago Reserve where league leaders Bayswater City entertain Italian rivals Perth SC. Perth lost for the first time in eight games last week against Sorrento, and defender James Marocchi is looking forward to putting that right on Saturday. “We simply didn't turn up in the first half last week, and when we did, an experienced side like Sorrento was never going to let us get back into the game,” he said. “We have put that behind us now, and Saturday’s game is massive, for both teams in regards to ladder position and club rivalry.” Perth will still be without the injured Ashley Rosindale, Luka Njegich and Craig Simpson, but they will have new signing Adrian Caceres, who has joined from Bayswater in the week, and Jason Barrera, who has signed from Armadale. Meanwhile the home side go into the game with a full squad to choice from.
Balcatta v Inglewood United
Balcatta will be looking to continue their good form when they host Inglewood United at Grindleford Reserve. The home side will without the league’s leading goalscorer, Gustavo Catarcione, who has flown to Brazil to get married, all the best mate!!! His absent will be filled by the return of Bobby Kouakou, while Paddy Quinn and Kris Gate are also pushing for selection after long term injuries. Inglewood will be without six regular starters, Teeboy Kamara, Addul Sesay and Ryan Clarke all out injured, while Matt Danskin, Scott Blackmore and Joe Pullella are all unavailable.
Sorrento v ECU Joondalup
It’s the City of Joondalup derby, when Sorrento entertains ECU Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento had a good win at Perth last weekend will be looking to keep their spot in the top five, and have had the wood on their neighbours in recent seasons. The Gulls will be without Shaun Kilkelly, who is overseas, with Danny Cain coming into his spot, while Adam Luca is still out injured. Joondalup welcome English midfielder Carl Rodgers to their side, after his international clearance came through, but Ryan Townsend is out injured.
Perth Glory v Subiaco AFC
Subiaco AFC makes the trip to Intiga Stadium to face Perth Glory, looking to keep their good run of form intact. Unbeaten in their last two games, they will fancy their chances of winning their first on the road this season. Skipper Guy McDonald returns for the game, but Ger Fitzgerald misses out again with injury. The Glory go into the game unchanged, looking to end their long run without a win.
Armadale v Cockburn City
Armadale dropped to the bottom of the table last week, but they will be looking to bounce back when they take on Cockburn City at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Defender Billy Quinncroft believes the young Reds side are improving. “We’re disappointed with the result last week, I thought we were good for a point,” he said. “We are getting better every week; we just need to improve in the final third. We have a young squad and are working really hard to improve and I think we are.”
The Reds went down to the Cockerels earlier in the season, and were on the wrong side of some indifferent referring decisions according to Quinncroft. “I didn’t play in the last game, but we received a dodgy red card early in the game and went on to lose,” he said. “This week will be different, we have a full squad to choice from, and the lads have been buzzing at training, and if we take our chances and stick to our game plan, I’m confident we can take the points.” The Reds will be at full strength with Alex Clarke and Louie Bake both returning. Cockburn welcome back skipper Paul Natale, but there is doubts about Euen Grant, Eamon McNelis, Liam Murray and Matt Barlow, who all picked injuries in last week’s bruising encounter with Subiaco.
Floreat Athena v Stirling Lions
On Sunday traditional rivals Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions meet at the E&D Litis Stadium. Floreat midfielder Ludovic Boi thought last week’s win at ECU, will give them confidence going into Sunday’s clash. “Last week was a great result for us, has ECU have been in good form. We were well worth the win and the most pleasing was us put our chances away,” he said.
Boi will be playing against his former club, and a number of mates on Sunday, but he knows a win is vital to keep in touch with the top five. “Stirling is always a tough game, as we found out last time, when they came back from 0-2 down to beat us 3-2,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve learnt from our mistakes from that day and we can take the points to reduce the margin on them.” In team news for Floreat, Bobby Wilson will be missing due to suspension, while the Lions welcome back Aleks Vrteski, Andy Brown and Phil Arnold, although Dennis Galan is still unavailable
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND ELEVEN
It may be rivalry round in the NPL, but the First Division have their own version, when Western Knights entertain Dianella White Eagles at Nash Field. The Knights won on the road last week to keep them in touch with the leaders, while Dianella were beaten at home by Bunbury Forum Force, making it three games without a win, so it’s an important game for both sides “We had a great result last week in terrible conditions, with Paul Lloyd’s late winner giving us a hard fought win” said Knights’ striker Johny Mirco, who knows how importance this week’s fixture is. “The Dianella game is always a massive one for the club, and they will want all the points. We are feeling confident going into the game, and have a full squad at the moment and positions are up for grabs every week.”
In other Saturday games, Swan United host Gosnells City at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors will be without Liam Cave for the game, while United welcome back Steve Cowbrough from suspension. Ashfield make the trip to Payne Park to take on leaders Bunbury Forum Force. They will be missing injured trio Graham Tough, Matt Wardle and Branimir Mikulic, but do have new signing Howard Neighbour available, who joined the club from NPL side Stirling Lions this week, while the Force will be without Jon Brooks. Wanneroo City and Mandurah City meet at Kingsway Reserve, Mandurah will be missing Jack Eades, while Morley Windmills host UWA-Nedlands at Wotton Reserve. The home side will be hoping Chris Bradley is available after training well this week after injury.
Second place Shamrock Rovers will be looking to keep tabs on Bunbury , when they take on Canning City at Grimley Reserve. Canning have been edged out by a single goal in their last two games against teams at the top of the table, and coach Paul van Dongen believes his young side are on the improve. “Last week was a game of two halves. The Knights were on top in the first but we dominated the second, so to lose it late was disappointing,” he said. “We were missing five regular starters, but the lads that came in did a great job, and they will be in the side again this week.”
“Shamrock is playing good football at the moment and getting the results, but we’re going to go there and take the game to them and make a game of it.” Canning will be without Jarrad Smith, Daniel Neiderberger, Simo Versacio, Nathan Hubbard, Julian Madaschi and Mark Trevisol, but will welcome new signing Sam Carrello, while Ryan Tucker and Mark Walkey come into the squad. Shamrock will have new midfielder Brian Patterson in the squad, and striker Gary Mahony returns, but Dave Murphy will have a late fitness test on a leg injury.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND ELEVEN
Curtin University have begun the season well and they will be looking to continue this tonight when they entertain Ellenbrook United at Edinburgh Oval (8.30pm) Curtin coach Campbell Ballantyne has a few selection headaches for the game. “Eddie Tikoft has been struggling with injury, but looks set to return to the squad this week. The team has won three straight, and the team has been settled, so it will give me a selection headaches,” said Ballantyne. “I don't know much about Ellenbrook, but can see they have strengthened since the season started and we are conscious they will be fresh and ready to go after last week’s wash out.”
Ellenbrook are heading into the game in good form and Paul Williams believes Coach Sean Doyle has got them playing well, and he believes they will give a good account of themselves. “We are looking forward to the game, and we know they have had some good results recently,” he said. “But we are coming off the back of the win over Joondalup City and the break last week and are feeling up to the task.” “Sean has injected a lot fight and fitness into the lads and has us playing great football at the moment, and the squad is fit and rearing to go.”
There is a local derby on Saturday, when Quinns FC host Joondalup City at Gumblossom Park. City coach Gary Kalaher is expecting a tough encounter. “Were looking forward to the local derby, and if last year’s encounters are any guide any guide, this will be a very tough game,” said Coach Gary Kalaher, whoses side welcomes back skipper Danny Allan from suspension.
In other games Rockingham City entertains Fremantle United at Lark Hill, with the home side missing Ryan Kennedy, Martin Barnes and Matt McDonald, but they do welcome back Lance Louvie, Roy Hissey, Rafa Insaurralde, Craig Thompson and Blade Atkinson. Melville City and Forrestfield United meet at Len Shearer Reserve; the visitors will be missing Trent Wood due to suspension, while Balga host Olympic Kingsway at Princess Road Reserve.
League leaders Joondalup United make the trip to Frye Park to take on Kelmscott Roos. United Coach Daniel Smith is taking nothing granted for the trip. “The boys trained really hard on Tuesday night which shows me they are taking Kelmscott very seriously, as am I,” he said. “We played them in the Sunday cup a few years ago and they dumped us out the competition, so we will want to make up for that, but we are expecting a tough game down there.” United will have Josh Whitmore, Alex Wild, Ross Edwards and Robbie Bain available after missing last week.
SWAN YOUNGSTER RETURNS HOME
Tim Hill has return to the Swan United, after signing from NPL-WA side Stirling Lions. The 20-year-old is happy to be back and has played a huge part in the clubs three game undefeated streak. “So far it's going well I'm enjoying training and playing with some old friends and also enjoyed our first win for a while against Morley,” he said. It was a hard decision to leave Macedonia Park, but he felt it was time for a move. “Yes of course it was a difficult decision to leave the Lions. I had a lot of fun there and made some great friends and memories and the club and staff always made me feel very welcome but it was a decision I felt I had to make,” Hill explained.
“My time at Stirling was fairly mixed we suffered some ups and downs, I captained the reserves team for a few years which was a good experience but winning the league last year with the first team was really good and also making the final of the top 5 cup was a great experience, also getting to play with players like Andy Todd was something I'll never forget.”
Hill has been impressed with the lads at training, and Coach Salv Todaro, and he’s hoping to help them climb the table. “Well at the moment it's a fairly young and inexperienced squad but we have a few boys who are older and more experienced who are always helping the younger ones out which is good to see and I believe we should start picking up a few more points in the second round when the new arrivals start to gel,” he said.
“I'm enjoying playing for Salv, he has good ideas and likes to play a good brand of football which suits me, training so far is well set up and he knows how to get his ideas across.” Todaro is delighted to have Hill in his squad. “It is great to be able to provide a young player an opportunity to play senior football with the club where he started off playing off at,” he said. “Tim brings to the team another dimension into the midfield, his vision and passing ability will ensure that our forward play will be more cutting edge than what it has been.” Hill left Francis Street to join the Lions when he was 16, and had an enjoyable time here as a junior. “I played at Swans from when I was 5, until I turned 16 before moving to the Macedonia Park,” he said. “Paul Lincoln was in charge for a majority of my time in the senior set up and he got me involved with the first team when I was 15 which I'm really thankful for as starting early has helped me a lot I feel. My highlight would be winning the 18s state league cup, we won the final 4-1 which is a great result for the club.”
TAGGART JETTING OFF TO FULHAM
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart has signed a three-year contract with English Championship side Fulham. Taggart, who started for the Socceroos in their final World Cup group game against Spain on Monday, was contracted to Newcastle Jets for another season but the A-League club have agreed to his release. “I’d like to thank everyone at the Newcastle Jets, including the players, staff and fans for their fantastic support over the past couple of seasons,” said Taggart, winner of the national league’s Golden Boot and Young Footballer of the Year awards last summer.
Taggart, 21, leaves Newcastle after two stellar seasons in which hit the back of the net 18 times in 44 appearances. “I’ve had two really enjoyable years at the Jets and for that reason I will always hold the club and city of Newcastle close to my heart,” said Taggart. “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career with Fulham and working hard to take my game to another level.” Taggart becomes the latest in a long line of former ECU Joondalup juniors to turn professional, joining Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory) and Alex Grant (Stoke City).
MADASCHI EAGER TO BOLSTER NEWCASTLE DEFENCE
Defender Adrian Madaschi will draw upon a decade-plus of experience to add muscle to Newcastle Jets defensive structure in season 2014/15. The imposing centre-back met his Newcastle team mates last week and has made it his goal to bring a blend of physicality and on the ball confidence to his new club. “In modern football (size) a common characteristic of a centre-back and probably one of the pre-requisites,” he said. “I like to play out from the back and pass the ball quite a lot. Whether it’s going into attack or getting back into the transitional phase of the defence, they’re the things I work hard on to allow the team to make sure they’re in the right positions.”
Madaschi, who had a nine-game stint with Melbourne Heart during 2011/12, is pleased to return to Australia after two seasons in South Korea. “Since I was in the league last, the great thing is that the game keeps growing and getting better from a technical level,” he said. “From a professional point of view I’ve still got a lot of things that I want to accomplish. “I’ve played with David Carney and I grew up with Mark Birighitti, who is a family friend from back in Perth. Obviously now is the opportunity to get to know each and every one of the players and build relationships with them before the season starts.”
Madaschi and his new team mates will spend the next fortnight undertaking the FFA C Licence Coaching Course before commencing pre-season training on 30 June. “Having played in Italy, the tactical side of the game is paramount to everything that is done, so I’d like to hope that has put me in good stead to approach this coaching course,” Madaschi said. “I’m really looking forward to it and I think it will be really good to freshen up our minds and put everything in focus of what we’ve got to do over the coming months to prepare ourselves for the start of the season.”
SPAIN OUT-CLASSES SOCCEROOS
Australia have signed off from the World Cup with a 3-0 loss to Spain on a sub-standard Arena da Baixada surface in Curitiba. Both nations headed into the fixture knowing this was their final 90 minutes of the tournament and goals from David Villa, Fernando Torres and substitute Juan Mata condemned the Socceroos to finish bottom of Group B. After eye-catching performances against Chile and the Netherlands, Australia Socceroos were unable to find a way past a Spanish side which were far from their fluent best, but still did enough to earn an comfortable win.
The Socceroos started in whirlwind fashion, Matt Leckie whizzing a low shot from distance past Pepe Reina’s after only a few minutes. Villa was the main outlet for Spain down the left flank for Spain but it was the Socceroos dominating possession and playing at a higher intensity. Spain’s first real chance didn’t arrive until 20 minutes in when Villa skewed wide from Andres Iniesta centre. Villa again found space outside the box for Jordi Alba to run on and smash a shot straight at Mat Ryan as the Spaniards began to find their feet.
As the pace began to slow, Villa found space to whip in a low cross which just failed to find Torres. Spain deservedly got the goal they sought in the 36th minute, Iniesta slicing open the Australian defence for Juanfran to run on and cross for an unmarked Villa to cleverly flick past Ryan. Australia almost equalised straight from the re-start but Spain cleared the danger with Adam Taggart threatening. And it would have been two-nil at the break had it not been for Alex Wilkinson’s inception on Santi Cazorla’s pull back for Villa.
Leckie moved into central midfield for the second half where his pace gave Australia a positive start. But it didn’t take too long for Spain to regain the momentum and on 69 minutes Iniesta’s slide rule pass was despatched into the net by Torres. A fatigued Socceroos conceded again in the 82nd minute when Mata slotted under Ryan after finding space in behind off a Cesc Fabregas ball. David Silva drove wide as the Spanish ended strongly, while Jason Davidson’s last ditch tackle prevented a fourth goal from entering the Australian net.
Australia: Matthew Ryan, Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Ryan McGowan, Tommy Oar (James Troisi 61), Matthew McKay, Matthew Leckie, Oliver Bozanic (Mark Bresciano 72), Mile Jedinak, Adam Taggart (Ben Halloran 46)
Spain: Pepe Reina, Rual Albiol, Juanfran, Andres Iniesta, David Villa (Juan Mata 56), Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso (David Silva 83), Sergio Ramos, Koke, Jordi Alba, Santi Cazorla (Cesc Fabregas 68)
Bookings: Ramos (62), Spiranovic (88), Jedinak (92)
NICHOLS SETS SIGHTS ON GLORY
Perth Glory have secured the services of creative midfielder Mitch Nichols on a season-long loan from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka. Mitchell, an Australian international, will join up with his new teammates for pre-season training this week after spurning offers to remain abroad. “I had options to stay in Japan, and even go to Europe on loan, however I wanted to come back to the A-League,” he explained. “I’m excited at what is happening at Perth Glory … the players that Kenny has attracted to the club during the off season really shows intent and demonstrates the ambitions that the club has.”
Nichols, 25, joins a growing list of players to join Glory over the off-season, with Andy Keogh, Youssouf Hersi, Ruben Zadkovich, Dino Djulbic and Diogo Ferreira already signed up. “Mitch is a very exciting and accomplished A-League player and someone we’re obviously very pleased to have been able to bring into the squad,” coach Kenny Lowe said. “He’s won championships (with Brisbane Roar), he has a winning mentality and I believe he will fit in really well with the squad we’ve assembled. We’ll have the next four months of pre-season, all together, getting prepared for the A-League season.”
Queensland-born Nichols stepped into the A-League for the first time with Brisbane Roar in 2007. Over six seasons he made 125 appearances, scored 24 goals and collected two A-League championships medals through Grand Final victories over Central Coast Mariners (2011) and Glory (2012). An Australian youth international, he gained the first of four Socceroo outings against Kuwait in 2009. Nichols signed a two-year deal with Melbourne Victory in May 2013 but eight months later transferred to Osaka, where he’s featured in the Asian Champions League. Glory will have the option of signing Nichols on a permanent deal at the conclusion of his loan.
TRANSFER SPECULATION WON’T GET IN THE WAY OF TAGGART’S GOAL
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart has hinted strongly that he has played his last game for Newcastle Jets, just days after a “dream come true” World Cup debut in Brazil. Taggart, who turned 21 a fortnight ago, is in contention to start tonight against Spain with Tim Cahill ruled out of the clash through suspension. The A-League’s Golden Boot recipient confirmed he’s been approached by several overseas clubs but maintain his focus is on finishing the World Cup strongly. “I can’t say much, but there’s lots of stuff in the background,” Taggart said. “I want to concentrate on the World Cup, but football doesn’t sleep and there’s always stuff going on.”
Taggart, a former ECU Joondalup junior, described his World Cup debut against a star-studded Netherlands side as surreal. “It’s a weird feeling, going onto the pitch it’s everything you’ve dreamed of and against players you’ve looked up to,” he said. “Whether you’re up against van Persie or Joondalup United, it doesn’t change how you view your opponent. You’ve got a job to do and people are counting on you back home, there’s no time to think about who you’re playing. It was heart-breaking, even though I was only on for ten minutes I really feel part of the campaign so far.”
Taggart said coach Ange Postecoglou had given him no indication yet whether he would come into the starting line-up for Australia’s final game of the tournament. “Whoever it is I’m sure they will be up for it. Everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and whatever the boss wants I’m sure it will end on a positive outcome,” he commented. “If given the opportunity I’ll be ready and give it my all. Whether I’m on the bench or playing I’ll give my all to win a game and progress from here. It’s important to carry on and take the next step and learn how to get results.”
CLASSIC SORRENTO CLAIM MAXIMUM POINTS (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
A first half like few of their previous performances this season lifted Sorrento to a crucial 2-1 win over Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens yesterday. The victory brought the Gulls level on points with third-placed Perth, who missed an opportunity to close the gap on leaders Bayswater City, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Inglewood United on Saturday.
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell felt his team had shown two sides to their character in notching an important victory. “I thought the first half was some of the best football we’ve played this season and we got the reward on the scoreboard,” he said. “They but us under pressure in the second half and we conceded the goal and that gave them confidence. But the boys dug in and worked really hard and we defended really well as a team today, which is pleasing.”
The visitors had raced to a two-goal lead in the first half with goals from Brodie Martin and Chris Reid before Perth had an opportunity to reduce the margin in first-half stoppage time but Mark Pritchard sent his penalty wide of the target. Perth midfielder Mark Doninger pulled a goal back in the second half but despite pressing late in the game they could not find an equaliser.
Scottish midfielder Reid was excellent in the midfield for the Gulls and the former Hamilton Academicals player capped off a good performance with a goal. “We’ve had to work hard today,” Reid said. “We knew coming away to Perth would be a difficult job and to be fair the whole second half they came at us “We’ve worked hard on our defence shape at training and today we were excellent.”
Sorrento dominated the early exchanges with skipper Todd Harnwell’s glancing header flashing wide and Reece Vittiglia’s shot from the edge of the penalty area well saved by Francis Soale. Their domination was rewarded with the lead on 31 minutes. Harnwell played the ball into Martin, who cut inside his marker on the edge of the penalty area before firing low past Soale. Perth was struggling in the final third but Sorrento continued to dictate terms and doubled their advantage on 41 minutes. Vittiglia ran at the Perth defence and slid a great ball into the path of Reid on the left, who steadied and fired high into the net, beating Soale at his near post. The home side had not created a clear-cut chance in the first half but in stoppage time they received what could have been a lifeline. Referee David Bruce spotted a handball from Steve McDonald and awarded a penalty that was sent wide by Pritchard.
After the break, Sorrento continued to boss the game and Soale had to be alert again to save Vittiglia’s shot five minutes in. Perth then brought on Andreas Theodosiades and the lively midfielder began to take hold of the midfield. Skipper Clark Keltie’s low shot was saved by Curtis Aspden and Shaun Kilkelly had to be alert to head away a Josh Wilkins deep cross with Nick Ambrogio ready to pounce at the back post.
Perth was back in the game on 63 minutes. Wilkins was sent down the right, and he raced past Ryan Pearson, before cutting the ball back to Doninger who fired home from 10m. Wilkins was a constant threat down the right and it was his cross again eight minutes later that picked out Friday Zico but the striker’s shot hit the side netting. Both sides had chances as the game opened up. First Doninger’s sweetly struck free kick was beaten away by the alert Aspden before McDonald’s powerful header was tipped over by Soale at full stretch. Perth pushed for an equaliser but with McDonald and Kilkelly outstanding at the heart of the back four, the Gulls hung on for the points.
GLORY TO PLAY SPANISH SIDE MALAGA
Perth Glory are close to securing a pre-season friendly against top-flight Spanish side Malaga on home soil in late July. The fixture would fall in the build-up to Glory’s first FFA Cup match, with the knock-out competition’s round of 32 to begin on 29 July. Malaga reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League under the guidance of current Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini in 2012/13 and finished 11th in La Liga last season. Malaga – ‘the Anchovies’ – are also set to meet Adelaide United on their Australian tour, which has been organized through the Reds’ strong Spanish connections.
Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the focus of the Malaga game is on preparing the team for the A-League season, rather than on the club turning a profit. “It’s something completely different for the Perth football community,” said Brewer, who expects a crowd of more than 10,000 for the friendly. “Glory’s brought out British teams in the past and I think there’s been a cry for that Mediterranean style of football. It’s good quality football and in pre-season for us it’s difficult to find good quality opposition, so to have a team like this here in Australia to play is fantastic.”
THE WRITING WAS ON THE WALL: MILLER
Scott Miller sensed his time on Perth Glory’s coaching team was not going to last following the sacking of Alistair Edwards late last year. Miller and fellow Glory stalwart Gareth Naven re-joined the club last April on two-year contracts as assistants to Edwards. But a tumultuous 2013/14 A-League campaign reached flashpoint after just ten games when Edwards was sacked and replaced by Kenny Lowe. Miller and Naven were shown the door this week as part of a major overhaul of Glory’s football department following an internal review.
Miller, who resigned as coach of State League club Cockburn City to take up the assistant role with Glory, said he had seen his sacking coming from a long way off. “The writing was on the wall once Alistair left,” Miller told Sport FM yesterday. “When a head coach comes in he brings his people and when a new head coach comes in they bring their people. That’s football. We’re grateful for the time we had and it was very enjoyable.” It is understood the decision to sack Naven and Miller was not made by Lowe.
SUBIACO AND COCKBURN SHARE THE POINTS (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Cockburn City fought back to earn a 3-3 draw in torrential rain against Subiaco in their National Premier Leagues game at the WA Athletics Stadium on Saturday Subiaco had a 2-0 lead just before half time when Cockburn midfielder Ross Diamond received a second yellow card for dissent to the frustration of his coach, Marc Anthony. “He’s told the referee that he’s cost us the game,” Anthony said. “I spoke to the referee at half-time and he told me that’s what was said - the referee’s implied that he’s called him a cheat. “The player was probably frustrated going 2-0 down. I don’t think that warrants a red card.”
Subiaco had taken the lead after only nine minutes, as striker Alex Randall intercepted a wayward pass from a Cockburn defender before taking a touch and firing the ball into the bottom corner. They doubled their lead as Jordan Rhodes found himself with an empty net following a cross that Cockburn keeper Struen Herd failed to deal with. Diamond’s dismissal looked as though it would end the game as a contest but Cockburn managed to sneak one back before half-time via Liam Murray, who deftly chipped the keeper.
The second half became a much less free flowing game with seven yellow cards being shown to players of both teams in slippery conditions. Anthony was unimpressed with Subiaco’s approach to the contest. “I thought they kicked at us all day,” he said. “The referee is in charge of 22 players out there and I think he’s got to protect them because really I can only thank our centre forwards for not getting too frustrated and retaliating.” Cockburn continued their fight back and leveled as Eamon McNelis placed a beautiful finish into the top corner from the edge of the box. Josh Booysen then appeared to have won it for Subiaco. Herd was forced to save on the edge of the box following a calamity of errors but the rebound ballooned into the air and Booysen headed home. Subiaco lost their concentration, though, and Cockburn equalised almost immediately through Murray, who netted his second for the match, finishing the game all square.
Anthony said the players were bitterly disappointed with the result. “The players are gutted,” he said. “I’m disappointed for my players. I didn’t think it was a fair reflection… obviously going down to 10 men was a big blow for us but we showed great character and scored three goals with 10 men. “We’ve been on a horrific run and this stops the slide, but a point is no good to us, we need to start winning games.”
BAYSWATER HELD BY INGLEWOOD (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Inglewood United coach Graham Normanton said his side “out-played” league leaders Bayswater City when they drew 0-0 in an exciting encounter at Intiga stadium in the NPL-WA. Normanton was delighted with his side’s performance on the sludgy terrain and could not pick any stand-out players. “It doesn't matter what conditions are thrown at you you've got to play in them and we knocked the ball around beautifully in the first half,” he said. “It’s good to get back to some form at last. We’ve had a month where we’ve been indifferent but we should be playing like that every week.”
It was not all positive for Normanton as former Adelaide United striker Teeboy Kamara was stretchered off with a suspected hamstring tear in the 86th minute. “It's disappointing - he's exciting and the type of player people come to watch, but it looks like we might have to do without him for a while,” Normanton said.
Inglewood were once again guilty of not capitalising on their chances, David Sesay kicking things off when he hit the underside of the crossbar from Kamara’s cross in the 11th minute. Four minutes later, David Perich’s shot inside the box was kept out by keeper Devon Spence as Kamara and Sesay wreaked havoc on the wings. Spence then pulled off a diving, one-handed save to stop Greg Sharland getting the better of him in a one on one from an Andrija Jukic through ball in the 34th minute. Bayswater’s best effort in the first half came from a corner - Gustavo Giron Marulanda’s glancing header blocked on the line by full back Scott Witschge.
The league leaders saw more of the ball in the second half but were also guilty of poor finishing as their quality deteriorating as did the pitch. Substitute Sahr Musa was gifted a free shot on goal when centre-back Shane Pickering struck air with an attempted clearance but keeper Luke Martino somehow tipped his shot away. Inglewood striker Ryan Francis kept Spence busy and was almost rewarded when he stretched onto a loose pass-back to knock it narrowly wide.
Bayswater coach Chris Coyne said it was a game of two different halves. “The first half Inglewood could've been a couple up, they had most of the ball and played the conditions better than us, but we adapted and changed things around to suit the conditions,” he said. “I think we're a bit disappointed with the draw because you want to win everything but looking back it was probably a fair result.”
Bayswater were without leading goal scorer David Heagney and key players Todd Howarth and Adrian Caceras due to minor niggles. But Coyne needed them rested for next week’s top of the table clash against Perth SC. “(It’s) another massive game next week,” he said. “But from now on, they're all going to be massive.”
CATARCIONE AT THE DOUBLE (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Goalscoring hero Gustavo Catarcione scored twice to propel Balcatta to a 2-1 victory over Armadale at Grindleford Reserve today. Danny Richman’s header had put Armadale ahead but it was not enough against a side that has lost only once in the past eight weeks and recently beat league giants Bayswater and Sorrento.
Brazilian forward Catarcione, who is now the NPL WA’s top scorer with 13 goals, believes his side is a genuine title contender, a sentiment shared by coach Ramon Falzon. That said, Falzon was concerned with errors made in the first half and acknowledged Armadale had made it tough for the home side. “I’ve believed in our quality from day one and now we’ve gotten more consistent, especially stepping up in the last few games,” he said. “The weather conditions made technical ball work more difficult today but I think we played quite well.”
The play only opened up after Armadale scored in the 27th minute when Richman headed in a pass from Jason Barrera. But Balcatta retaliated immediately with Catarcione scoring with a header from a second consecutive corner. This lifted the intensity of the game but the heavy rain forced both sides into making errors.
Faustinho Machiochi’s long-range effort in the 52nd minute drew gasps from the crowd but it sailed past the left post. Five minutes later, Armadale’s Matthew Gould pulled off a great diving save to keep the scores level before captain Billy Quinncroft cleared another shot off the goal line. The visitors were gifted an opportunity when keeper Damien Stanoevski’s clearance went straight to Mwansaa Musonda but despite having plenty of time on the ball his shot was easily blocked. Balcatta’s persistence paid off in the 74th minute after Catarcione connected with Benny Kouakou’s lob across the box to slide the ball into the goal.
Armadale had not scored since their fixture against Sorrento a month ago and assistant coach Saul Contera thought they had started the game strongly. But he acknowledged Balcatta’s quality up front had been crucial. “It’s become a bit routine for us to concede easy goals,” he said. “We haven’t been in the lead very often so we panicked a bit and let them back into the game. “But no-one can question our work rate or determination. I think it’s just a lack of quality in the final third that can let us down.”
ATHENA BAG FOUR (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
Floreat Athena responded from an early deficit to overwhelm ECU Joondalup 4-1 at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday. Joondalup were in front after just four minutes thanks to Danny Dixon but Lewis McMahon leveled before Ludovic Boi, Blair Goven and Andrew Scaldaferro sealed the deal.
Floreat were first to threaten when McMahon’s free-kick looked to be heading to the top top corner before goalkeeper Andy Banks got his fingertips to the ball. But it was the home side who hit the front after just four minutes when the combination of Jon and Andy Higgins worked the ball to Dixon, who beat two men and slotted the ball past keeper Tom Dixon from a tight angle. Floreat had plenty of chances to equalise as Jamie Eames, Boi and McMahon dictated the play without finding the target until Boi slipped away from his man and onto a loose ball in the 19th minute. He then set up McMahon, who scored from close range. Despite the addition of ECU’s speedy Henry Durr, chances were few and far between for the home side. It was all Floreat with chance after chance going begging before a second half onslaught.
Second-half substitute Tommy Amphlett gave ECU innovation up front and early momentum – his deflected shot was turned in by Jon Stynes but was ruled out for offside - before the tide turned. The combination of Boi and McMahon paid dividends in the 54th minute when McMahon flicked the ball into the path of Boi, who struck from close range to finally give Floreat the advantage. Just two minutes later McMahon spotted Govan alone and in space out to the left and he timed his strike perfectly. With Govan, McMahon and Boi continuing to put pressure on a wavering ECU defence, it was not long before they broke through again. An initial strike from Boi hit the near post and deflected out to Scaldaferro, who was able to convert from an impressive distance, sealing the game for Floreat.
LIONS GET THE GLORY (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling coach Gary Williams said his side had been wary of Perth Glory’s talent going into yesterday’s match at Macedonia Park but inexperience was a factor in deciding the outcome the contest. The Lions fell behind to a Slobodan Vulin goal after just 16 minutes but responded emphatically with two goals from Daniel Micevski and others from Dean Evans, Hayden Doyle and Rikki Smith sealing a 5-1 victory. “I just felt the goals were there,” Williams said. “They can play through you, so we talked about sitting off and assessing the game... then pressing higher up as it went on.”
Stirling started the game slowly – something that has been a recurring theme this season – and the visitors deserved the early lead through Vulin in the 16th minute. The Glory number 10 benefited from a weak headed clearance and side-foot volleyed his effort from just inside the area onto the inside of the post and into the back of the net. Micevski got his first in the 27th minute when he broke clear down the right channel and rifled his low effort into the bottom corner. He completed his brace two minutes before half-time after Hayden Doyle played him through the left. That goal visibly lifted the home side and they came out in the second half with an air of belief after a rocky start to the game.
Seven minutes after the restart Dean Evans had the ball in the net with a header assisted by an inch-perfect cross by Clayton Arnez. Doyle got himself on the score board in the 75th minute, curling the ball home from an acute antle. The scoring was completed by central defender Smith, who tapped in after a curling David Micevski effort had hit a post.
Glory NPL coach John Gibson said while his side lacked experience they would continue to try to play entertaining football. “We’ve certainly got to be expansive and we want to win games,” he said. “Doing that you’re going to have some risks and that’s what’s happened.” The result cements Stirling’s fifth spot on the NPL ladder, putting them one point behind fourth-placed Sorrento, who play tomorrow.
ROCKINGHAM WIN AT FORRESTFIELD (Courtesy of Rockingham City)
Rockingham City travelled to Forrestfield United on Saturday taking on a home side who had won every game at Hartfield Park so far this season. In treacherous conditions for both sides it was Rockingham who started brightly with Ryan Kennedy and David Clark dominating the midfield battle. It was Rockingham who went close to opening the scoring with debutant Gersh Rowland shooting just over from distance and Trevor Laure forcing the Forrestfield keeper into a diving save. The opening goal came from a set piece from the impressive Maxwell Snelson, his delivery was headed goalwards by Reece Frank and was expertly turned into the net by Kennedy. Moments later the game turned on its head when Kennedy received his marching orders for an off the ball incident, this unsettled the away side and it was no surprise when Forrestfield grabbed an equaliser from the penalty spot.
A half time change saw Rockingham regain the initiative and start to dominate the midfield. Neat link up play from another debutant Lance Louvie, Snelson and Martin Barnes resulted in Barnes forcing the keeper into save. Rockingham where starting to find space and after some slick play from Snelson and the workman like Barnes the ball fell to Laure and his shot into the far corner gave Rockingham a deserved lead. Forrestfield continued to attack however the Rockingham defence where in no mood to give up their lead. As the game drew to a close it was Rockingham who had chances to extend their lead through Laure, Clark and Snelson but the away side didn't need to worry as the three points where theirs in a tough but exciting performance.
JOODANLUP MOVE FOUR POINTS CLEAR
Joondalup United continue their unbeaten start to the season after a hard fought 3-1 win against Balga at Forrest Park. Mike Kenny and a Stuart Hartman penalty gave the home side the lead at the break, before Adam Buckley added a third early in the second half. Balga hit back with a goal from Amer Ahmed, but United run out winners, moving four points clear at the top. “All in all we have a team that is working for each other and doing whatever we ask for the good of the team and that's what has seen us start the season so well,” said United coach Daniel Smith. “This week we have seen six Reserves play first team football, and you wouldn't know the difference, which is very pleasing and gives us a lot of belief for the second half of the season.”
The home started brightly and created a number of chances, and was rewarded on 20 minutes with the opener. Kenny found space on the right, and cut inside his marker before firing home from 18-meters, giving Michael Dudek in the Balga goal no chance. United doubled their lead on the half hour, when they won a penalty and Hartman scored from the spot.
United continued to dictate terms after the break, and Greg Pellows’ header flashed wide, before Arran Maplestone saw his snap shot crash of the upright. But on 65 minutes they made it 3-0. Callum Stocks was sent down the left, and he cut the ball back to Buckley, who side footed past Dudek.
To Balga’s credit they still continued to press, and scored a consolation goal on 85 minutes. United had a corner, which was cleared and Balga broke on a quick counter attack, and the ball was sent through to Ahmed, who finished low past James Bodset. But it was too little too late for Balga, with United running out winners.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND FOURTEEN
Balcatta v Armadale
Balcatta proved with last weeks victory over leaders Bayswater City that they are genuine regular title contenders and not to be underestimated. In a run that has seen them collect 21 out of a possible 24 points Balcatta have shot up from mid table mediocrity to currently sit 5 points above 5th placed Stirling Lions. Armadale on the other hand suffered a massive blow last week in their crunch game at the bottom of the table against new boys Subiaco AFC. Subiaco collected maximum points for the first time this year with a strike on the stroke of half time enough to secure them the points. Balcatta came away from Alfred Skeet in the revers fixture earlier this season claiming a 4-2 victory in which was their first points of the campaign. Armadale face the tricky away fixture this week without the services of Jackson Bealey and Alex Clarke who are injured and suspended respectively. Alec Solomon returns this week and will be pushing for a starting berth. James Sammut, Kris Gate and Benny Kouakou are likely to miss the game for Balcatta, though they should have the services of Paddy Quinn.
Inglewood United v Bayswater City
Bayswater City will be desperate to get back in the winners circle again this week as they visit Inglewood United. The league leaders until 3 weeks ago had registered 10 wins from as many games and were looking unstoppable at the summit. Since then both Balcatta and Sorrento have taken advantage of lacklustre displays and taken home the spoils. Inglewood also were on the receiving end last weekend away at Sorrento but it was only the second time they have tasted defeat in the last 9 weeks in what has bee a resurgent run for Graham Normanton's side. Inglewood Narrowly went down earlier this season 3-2 when the sides met at Frank Drago Reserve.
ECU Joondalup v Floreat Athena
Big changes at Floreat Athena this week has seen them part company with Coach Peter Murphy after only a couple of months in the hotseat. Nevertheless they have the opportunity to draw level on points with their opponents here if they can return from Joondalup with all 3 points. Both of these sides have struggled with consistency and neither have ben able to string and good run of results together. Joondalup overcame Perth Glory last week and kept them scoreless for only the occasion in the 2014 season. Floreat fell to the second 4-1 defeat of the season to Perth SC last Saturday and will be desperate to breathe new life into their campaign if they stand any chance of making a late dash to play finals football. ECU played a scratch match against Joondalup United on Tuesday night to give a few squad players and players returning from injury and suspension much needed game time. The game finished 1-1 with Tommy Amphlett the scorer for ECU who this week is available after serving a 2 week suspension so ECU Coach Dale McCulloch has close to a full squad to choose from apart from Veo Human who is still a nursing long term injury. The Uni side have also secured the services of Ex Altrincham FC and AFC Telford player Carl Rodgers who is still waiting on an International Transfer Clearance.
Stirling Lions v Perth Glory
Stirling Lions are the quiet achievers of the NPL and are going about their business with grit and determination. The Lions' games are generally tightly contested affairs and they pride themselves on being able to restrict their opposition in their attacking third having only conceded 15 goals this season which is the second best defensive record in the division. Perth Glory's recent results suggest they are a shadow of the side that was competing in the NPL before the end of the A-League season, not claiming a single point since April. Glory's record of goals scored and conceded is the opposite of that of Stirling so something has to got to give. The Lions will be without big Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski who is unavailable this weekend and will be replaced between the sticks by Reserves Keeper Connor Campbell. That loss however is offset by the return of Rikki Smith after he served his suspension.
Subiaco AFC v Cockburn City
Subiaco registered a victory last weekend for the first time this season and possibly just what they deserved after conceding late goals in a sequence of results that has seen them lose 11 consecutive games. The NPL new boys have found things difficult in their debut season they would not have expected anything but this year. They will be looking at last weeks result against fellow strugglers Armadale as a stepping stone and hope to build on it against an out of form Cockburn outfit. The away side have really struggled of late and will be desperate to amend that against bottom placed Subiaco at the WA Athletics Stadium. In the earlier meeting between the side Cockburn romped to a 4-1 win but they would settle for any sort of positive result. Subiaco’s crucial win last week came at a cost as Guy McDonald, Laurence Gaughn and Ian McMurray all picking up knocks although the latter is desperately trying to prove his fitness in order to play a part this week. Mitch Steinberg is also missing for the home side this weekend.
Perth v Sorrento
Two powerhouses of Western Australian football meet in Sunday fixture to bring round 14 to a close. Both sides have had great success in the last decade and are in an unfamiliar position of being underdogs for the title that everyone seems to think is Bayswater's to lose. Perth scored 5 away from home to come away with victory in the fixture between the sides earlier this year and will look to increase to the points difference with a win this coming weekend. Sorrento on their day have the ability to beat anyone and have the ability to leapfrog Balcatta into third place depending on results. Perth though have the best away record in the league and remain unbeaten on the road. Perth will have the task of dealing without the services of leading marksman and club captain Ashley Rosindale who withdrew from the game last weekend with a hamstring and has failed in his attempts to recover in time for Sunday. They do however have Clark Keltie returning from suspension which is a timely boost. Sorrento themselves have injury concerns of their own with Daryl Platten, Brodie Martin and Adam Luca all facing late fitness tests with the latter likely to come up short. Reece Vittiglia and Sean Canham were both restricted to the bench last week but should be pushing for a start in this one. Danny Cain and Scott Bulloch are returning from suspension which are huge additions to the match day squad.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND TEN
First Division League leaders Bunbury Forum Force make the trip to Dianella Reserve and a game against sixth placed Dianella White Eagles. Bunbury Coach Trent Hathaway wasn’t happy with sides performance against Canning last week, despite the win, and he’s expecting a tough encounter; at the club he played his junior football. “Last week game, we came out firing for first 25 minutes, then Canning made a game of it, and luckily we got the three points in the end,” he said. “On Saturday it back to where I played my juniors, it a hard place to get points so will be drilling it to the lads to do their roles for the team.” The Force will be missing the injured Bright Ababio, while Craig Aldridge is unavailable, but on the brighter side Jon Brooks and David Murphy are back in the squad.
In other games Ashfield and Wanneroo City meet at Ashfield Reserve, the home side will have Graham Tough and Ruben Tristao back from suspension and injury respectively, but Matt Wardle will miss due to injury. New Wanneroo signing Karl O’Reilly returns to his former club as they look for their first win of the season. Gosnells City and Morley Windmills meet at Walter Padbury Reserve, Shamrock Rovers, who will be without striker Daragh Mooney, will be looking to keep the pressure on Bunbury when they visit the UWA Sports Park to take on UWA-Nedlands, who fought back to earn a good point at Western Knights last week, while Canning City host Western Knights at Burrendah Reserve.
Swan United made it back-to-back wins last week and they head to the Hyundai Stadium looking to make it three against Mandurah City. United Coach Salv Todaro knows it’s an important game for both teams. “We want to continue our current form and Mandurah want to kick start their season and start to move away from the bottom of the ladder. To use a well-used cliché this game is a big six pointer,” he said. “Hopefully the weather improves which will allow for a decent game to be played, with Hyundai Stadium not providing any shelter from the wind, it could prove tricky, but the boys are all looking forward to the game.” Mandurah are sweating on the fitness of a number of players this week, while United will give late fitness tests to Ebe Cowbrough and Owen Curtis, but Bobson Koroma has served his suspension and will be putting his hand up for inclusion.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND TEN
Rockingham City will look to continue their winning ways in the Second Division when they make the trip to Hartfield Park to take on Forrestfield United in week 10. City coach Rob Crerar was happy with the performance last week but is expecting a tough game as United look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. “Last week was important for us, to get back to winning ways and I felt we controlled the game against Kingsway without making the most of our opportunities,” he said. “We’re under no illusions Saturday’s game is going to be very tough one, they have had a great start to the season, recruited extremely well, however we will go there full of confidence that we can come away with all three points.”
In other games leaders Joondalup United have a full squad to choose from when they host Balga at Charonia Park. The visitors, who won for the first time last week, welcome back Lee James from injury. Joondalup City host Kelmscott Roos at the Iliuka Sports Complex, Ellenbrook United and Quinns meet at Arbor Grove Reseerve, while Fremantle United entertain Curtin University at Hilton Reserve. Curtin stunned Forrestfield last week and welcome back Eddie Tikoft from injury, giving coach Campbell Ballantyne a couple of selection headache after a good performance from Jon Krawec last week.
Kingsway Olympic will have home ground advantage when they take on Melville City at Kingsway Reserve. Olympics’ Wayne Culverwell has been surprised by City’s good start to the season and is expecting a tough encounter, after their heavy defeat last week. “Melville has had some decent results so far this season, so it was a surprise they were hammered 7-0 last week,” he said. “They have some good players, with Simon Elchami always a danger, and he is in the top three leading goalscorer, so we will have to keep a close eye on him.” In team news Joe Armitage and Joe Woodin are unavailable and Craig Highet is suspended, but they do welcome back Josh Rolls and Aaron Lickiss.
ENGLISH MIDFIELDER ROGERS JOINS JOONDALUP (Courtesy of ECU Joondalup)
ECU Joondalup have bolstered their squad by signing UK midfielder Craig Rodgers. The 31-year-old, who was at Altrincham in the Conference Premier Division last season, has settled in well at the club and is looking forward to his debut on Saturday, if selected. “I’ve settled in well, and there’s a good group of lads at the club, and they’ve all made me feel welcome, which always helps you settle in at a new club,” Rodgers said.
The move to WA came quickly but he’s glad he made the decision to head down under. “I’ve got a few friends out here, which moved over from the UK, and they’ve told me nothing but good things about the place,” Rodgers explained. “I was turning 31 in march, so it was my last chance to apply for a working visa, so I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Rodgers joined training last week and watched from the stands when Joondalup beat Perth Glory 2-0, to move to sixth on the table and he’s looking forward to getting on the park. “I watched the game against Perth Glory on Saturday and I thought we thoroughly deserved the three points, and controlled the game,” he said. “I can see that there is a confidence and togetherness in the squad and that can only be a good thing, and I’m looking forward to be part of it.”
Rodgers CV is impressive, and has played many years in the UK. “I started my playing career at Chester City, I completed an football apprenticeship there, then moved on to the league of Wales and played for Caernarfon & TNS (The New Saints), from there I went to Colwyn Bay,” explained Rodgers. “After two seasons at Colwyn Bay, I signed for AFC Telford United, and stayed there for six seasons, playing in the English Conference North and the Conference Premier. I played for Altrincham FC in the Conference North for the last two seasons, and last season we won the playoffs and promotion to the Conference Premier, which was a highlight for me, as well the winning playoffs with Telford in 2011, and getting into the top tier of non-league football .”
The midfielder has been impressed with Joondalup Coach Dale McCulloch and is looking forward to working with him. ‘I’ve only had a few sessions with the lads but Dale is a good coach. He keeps everything sharp in the training sessions, and they are bright,” Rodgers said. “He keeps us on our toes, but makes it enjoyable too. I can see he knows his stuff, and I’m enjoying working with him.”
McCulloch believes the signing of Rodgers is a great coup for the club, and he added depth to the squad. “The signing of Carl is fantastic for our club,” McCulloch said. “He brings a vast amount of experience to our midfield after a long career in UK football. He has settled in really well with the lads and we hope he will be an important member of our squad as we push for the end of season finals.” Rodgers is in the squad for Saturday’s home game against Floreat Athena (3pm), and is in line to make his NPL-WA debut.
YOUTHFUL ARMY UP FOR THE FIGHT (Courtesy nplwa.com.au)
Armadale defender Billy Quinncroft says the club will continue to battle to rise away from the lower rungs of the National Premier Leagues WA at the same time as looking towards the longer term future. Armadale have not won since a round two victory over Subiaco and sit second from bottom on the 10-team table. Last weekend’s 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture against rock-bottom Subiaco was a bitter blow for Armadale that could spark the Alfred Skeet Reserve club into action against high-flying Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve tomorrow.
Quinncroft certainly feels Armadale have much more to offer over the remaining nine weeks of the season. “We definitely want to get out of the bottom two and try and get a good few wins under our belt,” he said. “We want to improve and finish on a positive. We’ve definitely got youth coming through and we’re looking towards next season as well.”
Quinncroft said the team had lacked a cutting edge but he hoped the younger players would learn from the experience. “Apart from Perth Glory, we’re probably the youngest team in the league,” he said. “We worked out our average age is 20.8, which is quite young especially in a senior competition. “We are struggling for someone to score goals but we have to give kids chances and hopefully one of them will come through.” Third-placed Balcatta have been in fine form with important victories over Sorrento and Bayswater in an eight-game period in which they have lost just once.
SUBIACO THRILLED WITH WIN (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Subiaco AFC skipper Guy McDonald was not surprised by his side’s historic first National Premier Leagues WA victory against Armadale last week. For all the talk of Subiaco’s long drought, McDonald knew a win was coming – the 1-0 success secured by Ian McMurray’s goal - and now confidence is soaring ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Cockburn City at the WA Athletics Stadium.
“It’s been a long time coming and on our last few performances it was the least we deserved,” McDonald said. “Every week we turn up believing we can get a result but at the same time know we have to be at our best to achieve this. We haven’t been too far away and it was great feeling in the rooms after, as we celebrated a historic win for us.”
Cockburn have struggled in recent weeks as injuries and suspensions have hit hard but McDonald is prepared for another tough game. “They are a young side and do have quality players that on their day can cause any team problems,” he said. “But we go into the game full of confidence after our maiden win and we will be doing our best to get the three points this week too.”
McDonald, who is racing time to be fit for the clash against the Cockerels, has worked with Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan for a number of years and always believed they would be competitive under his charge. “It’s just been a matter of building on our game plan and turning those good performances into points,” he said. “I think many people forget that we are a brand new team and players take time to gel. We can only be positive and look forward to the future and keep improving week in and week out.” In team news, Subiaco have lost defender Laurence Gaughan to Perth, while for the visitors Matt Barlow is fit after missing last week’s game following a car accident. Cockburn will also welcome back skipper Paul Natale, lively winger’s Feizal Zaw and Blake Adams from injury.
FULHAM LINE UP TAGGART
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart, the only West Australian in Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup squad, is close to sealing a move to Fulham. Taggart is understood to have had medical tests while in Brazil and is poised to agree terms with the English Championship club and sign after the World Cup. The 21-year old played the starring role for Newcastle Jets last summer, putting away 16 goals to earn the competitions’ Golden Boot award. Taggart made his World Cup debut yesterday by coming on as a late substitute in Australia’s 3-2 loss to the Netherlands.
GLORY BOYS BUZZING AS PRE-SESAON COMMENCES
New signing Ruben Zadkovich believes Perth Glory have moved on from the turmoil which engulfed the club last season and are well on track in their rebuilding process. Glory endured a ten-game winless streak and finished well outside the top six last season. But recent changes to the club’s football department and playing roster have generated new optimism. “There’s not long to go and I’m sure the boys will be buzzing for it,” Zadkovich said of the new season, which begins in October. “The way we trained on day one was pretty intense so I think the boys are pretty pumped.”
Former Newcastle Jets captain Zadkovich sees plenty of positive signs for his new club ahead of the new season. “I saw that (turmoil) from afar so I don’t really know the ins and outs of it, but I’m sure there was a lot of football politics going on within the club,” Zadkovich said. “But from what I can see, you’ve got a CEO, a manager and a whole bunch of players who are really passionate and positive and looking to the future. We want to create a winning environment and the only way to do that is to work hard, and that’s what I’ll look to do here.”
Zadkovich is eager to link up with Glory’s star signing Keogh, who he met while training with Millwall last year. “Andy Keogh’s going to be another player who is up there with Heskey and Bridges as far as I’m concerned,” Zadkovich said. “He’s played for his country and he’s a fantastic international footballer. He’s at that perfect age (28) where he’s going to be really good for the A-League. Our job as a team will be to make sure that the pressure is not on him. Other people have got to step up and be big and brave around him and give him the service and the support that he’ll need to be successful.”
NETHERLANDS FORCED TO DIG DEEP BY SPIRITED SOCCEROOS
An excellent Socceroos outfit has lost 3-2 to the Netherlands in an action-packed World Cup Group B clash in Porto Alegre. A Tim Cahill wonder goal - arguably one of the greatest goals ever scored by Australia - levelled the match barely a minute after Arjen Robben put the Netherlands in front in the first half. Mile Jedinak then put Australia in dreamland after the break with a successful penalty to put the Socceroos 2-1 up. But a Robin Van Persie goal and Memphis Depay’s long-range finish secured a 3-2 win for the Dutch.
Coach Ange Postecoglou has nothing but praise for his players high-tempo performance against one of the world’s best sides. “They were magnificent – they took it to a world-class team,” he said. “It’s easy for me to talk about going forward and having self-belief, but they are the ones that have got to do it. Full credit to them, but I feel bitterly disappointed they weren’t able to get something out of it. I said to the players today was about trying to play our kind of football … I really want us to be an exciting team and they (the players) were magnificent."
Australia belied their status as the tournament’s lowest-ranked team by out-performing a Dutch side that had previously walloped World champions Spain 5-1. The Socceroos took the game to the Netherlands from the outset but Mark Bresciano’s shot on the quarter hour was deflected out for a corner. An error by Alex Wilkinson five minutes later saw Robben race into space before burying his shot past Mat Ryan. Rather than letting their heads drop, the Socceroos responded barely 60 seconds later when Cahill received a looping ball over his shoulder and volleyed past Jasper Cillessen and into the net via the crossbar.
The second half was nine minutes old when Oliver Bozanic’s centre struck the hand of Daryl Janmaat, and from the penalty spot captain Jedinak fired Australia ahead. With the very next play Van Persie found space deep inside the area to smash in a superb equaliser. The Socceroos would have retaken the lead but Tommy Oar’s cross was straight at Mathew Leckie, who could only push the ball towards the goalkeeper. Depay immediately went forward through substitute Depay whose swerving strike from distance made it three-two with 68 minutes played. Ryan ensured there would be no further addition to the scoring by denying Robben and Nigel de Jong.
Australia: Matthew Ryan, Ryan McGowan, Alex Wilkinson, Matthew Spiranovic, Jason Davidson, Mathew Leckie, Mile Jedinak, Matt McKay, Tommy Oar (Adam Taggart 77), Mark Bresciano (Oliver Bozanic 51), Tim Cahill (Ben Halloran 69)
The Netherlands: Jasper Cillessen, Bruno Martins Indi (Memphis Depay 46), Ron Vlaar, Stefan De Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Nigel De Jong, Daley Blind, Jonathan de Guzman (Georgino Wijnaldum78), Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie (Leroy Lens 87), Arjen Robben
Bookings: Cahill (43), Van Persie (47)
MCGARRY LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Perth Glory has confirmed the appointment of Steven McGarry to a dual role as a member of the club’s expanded community department and in a youth coaching position. McGarry, whose 450-game career took in spells with Scottish clubs St Mirren, Ross County and Motherwell as well as at Glory, will work alongside Callum Salmon in expanding the club’s ‘Glory in the Community’ programs. “I’m really excited and very much looking forward to starting my new role at the club,” the recently retired midfielder said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue my involvement in football and Perth Glory.”
McGarry’s dual brief will also see him work alongside new head of youth development John Gibson and assist with the club’s National Premier Leagues and National Youth League teams. “Western Australia has a fantastic track record of producing good young players, I've played with some great examples of this during my time at Perth Glory and I'm looking forward to working within the new coaching structure to produce the next generation of young stars under John Gibson and alongside Jacob Burns,” McGarry said of his coaching role.
GLORY HOPEFUL OF LURING LOWRY
Perth Glory are hopeful of adding fringe Socceroos defender Shane Lowry to their impressive list of off-season recruits. Lowry was released by English Championship side Millwall last month and is understood to be considering offers from several English clubs. But the 25-year old ECU Joondalup product is back in Perth and last week joined in a training session with Glory. “He’s clearly focused on staying in the Championship but we asked him if he wanted to pop down for training and he has done,” Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said. “I’d love to (sign Lowry). We’re talking to his agents to see what he’s focused on and we’ll keep talking to him.”
Lowry was a teammate of new Glory signing Andy Keogh at Millwall. Republic of Ireland striker Keogh arrived in Perth today and will complete medical testing this week before joining his new teammates for pre-season training. Proven A-League players Ruben Zadkovich, Diogo Ferreira, Dino Djulbic and Youssouf Hersi have all been lured to Perth during an active off-season recruiting drive. Glory are also believed to have their sights set on attacking midfielders Richard Garcia and Mitch Nichols. Garcia is currently playing in the United States of America for second-tier club Minnesota United and Nichols with Japanese outfit Cerezo Osaka but both are understood to be keen on returning for the coming A-League season.
BURNS APPOINTED GLORY’S GENERAL MANAGER OF FOOTBALL
The structuring of Perth Glory’s off-field team has continued with former captain Jacob Burns appointed general manager of football. Burns will be responsible for a wide range of activities within the club’s expanded football department including youth development, player management, player research and football staff recruitment as well as key corporate partnerships and sponsorship arrangements with the A-League team. Additionally, the former Socceroo will work alongside John Gibson in further Glory’s elite player pathway commitments and participation in the National Premier Leagues and National Youth League competitions.
Burns, who played in Australia, England, Poland and Romania during an 18-year professional career, is honoured to remain part of the Glory set-up. “I feel extremely privileged to be continuing in a role at the club that I’m so passionate about,” Burns said. “I believe my experience and knowledge of playing top flight football over the past 20 years can add real value to the club’s coaching structure and football department moving forward – providing strategic advice and football knowledge and strengthening the link between the football and administrative department.”
GLORY SHOW NAVEN AND MILLER THE DOOR
There’s no room for sentiment at Perth Glory where club stalwarts Gareth Naven and Scott Miller have been sacked following an internal review of the club's coaching structure and football department. Naven and Miller, who enjoyed distinguished playing careers with Glory, returned to the club last year on two-year contracts as assistants to then coach Alistair Edwards. But they were yesterday replaced by John Gibson, a former Glory youth assistant coach who has been made head of youth football development.
The decision to part with Naven and Miller seems contradictory to Glory's desire to employ club luminaries in the football department - a philosophy introduced by Edwards and frequently referred to by chief executive Jason Brewer. Naven was Glory’s inaugural captain in 1996 and played 143 games for the club, while Miller tallied up 227 appearances. Both were key figures during Glory’s most successful era in the old National Soccer League.
GIBSON TAKES UP YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ROLE WITH GLORY
Perth Glory today confirmed the appointment of John Gibson to the newly created head of youth football development role. Gibson has a strong resume having previously coached Glory’s W-League side, at the West Australian Institute of Sport and with the National Training Centre. “I am looking forward to working with Perth Glory again and in improving our track record of developing and identifying our best young players and in creating an environment that bring the best out of them and keeps them here at the club,” Gibson said of his appointment.
Gibson, who represented Australia at the 1992 Atlanta Olympic Games, enjoyed a 15-year professional career in which he made 329 national league appearances for Blacktown City, APIA-Leichhardt, Adelaide City, West Adelaide, Parramatta Power and Marconi. “John has a very strong reputation in youth development and has played a key part in developing and implementing the structures here in Western Australia that have produced such good strong young players,” Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said. “Youth development is a key part of our Perth Glory’s football philosophy and I am very pleased that John is joining us and further strengthening our coaching team.”
SUBIACO GET THE WIN (by Tristan Lavalette, nplwa.com.au)
Subiaco produced a drought-breaking NPL WA win with a 1-0 defeat of Armadale at the WA Athletics Stadium yesterday. An Ian McMurray strike moments before half-time proved the difference in a contest between the two bottom teams in the league. Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan said the team would savour their first victory, which came at their 13th attempt. “We played some good football in the first half but we only scored one goal,” he said. “They changed their formations two or three times in the second half and they threw everything at us, so we had to hang on. “That win should raise our confidence and we are looking forward to the next game.”
Armadale’s only NPL WA victory had been against Subiaco and the visitors were keen to dictate early, with a game plan focused on effort. But Armadale’s chances of another victory were rocked when Jackson Bealey suffered an ankle injury in the 23rd minute, which forced an early substitution. Armadale coach Lee Bamber turned to Alex Clarke, who had been a surprise substitute, to provide a fillip. There was a flurry of chances late in the first half with Armadale’s Mitch Castrilli menacing in attack with multiple opportunities, including a spectacular long-range strike that hit a post. Subiaco felt aggrieved when they believed an Armadale handball in their box was missed by referee David Bruce. Alex Randell and Jordan Rhodes had chances to score for Subiaco, who were feeling frustrated they had not capitalised on their ascendency in general play. Subiaco’s persistence was rewarded in the 44th minute when a long pass was cleverly flicked by Matt Akehurst to McMurray, who easily tapped the ball past Armadale goalkeeper Matthew Gould.
The game’s frenetic pace slowed in the second half as Subiaco became tentative and defensive and Armadale gained ascendency in midfield with Clarke and the tenacious Jason Barrera dominating. As has plagued the team all season, Armadale’s delivery into attack was sloppy, making it easy for Subiaco’s defence to repel attacks. Armadale had one last chance to equalise in the dying minutes when Luke Bugoni pounced on a scramble in the penalty box but his desperate shot flew wide of the goal. It ensured a roar of celebration from Subiaco’s fans and players when the final whistle sounded.
STRONG FORM CONTINUES FOR JOONDALUP (by Hudson Herron, nplwa.com.au)
Joondalup made it three wins from three games in recent weeks thanks to goals from Charlie Comyn-Platt in the 52nd minute and Jon Stynes in the 75th, but it was Dixon, the former Bayswater City winger, who really excelled. “It was a good game,” mentioned Dixon. “Glory got on top a bit, they never gave us time on the ball either which made things quite difficult. “I thought it was quite a hard game actually.”
Glory contested the physical battle early on but coach Scott Miller said they cannot compete with that aspect of the game. “I think we played a good team,”he said. “We had a few chances and it would have been good to take a few in the first half, but I think the pure physicality of men against boys (was tough), our average age was only about 18 today.” “I was really, really happy with the boys today.”
Glory proved their attacking intent in the eleventh minute when Knowles found himself in a position to strike, making strong connection with the ball to force veteran keeper Andy Banks into a strong save. Throughout the first half Glory proved to be the more dominant through Bor Bor Sambindi. The pacey winger found himself free inside the box on the end of a whipped free kick but his lobbed header flashed wide of the top corner. Joondalup found their best chance late in the first half when Dixon switched the right wing. From a quick counter attack, Dixon found himself on-on-one against Hanafi Ghazali, moving the ball onto his left foot he struck a paced shot but was denied by an impressive save from Fraser Greenwood.
Dixon was once again the centre of attention, this time in the second half. Again from a break, Jake Benson-Cooper created an opening for Dixon through a fantastic crossfield ball. With familiar flare, Dixon cut across his defender and again his strike was deflected over the bar for a corner. The corner was directed in by captain Jon Higgins and found Comyn-Platt towering at the back post who aimed low with his shot and found the back of the net. The second half proved scrappy as both sides were forceful in their attack but it was Glory’s inexperience that proved the difference late on. Despite the saves, Glory weren’t out of trouble yet as the youngsters were caught in possession in at the back after some aggressive pressing by Jon Stynes. He played the ball wide to Stuart Montgomery who played a good ball back into Stynes, he acrobatically ‘scorpion kicked’ the ball into the roof of the net and doubled the score for Joondalup.
LIONS CLINCH LATE WINNER (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling Lions scored in the 94th minute to beat Cockburn City 1-0 in a laborious game at Dalmatinac Park in the NPL WA on Saturday. The visitors were the ones to be rewarded for their hard work with Hayden Doyle's merciless goal. Stirling co-coach Daniel Stoitis said there wasn't much separation in the two teams. "I think we were just fortunate, we got the lucky break and we put away our opportunity,” he said. It was a quiet first half and both teams were hard to split, opting to absorb the pressure and attack on the break.
The Cockerels frustrations with recent results were summed up as they were continually squeezed into the right corner by the stubborn Lions defence or restricted to hopeful long-range efforts that soared high and wide. Oscar Thompson's powerful shot in the 41st minute was at least on target but from a tight angle it was comfortably palmed away by Stirling keeper Aleks Vrteski. The Lions found more structure to their attacks and seemed most threatening though there were little clear-cut chances to exemplify. Doyle's break down the wing was their closest effort when his low-driven shot fired across the goal between the post and the on-rushing strikers.
The main action of the game all occurred in the second half; the Lions kicked things off with Howard Neighbour’s diving header from Doyle's cross being tipped onto the bar by keeper Dejan Aleksic three minutes in. Two minutes later Aleksic kept Neighbour out again with a brilliant one-handed diving save. Euen Grant responded immediately after for the Cockerels but his volley inside the box from a Ross Diamond free kick was deflected out for a corner. Their closest chance came in the 64th minute when Thompson stretched behind him to scrape Diamond's cross towards goal but Vrtekski scrambled after it on the goal line.
Substitute Moses Kalau almost scored the breakthrough in the 81st minute with a curling free-kick but Aleksic collided with the goal post to keep it out. The game looked to be tailing off to a goalless draw but a slip up in the defence gave the persistent Doyle the perfect opportunity to wrap up the game. It was a nail-biting close to an exciting second half but both coaches commented on their want of quality in the final third.
Cockerels coach Marc Anthony couldn't fault the players, saying they were "superb", but the game could have gone either way. "We probably should have nicked it and had more chances to, but in saying that our goal keeper pulled off three great saves,” Anthony said. Cockburn have now gained only two points out of the last six games, but their coach said it's not having a negative effect on his players. "Out of those six we've had five very good performances,” he said. “There's no substitute for hard work, if we keep working hard we'll get our results."
BALCATTA UPSET LEADERS (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
Gustavo Catarcione kicked off his wedding celebrations early with a double in Balcatta’s 2-0 win over his former club Bayswater City in a National Premier Leagues WA match at Grindleford Reserve. Catarcione, who is due to fly home to Brazil to marry his long-time partner Tammy, told Football 360 last week he would be delighted to score against Bayswater – and he got his wish with two goals in a crucial 15-minute first-half period. As a result, Bayswater’s lead at the top has been cut to four points, with Perth SC breathing down their neck, and Balcatta a further two points off the pace in third.
After thrashing Sorrento 5-0 last week, Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon felt his side was even better against Bayswater. “We knew that we couldn’t afford to have passengers,” he said. “Bayswater is a very good side and put us under a lot of pressure in the second half but we held strong.”
The first goal came in the 28th minute when Lawrence Shurama played a teasing ball in behind the defence from the right and Catarcione was first to react to poke the ball into the net. Catarcione completed his brace in the 39th minute after another ball was played in from the right – this time in front of the back four – and the number 19 swept his shot past Devon Spence with a first-time finish. The away side came out much stronger in the second half and dominated the ball but could not get past Damien Stanoevski or the woodwork. Bayswater substitute Adrian Caceres came closest for the away side by hitting the crossbar from the edge of the box and then a post with a spectacular bicycle kick.
Bayswater coach Chris Coyne lamented his side’s sloppy defending for Catarcione’s goals but felt his side had dominated the match. “I can’t condone that sort of defending... the boys are better than that,” Coyne said. “I’m disappointed. I never like losing but the endeavour the boys showed... if they got one they could’ve got two or three but we can’t buy a goal at the moment.”
SORRENTO BACK TO WINNING WAYS (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
Super-subs Reece Vittiglia and Sean Canham gave Sorrento a two-goal lead over Inglewood United in a thrilling game at Percy Doyle Reserve yesterday afternoon. Canham added to goals from Jason Mirco and Brodie Martin in the 4-2 score line, bringing his season tally to nine, but said being the leading scorer hasn’t added any pressure. “A lot of people in the team are scoring so it’s nice that everyone has created a lot of chances and we share it around,” Canham said. “We seem to be coming from behind quite a lot, but we showed spirit in coming back and finishing strong for the win today.”
Shane Pickering and Ryan Clarke both put Inglewood on the scoreboard in the first half but the visitors failed to capitalise on their other chances. It was an important win for Sorrento after last week’s shock 5 -0 loss to Balcatta. Co-coach Jamie Harnwell said maintaining consistency is the biggest hurdle they have to conquer. “I asked for a response from the boys after last week’s defeat,” he said. “We are still conceding goals, which we’ve got to continue to work on but I’m really proud of all the boys today.”
Inglewood gained an early lead when joint leading NPL WA scorer Clarke got his tenth goal, sending the ball comfortably past Curtis Aspden after a great run down the left wing. But Sorrento’s physical presence up front kept Inglewood on guard as they worked their way around the penalty box. Keeper Luke Martino was unchallenged until a counter attack in the 37th minute when Martin opened the scoring for Sorrento, slotting the ball into the bottom of the net from a Harnwell pass. The goal spurred Inglewood on and the pace of Teeboy Kamara and David Sesay on the wings combined well with Clarke to create threatening attacking options. Three minutes later they regained their lead when Steve McDonald brought down Sesay on the edge of the box. Greg Sharland’s resulting free kick sailed beautifully onto the head of Shane Pickering, who sent it into the net. Just four minutes after the restart Sorrento came back again, Kilkenny’s pass across the box setting up Mirco for the goal he had been hunting for in the first half. Vittigila scored four minutes after his substitution, getting on the end of a pass across the face of the goal. Sorrento wrapped up the game in the 77th minute when Canham found himself in space in front of the goal and there was never any doubt he was going to put the ball away.
A triple substitution in the 82nd minute revived Inglewood’s spark, but coach Graham Normanton’s hope fresh legs would bring the game back for them proved to be unfounded. “We didn’t deserve to win that’s for sure,” Normanton said. “But we are disappointed we have gotten off the unbeaten run.” He said failing to capitalise on opportunities has contributed to their failure to win their few last matches. “It’s something I need to have real good hard look at to see what we need to get back on the bike.”
HISTORY REPEATS AS PERTH BEAT ATHENA (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
It felt like history repeating as Perth SC scored a 4-1 win over Floreat Athena – the identical result when the team’s last met in the National Premier Leagues WA. This time at Dorrien Gardens, Perth called on senior players Mark Pritchard and Mark Doninger to guide their young side to victory. Doninger scored twice and Ashley Rosindale and Aden Da Luz were also on target for Perth against a Floreat side, whose consolation came from Lewis McMahon. Although not reflected in the final score, the match was played at a high intensity as Perth youngsters, including Matt Milenkovic and Marco Santalucia - both making only their second start - fought to find their feet, while Floreat were guilty of squandering an abundance of scoring opportunities. Da Luz and Rosindale loomed large from an early stage, as they combined to make life difficult for Floreat. Rosindale had a clear chance when he was found by Da Luz but he was impeded by a desperate Bobby Wilson.
Perth drew first blood in the 18th minute when Rosindale received a pass from Milenkovic and accelerated away from his man before beating Floreat keeper Michael Woolcott. When injury forced Rosindale to be replaced by Nick Ambrogio, Floreat seemed to sense an opportunity and momentum swung in their favour. But McMahon, Jamie Eames, Ludo Boi and Aryn Williams were plagued by inaccuracy. The lead was doubled when, after a battle for the ball between Da Luz and Floreat’s Andrew Scaldaferro, the ball spilled to Doninger, who scored from the edge of the box. Floreat were desperate to claw one back before the break but a multitude of chances went begging. The situation did not improve for the visitors in the second half, who continued to be wasteful with their chances.
Perth made the task seem insurmountable when they came up with their third goal in the 64th minute. Doninger featured again as he held the ball at the edge of the box before flicking it to Da Luz, who sent it past Woolcott. Just ten minutes later, things went from bad to worse for Floreat when Perth converted from a corner with Pritchard delivering for Doninger to head home at the back post. Floreat grabbed a consolation in the dying minutes as Eames produced a brilliant cross for McMahon to head in.
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis said his long history with Floreat had not been a motivating factor. “Of course I miss the club,” he said. “I was there since I was five years old but Perth is an excellent and supportive club as well. “We came out of the blocks really well today with high intensity.” Nicolaidis was pleased that the second youngest team he had started all season had produced a result. “We’re getting the points and the wins and I’m really pleased that some of our younger players are getting a look in,” he said.
SWAN LEAVE WANNEROO WITH THE POINTS (Courtesy of Swan United and Wanneroo City)
Swan United made it back-to-back wins after a come from behind 2-1 win against Wanneroo City at the Kingsway Sporting Complex. The home side were ahead early through Mark Tenney, but a stunning strike from Ross Cosgrove levelled for United on the half hour. The winner came five minutes before half time, Callum Burton scoring. Both sides had chances in the second half but United held firm to take all three points. “It was a fantastic team effort today. “I thought we played some of the best football of the year, and we probably deserved to score more than two goals,” United coach Salv Todaro said. “The defensive part of our game was good, and we kept Wanneroo to only two shots on goal which was pleasing.
Wanneroo opened brightly and hit the front on 15 minutes. New signing Karl O’Reily was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area and his deflected shot was pushed onto the post by United keeper Alfie Brincatt, but Tenney was quickest to react to score from close-range. United hit back and were level on the half hour. There looked little danger when Cosgrove won possession, but his stunning 20-meter strike gave Wanneroo keeper Kevin Miller no chance.
The visitors were dominating and they were rewarded five minutes before the break with the lead. Skipper Ian McKean sent Burton down the left; he cut inside his marker and drilled his shot from the edge of the penalty area. After the break United continued to dominate with Tim Hill outstanding, and they went close to extending their lead midway through. Liam Boland trickery on the edge of the penalty area took him clear of the last defender, but Miller was out quick to narrow the angle and the big strikers shot flashed inches past the post.
ROCKINGHAM TAKE THE THREE POINTS (Courtesy of Rockingham City)
Rockingham City welcomed Kingsway Olympic to Lark Hill as they looked to get back to winning ways. It was Rockingham who took control of the game early with Martin Barnes and Ryan Kennedy controlling play from the centre of the park, for all Rockingham's possession chances where few and far between. Late in the first half Rockingham cranked up the pressure and got the opening goal when converted a penalty which was awarded for handball by the Kingsway defender. Within a minute Laure tucked away the second of the game from close range as Rockingham tightened their grip on the contest. It was more of the same in the second half as the home side controlled the game from the outset. Unfortunately for Rockingham they couldn't transfer their chances to goals and the game finished in a comfortable win for the home side.
JOONDALUP IN SEVENTH HEAVEN (Courtesy of Joondalup United)
Joondalup United moved two points clear at the top of the Second Division table after a stunning 7-0 win against Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve. Callum Stocks continued his excellent run of form scoring four, while Arran Maplestone scored a brace and Mike Kenny also found the net. “Most pleasing for me was the clean sheet,” said Joondalup Coach Danny Smith. “I asked the boys to look at the opportunity that had been presented to them by other results and to send a message out that we mean business and I’m sure we did that.”
The visitors were out of the blocks early and hit the front on 12 minutes. Maplestone played in Stocks, who cut the ball back to Kenny to score. It was one-way traffic as Joondalup pressed and were rewarded again, with two goals in as many minutes from Maplestone. The skipper came close to sealing a hat-trick before half time, but he shot wide when well placed. But it was 4-0, five minutes before the break. Stocks was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area and made no mistake. It was five on the stroke of half time, Stocks was on the end of a good counter attack to fire low past the keeper.
It was more of the same in the second half, with Garin Collins influential, and he fed Stocks to complete his hat trick. Stocks grabbed his fourth late to round off a superb team performance, leaving them the only unbeaten side in Saturday football, are now top of the table by a point after Forrestfield United lost to Curtin University, and Coach Smith was delighted. “Obviously with a result like that it was a team effort and you could see the desire in the boys’ eyes to get the job done,” he said. “We never look back though and will be preparing for another tough one next week as we look to stay unbeaten and top of the league.”
SOCCEROOS EDGED OUT BY CHILE
Australia’s hopes of opening their fourth World Cup campaign with victory were dashed after they were beaten 3-1 by Chile at Cuiaba's Arena Pantanal. The Socceroos campaign looked all but over, when Chile scored two goals in two minutes to go up 2-0 after just 14 minutes. Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia strikes looked like it would be a long night for Australia, but Tim Cahill’s header pulled Ange Postecoglou’s side back into the game before the break.
Then after dominating the second half looking for the equaliser, they were hit with a third in stoppage time, substitute Jean Beausejour firing low past Matt Ryan. "We really stood up strong and it’s just unfortunate. Not a lot went our way tonight, and it showed," Tim Cahill said. "They got in twice and punished us, but after that you could see [Chile's] legs were going. We knew we could get something from this game, and when you attack and concede a goal like that it's disappointing.” looked like it would be a long night for Australia, but Tim Cahill’s header pulled Ange Postecoglou’s side back into the game before the break.
Chile dominated early and Barcelona striker Sanchez didn’t take long to break open the Australian backline. Charles Aranguiz played the ball forward leading to a scramble in the box with the Socceroos unable to clear the ball before it broke to Sanchez to poke home past Matt Ryan from five-meters. Sanchez was at it again moments later, leaving Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak in his wake, and played the ball to an unmarked Jorge Valdivia to finish with aplomb from the edge of the penalty area. A clearly rattled Socceroos looked all out of sorts, but their first chance fell to Tommy Oar whose long-range shot flashed wide. They settled their early nerves and were back in the game on 35 minutes. Ivan Franjic made space down the right and played in a perfectly weighted cross to Cahill, who rose above Gary Medel to head home from eight-meters. A more aggressive Socceroos were back in the contest, and held firm till the break.
The Socceroos suffered a blow early in the second half, with Franjic landing awkwardly and injuring his hamstring, he was replaced by Ryan McGowan. Matthew Leckie was everywhere in the second half, his pace causing problems to the Chilean defence, and on 53 minutes he raced clear down the right and cross to Cahill, whose stooping header beat Claudio Bravo, but his celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside. Still the Socceroos pressed, and three minutes later Mark Bresciano made space on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot was superbly saved by Bravo, and the Chile custodian reacted quickly to deny Bresciano’s follow up shot. Chile were still dangerous on the break and on the hour Sanchez played an angled ball into Eduardo Vargas, who knocked the ball past Ryan, but Alex Wilkinson was back to clear the ball off the line. Jason Davidson was making good runs down the left and his cross moments later was headed over the top by Leckie. It was Davidson again on 72 minutes his cross picked out Cahill whose header went inches over the bar. With Australia pushing men forward looking for the equaliser in stoppage time they conceded a third. Mauricio Pinilla was sent into the penalty area, his low shot was well saved by Ryan, but the rebound fell to Beausejour, who fired home from the edge of the penalty area.
Chile – GK Claudio Bravo, 4 Mauricio Isla, 17 Gary Medel, 18 Gonzalo Jara, 2 Eugenio Mena, 21 Marcelo Díaz, 10 Jorge Valdívia (15 Jean Beausejour 68’), 8 Arturo Vidal
(16 Felipe Gutierrez 60’), 20 Charles Aránguiz, 11Eduardo Vargas (9 Mauricio Pinilla 88’), 7 Alexis Sánchez
Subs not Used – RGK Cristopher Toselli, RGK Johnny Herrera, 3 Miiko Albornoz, 13 José RojasJosé, 19 José Fuenzalida, 5 Francisco Silva, 14 Fabián Orellana, 22 Esteban Paredes, 6 Carlos Carmona
Yellow Cards – Aránguiz 86’
Australia – GK Matthew Ryan, 3 Jason Davidson, 2 Ivan Franjic, (19 Ryan McGowan 49’), 6 Matthew Spiranovic, 22 Alex Wilkinson, 7 Mathew Leckie, 5 Mark Milligan, 15 Mile Jedinak, 11 Tommy Oar
(10 Ben Halloran 69’), 23 Mark Bresciano (14 James Troisi 77’), 4 Tim Cahill
Subs not used – RGK Eugene Galekovic , 12 Mitchell Langerak, 20 Dario Vidosic, 17 Matt McKay, 8 Bailey Wright, 21 Massimo Luongo, 9 Adam Taggart, 13 Oliver Bozanic, 16 James Holland
Yellow Cards – Cahill 43’, Jedinak 57’, Milligan 67’
CURTIN STUNS FORRESTFIELD (Courtesy of Curtin University and Forrestfield United)
Curtin University moved into third place on the Second Division table after a 2-0 win against league leaders and previously undefeated Forrestfield United at Edinburgh Oval on Friday night. Striker Carlo Chiellini scored either side of the break, and Coach Daniel Jones was delighted with his side’s battling performance. “It wasn’t pretty at times but to get a result against a quality side like Forrestfield is a credit to the boys,” Jones said. “They played with heart and for each other tonight and their work rate was immense.”
The visitors were on top early and minutes in Rhys Loxley raced clear and squared the ball to Jordan Hart who fired wide. Moments later Ben Fraser made space down the flank, and his cross into the penalty area was well defended by Bryce Young. But the home side stunned their visitors, when they took the lead on20 minutes, Chiellini firing home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. Forrestfield looked to hit back immediately but keeper Calum McMulkin was in good form to deny them, Curtin held on as Forrestfield launched raid after raid but could not break down the home team’s defences and it was a 1-0 scoreline at the half-time break.
It was more of the same after half time as Forrestfield peppered the Curtin goal but Bryce Young and Chase Parker held strong at the back. Curtin were on the back foot and Hart’s snap shot clipped the top of the crossbar. But mid-way through the half Curtin caught Forrestfield out on a quick counter attack to take the points. Kristian Beven’s ball to the back post found the unmarked Chiellini, who fired home from five-meters. Forrestfield still pressed late and Trent Wood’s long-range shot whistled inches past the post, but Curtin hung on for the points.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND THIRTEEN
Balcatta FC v Bayswater City SC
This fixture has all the makings of a classic. Balcatta leapfrogged Sorrento this week after disposing of them in uncompromising fashion 5-0 last weekend at Grindleford Reserve. Sorrento would have came into that match in high spirits after inflicting a first defeat of the season on Balcatta's opponents this week, Bayswater City. Balcatta had many changes both on and off the field in the Summer and after losing their opening 2 fixtures it was looking ominous. The home side have won 8 of their last 10 however to establish themselves as real contenders. With the squad that Bayswater have they would go into every game expecting 3 points no matter who the opponent is but they may be looking at this one as a potential banana skin. Bayswater edged past strugglers Armadale last week to maintain their 7 point buffer on the trailing pack. Balcatta have star striker and ex Bayswater talisman Gustavo Catarcione returning after serving his suspension and also have Clint Davies who has come into contention after a 4-5 weeks away. They do however have looming doubts over James Sammut, Paddy Quinn, David Cyrus and Kris Gate who are all recovering from injury. Bayswater have no fresh injury concerns and have a full squad to choose from. There only absentee is John Kearney through work commitments but they do potentially have Paul McCarthy back challenging for a spot in the squad of 16.
Cockburn City SC v Stirling Lions SC
Two teams with very similar records go head to head this at Dalmatinac Park. The visitors came from a goal down against bottom placed Subiaco to record a 3-1 victory in a game which is potentially critical in deciding which direction the Lions are heading. A defeat would have left them looking over their shoulders in 9th spot but now they only lie 4 points off 5th place. Cockburn need to get their season back on track and need a result this week if they have any realistic hopes of playing finals football in 2014. In their last 5 outings they have lost 4 and drawn one in a run that has seen them plummet down the table after their promising start. Cockburn welcome new signing Matty Barlow into the squad this week who has returned to WA after previously having a spell at Armadale. They also have Ross Diamond back in contention after he has served his suspension. Cockburn’s only doubt is Feisal Zaw who is in a race against time to prove his fitness. Phil Arnold and Jovo Pavlovic are back in the selection circle after returning from overseas and suspension respectively. They will however have to compete without Dennis Galan who is unavailable.
Perth SC v Floreat Athena SC
Perth's season is ticking along nicely and are clear in second place trailing only early pace setters Bayswater City. Perth got the job done and defeated a Plucky Perth Glory side 3-1 at Dorrien Gardens last time out and will be looking at this fixture hoping to extend their winning run to 4 games. These 2 teams have a history and Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis will want to get one over on a club he served so well for many years. Since Peter Murphy took the reigns at Athena they have won 3, lost 3 and drawn 1 which was their most recent result level pegging with Inglewood Utd 4-4 in a high scoring affair. Floreat will be desperate to get something out of the game to avoid becoming even more separated from the top 5 clubs. The timely return of club captain Craig Simpson and the tricky Friday Zico will be a boost for Perth this week. A mixture of good and bad news on the selection from Floreat sees Aryn Williams and Blair Govan putting their hands up for a starting spot but will have to do without the services of Tom Dixon who begins a suspension and possibly John Thornley who is carrying an injury.
Perth Glory FC v ECU Joondalup SC
10th placed Perth Glory have scored the same amount of goals this season as 2nd placed Perth SC so it is clear to see where their problems lie. Glory's season is at crisis point after an alarming run of 5 consecutive defeats, the last 3 of which have ended in the same 3-1 score line to the opposition. It is no coincidence that Glory's decline has coincided with the end of the A League season and that some of the early season performers not playing recently in the NPL. ECU have started in notoriously inconsistent fashion with the Northern Suburbs side languishing in mid table but they will have to start being more ruthless if they have any aspirations of featuring at the business end of the year. They have some match winners in their ranks but they concede an average of 2 goals per game which is difficult to overturn. Glory head into this fixture with no new selection headaches and have same squad as the previous week. ECU on the other hand have commanding centre half Ryan Townsend back after serving a ban and David Caine who is available again after being missing through work commitments. New signing Jamie Serra will be in the squad and be challenging for a spot between the sticks after his switch from Wanneroo. The Uni side are still waiting on Football West to hear whether or not Tommy Amphlett will be missing through suspension this Saturday.
Sorrento FC v Inglewood United SC
It's 4th against 5th as Inglewood Utd head North to take on Sorrento who always seem to be there or thereabouts at the top of the division. Sorrento took home the spoils when these two met earlier in the season but it is a much improved Inglewood they take on this week. Inglewood lost their opening 4 fixtures and were rooted to the foot of the table but since then they are 8 unbeaten, winning 6 in the process. Sorrento came back down to earth with a bang last weekend when they were humbled 5-0 at Balcatta in what was their first time they had not picked up maximum points on the road. Their normal fortress at home has been far from that as they have won only 2 of 6 games at Percy Doyle and Inglewood will further test that record this coming Saturday. Scott Bulloch and Danny Cain will both spend the week on the sidelines after seeing red for onfield indiscretions for Sorrento and Adam Luca is a doubt through injury. Meanwhile Inglewood Utd have the same squad of player as last week to choose from with Greg Sharland pushing hard for a starting berth after coming off the bench last week.
Subiaco AFC v Armadale SC
Both teams will have marked this one down as a huge opportunity to pick up a valuable 3 points in their quest to avoid the wooden spoon. Subiaco have had a miserable start to their NPL lives and only recorded a solitary point this season so far which came on the opening day against Stirling Lions. Since then 11 defeats, some of which have been hard to take for the new boys as the have failed to have on and conceding stoppage time goals that have changed the outcome of the game. Armadale's only league victory in 2014 came in Round 2 when they hosted this weeks opponents and ran out 2-1 winners. Since then they have lost 8 of their last 10 games and they will be desperate to do the double over the only side below them. Out of a possible 72 points on offer these 2 sides have picked up 6 points between them, so a loss for either could be devastating. Dannie Richman has returned to the squad this week and will give Armadale another option. James Atkins is also in contention to make his debut for the Southern suburbs side.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND NINE
Ashfield SC v Dianella White Eagles
Dianella last week went into their home fixture with winless Wanneroo City off the back of demolishing 2nd place Canning City 5-0. They would have been disappointed to have drawn the game and will look to make amends for that this week but face a real battle. Ashfield can probably count themselves unlucky to come away from Burrundah Reserve with only a point in a game where they certainly had the better chances against a nine-man Canning side. Ashfield however have only gone down once this year but that was a surprise home defeat at the hands of Gosnells City. That will be the focus for Dianella who go into the game as big under dogs with nothing to lose.
Shamrock Rovers Perth v Gosnells City
The home side here came off the upset of the round last week as they went down 3-0 at Hyundai Stadium to Mandurah who claimed their first 3 points of the season. Shamrock had only tasted defeat once previously in 2014 and that was away at break-away leaders Bunbury. They will look at this fixture as an ideal one to get themselves back on track. Since Gosnells terrific victory over Ashfield they have conceded 9 goals in 2 games without getting on the scoresheet themselves. This was always going to be a tough run of games for the Eastern Suburbs outfit but I am sure they would be disappointed with the last fortnight. To turn around their season they need to start finding the back of the net as they are second lowest scorers in the division.
Western Knights v UWA-Nedlands FC
It was make or break time last week for Western Knights and they came up with the goods emphatically putting 5 past Gosnells without response. The Knight's season was threatening to never get going and a loss last week would have seen them 12 points off the pace nearing the half way mark which would have been a mountain to climb. There is no doubt with their squad and a good run of results they could push up the table very quickly. UWA have more than held there own this season so far only narrowly going down 2-1 to Bunbury last Saturday. They have only experienced a heavy defeat all year and have been in most games. If The Uni side can take something out of this game I am sure they will leave extremely happy.
Bunbury Forum Force v Canning City
First meets Second in the Match of the Round but Canning face an uphill battle if they are to return home with anything from their trip to the South West. Bunbury have the strongest attack, the meanest defence and are sitting pretty at the summit of the division. The leaders are currently on a winning run which stretches for 6 matches and will be confident of extending that to 7. Canning salvaged a point in last weeks clash with Ashfield after previously falling to their heaviest defeat since 2011. They are also missing their two starting full backs from last weeks as they start their suspensions. On paper a very competitive fixture but with the 'outs' and that ominous away trip it will take something special.
Wanneroo City v Swan United
Is this the week Wanneroo break their duck? The have most certainly improved since their 8-0 drubbing in Round 1 at then hands of Bunbury and are unbeaten in the last 2 and will have high hopes of gaining 3 points this week. It has been a massive fall from grace from the Northern Suburbs side as only 8 months ago they lifted the Division 1 Title. Last week Swan gained a much needed victory as they secured their first win since the opening day. They have strengthened their ranks in recent weeks and they will be hoping this is sign of things to come. This is a clash where the 2 sides with the worst goal difference in the league meet. Anyone's game.
Morley-Windmills v Mandurah City
Mandurah will travel to Wotton Reserve high on confidence after recording their first 3 points of a disappointing 2014 season. Against the odds Mandurah overcame high flying Shamrock and prevailed 3-0 in a result that could transform their campaign. Their opponents Morley started like a house on fire this year and topped the table after 2 rounds but since then the have failed to win a game and have dropped to mid-lower table. A second win on the bounce for Mandurah could potentially see them leapfrog their opponents and condemn The Windmills to further torment.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND NINE
This weekend’s Football West Second Division fixtures kicks off tonight with Curtin University entertaining league leaders Forrestfield United at Edinburgh Oval (8.30pm) Forrestfield will go into the game without the injured Linden Powell, and midfielder Trent Wood is expecting a tough game against the improving Curtin. “Tonight’s game is going to be another big test for us. They have had some positive results in recent weeks and they will fancy their chances to upset our good run of form, especially at their place,” he said. “But we are looking forward to the challenge and if we stick to our game plan, I’m more than confident we can walk away with the three points.” Curtin University welcome back Bryce Young, but will be sweating on the fitness of Eddie Tikoft.
On Saturday the bottom two teams do battle with Balga making the trip to Frye Park to take on Kelmscott Roos. Balga welcome back James Rowlands from suspension, but Dimce Taneski and Banin Hashem are in doubt. Quinns and Fremantle United meet at Gumblossom Park, Ellenbrook United visit’s the Iluka Sports Complex to meet Joondalup City, while Rockingham City have home ground advantage with Olympic Kingsway at Lark Hill. The visitors will be missing Ollie Hilton, Lee Thomas and Josh Roles, but do welcome back Joe Amitage from suspension.
The match of the round sees Second placed Joondalup United travel to Len Shearer Reserve to take on third placed Melville City. United defender Niall Murphy knows they will up for a tough game. “We are expecting this one to be a tough one, against a Melville side who are scoring a lot of goals this season,” he said. “We were made to work hard for the win last week, but any team in this league, on their day can beat anyone, so we need to be at our best, and I’m confident we will.”
United will have a full squad to choose from this week, with Adam Buckley returning, which will give Coach Daniel Smith a few selection headaches, while Robbie Gasper is back from suspension for Melville, while Liam McLaughlin is available after injury.
NICOLAIDIS RETURNS TO OLD HOME (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
The fond memories of his time with Floreat Athena will forever remain with Perth SC coach Taki Nicolaidis. But when he stands at the touchline to take on Athena, a club he represented at every level as a player from the age of five and later as an assistant coach, he is motivated by the thought of getting a result. It will be no different tomorrow when the teams meet in a National Premier Leagues WA match at Dorrien Gardens.
Nicolaidis played junior football for Floreat before spending 10 seasons as a senior player and then nine years as an assistant coach at the Mount Hawthorn club. “The club meant a great to deal to me and as a player the 1988 season was very memorable,” he said. “I played and scored for them in both the Top Four Final and the D’Orsogna Cup Final in front of a bumper 5000 crowd, while the undefeated season in 1990 was special too. “Then as a coach building a squad with Michael Roki for three seasons, which culminated in the 2007 Floreat side that also went undefeated that season, all are fond memories that will stay with me forever.”
Since joining Perth midway through last season, Nicolaidis has been impressed by the club’s youth ranks - the U20 and U18 teams are top of their competitions – and he has made use of a number of younger players in the first team. “Our youth development is second to none and we are now seeing some of them make the step up to first team football,” he said. “We lost a number of senior players recently but James Marocchi, Aden Da Luz and Nick Ambrogio filled the void last season. “This season we have unearthed some very good players, the likes of Matt Milenkovic, Marco Santalucia and Harley Orr, who all made their senior debut last week and they will all be rewarded again this week with a spot in the squad.”
Perth lost the services of defender Adrian Madaschi last week when the former Socceroos defender signed for Hyundai A-League club Newcastle Jets. While his absence will be felt, Nicolaidis was delighted to have had him at the club, even though it was only a short period. “Adrian has been very valuable for us and has helped us a lot in the games that he played and was fantastic for our younger players,” Nicolaidis said. “But considering that he has only played 3 out of 12 games this year we have also done well without him and I’m confident the players that will come in will do the job for us on Saturday.” Perth welcomes back skipper Craig Simpson and striker Friday Zico to their squad, while Floreat regain the services of midfielder Aryn Williams but will be without suspended goalkeeper Tom Dixon. John Thornley is in doubt due to injury.
TOMI GOES LOKOMOTIVA (by Adam Howard, footballcentral.com.au)
Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela has capped off an impressive debut in the top flight of Croatian football by joining, NK Lokomotiva. He joins on a free transfer from relegated Hrvatski Dragovoljac on a four year deal. Despite interest elsewhere in Croatia and abroad, Mrc(ela felt this was the best move for his development. “Hajduk wanted me but I chose Lokomotiva because I feel I can improve there more,” revealed the towering defender.
The club has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last decade when they became a feeder club to Dinamo Zagreb in 2006. Three consecutive promotions and a lot of investment later, Lokomotiva found themselves in the 1.HNL for the 2009/10 season. This led to official ties with Dinamo being severed. Lokomotiva finished a disappointing fifth this season after being runners-up to Dinamo in the 2012/13 season. A negative goal difference this past season means the signing of Mrc(ela is one that the club see as being crucial to suring up their defence next season. “After Rijeka and Dinamo, they’re probably the best team in the league,” the centre back said.
Although official ties no longer exist between Lokomotiva and Dinamo the two clubs do enjoy a good relationship which often sees players from Dinamo joining Lokomotiva on-loan. So eyes from the Croatian powerhouse will be on every game of the Lokosi. “They are like a second team of Dinamo (Zagreb) so if I play as well as I did last season, I’m close to Dinamo,” said Mrc(ela. The West Australian native won’t be the only Aussie at the club either. The Executive Director of the century old club is Dennis Gudasic who hails from Geelong. “I met him but I didn’t know about it until yesterday,” admitted Mrcela, the now Lokomotiva defender.
DE SILVA’S ROMA DONE DEAL
Italian club AS Roma has secured the right to sign teenage sensation Daniel De Silva from Perth Glory at the conclusion of the 2014/15 A-League season. The two clubs have been locked in negotiations for several months and last night reached an agreement over the terms of De Silva’s move to Europe for an undisclosed fee. “This is a great opportunity for Daniel and is a clear indication of the talent that he has,” said Glory chief executive Jason Brewer. “To have Daniel remain with Perth Glory for the upcoming A-League season is also a great result for the club and I hope that our fans will get the opportunity to see him in plenty of action this year.”
De Silva played locally for Kingsway Olympic and Stirling, then further honed his skills with a year at the Australian Institute of Sport, before signing with Glory in February 2013 to become the club’s youngest ever professional player. He made his national league debut at the age of 15 the following month by coming off the bench late into a 2-1 home defeat of Sydney FC. The attacking midfielder has chalked up 14 A-League appearances to date Glory, and has represented Australia at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels. De Silva will join-up with the new Perth Glory squad for pre-season training in preparation for the 2014/15 season in mid-June.
NO ROOM FOR SLIP-UPS SAYS FRANCIS (Courtesy of Inglewood United)
Ryan Francis does not need to be reminded that Inglewood United’s season will be defined by the outcome of the next five games. The club sits in fifth position but only three points behind Sorrento, who they face this weekend at Percy Doyle Reserve. After that Francis and his teammates come up against for three sides Bayswater City, Balcatta and Perth SC along with National Premier Leagues’ struggler Armadale. “The next five games are vital as our bad start (to the season) hasn’t left us much room for further slip-ups,” commented Francis. “We want to finish as high as possible on the table and win every game we can.”
Inglewood wasted a golden opportunity to close the gap on the top four last week by drawing with a ten-man Floreat Athena. “We were disappointed not to take all three points,” Francis commented. The home side played the majority of the afternoon with an extra player – Floreat custodian Tom Dixon was red carded after only minutes – and went ahead three times, but their failure to hold that lead or capitalise on a host of other chances meant they had to be content with the single point. “We had chances to finish them off but we didn’t play to our standards so let ourselves down by drawing … we know we’re better than that.”
Francis, a former semi-professional with English clubs Arlesey Town and Peterborough Northern Star, joined Inglewood over the summer from Bunbury Forum Force. “I got a message from Graham Normanton asking if I was interested in playing National Premier Leagues. I came down to training and instantly enjoyed being part of Inglewood,” said the 29-year old. “I like to think I’ve contributed to the attacking side of Inglewood’s game, bringing something different and running at players, but I feel I still have more to show. I’d like to thank Normo for seeing my ability, putting me in the middle of the park and giving me the opportunity to play in this league.”
This Saturday Inglewood head to Sorrento, a team Francis admits he knows very little about. “I’ve only played Sorrento a few times, I don’t really know a lot about them other than they seem to play direct and physical,” said Francis, who has no doubt Inglewood can get the better of their hosts. “We’ve got a great mix of lads and team spirit is awesome, we are constantly wanting to improve ourselves and our game. When we are all playing well it’s hard for anyone to get near us (and) if we concentrate on our game this Saturday we will come away with the three points.”
VALE TED GRAY
The football community is in mourning following the passing of Ted Gray. Aside from being one of the local scene’s most colourful characters, Gray also had a terrific impact on the game’s administration from the grassroots to the state pinnacle. Born in England, his involvement in West Australian football began soon after he arrived in Perth when he formed Gosnells City in 1969. After time as secretary of the Amateur Soccer Association, he commenced an extremely successful career as Executive Officer of the Soccer Federation of WA. He once proudly boasted that he was able to gain a major sponsor for every year he was in that role (1974-88). Gray was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame (Hall of Recognition) in 2002.
DA LUZ SHINING OUT WEST (by Adam Howard, footballcentral.com.au)
There are worse places than Brazil and Portugal for a young footballer to spend almost five years learning their craft. Perth Soccer Club’s Aden Da Luz returned last year from such a pilgrimage. In 2008, the teenaged playmaker was given the chance to join Atletico Mineiro where he tasted the professional environment for the first time. Training twice a day with games on Saturdays, the experience opened the young man’s eyes to not only what it takes to succeed but also learn what the sport means in the football Mecca of Brazil. “I learnt that Brazilians love their football. For young kids, it’s a way to help their families with money if they make it professionally,” said the creative midfielder.
After almost two years in Brazil, an offer was made to trial for the U17s at the club that was influential in the development of Cristiano Ronaldo, CD Nacional. “It was a great opportunity to start playing football in Europe,” revealed Da Luz. “At Nacional Ronaldo was idolised greatly. They were very proud to help create such a player.”
Initially blocked from playing in his first year at Nacional due to FIFA’s rules on underage players, it wasn’t until the second season he was cleared to take the pitch. He went on to play two full seasons for the U19s in the National Youth league where he faced the likes of FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon, and Benfica. Overall he played thirty two games and scored five goals. After three years in Portugal and almost two in Brazil, it was time to return home to Perth. Looking back on his time abroad he’s quick to espouse the benefits it had on his development. “Spending those years abroad helped enormously,” he admitted. “I learnt many new things about the game and improved as a footballer.”
Da Luz joined Cockburn City FC – the first club he ever played for when he was five years old – upon his return to Australia. This current season though he finds himself at Perth SC who he sees as one of the strongest clubs in the West. “When I got the opportunity to sign for them it was an opportunity that I wasn’t turning down,” explained Da Luz. The move has proved to be a successful one so far for both player and club. Despite shakey home form, the Azzuri are sitting in second after twelve rounds. “We were struggling for a little bit at home,” the former Coerver student said. “We couldn’t afford to keep dropping points at home if we wanted to be up there cone the end of the season.”
Having won their last two games at Dorrien Gardens against Cockburn and Perth Glory Youth respectively, it appears that coach Taki Nicolaidos and his chargers have addressed their home woes. Da Luz’s own form has also been pleasing to the player himself. “I’ve been very happy with my form this season. I’m scoring goals and setting them up,” the twenty year old said.
Recently, Perth SC lost the services of experienced defender Adrian Madaschi who has signed with the A-league’s Newcastle Jets. However, having had a player who has played at a high level in a number of countries at the club is something that Aden is sure benefitted and inspired him and his teammates. “Having Adrian at Perth SC has been great. He’s a great footballer and a role model for the younger lads.” The veteran centre backs call up to the country’s top tier is something that Da Luz is striving to emulate. “Yes I’d love to play at a higher level if the opportunity ever comes.”
ALL I CAN DO IS SCORE: TAGGART
Socceroo Adam Taggart says, if given the chance, scoring goals will be his sole mission in Brazil. The Newcastle Jets marksman won’t be starting ahead of veteran Tim Cahill at the World Cup but be is determined to make the most of any opportunity should coach Ange Postecoglou bring him off the bench against Chile, the Netherlands or Spain. “The only I thing I do is score goals, I can’t really do much else,” Taggart said. “Personally, as a striker, goals are something I’m always focusing on … just like the ‘keeper with keeping the ball out of the back of the net, I feel I can contribute by putting in the net.”
Taggart, 21, proved his prowess in attack during a breakthrough A-League season with Newcastle, where 16 goals earned him the Golden Boot award. Newcastle marquee man Emile Heskey started last summer as the popular choice to lead the lead, with Taggart seemingly destined for a season on the left wing. However, a knee injury forced Heskey to miss two months of competition and opened the door for Taggart to shine front and centre in attack. Similarly, a back injury to Josh Kennedy made the former ECU Joondalup junior a surprise inclusion in the Socceroos’ final 23-man World Cup squad.
Taggart was given a very brief opportunity in the closing stages of last week’s friendly with Croatia and, if called upon again, he’ll be ready. “For me it’s about everyday training and if you get the opportunity you need to be ready,” he said. “Everyone is involved in training every single day to make sure that whoever is called upon will know their job and their responsibility in the team. It’s not going to be first team and second team, everyone’s in it together. We’ve all got to put a shift in so if the opportunity comes I’ll be ready.”
TAGGART FOCUSED ON WORLD CUP
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart is no hurry to head abroad after his breakthrough season led to a place in Australia’s World Cup squad. Adam Taggart entered the summer of 2013/14 with just 19 A-League appearances, and two goals, but shot into World Cup contention by netting 16 times last summer to claim the Golden Boot award. The 21-year old has applied some quality finishes while in camp with the Socceroos, scoring against a local Brazilian side last week and making a late cameo against Croatia on Saturday morning.
Although there’s been plenty of interest from Europe, Taggart is happy to stay put. “It’s hard to say, I’m here (in Brazil) to concentrate on the Socceroos, anything that goes on behind the scenes my agents can deal with,” Taggart said. “If there’s an offer from a place I’m interested in, I’ll have a think about it. I don’t want to go overseas for the sake of it, it needs to be right place, a good opportunity to play and somewhere where you’ve got to be learning and developing … I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else but Europe.”
Taggart is one of seven A-League players to make coach Ange Postecoglou’s final 23-man squad, after Newcastle teammates Josh Brillante and Mark Birighitti (omitted) and Tom Rogic (injured) were culled. “Ange picked a lot of players from Australia which is a massive credit to the A-League and himself,” he said. “He knows better than anyone how far the A-League has come and the proof’s in the pudding now. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing for, if you’re dominating the league, even if you’re in good form, you will get an opportunity. And that gives a lot of players faith, that if they do well they will get the opportunity.”
SHARE OF THE SPOILS (by Tristan Lavalette, nplwa.com.au)
Floreat Athena survived goalkeeper Tom Dixon’s early send-off and a two-goal deficit to draw their NPL WA match against Inglewood United yesterday. The match at Intiga Stadium ended 4-4 with four goals in each pulsating half.
Inglewood never trailed but failed to capitalise on Floreat being a player short after Dixon was red carded for colliding with Abdul Sesay just four minutes in. The dismissal forced Floreat to take off Andrew Scaldaferro to get into the action reserve goalkeeper Michael Woolcott, who could not prevent Ryan Clarke’s penalty from hitting the back of the net. Sesay was clearly hampered from the collision and had to be substituted in the ninth minute, forcing a restructure of Inglewood’s line-up. The visitors responded with aplomb, their equaliser arriving in the 12th minute when Bobby Wilson headed in from a corner. The frenetic match rollicked along and Inglewood restored the lead in the 32nd minute when defender Scott Blackmore flicked the ball into the net. Floreat replied moments later when Ludovic Boi dribbled through Inglewood’s defence and found Jack Allen, who scored a scintillating goal from long range.
It appeared Floreat’s handicap was going to be too tough to overcome as Inglewood started taking control early in the second half. Teeboy Kamara tapped in a goal after receiving a spectacular scissor kick from Ryan Francis to once again edge Inglewood ahead. David Sesay appeared to seal the result when he scored in the 60th minute to extend Inglewood’s lead to 4-2. But as had been the script all day, Floreat responded almost immediately when Lewis McMahon used his strength to win the ball in the penalty area and rifled the ball into the back of the net. In the 85th minute, Floreat were awarded a penalty after Gary Hill was tripped close to goal. James Eames converted to level the score and prompt a frantic final few minutes in which both teams had opportunities to produce a winner.
Inglewood coach Graham Normanton was disappointed his side could not take advantage against 10 men for the second time in three matches. “Two weeks ago against Cockburn we did the same thing against 10 men and could not take advantage,” he said. “When you come up against 10 men it is a physiological barrier and we have not been able to get over that barrier.”
Floreat coach Glen Grostate paid tribute to his side’s ability to overcome adversity, and had particular praise for Woolcott. “Credit to Michael, he is a young keeper and he performed well,” he said. “Everyone played for each other and we are very happy with that result.”
BAYSWATER HAVE TOO MUCH QUALITY (by Kelechi Osunwa, nplwa.com.au)
Armadale coach Lee Bamber pointed to a gulf in quality in his side’s 2-0 loss against Bayswater City in last night’s end-to-end National Premier Leagues fixture at Alfred Skeet Reserve. The Reds more than matched the league leaders in the first half and seemingly left Bayswater frustrated at close offside rulings. But two moments of brilliance by David Heagney and former Perth Glory midfielder Todd Howarth proved to be the difference as Bayswater returned to winning ways. Despite the result, Bamber took many positives out of his young team’s performance against a side who could afford to have the likes Gustavo Giron Marulanda and Adrian Caceres on the bench. “I can’t fault the commitment of the players,” Bamber said. “Our work rate, our endeavour...we are competing all over the park against a quality side. It’s just that little lack of quality in the final third that’s letting us down at this moment in time.”
After being largely limited to half-chances in the first stanza, Bayswater powered through to take the lead inside 10 minutes of the second half with Heagney’s expert finish across an outstretched Mathew Gould. Armadale reacted positively to the setback and created two gilt-edged chances only to be denied by a dominant Devon Spence. The goalkeeper rushed off his line quickly to stop Faustinho Machochi who had the goal at his mercy before pulling off a stellar save to deny Sam Loveless from 25 meters. Armadale were left to rue those chances minutes later when Howarth rose highest to head home from a corner to put the game beyond doubt.
Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses was happy with his side’s composure and the depth of his squad after playing their third game in a week. “A win’s a win and it’s a hard place coming to Armadale, and tonight we’re just happy to get the three points,” Moses said. “I thought the boys controlled the game well and I thought we executed our goals well. (We) just said to be calm and keep moving the ball and it opened up for us with the two goals. “We’ve got a rotation system at the moment with the players and when they do step in they do a job for us.” The win keeps Bayswater seven points clear of rivals Perth SC while the loss for Armadale puts further importance on next week’s match against Subiaco in what Bamber has already called a cup final of psychological importance.
PERTH OVERWHELM YOUTHFUL GLORY (by Tristan Lavalette, nplwa.com.au)
Perth SC’s class and experience eventually overwhelmed Perth Glory’s exuberance during National Premier Leagues WA action at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. The home side overcame a sluggish start and early deficit to record a convincing 3-1 victory. Perth used their size and strength advantage to control possession against a talented but raw Glory side, who too often relied on individual brilliance instead of working as a cohesive team.
The game was a scrappy affair for much of the first half, as Perth’s trademark crisp passing and collective sharing of the ball was lacking, while Glory attempted to dictate through their pace, hard-running and long passing skills. A boilover loomed in the 13th minute as Glory striker Joe Knowles seized on a fumble and stumble from Perth’s goalkeeper Francis Soale to score on his second attempt at goal after his initial shot was blocked. Perth was shaken and appeared frustrated by their sloppiness but persevered and continually pounded the ball forward. Glory’s defence, led by Jacob Collard, was able to stymie Perth’s attack but eventually the pressure was overbearing and Ashley Rosindale levelled the match when he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box. Rosindale continually menaced in attack, while Andreas Theodosiades and Aden Da Luz cut a swath through midfield as Perth rediscovered their flair.
Perth nudged ahead just after half time as Rosindale found an unmarked Da Luz in the penalty box and the result was sealed when debutant Matt Milenkovic capped off an impressive performance when he tapped home a goal in the 71st minute. Glory was gallant but often their skilful players relied on the spectacular, epitomised by Bor Bor Sambindi, whose scything runs were countered by errant long range attempts at goal. Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis said his side’s size advantage was a major factor in the result. “We were dominant and not really under a lot of threat,” he said. “Our strength and experience was probably a bit too much for Glory, who are a young team without experience. “We play our best when we keep the ball, retain possession and have players moving.”
Glory coach Scott Miller said his team squandered too many opportunities. “Teams are letting us have a bit of the ball and they were just a bit too big and strong for us,” he said. “The combinations were not great and we need to try to play together and develop consistency.”
BALCATTA THRASH SORRENTO (by Chris Andrawes, nplwa.com.au)
Balcatta comfortably saw off Sorrento 5-0 at Grindleford Reserve, in a game where both sides completely reversed last week’s performances. Balcatta, who were poor against Floreat, took a surprise lead inside the first minute through a simple tap-in from Alex Caniglia, following a nice little cut back from Carlo Coelho. The Gulls were coming off a massive win against the previously undefeated Bayswater City, but were up against it from kick-off.
Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon felt the early goal was a result of his team’s hard work during the week. “Last week we were horrible against Floreat, we were very regretful that we gave three points away,” he said. “We spoke this week about reacting appropriately and scoring in the first minute was an enormous boost. “I’m happy that we’ve kept a clean sheet, it’s the fifth one, so five out of twelve games are pretty good numbers. “But it’s also good to see that attitude when you’re in front, you don’t show mercy to the opponent, because the opponent won’t show mercy to you.”
After the first goal went in, the first half was largely uneventful, until injury time, when Luke Randazzo was taken down by Sorrento’s Danny Cain. The defender received his second yellow card, leaving the Gulls with 10 men. The second half started much like the first, with Balcatta scoring early through the impressive Lawrence Shuruma, who was put in by Randazzo, before dummying his defender and firing the ball past Curtis Aspden.
New signing Shuruma later doubled his lead with a thunderbolt from the edge of the box which left his coach very pleased with his performance. “I don’t like mentioning individuals, but I think with Lawrence’s first game starting with the firsts, he’s fit in immediately,” Calzon said. “Our normal goal scorers are Gustavo (Catarcione) and Benny (Kouakou), both of them are missing today, so to give the opportunity to others who are normally waiting behind and seeing them take it is a good thing to see.”
Another Coelho shot on goal was then turned in by team mate Keiron Stallard, who wrong-footed Aspden with his effort. Coelho rounded out the scoring with a nice bit of control from a Shuruma ball in, before firing it past Aspden who had previously denied him, to make it 5-0. Sorrento co-coach Jamie Harnwell was left scratching his head at his team’s inconsistency. “We drew with Armadale, beat Bayswater and now we get thumped by Balcatta…we’re a good team on our day, there’s just not enough of those days at the moment,” he said. “Too many players didn’t perform, so no arguments with the result, and there were no real positives to come out of it at all, so we’ve just got to pick ourselves up and worry about next week now.”
DIXON DOUBLE WINS IT FOR JOONDALUP (by Daryn McCleave, nplwa.com.au)
Danny Dixon's two-goal blitz in the opening ten minutes sent ECU Joondalup on their way to a deserved 3-1 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The win lifted the visitors above the hosts in the congested centre of the National Premier Leagues WA table. Dixon's pace, trickery and clinical finishing outfoxed the Cockerels' defence in the seventh and ninth minutes to leave the home side chasing the game. Hopes of a Cockburn comeback were raised when Liam Murray halved the deficit early in the second half but those hopes were dashed as quickly as they arrived when three minutes later ECU skipper John Higgins fired home from distance.
ECU coach Dale McCulloch, whose side were knocked out of the Cool Ridge Cup in last week’s semi-final, was pleased with the response of his players. "That's in the past - the future is we can start pushing on up the league now,” he said. “We've jumped up a couple of spots today and we're all pleased with that. "In the past the young lads' heads might have dropped (after conceding a goal) but to not let them back in and go score the third made it a little bit more comfortable for us, which is pleasing."
Cockburn coach Marc Anthony "gave the boys a roasting at half-time, which they deserved" following a shocking opening 15-20 minutes in which he felt his side "never turned up.” "We gave away two poor goals (defensively), making it hard for ourselves. We got ourselves back in the game and you think 'here we go' but we then give another goal away a couple of minutes later,” Anthony said.
It was the former Bayswater man Dixon who terrorised the Cockburn right hand side in the opening 45 minutes, his first goal coming in the seventh minute after a mazy run on the left before darting into the box and striking low past Dejan Aleksic. Around 90 seconds later Aleksic was left exposed again as Dixon latched onto a through-ball, and despite vain appeals for offside from the Cockerels, the left winger rounded the keeper for a simple finish into the empty net. Dixon was unlucky not to have claimed a hat-trick when a curling effort from outside the area whistled the wrong side of the upright.
City though came out after the break with Anthony's words ringing in their ears and the response he was seeking arrived in the 51st minute with Murray applying the finishing touch from a couple of metres out after the ball was cut back from the by-line. But Joondalup were not content to defend the game out, instead John Higgins progressed in the final third and fired beyond Aleksic's despairing dive. Cockburn huffed and puffed to find a way back into the game, with Oscar Thompson guilty of missing a sitter from a corner, which could have turned the tide back in City's favour. Both sides had chances - and goals ruled out - but the visitors comfortably saw out the second half to take the points.
LIONS FIGHT BACK (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
Coach Gary Williams felt his Stirling Lions side might have been suffering from a Cool Ridge Cup hangover as they came from behind to beat Subicao 3-1 in the National Premier Leagues WA at Macedonia Park. Less than a week after a Cup semi-final win against ECU Joondalup, which earned the Lions a place in the final as well as the inaugural FFA Cup Round of 32, they took their time to get going before rallying for an important win. Williams had particular praise for David Micevski, who scored a double to take his total for the season to nine goals in 11 games. “He’s come back after being out for 12 months... for any midfield player that’s tremendous,” Williams said.
Micevski scored his first in the 35th minute, his scuffed volley under pressure catching out goalkeeper Henry Davies. Micevski’s second goal came in the 90th minute from the penalty spot. Subiaco winger Josh Booysen had opened the scoring after a mazy run that left four Stirling defenders and goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski in his wake - with the help of some lucky deflections. But after drawing level, the Lions edged in front in first-half injury time through Hayden Doyle, who lashed an out-swinging effort from 25m beyond Davies. Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan said his side were forcing the opposition into playing poorly but were not getting the luck they needed. “That’s what everybody says when they play us because we’re running them pretty close,” he said. “I don’t think we made good decisions today and that was the difference. “We made mistakes that cost us the game.”
Neither side outshone the other in terms of quality or chances created but Stirling took their opportunities. Ian McMurray had an attempt cleared off the line which would have put the game level at two all but again the away side did not capitalise on their chance. The result puts Stirling into seventh with their fourth win of the season, while Subiaco remain on the foot of the table with just the one point earned – against Stirling in the season’s opening round.
UNITED EDGE OUT MORLEY (Courtesy of Swan United)
Swan United won for the first time in seven weeks after a hard fought 2-1 win against Morley Windmills at the Swan Italian Club. Andy O’Neill gave the home side in the lead early before Kyle King levelled before half time. But O’Neill added his second mid-way through the second half to win it. “I thought we deserved the win, and the players are beginning to gel together, and they will only get better,” United Coach Salv Todaro said. “We went into the game fully focused on achieving a result, as our play over the last couple of weeks has been worthy of more than what we have achieved.”
The visitors opened brightly and went close to the opener after only 10 minutes. Former Swan striker John Monterosso picked off a poor back pass, and headed towards goal, but a last ditch tackle from skipper Ian McKean made him fire wide. United settled after the early scare, and began to take control of the middle of the park. Callum Burton was causing havoc out on the right, and it was from his cross six minutes later, that the home side opened the scoring.
The lively winger found space and delivered a perfect ball into O’Neill, whose sweetly struck half volley gave Morley keeper Daniel Agudelo no chance. Morley hit back just before the break to level. King was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area, and he fired low past Swan debutant keeper Alfie Brincatt, to send the team in level at the break.
United began to take control in the second half, with Ross Cosgrove and Steve Cowbrough outstanding and they deservedly hit the front again on the hour. Cowbrough played a defence splitting pass to O’Neill, and the former Morley midfielder raced clear and lobbed the on-coming Agudelo to give United the points.
KNIGHTS SHOW NO MERCY AT GOSNELLS (Courtesy of Western Knights)
Western Knights moved into fifth place on the table after a stunning 5-0 win against Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. The visitors dominated the first half but only led 1-0 at the break courtesy of an own goal from Ian Maguire. But second half goals to Benn Coulter, a Paul Lloyd brace and Jamie Ricks gave them a comfortable win. “We started the game as sharp and brightest we've been all season, but their keeper made some great saves, and we wondered if it would be another frustrating game,” said Lloyd. “But when we scored the goal just before half time that hurt them and the goals flowed after the break, we now need to keep this run going.”
The visitors dominated the early exchanges and went close to the opener four minutes in. A free kick picked out the unmarked David Annall, who headed over from four-meters, with the goal at his mercy. The Knights went close again on fifteen minutes, Rick’s snap shot crash off the crossbar, before Coulter’s follow up shot hit the post. It looked like it was going to be one of those days for the Knights, with Gosnells keeper Tom Allan in superb form, but on the stroke of half time they hit the front. Lloyd’s found space on the flank, and his low cross was deflected into his own net by the unfortunate Maguire.
After the break the Knights’ dominance was rewarded with a second, Coulter was sent clear and lobbed the on-coming Allan. The home side were struggling to cope with Lloyd on the flanks and Luka Jukic in the middle of the park and moments later it was 3-0. A low cross from Jukic found Ricks who finished clinically. In the next attack it was 4-0, Coulter found space down the right, and his low cross was slid home by Lloyd from four-meters. The fifth was added late in the game, Coulter was again the provider, picking out Lloyd, who raced into the penalty area and fired low past Allen
JOONDALUP MADE TO WORK FOR THE POINTS (Courtesy of Joondalup United)
Joondalup United continued their unbeaten start to the season after a 2-1 win against Rockingham City at Charonia Park. Matt McDonald gave the visitors the lead early, but a second half brace from Mike Kenny gave the home side a hard fought three points. “It's evident that no team in this league will roll over and the boys are continually showing week in week out that they never say die. It's an attitude that I have always expected as a coach and to see a new team put together adapt to that so quickly is very pleasing,” Joondalup Coach Daniel Smith said.
The visitors began well, and went close to the opener four minutes in, but a double save from James Bosdet and a goal line clearance from new signing Ross Edwards kept them in the game. But Rockingham’s early pressure was rewarded with a goal on 10 minutes. United failed to deal with a Max Snelson corner and Matt McDonald volleyed home from eight-meters.
United were struggled to break down a Rockingham defence, well led by keeper Cyril Sharrock, but with ten minutes to half time they did go close, but Kenny’s long-range shot was straight at Sharrock, who saved. It was the visitors who should have doubled their lead before the break, Blade Atkinson shooting straight at Bosdet when one-on-one.
With Coach David Smith’s half time address still ringing in their ears, United opened brightly and were level in the first minute. Garin Collins’ cross was met first time by Kenny, whose half volley flew past Sharrock. United lifted the tempo, with Callum Stocks outstanding, and substitute Tony Taylor made a huge impact when he came on midway through the half.
It was his cross on 70 minutes that picked out Arran Maplestone, whose header crashed off the crossbar and way to safety. But with eight-minutes remaining, their pressure paid off with the winner. Kenny made a great run and sent clear by Maplestone, and he held of the last defender and finished clinically past Sharrock. The striker went in search of hat trick late on, but wasted the best chance, firing wide went sent clear again. Rockingham almost levelled in stoppage time, Trevor Laurie heading wide from five-meters.
CURTIN LEAVE OLYMPIC WITH THE POINTS (Courtesy of Curtin University)
Curtin University continued their good start to life in the Second Division, after a convincing 5-1 against Kingsway Olympic at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Carlo Chiellini scored a brace in a man of the match performance, with other goals scored by Jonathon Krawec, Nathan Smith and Rory Binnie. “They started well and we had to rely on our keeper to keep us in the game early, but we dominated the game from mid-way in the first half and deserved the points,” said Chiellini. “We over ran them in the second half and could have scored a few more, but the big win gives us confidence going forward.”
Curtin where slow out of the blocks almost paid the price early, but keeper Calum McMulkin produced a fine save to keep the home side at bay, somehow keeping out Wayne Culverwell’s long-range shot. That near miss sparked Curtin into action and minutes later Krawec burst into space and drove the ball past Mike Brand from the edge of the penalty area to make it 1-0.
But the home side hit back immediately, Joe Woodin scoring after some slack defending from the Curtin defence. Olympic went close again on the half hour, Brad Cutting heading wide from six-meters. But the visitors lifted and began to take control of the game and were back in front before the break. A pin point cross from Mark Matkovic found Chiellini and he headed home from four-meters.
It was more of the same after the break as Kristian Beven and Chiellini created chances for Curtin, but both failed to find the target. Binnie went close on the hour, but fired wide, but moments later, Chiellini pass sent Smith clear, and he finished low past Brand. It was 4-1 on 80 minutes, Chiellini’s 20-meter free kick beat Brand via the post. Binnie rounded out the scoring when he side footed home from 10-meters, after substitute Fraser Grant cut the ball back from the bye-line.
OLD MATE SPURS TONG (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Balcatta skipper Adam Tong has drawn inspiration from a former teammate who was recently involved in English football play-offs at the famous Wembley Stadium. Tong, who has been instrumental in Balcatta’s National Premier Leagues WA season, watched on TV as his old club Fleetwood Town reached the third tier of the English game for the first time in their history with a win over Burton Albion. Tong was delighted to see his old mate Nathan Pond on the Wembley steps, celebrating a big win.
“Nathan has been at the club for 12 years and has been part of the incredible rise from non-league football to now get promotion to League One,” Tong said. “He’s a top bloke... and his loyalty to the club is top drawer. It inspires me to succeed.”
Although Tong’s stay at Balcatta has been considerably shorter than Pond’s commitment to Fleetwood, the big defender has also shown allegiance to his NPL WA club. “I could have left Balcatta last season when everyone else did, but I showed loyalty and stuck around, and I hope to help Balcatta to the finals this season,” he said. Balcatta’s five-game winning streak was ended by Floreat Athena last weekend but Tong said the team was determined to get back to winning ways against Sorrento at Grindleford Reserve tomorrow (3pm). “It’s a massive game for us to catch up with the leaders,” Tong said. “It’s also about cementing a top-four spot and set up our challenge for top honours in the NPL. “Sorrento are a hard working physical side, who have individuals who can win them the game. But we know we have the team to beat them and I believe we can win on Saturday and leap-frog them on the table.”
In other NPL games tomorrow afternoon, Cockburn City meet ECU Joondalup at Dalmatinac Park, Perth are up against Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens, Subiaco AFC travel to Macedonia Park to face the Stirling Lions (All games at 3pm). The evening game at 7pm has Armadale facing a big task against league leaders Bayswater City at Alfred Skeet Reserve. The Sunday game is Inglewood United vs Floreat Athena at Intiga Stadium (3pm).
JETS SWOOP FOR MADASCHI
Newcastle Jets have signed former Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi to a one-year deal. Madaschi is currently playing for National Premier Leagues side Perth SC following the conclusion of a two season spell with South Korean club Jeju United, for whom he made 48 appearances. The 31-year-old centre-back has played much of his professional career in Europe, with spells at Atalanta, Portosummaga (Scotland), Partick Thistle and Dundee (Scotland). Along the way he represented Australia at all youth level before gaining five senior caps, scoring twice.
Madaschi whose only previous A-League exposure was a nine-game spell with Melbourne Heart, is looking forward to returning to the national competition. “I think building a competitive squad starts with the defence, so hopefully I can form some good partnerships with the other boys at the back and be part of a strong defensive unit throughout the season," Madaschi said. “Having a bit of experience under my belt, I’ll be doing my best to be a mentor to some of the younger players in the squad, guiding them in the right direction and lending a helping hand where I can as well.”
Newcastle coach Phil Stubbins said the signing of Madaschi would bring added experience and balance to the Jets’ backline. “Adrian brings a real strength of character to the table and he’s a left-sided player which is going to provide balance for us,” Stubbins said. “He’s played at a very good level throughout his career and he’s coming to the Jets very hungry to establish himself as a prominent player in the A-League. Adrian has what we’re looking for in terms of personality and character and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to the club.”
TAGGART HOPING TO FILL KENNEDY'S SHOES
His mum taught him never to get too big for his boots, now Socceroo striker Adam Taggart knows he has some mighty shoes to fill. Taggart was expected to be left out of coach Ange Postecoglou’s final World Cup squad but Josh Kennedy's omission due to a back injury opened the door for the Newcastle Jets young gun. Taggart celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday by scoring in the Socceroos’ 2-0 friendly win over Brazilian side Parana Clube, his performance persuading Postecoglou to include him in Australia’s 23-player squad.
After being told of his selection over breakfast on Tuesday, Taggart said the first person he contacted was his mother, Sue. “She someone who tried to implement a mindset since I was a little kid, don’t get too big for your boots,” he told thewest.com.au “It’s something I have tried to concentrate on, and not think I am better than what I do on the field. At the same time I need to dream big. As a little kid you talk about your dreams and now to finally reach it ... words can’t describe.”
As big as he dreamed, Taggart says just month ago he never imagined being at the World Cup. By the end of a breakthrough A-League season, where his 16 goals were rewarded with the competition’s Golden Boot award, Taggart was seen as bolter for Brazil. “Throughout the season when being asked about the national team I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” said the former ECU Joondalup junior. “At 21 years old it is something I would never even be able to imagine being in a World Cup.”
Taggart, who is two years younger than Kennedy was at his first World Cup, says he’s always looked up to the veteran striker, who represented the nation on 37 occasions. “It sort of hits you this morning when you see the players who missed out, the likes of Josh Kennedy who is extremely unlucky with his back,” Taggart commented. “He’s someone I looked up to as a young kid and now to try fill his shoes and carry on the hard work he has put in to every game he has played for his country.”
Taggart is prepared to work hard in order to force his way into the Socceroos side for their tournament opener against Chile. “It’s something as a little kid you can only dream of and something as a footballer you are continuously working towards,” Taggart said. “It’s the biggest competition you can be involved in so to be given the opportunity in the squad is something words can’t describe and something I’ll be forever grateful for. If there’s one thing you can control then it’s hard work and effort and that’s been a focus point since the start.”
BIRIGHITTI “HONOURED” JUST TO BE PART OF THE SOCCEROOS
Despite missing out World Cup selection, Newcastle Jets’ Mark Birighitti says he is honoured to have been part of the build-up to football’s showpiece event. Birighitti was one of four goalkeepers included in Australia’s preliminary 27-player squad that has spent the past week in Vitoria, Brazil, preparing for the World Cup. The 23-year old was one of four players omitted from coach Ange Postecoglou’s final selection for the tournament but will remain in camp until the Socceroos’ opening game against Chile as cover for Mitch Langerak, who is carrying a minor knee problem.
Despite his disappointment, Birighitti said being in camp with the Socceroos on the eve of the World Cup has been the experienced of a lifetime. “I just want to say how honoured and excited I have been in the past few weeks being part of this amazing journey with the Socceroos,” Birighitti said via social media. “I am privileged to have been given this opportunity by the boss and all the other coaches to see and experience things that some people can only dream of. I’d really like to thank everyone and I'm really looking forward to still continuing training with this great group of guys.”
WORLD CUP SQUAD REVEALED
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has revealed the 23-players that will represent Australia at this month’s World Cup in Brazil. Veteran pair Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano along with captain Mile Jedinak and defender Mark Milligan will become the first players to represent Australia at three World Cups. But the news was not so good for Mark Birighitti, Luke Wilkshire, Tom Rogic and Josh Kennedy who missed out on final selection. “Every step of the selection process has been difficult because the players have worked very hard since they came into camp but we have had to weigh up form, fitness and squad balance,” Postecoglou said.
Postecoglou has every confidence the players selected are capable of standing up to rigours of playing Chile, the Netherlands and Spain. “We’ve selected a squad that can do Australia proud and they will walk out onto the pitch for the World Cup in the green and gold shirt and display the characteristics that define our country,” he said. “Our stated aim is to make our country proud, show the world what Australians are made of and test ourselves against the very best football players in the world and this group of players is capable of doing that.”
Australia’s squad for the World Cup is Mark Bresciano (Al-Gharafa), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Ivan Franjic, Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Milligan, James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht) and Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers).
MILOSEVIC RE-SIGNS WITH GLORY
Perth Glory’s off-field team for the next summer has been strengthened with the appointment of Danny Milosevic as goalkeeping coach. Milosevic, who joins the club on a two-year deal, was Glory’s first choice ‘keeper in the early stages of the 1998/99 season before embarking on a professional career which took him to England, Scotland and New Zealand. “Many of our supporters will obviously remember Danny from his time with the club, and it’s great to welcome him back,” said chief executive Jason Brewer. “But what many won’t be aware of is his excellent work in recent years with the National Training Centre as well as the Matildas and various other National Women’s sides.”
Milosevic, 35, burst onto the national scene as a teenager with Canberra Cosmos, making 14 appearances and representing Australia at youth level. After a season with each Arminia Bielefeld and Preuben Munster in Germany, Milosevic signed with Glory where he made 17 appearances before transferring to English club Leeds United. Unable to break into the first team, he spent time on loan to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Plymouth Argyle and Crewe Alexandra after which he joined Scottish giants Celtic. In 2005 Milosevic joined New Zealand Knights, where he played 19 times across two seasons, before hanging up his playing gloves. His most recent post was as goalkeeper coach with the Matilda’s at the Women's Asia Cup in Vietnam.
TAGGART ON TARGET IN SOCCEROOS WARM-UP
Australia have beaten Brazilian club Parana Clube 2-0 in an overnight training game in Vitoria. First half goals from Oliver Bozanic and Adam Taggart were enough to clinch the win against the second division outfit at the Arena Unimed Sicoo. But Tom Rogic’s fitness continues to cause concern with the playmaker subbed following a lacklustre first half display. Coach Ange Postecoglou will submit his final 23-player World Cup squad on Wednesday, two days before the Socceroos final warm-up game against Croatia. Australia’s World Cup campaign opens on 13 June against Chile.
A strong start by the Socceroos paid dividends after 18 minutes when Bozanic fired in the opening goal from a Dario Vidosic cross. Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was called into action from a set piece before Luke Wilkshire set-up Taggart, whose finish from inside the area doubled Australia’s lead after 28 minutes. James Troisi came on at the break and soon after forced the goalkeeper into a low save. The Socceroos’s continued to press but despite openings for Troisi and Luongo a third goal wasn’t forthcoming. Taggart played a full game whereas Mark Birighitti replaced Galekovic for the final few minutes.
VUKOVIC RETURNING EARLY FROM JAPAN
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will arrive back in town week after agreeing to an early release from his loan with Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. Vukovic, who was due to stay in Japan until August, joined Sendai in March but found opportunities few and far between following the departure of coach Graham Arnold in early April. “Playing in Japan was an eye opening experience,” said the 29-year old. “I would have liked to have played a lot more and felt I had a lot to offer Vegalta Sendai. But it wasn’t to be and I felt I was better off getting back home to Perth and preparing myself for pre-season training.”
Vukovic is looking forward to becoming reacquainted with his Glory team mates when pre-season training commences. “I’m really looking forward to getting back and getting stuck into another pre-season,” he said. “I’m excited at the new signings that the club has made so far and am very confident we will be playing finals football next season. Personally I want to build on last season and have an even better year for Perth Glory.” Vukovic, who is contracted to Glory until mid-2017, was voted the Players’ Player of the Year and the Supporters’ Player of the Year at last season’s Most Glorious Player awards night.
BAYSWATER TOO GOOD FOR SUBIACO (by Kelechi Osunwa, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne reminded his players that a place in history was at stake in yesterday’s Cool Ridge Cup semi-final against Subiaco at the WA Athletics Stadium. And the National Premier Leagues WA leaders responded accordingly, producing a flurry of late goals to seal a 4-0 win that put Bayswater into the Cool Ridge Cup final and the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup. “It’s a massive achievement.” Coyne said. “I said to the boys before the game it’s a part of history in WA to be associated with the first FFA Cup and it’s a magnificent achievement by the club and the players.” Bayswater and Stirling Lions, who beat ECU Joondalup 3-1 in yesterday’s other semi-final, will meet in the July 19 final at Macedonia Park, while they have also earned their place in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.
Trent Kay had given Bayswater a first-half lead against Subiaco but it was only during the last nine minutes that the score blew out – Kay scoring his second of the match after goals from Brian Farrell and Declan Hargreaves. Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan bemoaned his side’s misfortune when a shot appeared to strike the arm of a Bayswater defender in a crowded penalty area but appeals for a spot-kick fell on deaf ears. “They are the calls that have been going against us all season,” McEwan said. “It may have been an accident but he still blocked a goal-bound shot.”
With Subiaco defending deep with 11 men behind the ball, chances were at a premium in the first half but a moment of magic from Gustavo Giron Marulanda, from 30 metres out, left the crossbar rattling. Minutes later the deadlock was broken when Kay timed his near-post run to perfection to nod home Todd Howarth’s corner. Brian Farrell then broke Subiaco’s second-half resolve in the 81st minute after Sam Mitchinson’s superb solo run down the left wing. With the game slipping away and Subiaco pushing forward, Bayswater’s class began to show with Declan Hargreaves’ 30-metre strike putting the result beyond any doubt before Kay wrapped up the scoring with another header.
Subiaco winger Ger Fitzgerald believed that the Lions could have held out for penalties had they been awarded the spot kick. “The score didn’t reflect the game at all,” Fitzgerald said. “Yes they had a lot of possession but we defended very well. “The hand ball decision basically sums up our season and the bad luck we (seem) to get week in, week out.”
Bayswater President Gerry Maio was proud of his side making history. “It’s enormous,” Maio said. “For us it’s a lot of hard work that we’ve put in in the last three years and it’s come to fruition tonight and to be able to represent our state (in the FFA Cup) is a wonderful achievement.”
STIRLING ROAR INTO CUP FINAL (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Stirling Lions reached the State Cup final after a comfortable 3-1 win against ECU Joondalup and booked a spot in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 in the process. Daniel Micevski opened the scoring early before Joondalup defender Ryan Townsend was sent off, with David Micevski put away the resulting penalty. The home side was then reduced to nine men when Tommy Amphlett was given a straight red card and David Micevski added his second goal late on with a stunning strike. Joondalup battled to the end and were rewarded a consolation goal from Joe Smith in stoppage time. Despite the win, Lions coach Gary Williams wants to get back to focusing on their struggling National Premier Leagues WA campaign. “It’s a great night for our football club and being in the draw for the FFA Cup will give great exposure across the country,” he said. “It would be nice to get one of the big boys away and it would be great for the team camaraderie and everything else that goes with it, but we will put it to bed now and concentrate on our league form.”
Two-goal hero David Micevski said the side were determined to win from the outset and pounced when Stirling had a numerical advantage on the pitch. “It was hard on both sides to back up from Saturday’s league games, but I thought we fully deserved the win tonight,” he said. “The sending-offs helped us, but I thought we opened brightly and were in control when they happened, and we kept our focus and got the rewards.”
There was a big crowd on hand at kick-off and both sides looked up for the battle, but the Lions began to take control and were rewarded with the lead on 16 minutes. Hayden Doyle found space on the right and played the ball into Daniel Micevski, who was given far too much room in the penalty area and his shot on the turn flew past Andy Banks. The home side were struggling to keep possession and the Lions were bossing the middle of the park, and on 26 minutes they doubled their advantage. Dean Evans sent Jack Salter into the penalty area and he was brought down by Townsend and referee David Bruce pointed straight to the spot and sent the big defender off. David Micevski took on penalty duties, after his brother Daniel had missed at Armadale on Saturday, sending Banks the wrong way to make it 2-0. The Lions continued to dominate and Howard Neighbour went close to a third after he nipped in after hesitation in the Joondalup defence, but his shot went the wrong side of the post.
The visitors were showing no mercy after the break with Doyle and Evans a constant threat, and Banks produced a great save to deny Doyle early on. Joondalup looked dangerous from set pieces and Jon Higgins’ curling free-kick flashed inches past the post on the hour. Moses Kalau was introduced on 64 minutes, and his pace caused problems down the left for ECU, and his powerful shot moments later stung the hands of Banks. It went from bad to worse for the home side when Amphlett was given his marching orders after a poor tackle in the 73rd minute. Banks then produced a fingertip save to deny Doyle’s long-range shot. But in the final minute, the Lions made it 3-0. Dennis Galan picked out David Micevski, 22 metres from goal. The midfielder raced forward and unleashed a powerful shot, which gave Banks no chance. The home side were rewarded for their endeavour with a consolation goal in stoppage time. Jon Higgins burst clear and his cheeky lob beat Aleks Vrteski but bounced off the crossbar, with Smith quickest to react to the rebound and firing home from 12 metres.
ECU Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch thought his side battled hard after the break, but the damage had already been done. “To go down to 10 men and 2-0 down in such a big game is very hard,” he said. “The lads showed character in the second half, but we let ourselves down and the second red card killed us in the end, and we were just not at the races tonight.”
TAGGART FOCUSED ON MAKING THE CUT
Young attacker Adam Taggart is hoping for the best present possible when Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou names his final 23-player squad for the upcoming World Cup this week. Taggart turned 21 yesterday but there was little time for him to enjoy any celebration as he works to convince Postecoglou of his value. “With the training being so intense I haven’t had time to sit back and think about my birthday,” Taggart said. “It’s nice to celebrate it while we’re preparing for a World Cup with people you’ve idolized … I’d be over the moon (if selected but) if not, then it’s a great experience and what I can take into my career moving forward.”
Amongst those Taggart is learning all he can from while in camp are Socceroos legend Tim Cahill and team captain Mile Jedinak. “I’m trying to learn and develop,” said Taggart, who is hoping to get some game time in tomorrow’s friendly with a local Brazilian club before the final 23-player squad is announced. “Most of it is training with players who you’ve idolized and experienced training sessions with them. Someone like Timmy Cahill and Mile Jedinak in the EPL, keeping up the intensity in training and trying to take things to help implement your attitude.”
Postecoglou has stressed the importance of his players taking a positive mindset to Brazil, and taking their game up to the opposition. “He wants to implement a forward style of play. It’s hard because we only have a short period of time together before the World Cup starts,” said Taggart. “So we need to go into them (the games) with everyone understanding everyone’s roles. But again, we seem to be getting better and better each day. We’re coping alright. Every day it seems to get that little bit easier. We don’t want to be a team that’s just sitting back. We want to put ourselves out there.”
The Socceroos have been blown away by the reception they’ve received since arriving last Thursday in the Brazilian city of Vitoria, their pre-tournament home. “We’re all very appreciative of the support,” Taggart commented. “We’re adapting to it and doing all the right things on and off the field with recovery, making sure we’re prepared for each session so when the games come, we’ll be ready to go. Mentally we’re all feeling pretty confident with the way training’s been going and the intensity and fitness levels of all seems pretty high right now.”
NPL SIDES ON VERGE OF FFA CUP SPOT (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
A spot in the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup competition is on the line for the National Premier Leagues WA sides when they play in the Cool Ridge Cup semi-finals on Monday. The competition features teams from the A-League as well as the National Premier Leagues and other State-based leagues in Australia. In WA on Monday, Subiaco AFC entertains Bayswater City at the WA Athletics Stadium (6.30pm), while Stirling Lions makes the trip to the ECU Football Arena to take on ECU Joondalup (5pm).
Subiaco have struggled in the league this season but midfielder Jordan Rhodes believes they can cause an upset against the league leaders. “As a player you always want to play in these bigger occasions and it is also great for Subiaco as a club, and the lads are just really looking forward to the game,” he said. “Bayswater are a quality side and we will be up against it, but the cup has a funny way of levelling the playing field and we hope to give it a good crack. One thing is for sure and that is the lads will leave nothing out on the park come Monday night.”
Bayswater midfielder Brian Farrell knows they can’t take Subiaco lightly as they aim to regain the trophy they won last season, and enter the national cup competition. “It is a tournament we pinpointed at the start of the season and wanted to be part of it. It's huge for the club, coaches and the players to put ourselves in the national spotlight,” he said. “In saying that we won't be taking Subiaco lightly, as they ran Perth close last week and it is just as big a game for them as it is for us, but we want to keep the cup at Frank Drago Reserve for another season.”
The 2010 Cup winners Stirling Lions will head North full of confidence and striker Daniel Micevski knows the importance of a good cup run, and the huge prize at the end of it. “It's a match I'm really excited about and it should be a good night of football,” he said. “We played them (Joondalup) in the league only last week and came from behind to win, so we head their full of confidence. “It will be competitive game, as both sides worked very hard to be in the final four and the chance to go into the national cup competition will be fantastic, and we will be trying our best to achieve that for our club.”
ECU Joondalup assistant Coach Craig Stephenson say’s the club has been buzzing this week ahead of the big game. “What a great day this is for the club and players to be playing in a Semi Final in front of our home fans, and we are one win away from playing in the FFA Cup and the Final and the players will be doing all they can to make this dream a reality,” he said “Stirling got the wood over us last time we met and we will be looking to make amends this Monday in this ever important semi-final. The atmosphere around the club has been great, with all the players and staff buzzing for this game.“
SUBIACO SET FOR TESTING CUP CLASH (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Top-flight newcomers Subiaco are preparing to make life difficult for high-flying Bayswater City when the teams clash in Monday’s Cool Ridge Cup semi-final at the WA Athletics Stadium. Subiaco have claimed just one point from their opening 10 National Premier Leagues WA matches, while Bayswater have a perfect record of 10 wins from as many starts. But Subiaco have been buoyed by their cup progress and despite being clear underdogs have hopes of reaching the final, which will also earn a place in the final 32 of the new national Westfield FFA Cup.
Coach Gerry McEwan used Tuesday’s training session to discuss with his players a busy weekend, which includes a difficult NPL WA away game against ECU Joondalup tomorrow. “There’s a lot to think about because we’ve got to get that (ECU) game out the way before we play Bayswater on the Monday,” McEwan told Football 360. “But obviously it’s a huge game for all four teams in the semi-final.”
McEwan acknowledged the size of the task his side faced but was confident the Subiaco players would test Bayswater’s nerve. “We’re going to concentrate on making life as difficult as possible for them,” he said. “We know that they don’t really have any weaknesses. We’re just going to have to go out there and give it our best shot, which we’ve done in every game.”
In Monday’s other semi-final, Dale McCulloch’s ECU will host Gary Williams’ Stirling Lions at the ECU Football Stadium.
BIRIGHITTI’S FATE RESTS WITH POSTECOLGOU
Mark Birighitti isn’t losing sleep over whether or not he’ll make Australia’s final squad of 23 for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. The Newcastle Jets goalkeeper is hopeful of being part of the action but recognises his fate rests with coach Ange Postecoglou, who may opt for a third goalkeeper with experience or could provide Birighitti World Cup experience, albeit with little chance of playing. “You hear all different types of theories but in the end it’s up to me to leave a good impression, do the best I can and leave a good impression in front of the boss,” he said.
Regardless of which way Postecoglou goes, Birighitti says the past few weeks have been nothing short of inspirational. “If I make the squad it will be a dream come true, but if not I’ll take the experience on-board and make sure next time I’ll definitely be in the full squad,” commented Birighitti, whose career started as a junior with Perth SC. “Rubbing shoulders with all these players like Mile, Tim Cahill, Luke Wilkshire, they’re players I watched on TV. To be in camp with them and hear their experiences is in itself a dream come true.”
“The passing drills are a lot more intense, you’re focusing so hard on not making any mistakes. That’s the nature of the national team, the best players are here and you have to step up to the occasion,” Birighitti continued. “You can’t afford to make costly errors in training, you need to prove you won’t make them in the game. We have a good coaching staff, they realise that if you do make a mistake it’s a way to learn. They encourage you to use that as a way of improving and challenging yourself.”
KEOGH SIGNS TWO-YEAR DEAL WITH GLORY
English striker Andy Keogh has become Perth Glory’s latest signing after agreeing to a two-year deal with the club. The Republic of Ireland international has decided to move his young family to other side of the world in what he described as a ‘great adventure’. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me at Perth Glory and I believe my experience in the Championship will help me adapt quickly to the A-League,” Keogh said. “The usual trend is for marquee players to go at the end of their careers and take the money but I want to go out there and give a good account of myself.”
Keogh intends relocating to Perth shortly but it won’t be his first visit to the West Australian capital. “I first went there when I was about twelve and (then) played there for Wolves in a pre-season tournament a few years back,” Keogh explained. “I’ve got family there, my uncles have been in Australia for around thirty years now and my brother Kenny lives near Perth too. It will certainly make the change easier but it also helps, to be honest, that the standard (of the A-League) is definitely getting better and better … I’ve done my homework on the club and the city and I’m really excited about the challenge.”
Born in Dublin, Keogh played junior for Leeds United but it was with Scunthorpe United that he made his senior debut. In 2007 he transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who he helped win promotion to the English Premier League in 2009/2010. Since then he’s turned out for Cardiff City, Bristol City, Millwall and Blackpool, chalking up a grand total of 386 games and 76 goals. Since gaining his first appearance for the Republic of Ireland in 2007 Keogh has played for his nation 30 times, the most recent being against Wales last August. Keogh is Glory’s fifth signing of the off-season after Ruben Zadkovich, Diogo Ferreira, Dino Djulbic and Youssouf Hersi.
BAYSWATER STUNNED BY SORRENTO (by Bianca Niederberger, nplwa.com.au)
Bayswater City’s long winning streak has been ended by Sorrento thanks to Todd Harnwell’s early goal at Frank Drago Reserve today. Harnwell scored the one and only goal in the fourth minute and his side spent the remainder fighting tooth and nail to hold off the National Premier Leagues WA leaders, who had won their previous 10 matches. The Gulls’ challenge was made even greater when they were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Scott Bulloch was sent off for dissent.
Sorrento had controlled the majority of the first half after the momentum gained from their early goal. Steve McDonald and Danny Cain were instrumental at the back for Sorrento in clearing their fair share of balls from the danger zone but it was Daryl Platten and keeper Curtis Aspden who were the shining stars in denying Bayswater an equaliser. Even with a star-studded front line, consisting of Adrian Caceras, Steve Burton and David Heagney, Bayswater lacked their usual cohesiveness. When they did up the ante, innovate and break through, their attempts were met with equal brilliance by Aspden.
Sorrento held on tight to the point of desperation as the second half brought a greater intensity from the hosts. There were few opportunities for Sorrento to advance and stretch their lead, despite attempts by Bulloch and Reece Vittiglia to break away through the midfield. Sorrento were clearly aiming to hang on to their lead with only Harnwell left up front for most of the second half. Bayswater were unrelenting in their attack in the last fifteen minutes and seemed likely to find an equaliser with several corners and their entire team, even Keeper Devon Spence, on hand to assist in the box. On one such occasion, Todd Howarth’s delivery was met by Chris Saldaris, whose header hit the bar. Star substitute Gustavo Maralunda was denied a penalty but instead awarded a free-kick with just five minutes remaining and his shot was saved by Aspden.
With Bayswater out of time and chances, Sorrento held on to advance in what co-coach Jamie Harnwell described as a rollercoaster season. “We really stuck to our game plan today to try and stretch them and utilise our quick front men but we probably scored about 85 minutes too early,” he said. “After that we were forced to defend and be disciplined and that’s what we did. Curtis was superb in goals and Steve McDonald cleared balls left right and centre. “They threw everything at us and we made it hard for them to create chances today. We’ve still got a lot of work to do but it’s a step in the right direction.”
PERTH WIN AT HOME, AT LAST (by Peter Simcox, nplwa.com.au)
Perth SC won at home for the first time this season with a 2-1 success against undermanned Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens yesterday. The result allowed Perth to close the gap on National Premier Leagues WA leaders Bayswater City, who were beaten for the first time in 11 outings when they lost 1-0 to Sorrento. Ashley Rosindale gave Perth the lead early in the second half only for Julian Teles to level moments later. The winner come from defender Josh Wilkins just after the hour, although Cockburn could have snatched a draw had Teles made the most of his opportunity from the penalty spot.
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis was happy with the win. “It was disappointing to concede a goal just after we had taken the lead,” Nicolaidis said. “I know it was a deflection but we should have cleared it early. But credit to the lads, they showed great character to hit back and it’s nice to win our first home game this season.” Skipper Clark Keltie was an influential figure in the Perth midfield and was delighted with the way his side bounced back after conceding the equaliser. “We knew Cockburn would make it difficult for us, and they did,” Keltie said. “We’ve tinkered with the formation over recent weeks but it seemed to click well today and although in the end we had a bit of luck with the penalty miss, it’s nice to get a win and keep in touch with Bayswater.”
The home side were on top early, and Cockburn keeper Dejan Aleksic was in the action after only five minutes. Aden Da Luz cut in from the left past Devon Gibson, before unleashing a low shot which was saved by Aleksic, who then immediately denied Rosindale. Cockburn, who were looking for their first win in three games, went close on the quarter hour. Eamon McNelis’ perfectly weighted through-ball sent Feisal Zaw racing clear but his low shot was well saved by Alex Dunn. On 20 minutes Wilkins’ long-range shot stung the hand of Aleksic before David Araya sent Liam Murray in on goal but again Dunn was alert to save. The best chance of the half came five minutes before the break. Mark Pritchard found space down the left and his cross was met by Rosindale but his header was superbly saved by Aleksic at full stretch.
Perth made a great start to the second half and they were ahead seven minutes in. Pritchard’s corner from the right was flicked on by Keltie at the front post, and in the ensuing goal mouth scrabble Rosindale poked the ball just over the line. Cockburn felt the ball had not crossed the line, but assistant Josh Nixon was perfectly placed to give the goal. The lead lasted only two minutes. A long ball from Alan Carroll sent Teles in on goal and his shot deflected off the last ditch tackle from Adrian Madaschi, which saw the ball loop over Dunn and into the net.
The home side were back in front on 62 minutes. A corner from the left by Da Luz was headed powerfully goalwards by Madaschi, only to be cleared off the line, before Wilkins fired home from 6m. Perth should have made it 3-1 on 70 minute when Keltie’s through-ball found Da Luz, who dragged his shot wide. Murray and Teles were a real handful for the home side’s backline and on 87 minutes Cockburn had the opportunity to level when they won a penalty. Great work on the left by substitute Papar Kaptar ended with a ball into the feet of Murray in the penalty area, who turned past Alex Castiello and fell under his tackle, referee Trent Fleskens pointing to the spot. Teles took responsibility for the spot kick but blazed way over the bar. Cockburn, who are down to the bare bones in their squad, pushed late in the game but they could not find the equaliser. The win consolidates Perth in second place and moves them to within seven points of the leaders. Cockburn remain in sixth spot.
BOI THE MAN FOR FLOREAT (by Kalon Harrison, nplwa.com.au)
After an absence of good fortune in the past few games, Floreat finally made their own luck with a 1-0 win over Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve, according to assistant coach Glen Grostate. “You can dominate a game and still lose or draw and that’s happened to us in a few games this year,” he said. “With the quality of players that we’ve got I think we can (turn it around). Definitely.”
Ludo Boi grabbed the only goal in a game that produced plenty of chances for the away side. With 20 minutes left Boi had an initial shot blocked on the line but made sure at the second attempt by placing his shot into the top corner. Floreat had a golden opportunity to go two up from the penalty spot with 10 minutes to go after Balcatta full back Kieran Colwell brought down Floreat captain Callum Fransz. Substitute Lewis McMahon’s effort was tame and Damien Stanoevski saved the penalty diving to his right and McMahon’s weak follow-up attempt. Stankoevski was kept busy throughout the game and pulled off some marvellous saves but was also aided by the woodwork in the second half.
The best save was the first the keeper had to make from an Aryn Williams effort. After the midfielder got in behind the Balcatta defence, Stanoevski looked like he went the wrong way but saved the shot with his feet. Hearts were in mouth in the 61st minute when John Thornley got a toe to the ball before the outrushing Stanoevski but the effort bobbled onto a post and was cleared off the line.
Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon felt his players were not mentally prepared for the game and let their performance level drop. “Floreat were better than us all over the park,” he said. “We had five wins and got into second place and maybe we thought it’ll be automatic that we stay there. “Today showed that we need to work hard for it.” The result puts Floreat Athena into seventh place only behind Cockburn City on goal difference. Balcatta drop to fourth after Sorrento beat Bayswater and Perth beat Cockburn.
INGLEWOOD CONTINUE WINNING STREAK (by Colin Outhwaite, nplwa.com.au)
Inglewood United held onto a first-half 3-1 score at Intiga Stadium to seal another victory and mark a fourth consecutive loss for Perth Glory. Ryan Clarke, Teeboy Kamara and Ryan Francis found the back of the net for Inglewood and central defender Scott Blackmore scored an unfortunate own goal to get Glory on the score sheet. Inglewood coach Graham Normanton said it was definitely an improvement on the previous week. "When you get on an unbeaten run it's easy to get complacent which I think we did last week, so hopefully that has taught us a lesson," he said. "We've still got a lot of improvements to make but we're having a good run so we're enjoying it."
Inglewood centre midfielder David Perich came close to opening the scores five minutes in when a one-two with Kamara set him up for a powerful strike at keeper Fraser Greenwood. Glory responded with a near miss shortly after when Gian Albano half-volleyed a chest-down from Joe Knowles. The Glory defence had trouble dealing with former Adelaide United striker Kamara and when they brought him down in the box, referee Steve Gregory had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Inglewood top goal scorer Clarke upped his tally to eight when he converted the penalty in the 25th minute. 18-year-old Kamara then got one for himself two minutes later when he tapped in a ball headed across goal by David Sesay. Albano's efforts got Glory on the scoreboard in the 36th minute when he made a menacing run at the Inglewood defence and his shot was deflected into the net by Blackmore as keeper Luke Martino anticipated a save. But two minutes into added time Ryan Francis sent Glory into the changing rooms with their heads down after his brilliant low drive from the edge of the area regained Inglewood's two-goal lead.
Glory pressed heavily for a result in the second half but gave the ball away cheaply which opened up the play for both teams. Bor Bor Sambindi pestered the Inglewood defence throughout the game but his final crosses and shots proved to be harmless. Inglewood also failed to convert their chances in the second half, with Sesay's 68th minute diving header from the six-yard box sailing over the bar with an open goal at his mercy. Glory coach Scott Miller thought his side should have done better in front of goal but could still see some positives in the loss. "We were really down on numbers today, but it gives other boys an opportunity to play against men,” he said. “Some of them took it, some struggled, but it's great experience for them."
ENTERTAINING STALEMATE AT ARMADALE (by Tristan Lavalette, nplwa.com.au)
There were no goals scored at Alfred Skeet Reserve but Armadale and Stirling Lions produced a pulsating match during NPL WA action on Saturday. Both teams lamented not claiming the three points, with Stirling failing to capitalise on a dominant opening half, exemplified by striker Daniel Micevski’s missed penalty in the 33rd minute. Armadale goalkeeper Matthew Gould spectacularly saved Micevski’s effort and also stopped Hayden Doyle’s follow-up strike. Despite the missed opportunity, it seemed inevitable Stirling would find the back of the net due to their classy midfield dominating. But the match dramatically changed moments before half time when Stirling’s Miki Vujacic received his second yellow card after an errant attempted tackle.
After half time, Armadale attempted to exploit their advantage in numbers by inserting Mwana Musonda, who provided a dose of flair to a team that was overly defensive in the opening half. The home side, led by energetic midfielder Alex Clarke and imposing defender Alec Solomons, relentlessly attacked with long runs through the middle. But Armadale too often lacked polish with their final touch and Stirling defenders Jovo Pavlovic and Andy Brown repeatedly repelled the attacking thrusts.
Both teams had opportunities to produce a late winner but the game appeared destined for a scoreless draw. With only seconds left in the contest, Pavlovic made high contact during an attempted tackle on Jackson Bealey. Pavlovic, who had virtually played a flawless game in defence, was red carded and Armadale had one final chance to snatch victory with a free kick just outside the penalty box. With the last kick of the game, Jason Barrera was unable to be the home hero as his swerving free kick was brilliantly saved by Stirling goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski.
Stirling assistant coach Daniel Stoitis believed the draw was a costly result for his side. “For us, it was two points dropped,” he said. “We found it very difficult to penetrate Armadale, who put the defensive wall up. It was difficult with the red cards but I didn’t think it was a dirty game.” Armadale assistant coach Saul Contera said his team had improved throughout the season but admitted an inability to score goals was an issue. “We had another very solid defensive effort and had them on the break for the majority of the second half,” he said. “We just can’t put the ball in. Opportunities are being created but we are just not taking them.”
JOONDALUP WIN SCRAPPY CLASH (by Aisling Lawless, nplwa.com.au)
ECU Joondalup climbed to eighth position on the NPL WA table after a 2-1 victory against Subiaco at ECU Joondalup Football Stadium yesterday. Tommy Amphlett gave the home side an early lead with his seventh league goal before Alex Randell pulled one back for Subiaco in the second half. But Danny Dixon sealed the win for Joondalup leaving Subiaco frustrated again, despite an impressive performance.
Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan had anticipated their first win but said they set themselves a challenge after conceding an early goal. “Once we realised what formation they had, we adapted our play and I thought we were the better team,” McEwan said. “But that’s the story of our season, we’re just not finishing a goal ahead of our opposition.” McEwan said his team’s character and determination has been impressive each week. “They work hard in training and they don’t like to lose,” he said. “They’d rather be the ones singing and celebrating at the end of the game.”
Joondalup hit the back of the net three minutes in when top scorer Amphlett received the ball from Stuart Montgomery and darted past defenders to strike the ball into the bottom right corner. After a slow start, Subiaco amped up their intensity and began to put Joondalup’s defence under pressure, creating good plays around the goal. Their hard work almost paid off in the 23rd minute when Josh Booysen flicked the ball to Matt Akehurst, whose shot on goal was saved by a diving Andy Banks. Booysen picked up the rebound but his attempt was deflected by a staunch ECU defence. While it was a quick paced opening half, the play was scrappy and ended with few clear-cut chances.
Half-time substitute Randell injected more life into Subiaco’s attacks and in the 59th minute shrugged off a defender to chip the ball over an unsuspecting Banks, equalising for the visitors. Joondalup were visibly frustrated with Subiaco’s domination and gifted them a free kick just outside the box in the 67th minute, but Jordan Rhodes’ curling kick hit the left post. The home side switched back on and regained their lead nine minutes later when Dixon found himself in space in front of the goal, with time to strike the ball low into the left corner. Subiaco hunted for a last-minute equaliser but were unable to find a way through and Joondalup hung on for three points.
Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch thought his team made hard work of it but said it was important to win the scrappy games. “I don’t think it was the best game we’ve ever played but we got through to the end so we’re happy,” McCulloch said. “We let them back into the game which wasn’t good but the boys showed good character in coming back for the three points.”
SHAMROCK RUFFLE A FEW FEATHERS
Shamrock Rovers moved to second position in Division One with this afternoon’s 4-2 home defeat of Swan United. New signing Darragh Mooney was unlucky not to open Shamrock’s account when his angled shot found only the side netting after shooting past Bobson Koroma. With their first attack Swan went ahead, Ross Cosgrove punishing a poor clearance by lashing in from 14-metres. Five minutes later Liam Boland doubled the black and whites advantage with a crisp free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. Shamrock returned fire ten minutes from the break, Graham Doran converting from the penalty spot. And there was still time for Mooney to bring the sides level with a clever flick over his marked and then the goalkeeper.
The second half opened with Shamrock displaying the clear objective of taking control of proceedings. With Swan defending deep and in numbers, Damian Smyth came within inches of putting Shamrock’s third goal on the board with a fine shot on the run which smashed into the upright. A well-worked sequence of passes created space at the back post for Gary Mahony to restore Shamrock’s lead in the 75th minute. Although under pressure, Swan were still in with a chance on the counterattack. However, that ended when Koroma was issued his marching orders after raising an elbow to an opponent, and Doran made no mistake with the resultant spot kick.
ASHFIELD RUN RAMPANT (with Chris Andrawes, footballwest.com.au)
Ashfield looked incredibly comfortable as they brushed aside UWA-Nedlands 6-0 in their Division One meeting at Ashfield Reserve. Home coach Paul Dundo made sure his side fought right to the end of the match, even after they’d gone on-nil up after only six minutes. “When you’re at home and you’re on top, I tell the boys that it’s not acceptable to get into a winning position and just take your foot off of the gas, you see out 90 minutes,” he said. “When you’re on top you’ve got to take your chances and punish the opposition and today we did that.”
The first goal came from winger Joe Briggs who headed in uncontested following a good free-kick from out wide. Ashfield were unlucky not to be three-nil inside twenty minutes, Karl O’Reilly rattling the crossbar and Briggs squandered a golden opportunity following a defensive lapse by Rob Black. The lead was eventually doubled when James Burns netted comfortably from O’Reilly’s cutback. O’Reilly volleyed in at the back post after 54 minutes but it wasn’t until the closing stages that the margin really blew out. A second goal for Briggs and a late Alex Stamatiadis finish either side of a goal from substitute Craig Miles rounded out the scoring.
FREMANTLE RUN RAMPANT IN ELLENBROOK
Fremantle United scored just their third win of the season by dismissing Division Two newcomers Ellenbrook United 4-0 at Arbor Grove Reserve. Ty Fenwick gave the port side a dream start with his powerful header from a Ryan Brackpool throw to the far post bulging the net inside a few minutes. Ellenbrook were beginning to gain some momentum when they conceded for a second time on 17 minutes when poor defending at a Michael DE Souza corner allowed Brackpool to poke the ball under goalkeeper Jake Bungert. The difference was soon three goals, Brackpool launching another long throw which was flicked on for Fenwick to side-foot in from a couple of metres. Fremantle were unlucky not to have another just before the break when Bungert’s instincts kept out Andrew Morrow’s close-range effort.
Ellenbrook returned for the second half on the look-out for a quick goal. Lone striker Matt Clarke did well to force a good save from ‘keeper Peter Wile after meeting Steve Ashford’s cross, but otherwise the Fremantle defence held firm. The hosts chances of forcing their way back into the game suffered a blow when Sam Burridge exited the action early with a serious knee injury. Bungert again came to the rescue by keeping out Morrow’s effort following another poorly defended corner as Fremantle looked to add to their tally. With only a few minutes left Maddison Holman complied by finishing from 5-metres after being found unmarked by Andrew Ambrogio’s corner. The three points move Fremantle to eighth position with Ellenbrook hovering two spots below.
MCDONALD STEALS ROCKINGHAM VICTORY
Matt McDonald netted from the final play of the afternoon to steal Rockingham City a 2-1 win over visiting team Balga. Rockingham’s desire to extend their unbeaten run to five games was evident from early on with Connor Price placing one shot too close to goalkeeper Chris Seale and sending another narrowly past the post. Price continued to harass the Balga defence and on 19 minutes his shot on the turn from 22-metres crashed into the upright. Although slow to find their rhythm, Balga almost snuck in front through Amer Ahmed whose low finish was kept out by Cyril Sharrock. But there was little the Rockingham custodian could do to prevent Andreas Bouzinekis from converting a tidy move that featured Curtis Wreglesworth and Lee James just before the break.
Rockingham opened the second half with a point to prove. And it took them just two minutes to do exactly that, Reece Frank working his way down the left and crossing for Price to loop his header over the ‘keeper and bring the teams level. The hosts now went in search of the lead and it appeared they had it when Roy Hissey and captain David Clark combined for Rafael Insurralde to lash in at close-range, however, the flag was up for offside. Despite some intense pressure, Rockingham were unable to hit the target and it looked as though Balga would take home a point. But deep in stoppage time McDonald bundle the ball in from a few metres after Trevor Laure nodded down a Ryan Kennedy cross.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND ELEVEN
Bayswater City will look to continue their astonishing start to the season when Sorrento visit Frank Drago Reserve. Sorrento equalised late on last time out at home to Armadale in a game they really would have looked at and pencilled in three points. They will be looking to get back in the winners circle this week but will be a massive test for the Northern suburbs outfit. Bayswater have already made history with their start to the campaign after making it 10 from 10 when they prevailed 3-1 at Floreat Athena.
At the other end of the table, cellar dwellers Subiaco will travel north to ECU Joondalup confident the can get something out of the contest. It has been a tough initiation for Subiaco who are yet to claim a league victory in 2014 but they are improving as a club. Last week they were 60 seconds away from a priceless point against a strong Perth side but again lost concentration and conceded late.
Balcatta host Floreat Athena with the home side looking to keep some sort of pressure on the leaders but Floreat need the points to keep ahead of the chasing pack and to push away from the bottom. Balcatta have improved this season as their 7 wins from 10 games would suggest but will have to be on their game against an unpredictable Floreat side that on their day could beat most teams in this league.
It is a home match for both sides as Perth Glory face a resurgent Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium. Inglewood's good run of results was halted last week as they played out a stalemate away at Cockburn City but will be confident of getting that winning feeling back this week. Glory however have the players capable of beating any side depending on which XI start on the day.
Perth are back on home soil and face Cockburn City who themselves have been unpredictable this season. Perth's last gasp winner last week kept them on pace with second place Balcatta, you would think that this game will be an entertaining one with some good football on show from both sides.
Armadale take on Stirling Lions to complete round eleven. Both teams have struggled for form this season especially the South of the River side. Armadale have conceded 33 goals in their opening 10 fixtures and only found the net on 8 occasions. Armadale will battle all day and is never an easy place to go but last seasons Minor Premiers will head south in confident mood after clocking up their third win of the campaign last week at home to ECU.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND SEVEN
Bunbury Forum Force are top of the league and back on home soil but face a Gosnells side that will be rallying after upsetting Ashfield last week on their own patch. Gosnells went into their fixture last week as big underdogs but showed the fight that you would expect from them to prevail 3-2 after scoring a late winner. Bunbury are rightly favourites for the title this season and routinely overcame Mandurah City last time out in a local derby of sorts. The South West side will go into this one expecting victory but the away side won't make it easy for them.
Canning City will hope to keep the pressure on the South West side when they take on Dianella White Eagle at Dianella Reserve. Canning have won their last 5 fixtures since the opening day defeat to Morley Windmills conceding only two goals in the process. They will go into believing they can extend their solid start. Dianella knew this season was going to be a rebuilding year after losing a good chunk of their title contending squad from last season. They have picked up results in 3 of their 6 games this season and won't be push overs.
Wanneroo City will see this weeks fixture versus Morley Windmills as an ideal opportunity to record their first victory of the campaign. The Windmills have lost their last 3 matches after setting the early pace in the league this and sitting on top with 7 points from their first 3 games. However the last 3 weeks has seen them score only 1 goal and concede 11 in a horrid run. Wanneroo themselves though are a shadow of the team that lifted the Division 1 title last season as their record of 1 point from 6 outings would suggest. Since their opening round humiliation at the hands of Bunbury though they have been in every game they have played just haven't had the rub of the green.
A team that have perhaps failed to live up to their early season expectations are Western Knights. This week they host joint bottom Mandurah City knowing that if they fail to claim victory it will be a huge up hill battle to claim silverware this season. Western Knights no doubt have the quality in their ranks to compete with the best as their defeat of top placed Bunbury goes to show. Mandurah go into the game with nothing to lose and with a young squad anything other than defeat will be a job well done. Every side knows that when you come up against a Mandurah side they will make work hard and at the very least the Knights will have to do that. It is the attacking end they need to improve though as they have failed to score in 5 of their 6 games in 2014.
Quiet achievers Shamrock Rovers have gone about their work this season very well and will look to make that continue as they host Swan United. Shamrock have only recorded the one defeat this term, a narrow defeat to the leaders and sit in third place just behind the front runners. This season the Irish outfit have had to deal with the loss of last season's top scorer Ciaran Byrne who returned to Ireland but have coped admirably. Swan's goalless draw with well fancied Western Knights last week was a solid stepping stone for the Eastern Suburbs side who recently bolstered their ranks with a couple of proven players and they will see their season improve from here without threatening the top sides.
UWA-Nedlands away visit to Ashfield rounds out this weeks Division 1 fixtures. UWA were victors last week and have only lost on one occasion since the opening day although they are yet to play 5 of the top 6 including this weeks clash. The Uni side will draw on the fact that Gosnells grabbed 3 points from their visit only a few days ago so they will recognise they will be given opportunities. Ashfield fell to their first loss of the campaign last weekend and will want to immediately getting back on track this week and would fully expect to do so. Ashfield will have to deal with the loss of two players however after seeing red in last weeks loss.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND SEVEN
Division Two gets under way tonight when Curtin University host promotion chasing Joondalup United at Edinburgh Oval. Curitn got back to winning ways last week, but will need to be at the top of their game if they are going to get the points against a strong United side.
The game of the week is at Iluka Sports Complex, with league leaders Forrestfield United meeting defending champions Joondalup City. City must win if they are to keep in touch with the pack at the top and will need to keep Forrestfield's Rhys Loxley and Trent Wood quiet.
Rockingham City will be keen to get another win when they play bottom place Balga at the Lark Hill Sportsplex. Balga coach Martyn Day would have been frustrated in recent weeks, with the black and greens playing well, but not getting the results they are after. Injury clouds remain over strikers Mehdi Rabeigholami and Thorb Nimely, though Lee James should be fit.
In other games, Fremantle United will be looking to get their season back on track when they travel to Ellenbrook United. Kelmscott Roos finally got off the bottom of the table last week, as coach James Coffey will be hoping to make it two wins in a row in their home fixture against Melville City, while Quinns should take maximum points at Gumblossom Park against Kingsway Olympic.
TEEN'S HIGHER HONOURS ON HOLD (by Peter Simcox, The West Australian)
Inglewood United striker Teeboy Kamara has put aside thoughts of a return to the Hyundai A-League next season to focus on his club’s National Premier Leagues WA campaign. Kamara, who was the A-League’s youngest ever debutant when he took to the field for Adelaide United at just 15, made an immediate impact on joining Inglewood this season. And the 18-year-old aims to continue to help Inglewood push towards NPL finals before contemplating his next move. “At the moment, I’ve not really been thinking about any clubs,” he said. “I’ve just been playing my natural game for Inglewood and I’m enjoying it. “I have spoken to a couple of A-League clubs regarding next season but that is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. I’m just happy to be back playing football again and helping Inglewood into the end-of-season finals.”
The Liberia-born striker, who moved to Australia in 2002 with his mother and siblings, first played for Croydon Kings and Salisbury United in South Australia before moving to the Australian Institute of Sport in 2011. He was selected in the Australian under-17 World Cup squad for the finals in Mexico in 2011, before joining A-League side Adelaide United on his return. Inglewood will go head-to-head with Intiga Stadium co-tenants Perth Glory on Saturday aiming to rediscover their earlier form. While Glory lost 3-1 at home to Balcatta last weekend, Inglewood played out a disappointing 0-0 draw against 10-man Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. "We were told a few home truths from the coach last week and we will surely bounce back and be back to our best,” Kamara said. “It’s going to be a good test for the boys. We’ve trained the house down this week and we are looking to get back to winning ways.”
GLORY STEAL NEWCASTLE CAPTAIN ZADKOVICH
Perth Glory have strengthened their midfield stocks by poaching Newcastle Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich on a two-year deal. Zadkovich had a year to run on his contract with Newcastle, but was released by mutual consent yesterday. The 28-year old was lured to Perth as part of an ambitious recruiting drive by Glory coach Kenny Lowe, who is understood to have also secured the services of former Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh following his release by English Championship side Millwall.
Zadkovich, who has three Socceroo caps to his name, is shaping to replace outgoing Glory captain Jacob Burns. “It’s a huge decision for me to leave the Jets and join Perth Glory,” said Zadkovic, whose career includes spells with Newcastle, Sydney FC, Queens Park Rangers, Notts County and Derby County. “With the recent signings the club has made and the ambitions that Kenny Lowe has discussed with me, I’m extremely happy to be making this move. It’s an exciting time for football in Perth and I'm glad to be part of it.”
Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the signing of Zadkovich is a major coup for the club. “We’re delighted to be able to bring a player of Ruben’s calibre to the club so soon before the next season,” he commented. “We have been admirers of Ruben’s determination and commitment over the years, along with his professionalism, he’s one of only a hand full of players in any professional league to have played a part in all but one game over the past two seasons … a rarity amongst professionals these days.”
FERREIRA JUMPS ON BOARD WITH GLORY
Midfielder Diogo Ferreira is hoping to get his A-League career back on track after signing a two-year deal with Perth Glory. Ferreira struggled for opportunities during Brisbane Roar's Championship winning 2013/14 campaign, the 24-year old gaining just a handful of appearances. “I’m excited to take on this new challenge with Perth Glory and I believe this move is a very important and timely one for me,” he said. “I like what the club is looking to achieve this season, what it is doing to strengthen its squad and its coaching structures.”
Ferreira, who came through the youth academy of Portuguese giants FC Porto, is excited about his move to Glory. “It was a great experience to be a part of a Championship winning side at Brisbane, however, having spoken to Kenny Lowe I’ve gained a good insight into the ambitions of the club (and) the players that he is close to signing,” he said. “I believe it’s a great opportunity for me to now be part of a team that will be challenging at the top of A-League ladder in the coming seasons.”
Born in Melbourne, Ferreira was accepted into Porto’s youth academy at age the of sixteen and played on loan for AD Oeiras before returning to Australia in 2009. After a season with Melbourne Victory Youth he turned professional and over the course of three seasons gained 52 appearances for the club, scoring twice. He moved to Brisbane in 2013 and although opportunities were limited still managed eleven outings. Ferreira, who has also represented Australia at under-23 level, is Glory’s third off-season signing after striker Youssouf Hersi and defender Dino Djulbic.
SOUTH AFRICA DENY SOCCEROOS FAREWELL WIN
Australia will leave for Brazil this week after playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw with South Africa this evening on a bumpy surface at Sydney Olympic Park. The crowd of 50,459 got their money’s worth with an open and attacking clash in which Tim Cahill’s header cancelled out Ayanda Patosi’s strike a minute earlier in a frenetic opening. However, a second half injury to Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic is a big concern just two days out from departure of the World Cup. The Socceroos showed plenty of attacking promise over the 90 minutes but defensively they were exposed on several occasion by South Africa speed going forward.
Australia came out swinging with Tommy Oar twice going close from distance before Matthew Leckie’s header was batted away by goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. With their first attack South African broke through, Thulani Serero’s centre from the right leading to a scramble in which Ayanda Patosi slotted low past Mat Ryan. But goal celebrations were short-lived as with the very next play Cahill rose high to head in a perfect cross from Oar with only 13 minutes gone. Cahill should have put Australia in front soon after but Meyiwa made an excellent stop. South Africa asserted themselves in the latter stages of the half but it remained one-each at the break.
South Africa asked the first questions after the interval with Tokelo Rantie rifling just wide. Australia suffered a blow in the 53rd minute with the impressive Franjic forced off by a leg injury resulting from a collision with team mate Alex Wilkinson. The ever-dangerous Leckie was put through on goal but struck low and past the post as Australia pressed for a second goal. A rash of changes in the latter part of the half by coach Ange Postecoglou served only to take some of the rhythm out of the Socceroos’ game. Even so, Mark Milligan almost found the net from the edge of the box while late headers by substitutes Dario Vidosic and Oliver Bozanic passed out wide.
MATILDA’S PLACE SECOND AT WOMEN’S ASIAN CUP
Australia’s hopes of back-to-back AFC Women’s Asian Cup titles are over after going down 1-0 to Japan in last night’s tournament finale. After drawing with Japan in their opening game, the Matilda’s swept past Jordan, Vietnam and South Korea only to fall at the final hurdle. “I’m proud of how much the team has improved in the tournament,” said interim coach Alen Stajcic. “Hopefully by the time we reach the World Cup next year we can improve that little bit more.” Representing Western Australia in Vietnam were local trio Lisa De Vanna, Samantha Kerr and Lydia Williams along with Perth Glory’s Kate Gill.
The Matildas opened their campaign with an entertaining 2-2 draw with Japan. Australia made an electrifying start with Caitlin Foord producing a first-class finish after beating two defenders in the 23rd minute. Williams kept out several Japanese shots before De Vanna expertly found the gap between goalkeeper and post following a well-worked move that featured Michelle Heyman and Emily van Egmond just after the hour. An unfortunate own goal put Japan back in the game before substitute Yuki Ogimi levelled it up in the 84th minute.
Gill became Australia’s leading goal scorer after bagging a double in a 3-1 win over Jordan. A stubborn Jordan defence wasn’t breached until the 36th minute when Kim Carroll’s diagonal high ball was met by a trademark glancing header from Gill. That lead was added to when, early in the second period, Gill nodded in a precision cross from the left by Kerr. Substitute Katrina Gorry added a third goal after 67 minutes to effectively kill off the game. The final drama came in the form of Stephanie’s speculative long-range effort which was ruled to have crossed the line despite goalkeeper Brianna Davey capturing the ball inside the field of play.
Australia secured their place at next year’s Women’s World Cup after grinding out a 2-0 win over a determined Vietnam. The host nation defended staunchly throughout the first half only to be undone three minutes out from the break, Emily Van Egmond drilling an indirect free-kick low in from 8-metres with the last touch credited to Vietnam captain Le Thi Thuong. The heavens opened up after the break bringing a torrential downpour and making conditions more difficult. Katrina Gorry sealed the win with an unstoppable shot from just outside the penalty area in the final minute of regulation time.
Elise Kellond-Knight’s first ever goal at senior international level secured the Matildas a deserved 2-1 semi-final win over South Korea. Australia made a fast start with Michelle Heyman, De Vanna and Ford harassing the Korean defence, while Williams produced a brilliant point blank save to deny Yoo Young A. Gorry broke the deadlock son after the interval with a superb strike into the top corner from 20-metres. However, the lead didn’t last long with Park Eun Sun converting a dubiously awarded penalty. Kellond-Knight decided the game with an in-swinging free-kick that snuck inside the far post after eluded everyone in a crowded goalmouth.
A strong second half fight-back wasn’t enough as Australia went down 1-0 to world champions Japan in the Women’s Asian Cup final. The Matilda’s failed to capitalise on a trio of early chances before Japan began to apply some meaningful pressure. That paid dividends after 28 minutes when Azusa Iwashimizu headed in at the back post from Rumi Utsugi’s teasing cross. The Matilda’s created most of the chances in the second 45 minutes but De Vanna and Heyman were unable to convert while Kerr had a goal disallowed for offside.
TAGGART HAS DESIGNS ON WORLD CUP ROLE
Adam Taggart is well aware of the monumental task he faces in forcing his way into the Socceroos attack for next month’s World Cup. The Newcastle Jets striker has trained strongly while in camp with the national team over the past week but has to dislodge Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy or Matthew Leckie in order to make the flight to Brazil. “Kennedy, Leckie and Cahill are all playing regularly overseas and all contributed in the qualifiers, so I knew it would be a difficult task,” Taggart said. “It’s been fantastic, coming into camp it really hits you that there’s actually a World Cup going on and there’s a massive opportunity coming up.”
Taggart, a former ECU Joondalup junior, says he’s in peak condition to force his way into Australia’s squad. “It’s been really intense, I’m getting the body right for crunch time and it’s something I really needed with the Jets’ season finishing so early,” said the 20-year old, whose breakthrough season was highlighted by his capture of the A-League’s Golden Boot award. “In seasons before it was difficult to get into a regular stride and cement a spot in the side because I was away with youth national teams so much but having that extended run in the team this season helped.”
Taggart is one of many local products who’ve been forced to leave Perth in search of a professional career. “I was at Glory for one and a half seasons and the first season I played the last six games and it was a dream come true because as a kid supported them and watched all the games with my dad,” said Taggart. “The second season they signed Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet and it was extremely hard to get into the first team and I felt it was important for me to play.” So it was with a heavy heart that he joined Newcastle in early 2011 after only ten appearances for his hometown side.
Although now a Newcastle regular, Taggart keeps a close eye on his former club and views the recent coaching appointment of Kenny Lowe as a big step in the right direction. “The team that Perth could have with all the players all over the place is unbelievable,” Taggart said. “With Kenny Lowe there I think it’s positive because he knows all the young players that have come through and been lost along the line somewhere. He knows what it means to the locals, it’s a city, a sleeping giant in football terms, back in NSL it had the biggest crowds and the best team and there’s no reason why the glory days can’t come back.”
BALCATTA GETS THE GLORY (by Tristan Lavalette, footballwest.com.au)
Balcatta took advantage of a Perth Glory red card to record a 3-1 victory at Intiga Stadium yesterday. The game dramatically changed minutes after half-time when Glory’s Blamo Qua Qua blatantly handballed just outside the penalty box. He received a red card and the visitors capitalised moments later when Gustavo Catarcione scored after receiving a pass from captain Adam Tong. But Glory was not perturbed with the momentum swing and responded when Bor Bor Sambindi dribbled through Balcatta’s defence and deftly passed to striker Joe Knowles, who guided the ball past lunging goalkeeper Damien Stanoevski.
Glory defended stoutly but eventually the disadvantage of being one player down took its toll. In the 70th minute, Catarcione menaced with a penetrating run and a perfect pass found Benny Kouakou, who restored Balcatta’s lead. Catarcione completed a fine performance when he scored after receiving a crisp pass from substitute Luke Randazzo to seal Balcatta’s victory in the 88th minute.
There had been no goals scored in a dour first half with Glory enjoying long periods of ball retention but they lacked polish with their attacking opportunities. Sambindi and Qua Qua were showcasing their skill with numerous attacking runs but too often their passes were intercepted by Balcatta defenders. Balcatta seemed content waiting for opportunities to counterattack but they looked threatening when they eventually moved the ball forward. Balcatta’s defence, led by the imposing Tong and the disciplined Kieron Stallard, was resolute and resisted a number of Glory attacks. The game opened up in the second half and so did the skies as the rain poured.
Perth Glory coach Scott Miller lamented Qua Qua’s send off. “I thought we were comfortable and dominated the first half but a stupid error by a player, who hopefully learns from it, put us under enormous pressure,” Miller said. “We need to improve in all technical areas because that is what the boys are here for. They are here to become footballers and hopefully we can get better every week.”
Tong said his team adjusted well after the send-off. “We started getting forward and down the flanks, which helped us and we capitalised,” he said. “There is room for improvement and we need to keep possession because we gave it away a bit too often.”
SPIRITED STIRLING CLIMB ABOVE JOONDALUP (by Ilija Stajic, footballwest.com.au)
Stirling Lions climbed above ECU Joondalup on the National Premier Leagues WA table after producing a stirring fight back to claim a 3-1 win at Macedonia Park. The Stirling defence did not get off to a good start when towering defender Michael Delima was forced off with injury, leaving Clayton Arnez and Rikki Smith to cover the full back positions for the remainder of the match. ECU took advantage of the shaken Stirling defence with numerous chances to before Ryan Townsend found the breakthrough with a 28th-minute header. But just before half-time, Stirling were back in the contest after a move involving Jack Salter and Hayden Doyle resulted in Howard Neighbour scoring the first goal of his double.
Stirling started the second half in similar style with two quick goals on the counter from Daniel Micevski and Neighbour’s second. Joondalup fought desperately to get back into the game, injecting Ryan McDarby and David Foster into the contest but they were unable to break through the Stirling defence. Stirling refused to sit back on their lead and their attacking threat was bolstered by the arrival of substitute Moses Kalau. The hard work of Dean Evans, David and Daniel Micevski provided goal-scoring opportunities but Stirling were unable to add further gloss to the score. Stirling coach Gary Williams said his half-time address had been changed by the equaliser just before the break. “We conceded one early last week against Perth but this week we changed it for the better,” he said.
PERTH GRAB LATER WINNER (by Aisling Lawless, footballwest.com.au)
Perth SC snatched a 1-0 win in the dying moments to deny Subiaco a point in their National Premier Leagues match at the WA Athletics Stadium yesterday. Clark Keltie’s 90th minute goal gave Perth their sixth consecutive away win, catapulting them back to second position on the NPL WA table.
The English midfielder was relieved to seal the win but was not impressed with the Azzurri’s performance. “But when the chips are down you’ve got to work hard and stick together as a team, and we did keep a clean sheet, which is a bonus,” he said. “Absolute credit must go to Subiaco. They set out to stop us from playing and I thought their character was outstanding.”
Subiaco coach Gerry McEwan was disappointed they conceded a late goal. “It’s been hard obviously,” McEwan said. “We’re losing every week in the league and you’ve got to lift the players every game. But we’ve really only been outplayed in two games, against Bayswater and Inglewood. I think Perth know we deserved a draw at least.”
It was a game of few chances and Subiaco’s persistence was not enough to break through Perth’s defence. Jordan Rhodes came close to scoring in the 12th minute after receiving a pass from Josh Booysen but his shot across goal narrowly missed the inside of the left post. They were mostly restricted to shots from outside the box, such as Jack Rycroft’s long-range effort in the 29th minute, which beat keeper Alex Dunn, but bounced off the underside of the crossbar. Perth passed the ball around well in midfield but lacked their usual fluidity up front, which meant Subiaco keeper Henry Davies saw little action. Perth suffered a blow when talented winger Friday Zico left the field in the 41st minute with an ankle concern, after a tackle from Ian McMurray.
While Subiaco had the majority of possession in the second half they lacked an edge in the final third and both sides only looked threatening from set pieces. The breakthrough came from a corner late in the game when Ashley Rosindale picked up the ball amongst a sea of blue shirts and passed across goal to Keltie for a tap in. Subiaco came close to equalising in the 93rd minute when Matt Akehurst chipped the ball to Rhodes in the box but Dunn parried his powerful shot out for a corner.
It was a nail biting finish for Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis, who was worried they would once again fail to come away with a win. “It’s the second week in a row where it wasn’t one of our best games,” Nicolaidis said. “But on the flipside of things, to not play well and come away with the three points, I’m happy with that. “You can’t expect to play 22 games a season and be outstanding and the better team in all of them. “But we probably need to work a bit more on our work rate and decision making.”
SORRENTO SNATCH DRAW AT DEATH (by Kalon Harrison, footballwest.com.au)
Armadale assistant coach Saul Contera said that if you give Sorrento a sniff they’re going to be a chance after conceding a 90th minute penalty in their 1-1 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve. “Making a mistake and giving away a penalty is a bit heartbreaking but the performance was there from the players,” he said. “We were the better team on the park today.”
Armadale opened the scoring in the 52nd minute when Dannie Richman poked the ball in at the back post under heavy pressure. The away side had the chance to go 2-0 three minutes later but Rav Kuppusamy missed from the penalty spot; Curtis Aspden saving the tame effort on goal.
Sorrento star Reece Vittiglia didn’t make the same mistake from the spot when it counted in the 90th minute. Sean Canham got a toe to the ball before the onrushing Matt Gould in goals, forcing referee Matt Southern to award the home side a penalty kick. Based on chances the home side deserved the point and if it wasn’t for Gould who made some tremendous saves, the away side could have been beaten. Gould denied Canham in the 31st minute, tipping the ball onto the crossbar from the striker’s angled effort that seemed destined for the back of the net. Substitute Scott Bulloch had a clever volley saved at near point blank range in the 57th minute and again 10 minutes later when he followed up a Daryl Platten header with his own header; somehow both shots being saved by Gould tipping them onto the crossbar acrobatically. Steve McDonald had a header saved in the 80th minute that looked like it had snuck past Gould, but the keeper managed to get a hand low and slightly behind him to stop the effort going in.
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell said he was happy to get something out of the game after describing his side’s first half as a friendly game. “Conditions weren’t ideal, we had a few chances but couldn’t take them,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it would’ve been five-one or something because we could have conceded a few but five-four on a different day. “Armadale are always going to be a tough game, they’ve always been competitive and that’s been proven again today.”
The draw means Sorrento lose a bit of momentum in their chase of league leaders Bayswater and are now 10 points behind with Perth on the same total of 20. Armadale remain second from bottom with four points but will be boosted by both performance and result after their game with Sorrento.
HEAGNEY BACK TO HAUNT FLOREAT (by Peter Simcox, footballwest.com.au)
Bayswater City continued their perfect start to the NPL with a 3-1 win against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. Former Floreat striker David Heagney returned to his former club, scoring one and having a hand in another, as they moved further away from the chasing pack on the table.
English striker Heagney was happy to get on the scoresheet after he was lambasted by the Floreat supporters. “I thought from start to finish we were the better team, and I think we got what we deserved today,” he said. “It’s always nice to score against your former club, the fans were giving me some abuse, so when I did score it was nice to rub it in their face, but the most important thing is the team performance and I think we got that today.”
Sahr Musa had given the visitors the lead on 37 minutes, before Heagney doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time. Floreat striker Jamie Eames pulled a goal back 10 minutes into the second half, but an own goal from Floreat defender Blair Govan, from a Heagney header wrapped up the points, leaving coach Chris Coyne delighted with his side’s performance. “I was really pleased with the lads today, we have had a little dip in recent weeks but today we were back to our best,” he said. “It’s nice both my strikers scored today. I’m pleased for David (Heagney), who copped a bit of stick for leaving Floreat, but that’s football. “Sahr (Musa) is a great talent and he is still learning his trade in senior football after coming out of the NTC program, so for both to get on the scoresheet is really pleasing.”
The visitors dictated terms early; Declan Hargreaves’ shot was deflected wide and on 35 minutes Heagney shot over from 10 metres after good work Andy Reale. But in the 37th minute their dominance was rewarded with the opening goal. A long ball from Todd Howarth sent Musa racing clear, and with the Floreat defenders looking for the offside flag that never came, the young striker rounded Athena goalkeeper Tom Dixon and fired home. Then on the stroke of half time they doubled their advantage in similar circumstances. This time Brian Farrell’s ball over the top caught Floreat napping and Heagney raced through, finished low past Dixon and let the Floreat supporters know all about it.
After the break Floreat lifted their tempo, and eight minutes in they should have pulled one back. Great work on the left by Eames ended with a ball into the penalty area. John Thornley controlled the ball in the goal area but with the back of the net at his mercy, he fired straight at Devon Spence. But on 55 minutes they did pull one back. Ludo Boi slipped the ball through to Eames, who raced clear and finished with aplomb past Spence. The vital third goal came on 70 minutes. Howarth’s corner found Heagney at the back post, his header was bundled over the line by the unfortunate Govan. It was a good result for the league leaders and there was better news late in the game, when Colombian striker Gustavo Giron Marulanda made his first appearance of the season after ankle surgery, replacing Heagney. The win moves them 10 points clear at the top of the table.
INGLEWOOD STRUGGLE AGAINST TEN MEN (by Chris Andrawes, footballwest.com.au)
Inglewood United coach Graham Normanton was left fuming after his side was held to a 0-0 draw against a 10-man Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Normanton gave his side a dressing down in the centre circle after the final whistle before branding the game as “the worst performance of the season”.
Inglewood looked to be the more likely winners after Cockburn were controversially reduced to 10 men in the 19th minute. David Sesay rounded his man brilliantly, forcing Cockburn’s Ross Diamond to trip Sesay to stop him getting into the box. The referee immediately deemed the professional foul as a straight red card, despite the foul occurring on the wing with Cockburn having plenty of cover in the box. The game saw very few chances throughout with Cockburn struggling to get out of their own half and Inglewood struggling to put passes together, which Normanton lamented after the game. “It was disjointed and there was a lack of application, I don’t really know why they decided to play like that,” he said. “I’m not stupid enough to think that we can play well every week, but the difference between our best performance and our worst can’t be a massive gap like it is at the moment.”
The chances finally started to come with 10 minutes to go as Cockburn almost stole the win, with Liam Murray’s sensational control then volley striking the bottom of the crossbar before bouncing out. Cockburn coach Marc Anthony was left to rue the missed chance, but felt his side had performed well considering the circumstances. “It was a great touch from Liam, he’s been a different class for us in the last few games…he deserved a goal for his work rate,” he said. “Sometimes you get the rub of the green, but it’s come off the bar and gone the other way. I thought we were the better side. We were better before the red card and I thought we were better after it. “I’m disappointed we got a man sent off so early, because I think with eleven on the park we would’ve been even better.”
The late chance for Cockburn seemed to awaken Inglewood slightly as they created two golden opportunities. The first fell to substitute Jarrod McNally, who was put through against the keeper with his first involvement in the game. However as he went to execute the finish, he seemed to almost completely miss the ball, which rolled a long way wide. Inglewood’s second golden opportunity fell to former Perth Glory player Andrija Jukic, who saw the ball cut back to him at the penalty spot and with all the time in the world put his shot well over the crossbar, leaving Normanton raging on the sideline. “Those chances should’ve been taken,” Normanton said. “But once again, it was probably indicative of our game and it just wasn’t good enough. “It was the worst performance of the season, and the frustrating part is that we work hard at our game in training. We don’t just throw the team on there and say right lads go out and play, we work hard at our structure and our philosophy. So for the players to go out and perform like that is really disappointing. “We didn’t deserve to win today, it doesn’t matter how many players they had, they could’ve had eight and we wouldn’t have deserved to win. We’re good enough to bounce back from this, and we have to bounce back from this.”
CANNING SIMPLY A CLASS ABOVE
Canning City maintained their position at the top of Division One with a comfortable 3-1 defeat of Wanneroo City at Burrendah Reserve. Daniel Niederberger scored and player/coach Paul Van Dongen once to keep Canning on level points with Bunbury Forum Force. “The way the league is shaping up this year, every three points seems to be as important as the next,” said Van Dongen. “Our goalkeeper Luke Stonebridge was brilliant, he made some top-class saves, one was probably one of the best saves I’ve seen in my career. Today was a good test of our squad depth, we had four regulars out but still performed strongly.”
It took only 9 minutes for Niederberger to put the hosts in front with a near post finish to Jarrad Smith’s in-swinging corner. Wanneroo didn’t come to life until after the turnaround but a midfielder’s speculative long-range attempt was paddled over the top by a back peddling Stonebridge. With an hour on the clock Canning extended their lead, Van Dongen capitalising in a one-on-one with Luke Serra after beating the offside trap. Niederberger sealed the win with ten minutes to go by converting a soft penalty awarded for an apparent shirt pull on Van Dongen. The game was in stoppage time when a substitute scrambled in Wanneroo’s consolation.
SHAMROCK PREVAIL AT MORLEY
Shamrock Rovers stayed within touching distance of the Division One summit by out-gunning a plucky Morley Windmills 2-0 on a wet and windy afternoon at Wotton Reserve. Barry Mulligan broke the deadlock just before the break with Gary Mahony sealing victory with the final play, but the outcome could have been much different had Morley come equipped with their scoring boots. “Morley are a team that won’t lie down, they will upset contenders for the title this year,” Shamrock coach John O’Reilly commented. “We got our first clean sheet, so it’s good to see all the hard work the lads are putting in is now starting to pay off.”
Shamrock controlled the first half but it took until the 38th minute for them to reap the rewards, Mulligan prodding in at close-range after good work down the right by Damien Smyth. Morley returned for the second half focused on restoring parity but efforts by Jean-Marc D’Avray and John Monterosso were cleared off the line. In chasing the game Morley always ran the risk of getting caught on the counterattack, and that is exactly what happened deep in stoppage time, goalkeeper Ashley Crosthwaite launching a long clearance which Mahony expertly tamed before blasting to the bottom corner from 18-metres.
ASHFIELD SEE RED AS GOSNELLS TAKE THE POINTS
Gosnells City returned to the winners circle for the first time in a month with a 3-2 come-from-behind defeat of a nine-man home side Ashfield. Adam Coslani struck the decisive goal late in the piece, adding to second half finishes by Daniel Trevisiol and Scott Pereia. “This was a massive win for us,” said Gosnells coach Alan Dunlop. “We have a tough run of games coming up and we want to be competing with the top teams. Confidence is brimming, we went to Ashfield – who we rate as one of the top teams – and took home all three points so we now know we can beat anyone on our day.”
Ashfield made a bright start but the sending off of Tom Kennedy for a second yellow card after just 10 minutes threw a spanner in their works. Despite being a man down it was the home side that went ahead just before the break through a precision free-kick which Joe Briggs sent into the top corner. Gosnells returned for the second period with a point to prove and in the 57th minute Trevisiol broke free to put away the equaliser. Seven minutes later Ben Howe delivered a dead ball which Pereia volleyed in to put Gosnells in front for the first time.
It took only a few minutes for Ashfield to draw level, Jamie Burns steering his back post header over goalkeeper Tom Allen. The momentum was now with the home team and not even a straight red card to Graham Tough, for a last man challenge on Darren Gamble, could halt them. Karl O’Reilly came within inches of regaining the lead when he rattled the crossbar. As the clock ticked down Gosnells mounted a late push which resulted in Pereia going down inside the area, the referee pointed to the spot from where Coslani made no mistake.
JOONDALUP TRIUMPH IN EIGHT-GOAL THRILLER
Division Two debutants Joondalup United extended their unbeaten run to six-games with this afternoon’s 5-3 win over northern rivals Quinns at Forrest Park. Team captain Arran Maplestone and Adam Buckley helped themselves to a brace each with Callum Stocks getting the remainder. “I was pleased to come out of two big derbies with six points,” said Joondalup coach Daniel Smith, whose team down Joondalup City seven days earlier. “The boys have had to really battle just recently and they deserve credit for the start they have made. I made them aware at half-time that we cannot lose ground in what will be a tough league and that they have 45 minutes to make sure we remain level on top.”
Joondalup went ahead early with Maplestone firing in from 7-metres after his initial attempt from a Buckley corner was blocked by the goalkeeper. Liam McGurk brought the teams level by chipping over advancing goalkeeper James Bodset after being played in behind the defence by Darren Tucker. Bodset was left exposed again by a long ball over the top which Gareth Hamilton knocked back for John McGahern to volley in from 18-metres. But the teams entered the break on level terms thanks to Buckley, who continued his fine run of goalscoring form by converting after being teed-up by Maplestone.
Stocks’ first goal at senior level put the hosts back in front, the midfielder tucking the ball away after Buckley’s shot was parried by the goalkeeper. Joondalup were growing in stature and shortly after Buckley found the net again to seemingly put the game beyond their opponents. However, Quinns had other ideas with Chris Williams slipping the ball through the defence for John McNeil, who shrugged off the last defender before arrowing into the corner of the net. With nerves on edge as the final whistle approached, Maplestone turned his marked inside before smashing his second goal into the roof of the net.
TIKOFT BRINGS THE CURTIN DOWN ON BALGA
A piece of Eddie Tikoft magic with just minutes to spare earned Curtin University a thrilling 4-3 win over Balga this afternoon at Princess Road Reserve. The home side were out of the blocks early, Mehdi Rabeigholami netting after only 6 minutes after getting on the end of a Banin Hashem through ball. Falling behind sparked Curtin into action and Daniel Yellend was denied an equaliser soon after by goalkeeper Chris Searle. Andreas Bouzinekis extended Balga’s lead in the 18th minute by pouncing on a poor defensive pass and rounding past ‘keeper Calum McMulkin before tapping into an empty net. Curtin got the goal they deserved just after the half when Rory Binnie’s low free-kick into a crowded penalty area someone hit the back of the net.
The second half was only five minutes old when Rory Binnie stole possession and rifled into the corner of Searle’s net from 12-metres. Chances were now coming thick and fast, Nathan Smith forcing a good save from Searle before Tikoft rattled the crossbar at the opposite end. Curtin edged back in front on the hour when Smith fired in the loose ball resulting from Searle’s parry on a long-range strike. But within five minutes the teams were again level, Lee James blasting into the roof of the net after Curtin failed to clear from inside their 6-yard box. There were only three minutes left when Tikoft clipped the ball through the defence and ran on to beat the ‘keeper and decide the game.
DANSKIN RULES A LINE UNDER INJURY
Inglewood United will be close to full-strength for this weekend’s meeting with Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park this weekend. The inner city club struggled with a lengthy injury list early in the season but have surged up the National Premiers Leagues standings following the return of several key players. “Injuries are a big factor in how your season pans out,” said defender Matt Danskin. “We were hit early in the season but that’s just football, you deal with it and do your best with what’s available.”
Inglewood opened the home and away series with four straight losses, but since a ‘clearing of the air’ session the club have charged up the standings on the back of a five-game unbeaten run. “We did some soul searching as a player group, put our cards on the table, some home truths were told and we then set some goals that we wanted to achieve,” Danskin explained. “The players knew that Graham was under a lot of pressure but Normo being Normo, (he) never deflected blame on his players. He always had confidence in us and the players have responded.”
Danskin was one of those sidelined by injury, the 29-year old only recently coming into the line-up after overcoming hamstring and adductor problems. “My injuries are all clear now and I’m really enjoying my football again,” he commented. “I’m looking forward to the Cockburn game. It’s never an easy place to go and get a result and Saturday will be no different. We have set out goals and head there full of confidence and will be looking for all three points to keep our winning form intact.” Inglewood’s game with Cockburn kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
FOOTBALL WEST “HAVE COMPROMISED THE INTEGRITY OF THE LEAGUE” SAYS MAROCCHI
Perth SC president Gary Marocchi has taken a swipe at Football West over their decision to award last month’s National Premier Leagues fixture to Inglewood United on a technicality. Marocchi labelled the peak bodies’ actions “heavy-handed”, saying the overturning of the result on the day – a 3-3 draw – to an Inglewood win by way of forfeit “compromised the integrity of the league”. “Football West’s punishment for a minor, technical breach of the NPL regulations is heavy-handed,” said Marocchi via a statement released by the club. “The penalty has compromised the integrity of the league table and the entire NPL WA competition.”
Perth lost the competition point after it was found they had failed to request Football West add a new signing to their player roster, something the club assumed would have happened automatically after the peak body finalised his clearance prior to the game with Inglewood. “The player concerned was registered, listed on the team sheet with more points than his required allocation, and the club’s total points list was still considerably less than the maximum number,” added Marocchi. “The player played the previous week, during the so-called ‘grace’ period, yet there was no direct communication from Football West with the club to notify us that there was an issue.”
Marocchi expressed his disappointment with Football West’s move to punish Perth for a minor technical breach. “Football West should be working with all NPL clubs to help them to avoid these technical breaches, which are not only very disappointing and embarrassing for the clubs concerned, but for the administration and the competition as a whole,” he stated. “The new NPL rules are complicated enough – Football West’s full-time staff should be assisting all clubs, which they need to remember are run by volunteers, to make sure they comply with all the regulations – particularly when they know there is an issue. On this occasion, Football West has failed in its duty.”
The decision to punish Perth sets a precedent which Marocchi expects will be applied consistently throughout the NPL. “Looking across the NPL, on the surface, there seems to be several minor and technical breaches of the competition guidelines,” Marocchi commented. “Football West have now set a very high standard with regard to dealing with these matters. We now expect that standard to be applied consistently across the competition. Finally, to our players, coaching staff, members and supporters, as Club President, I apologise for the embarrassment it has caused our club.”
EUROPE IS CALLING TAGGART
The A-League’s top goal scorer Adam Taggart has revealed he may have played his last game for Newcastle Jets. Taggart enjoyed a breakthrough season with Newcastle, highlighted by his 16-goal haul, to capture the attention of several European clubs but the 20-year old will wait until his commitment with the national team is finalised before focusing on a potential transfer. “My concentration is all on the Socceroos to give myself the best opportunity to go to Brazil,” he told smh.com.au “In the background there’s a lot going on and it’s no lie that I want to challenge myself with the best players overseas, so that is a priority once this campaign is over.”
Taggart is well aware he faces an uphill battle to squeeze into the Socceroos World Cup squad. With Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Matthew Leckie also vying for what will likely be just three striker positions, Taggart is hopeful his clinical finishing will be noted as a point of difference. “There are a few players there who’ve been around for a long time, and they’re players you have to learn and develop from,” he said. “To learn from them is something in itself, but to compete with them at the same time lifts my standard. But you need to have your own point of difference. For me, the only thing I think about is goals and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
For a player who is so composed in front of goal, Taggart acknowledged that he was slightly star-struck when he arrived in a camp comprised of some of Australian football’s biggest names. “I’ve had a lot of great experiences in a short amount of time and I was lucky enough to get an opportunity in the East Asian Cup, and now I’m here it’s the real deal,” he said. “We’ve got Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak walking around and these are experiences you can’t take for granted, and you have to learn as much as possible. If I get to go to the World Cup then great, but, if not, then it’s still an experience and an eye opener that I’ve got to work harder for the next four years to make the next one.”
MACEDONIA PARK TO HOST CUP FINAL
Football West have confirmed this year’s State Cup final will be held at Macedonia Park, home ground of Stirling Lions. Keith Wood, the peak bodies general manager of competitions, is looking forward to another successful knock-out competition which will culminate on 19 July. “Macedonia Park is one of the state’s best footballing venues,” Wood said. “(Stirling president) Vick Lazarov and his team always put on a great event and we know this year’s Cool Ridge Cup final will be no different. It’s a pleasure to be able to hold one of the biggest games on our calendar there.”
As if added incentive was required, this year’s Cup finalists will qualify for inaugural FFA Cup, which pits local team against those from the A-League. The State Cup semi-finals will be held on Monday 2 June with ECU Joondalup tackling Stirling Lions in the northern suburbs, and Subiaco playing Bayswater City at the WA Athletics Stadium. “With so much at stake – a place in the inaugural FFA Cup – we know that both semi-finals will be hard-fought affairs,” Wood said. “It is fitting the matches that determine the clubs to represent our state in the FFA Cup are held on WA Day.”
SAINSBURY’S WORLD CUP HEARTBREAK
Defender Trent Sainsbury has spoken of his pain at missing the cut for Australia’s World Cup due to injury. Sainsbury fractured his patella in February after landing on a sprinkler while playing for Dutch club Zwolle. The initial prognosis was up to four weeks out, but the bone hasn’t healed as hoped and on-going pain forced the 22-year old out of World Cup contention. “It’s disappointing because the team has finally been announced and I was hoping I’d be right in time for it,” Sainsbury told fourfourtwo.com “It’s not like the World Cup comes around each year. If I got taken out in a tackle or landed awkwardly I could cop it, but I just landed on a sprinkler which pisses me off.”
Sainsbury recently returned to Sydney to continue his rehabilitation, further scans revealing the bone was starting to fuse together. However, there were lingering complications with the ligament shaved from the impact of the kneecap popping out of place. “Everything happens for a reason, but usually you only say that when bad stuff happens. I’ve got to try and stay positive and work on other attributes,” said Sainsbury, who is hoping surgery will not be required. “I don’t want to have to go through it. I’ll have to rest until it’s right. I’ve got a two-year contract as well, so I don’t want to rush back into things and ruin my chances of having a career.”
In facing a lengthy spell out of the game Sainsbury has sought the advice from former Central Coast team mates Matt Simon and John Hutchinson, who both suffered long-term injuries, along with coaches Andrew Clark and Graham Arnold. “I give Arnie the utmost respect. He saved my career when I was coming from the Australian Institute of Sport to the Mariners,” said Sainsbury, who is determined missing out on a trip to Brazil will not get him down. “The message is to try and keep your head up. It’s not the end of the world. I’m still young, there are other opportunities coming up like the Asian Cup and, in four years’ time, get yourself bigger, better and more experienced for that World Cup.”
GILL MAKES MATILDAS HISTORY
Perth Glory striker Kate Gill has become Australia’s greatest ever female goal scorer after netting twice in the Matilda’s 3-1 defeat of Jordan at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. In her 81st international appearance, 29-year old Gill surpassed Cheryl Salisbury with her first goal of the game then went one ahead of the retired great by heading in her 40th goal for the national team. “It’s a fantastic feeling,” Gill said. “It’s a great personal milestone to go past Cheryl, who is such a stalwart of our game and has been pretty much been the backbone for women’s football in Australia for quite some time. It’s quite an accomplishment and something I’m extremely proud of.”
The Matildas’ defeat of Jordan, which came days after taking a point from Japan, has put them in a good position to qualify for the tournament semi-finals. Reflecting on the performance, Gill admitted the game was tougher that the 3-1 scoreline suggests. “It’s never easy going into a match like that,” she said. “You can never underestimate them (Jordan) and you know they’re going to be in there for every tackle and work hard. To Jordan’s credit they worked hard and battled really well, I think we just let ourselves down with poor passing execution and ball speed, all of the things we did against Japan we didn’t really do.”
A FITTING DRAW FOR TOMBIDES TRIBUTE (by Aisling Lawless, footballwest.com.au)
An emotional and hard-fought draw marked Adrian Madaschi’s NPL WA debut for Perth Soccer Club against Stirling Lions on Sunday. The 1-1 clash at Dorrien Gardens was the inaugural Dylan Tombides tribute match, honouring the young player who passed away from testicular cancer last month. An own goal in the 47th minute gave Perth the lead before David Micevski equalised through a penalty in the 56th minute.
It kept Perth from their third consecutive clean sheet but former Socceroos defender Madaschi always knew it was going to be a tough match. “There were a couple of decisions that could have probably gone our way that were a bit dodgy, but hopefully over the course of the season they (will) sway our way,” he said. “We could have done things much better, like move the ball quicker, but these are things we need to work on.”
Stirling coach Gary Williams believed his team deserved the win and said every single player had a standout performance. “It’s two games unbeaten and we are good defensively now which we haven’t been previously, so it’s time to gain some momentum,” he said.
A goalless first half saw both teams battle it out in midfield, their effort and determination a nod to Tombides’ memory. Jack Salter’s pace threatened the Perth defence and in the 33rd minute his blocked header set him up for a free half-volley, drawing a quick reaction save from Alex Dunn, who continued his recent form.
The opening goal came two minutes after the restart when Stirling defender Andy Brown got the final touch on Ashley Rosindale’s shot from a Friday Zico cross, denying Rosindale another mark to his goal tally to become the league’s equal leading scorer. Nine minutes later a foul by Madaschi on Howard Neighbour resulted in a penalty, which David Micevski coolly converted, slotting the ball into the top right-hand corner. This set up a tense final half-hour and both teams increased their physicality in an attempt to snatch the win. Stirling looked the more threatening, largely thanks to substitute Moses Kalau who created numerous opportunities from the left wing, but they failed to finish in the final third.
Perth coach Taki Nicolaidis thought Stirling had the edge over his team but said they will focus on ensuring a win next week. “To be honest I don’t think we deserved the three points today,” he said. “I thought the penalty was a bit harsh but we probably should have done better earlier to clear it.”
The next leg of the Dylan Tombides Trophy will take place on Saturday, August 9 at Macedonia Park and will determine the winner on aggregate scores.
SMELTZ QUITS GLORY FOR SYDNEY
Perth Glory are on the lookout for a new finisher after New Zealand international Shane Smeltz agreed terms with Sydney FC on a one-year deal. Smeltz struggled with a series of injuries in his final season with Glory, who he joined in 2011, but still managed to take his tally with the club to 58 games and 28 goals. Glory coach Kenny Lowe is set to head to England next week on a recruiting campaign which is rumoured to involving a meeting with former Norwich City captain Grant Holt, who made a handful of appearances for Sorrento in 2001.
CACERES BRACE SEES OFF PLUCKY GLORY (by Daryn McCleave, footballwest.com.au)
Super-sub Adrian Caceres struck twice in the second half as Bayswater City struggled to fight off a youthful and resilient Perth Glory outfit, who threatened to end the home side's 100% winning start to the NPL WA campaign. They have now won nine in a row. After a goalless first half, the game sprang into life on the hour when Caceres, a 29th minute replacement for Steve Burton, found the net via a big deflection off Glory defender Scott Robertson. Glory took just three minutes to reply, Joe Knowles levelling before Caceres grabbed the winner with eight minutes left on the clock.
But Coyne was quick to praise the effort of the visiting Perth Glory outfit, which consisted mainly of 17-19 year olds, and only Matt Davies, who limped off after just five minutes, with A-League experience. "I reckon a draw would have been a fair result. That's the first game I can honestly walk away from and say we didn't deserve to win," Coyne said. "Credit to them. They kept at it but we were just not at the races - apart from the first 20 minutes where I thought we were very good. After that we didn't play football, didn't pass the ball and didn't do what we're good at. We were lucky to get away with it and we'll take it". The game took a while to get going, and it wasn't helped when in the fifth minute Glory's Davies stayed down following a rather rash challenge. Bayswater forward Burton could probably count himself fortunate to have remained on the pitch with just a caution to his name. Unfortunately young right-back Davies could play no further part in the contest and is awaiting assessment of his knee to determine the seriousness of the injury.
Burton too only managed a further 25 minutes on the field before he succumbed to a knock from the same incident. Former City goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood emerged as the hero of the opening 45 minutes, keeping David Heagney at bay with two good stops down to his left after seeing Burton glance a header centimetres wide of his right hand post. And Glory were not without their own opportunities too, Harry O'Brien beating keeper Devon Spence to the ball but finding a Bayswater defender on hand to block his goal-bound strike. Glory coach Scott Miller introduced Borbor Sambindi after the break and his speed down the left immediately troubled the Baysie rearguard, with O'Brien failing to capitalise from close range. Against the run of play, the hosts took the lead in the 60th minute when Caceres pounced on a loose ball inside the box with Robertson unluckily in the way to divert the shot beyond the wrong-footed Greenwood. But Glory were not behind for long when Knowles blasted past Spence after advancing forward from a clearance with Bayswater struggling to get back.
The winner came from Bayswater turning defence into attack at lightning speed in the 82nd minute. O'Brien looked all set to side-foot a ball inside the area towards goal but a last ditch block saw the ball head in the opposite direction to Brian Farrell, who picked out a delightful cross-field defence splitting pass to Caceres. He drew out the advancing Greenwood before clipping the ball beyond him and into the bottom far corner of the net to send the home fans into raptures. It was tough on Glory coach Scott Miller and his young charges but he did not think luck had played its part. "Football's not unlucky,” he said. “They showed quality in front of goal and quality in defence and it was a fair result. Our boys were outstanding.” Miller was disappointed with Burton’s tackle. “It was a horrible tackle on Matty Davies and that's our A-League player out of the game early on, so it left 17-18 year old kids to play against the best team in the State,” he said.
CANHAM HAT-TRICK KEEPS FLOREAT AT BAY (by Colin Outhwaite, footballwest.com.au)
Sean Canham’s hat-trick helped Sorrento hold off a late surge from Floreat Athena in a nail-biting 3-2 win at Percy Doyle Reserve. Despite being 3-0 down, Jamie Eames and new signing John Thornley scored in quick succession for Floreat but couldn’t score another to grab a point against the Gulls.
Floreat coach Peter Murphy was chuffed with the second-half performance but thought they should have dealt better with Canham. “I feel disappointed with the two goals in the first half,” he said. “The big guy (Canham) did really well with the two headers but we should be able to defend against that.”
Canham opened the scoreboard in the 35th minute when he headed in a well-placed cross from Reece Vittiglia. Two minutes later Jason Mirco shrugged off a foul down the right wing and delivered a brilliant ball to the back post which Canham again headed in superbly. He almost got his third in as many minutes when he pestered the Floreat defence into giving him a free shot on goal, but goalkeeper Tom Dixon reacted quickly. He finally got his well-earned hat-trick in the 62nd minute when he was conveniently positioned to bounce a keeper deflection into the goal with his shin after Todd Harnwell’s shot.
Sorrento was controversially denied a fourth when Mirco’s powerful strike from outside the box seemed to bounce over the line off the crossbar but the officials thought otherwise. The third goal put Floreat into a nothing to lose mentality, and with a change of formation and a double substitution they began their attempted comeback. Eames scored in the 68th minute after the hard working Aryn Williams and Ludovic Boi linked up to gift him a one-on-one with keeper Curtis Aspden.
Athena’s pressure forced Sorrento into a defensive error two minutes later and Thornley fired in another. They immediately fought hard to capitalise on their momentum but Eames’ shot was directed straight into the gut of Aspden and Sorrento rode out the pressure to the final whistle. Sorrento co-coach Jamie Harnwell said he couldn’t have asked for any more effort and commitment from his side. “I thought we were in control for the majority of the game up until some sloppy defending,” he said. “We just managed to hold off in the end. Floreat did well; they put us under pressure and took their chances.”
BALCATTA ON THE RISE (by Peter Simcox, footballwest.com.au)
Balcatta kept touch with the NPL WA leaders after a 3-0 win against Cockburn City at Grindleford Reserve yesterday. A first-half goal from Benny Kouakou split the sides at the break before Gustavo Catarcione and another goal from Kouakou earned the home side the points and moved them into third place on the table.
Balcatta Coach Ramon Falzon was disappointed with his side’s slow start and is looking for even more from his strikers. “I’m still looking for more from the combination,” he said. “I still think the skill they have and the quality players around them they should be better in the attacking third. We will have to work on it. “Cockburn should have scored a couple in the first twenty minutes but they didn’t take them. But we did really well after that. We kept our shape and got the important goal. “I’m European, so football is about not conceding and today our defence was very solid. Damien (Stanoevski) took his chance today and played well, and made two crucial saves to keep us in the game early.”
Outstanding Skipper Adam Tong was delighted with a fourth clean sheet. “Any game at home the opposition is going to come out and attack and we were under the pump early,” he said. “But we put our bodies on the line and didn’t concede.” “The strikers were a different class today; they were like ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. In games you look to players to win the game for you and today they showed their class in front of goal. The work rate’s not there at the moment but once it does get there they will take some stopping.”
Cockburn were out of the blocks early and should have hit the front on four minutes. Feisal Zaw made space down the left, his cross picked out the unmarked Ryan Hassett but he blazed over. Stanoevski, who was making his return after injury, made a smart save to deny Zaw’s long-range shot moments later. The home side went close themselves on 20 minutes. Kouakou sent Catarcione in on goal, he stepped inside Alan Carroll but his shot was superbly saved by Dejan Aleksic. But four minutes later Balcatta hit the front. There looked little danger when Kouakou picked the ball up in the middle of the park but his long-range shot deflected off Carroll and dropped into the net with Aleksic stranded.
It was now Balcatta on top and Aleksic had to be alert to deny Carlo Coelho before James Sammut’s shot on the half hour flashed inches wide. Cockburn pressed late in the half and Liam Murray’s header from was well saved by Stanoevski before Zaw fired over after good work from Eamon McNelis Balcatta keeper Stanoevski again denied Cockburn early in the second half, saving well from Zaw’s shot on seven minutes but 11 minutes later the home side doubled their lead. Catarcione sent Coelho racing down the left, he returned the favour to pick out Catarcione and the Brazilian striker fired low past Aleksic. Cockburn were pushing men forward looking to get into the game but they were caught out again on 79 minutes. Alex Caniglia, who had come off the bench to make his first start for the club since moving from Inglewood United, raced clear down the left. He played the ball across to Kouakou who finished clinically past Aleksic to wrap up the points.
Cockburn skipper Paul Natale thought they had started well but suffered the consequences of not taking their chances. “We came here with a game plan and I thought we opened really well but the deflected goal took the wind out of our sails,” he said. “We had a young side out today. They really worked hard but to lose the players such as Conor Kavanagh, Blake Adams and Ross Diamond has hurt us today.”
INGLEWOOD IN CRUISE CONTROL (by Bianca Niederberger, footballwest.com.au)
Inglewood United suffered a hangover of sorts but still managed to put four goals past bottom side Subiaco in a scrappy 4-0 National Premier Leagues WA win at Intiga Stadium yesterday. Ryan Clarke, David Sesay, Sean Browne and Andrija Jukic each contributed to the disparate score line, which did not necessarily reflect the quality of Inglewood’s game.
Coach Graham Normanton conceded his side had not been at their best probably as a result of the effort put into last week’s Cool Ridge Cup match against high-flying Bayswater City. “We didn’t play as well as we could but that’s always going to be the case after playing such an intense game last week and then coming up against the bottom club this week,” said Normanton, whose side pushed Bayswater to the wire in last week’s quarter-final before losing on penalties. “We know it’s always going to be a difficult game against the lower teams. They always come in and scrap and they work their backsides off. That’s one thing they’ve got in their favour is that work rate and work ethic but I feel we handled it well. I didn’t feel in any danger in the whole game.”
Although Subiaco were coming off a quarter-finals win over Cockburn City, they are still searching for their first win in the NPL WA. They came out swinging against - with decent performances from Alex Randell, Jonas Dorling and Phil O’Callaghan – but could not find a way through the Inglewood defence. Inglewood threw down the challenge early on when Clarke found the net with a sixth-minute penalty, his composed strike gliding past the gloves of Henry Davies. As the hosts continued to build pressure with Sesay and Teeboy Kamara combining, accuracy and timing became a recurring problem. Sesay was eventually rewarded for persistence, scoring from his second touch off a deflection from another Clarke attempt.
Inglewood’s Scott Blackmore and Shane Pickering ensured Subiaco struggled to get anywhere near their goal. The best they could do was fire off infrequent, long-range attempts without success. Subiaco did, however, do well to deny the tenacious efforts of Kamara and Sesay. Inglewood took it up a notch from the 65th minute with a charge led from the midfield by captain Jukic and Ryan Francis working the ball forward. Sesay featured again in Inglewood’s third goal with a pass from the right wing to substitute Browne, who tapped it home. While Kamara continued to struggle with timing and touch, Subiaco defended desperately and courageously. It could, and should, have been so much worse. Jukic came to the Inglewood party with his goal in the dying minute of the game. His good touch and positioning allowed him to make the most of another deflection off keeper Davies.
Normanton has no doubt about how to keep up his side’s current momentum, claiming: “We’ll pretend we’re playing Bayswater every week.” “We’re a team that’s getting better and better and we’re currently now sitting at eight games undefeated. We’ve got to be happy with that and we’ll keep improving.”
JOONDALUP OVERCOME GALLANT ARMADALE (by Tristan Lavalette, footballwest.com.au)
ECU Joondalup’s class eventually overwhelmed a gallant Armadale during NPL WA action on Saturday afternoon. The 3-0 final score was not indicative of the hard-fought contest at Alfred Skeet Reserve, where no goals were scored for 85 minutes. Joondalup appeared set for an easy victory when former Perth Glory striker Tommy Amphlett scored a scintillating goal with a blistering long-range strike in the fifth minute.
But Joondalup suffered a setback when imposing defender Charlie Comyn-Platt suffered an injury and was substituted out of the game soon after. The play was scrappy for lengthy periods of the match, as Joondalup was unable to find space against a gritty Armadale team. Joondalup’s bevy of talented players, including Amphlett, captain Jon Higgins and Danny Dixon, were unable to demonstrate their fancy footwork due to constant pressure and aggression from Armadale. Despite stifling Joondalup, Armadale was unable to muster many genuine goal scoring opportunities as strikers Mwansa Musonda and Dennis Gaye were not presented with many crisp passes.
Joondalup seemed set to double their advantage in the 60th minute but somehow could not put the ball into the back of the net despite goalkeeper Matthew Gould being off his line. Armadale players on the goal line managed to prevent the ball going into the net and the passage of play symbolised their defensive intensity. The Reds appeared to level the score in the 89th minute when Faustinho Machochi headed the ball past goalkeeper Andy Banks to send the home faithful into raptures. However the revelry was fleeting as Machochi was deemed offside. Moments later Dixon sealed Joondalup’s victory when he slipped past the defence with pace and sharp dribbling and scored past a deflated Gould. Amphlett finished the match reminiscent to how he started when he scored another long-range rocket to end the match in spectacular fashion.
Higgins said ECU struggled during parts of the match but was content to have not leaked any goals. “We were flat after half time and they came at us with a really good 20-minute period where they could have scored a couple,” he said. “It was good to have a clean sheet because we normally have to score four goals to win. “We are working on the defence but we have some really good attacking players that can produce magic, which really gives us an edge.”
ASHFIELD SERVE MANDURAH A FOOTBALL MASTER CLASS
Mandurah City’s miserable start to the new Division One season continued with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of home team Ashfield. Jay Lang scored twice with Graham Tough and Matt Wardle also finding the back of the net to keep Ashfield within one point of top spot. The home team attacked from the get-go but it took until the 28th minute to break down a well-drilled defence, Jay Lang converting a penalty awarded for a needless foul by the goalkeeper on Jamie Burns. Graham Tough added to that lead five minutes from the break when nodded in a dead ball played to the far post by Joe Briggs. Shortly after Reuben Tristao was caught from behind by an innocuous challenge from Tom Straker, who was harshly dealt a red card by the referee.
Given Mandurah’s predicament – two goals behind and a man down – it was hardly surprising that Ashfield bossed the second half with custodian John Perkins watching much of the action from a distance. Briggs, Craig Miles and Burns were continually probing for openings but found it difficult to unlock their opponent’s defences. That was until the 65th minute when Matt Wardle was allowed to advance unchallenged out of his own half and from 35-metres unleash a vicious shot that gave the ‘keeper no chance. Ten minutes later Lang was left alone 25-metres out from where he drilled in to register Ashfield’s fourth goal of the afternoon. A series of late substitutions failed to break Ashfield’s momentum but despite applying some intense pressure they were unable to find another avenue to goal.
ONE EACH FOR DIANELLA AND GOSNELLS (with Kalon Harrison, footballwest.com.au)
Dianella White Eagles and Gosnells City split the points after their Dianella Reserve meeting ended 1-1. Hamad Hamad put the home team in front soon after half-time but that lead lasted all of sixty seconds before Darren Gamble restored parity. As the game progressed it was Dianella that looked the more likely to add to their tally but a disciplined Gosnells defence ensured further goals didn’t eventuate. “We’ve got a good structure which we’ve been working on for a couple of years now,” Gosnells coach Alan Dunlop said. “The two centre backs were immense ... they were fantastic today and they really were the ones that kept the point for us today.”
Gamble came within inches of putting Gosnells ahead early with a glancing header that hit the upright and rebounded to goalkeeper Justin Scarvaci. Likewise Dianella’s Milan Mirkovic whose long-range chip was paddled over the crossbar by a hastily back-tracking Tom Allen. The breakthrough came after 47 minutes, Hamad rifling into the top corner from 15-metres after being on the receiving end of a swift counterattack. Gosnells replied immediately through Gamble, who rose highest inside the 6-yard box to nod in a cross from the right. Dianella dominated the remainder of the game, forcing their opponents to defend deep, but some red-hot pressure they were unable to find a way through.
LLOYD HAT-TRICK HALTS WINDMILLS
Western Knights moved into the top half of Division One with a 5-1 demolition of Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. Summer recruit Paul Lloyd led the way by snaring three goals with new signing Jose Gilberto Do Santos and club veteran Luka Jukic also on the scoresheet in a dominance performance by the away side. “We needed this result,” Knights coach Robbie Dunn said. “The players have been much-maligned by their start to the season but injuries and suspensions have run their course and I’ keen to see how much this group can perform once the best eleven can get on the park.”
The Knights were on the offensive from the get-go and it wasn’t long before Santos found the back of the net. Lloyd continued his brilliant early season form by scoring two superb goals in a devastating ten minute spell which effectively had Morley out of the game by half-time. The home side gave a much better account of these after the break and through a dubiously awarded penalty the deficit was cut. Jukic responded by restoring the Knights three-goal buffer with a brilliant strike from 20-metres, deflating any hopes of a home revival. Morley did well to absorb a late surge but with minutes to go they were again breached, Lloyd completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
UNITED WIN THE JOONDALUP DERBY
Lee Shepherd and Adam Buckley were on-target to earn Joondalup United a 2-1 win over northern neighbours Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Complex. The hosts club were on the front foot early with Shepherd swinging in a corner which deceived the opposition goalkeeper and ended up in the back of the net. Joe Stocker came close to doubling the lead, likewise Adam Buckley whose header was deflected wide. A swift transition from defence to attack provided United’s second goal, Adam Buckley chipping the ‘keeper after being fed in by Mike Kenny. City pulled a goal back just on half-time when Danny Beattie scrambled the ball in after Adam Proctor’s free-kick went to feet.
The second half was played out chiefly in the middle third. United felt hard done by after Tony Taylor went down twice inside the penalty, and on both occasions the referee signalled for play to continue. City were handed a late opportunity to salvage a draw following an indiscretion inside the area by ‘keeper James Bodset, however, Sam Phillips’ dead ball strike clattered off the defensive wall and wide. The result keeps United level with Forrestfield United at the top of the ladder whereas City slip to third place, three points behind the joint leaders.
WASTEFUL BALGA PUNISHED BY QUINNS
A slow starting Quinns rode their luck in defeating Balga 4-2 to keep in touch with Division Two’s leading pack. The early exchanges were all way-one with Balga by far the dominant force. Andreas Bouzinekis twice placed wide of the target while Nahom Michael lifted over the crossbar after driving out of midfield. The visitors’ passing game was causing Quinns problems at the back and they were given another reprieve when Bouzinekis’ header from a Michael Bangura cross flashed wide. It wasn’t until midway through the half that Quinns started to spark and four minutes out from the break – and very much against the run of play – Dom Elliot steered in Jordan Miller’s cross from the left.
Quinns needed only three second half minutes to double their lead, Liam McGurk latching onto Chris Williams’ through ball and after shrugging off a defender off he fired in from 10-metres. Louis Hughes added a third goal after 74 minutes by dancing around a trio of defenders and slipping the ball beyond the goalkeeper. And when Elliot swung a dead ball around the defensive wall and into the top corner from 25-metres soon after the game was over. Balga only now strapped on their goal scoring boots, Mehdi Rebeigholami’s curling effort was followed soon after by a scrappy close-range finished by substitute Thorb Nimely, but it was all too little too late.
KELMSCOTT CAUGHT ON THE HOP ROCKINGHAM
Rockingham City extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 4-3 victory over Kelmscott Ross at Frye Park. Trevor Laure, Brendan Birney and Reece Frank made clear the away team’s intentions inside the opening ten minutes but on each occasion goalkeeper Sam Cogle was equal to the task. Those misses came back to haunt Rockingham in the 25th minute when Moussa Mbambe punished a static defence to put Kelmscott into the lead. And ten minutes later Mbambe tapped in goal number two after Jonathan Ingram’s shot came back off the crossbar to have Kelmscott in a comfortable position at the end of 45 minutes.
The second half commenced with Rockingham again on the attack and that positive approach was rewarded on the hour with a goal to Roy Hissey. The visitors immediately set about finding an equaliser only to be caught out when Jordan Ellis turned the ball over and slipped through to Hassan Karim who lobbed over ‘keeper Cyril Sharrock. Rockingham now threw caution to the wind. Some neat team play culminated in Hissey putting away their second goal after 70 minutes, and soon after substitute Connor Price’s brilliant curling strike brought the teams level. The decider arrived with just three minutes left, Frank’s centre met by a diving David Clark whose header burst the back of the net.
MELVILLE TRIUMPH IN NINE-GOAL THRILLER (with David Cantoni)
Curtin University’s unbeaten start to the Division Two season has come to an end at the hands of Melville City, who came from behind to claim a 5-4 victory under lights this evening at Edinburgh Oval. It took Carlo Chiellini less than ten minutes to snared the game’s opening goal by finishing a classy passing move down the left. Melville responded quickly with Mark Lucas poking in after a scrap inside the area only for Chiellini to restore the home team’s lead after 21 minutes. The seesawing nature of the game continued with Simon El Chami equalising from a corner after which Melville got their noses in front for the first time through Lucas.
Melville returned from the interval firing. In next to no time Marcos Alcantara had doubled their lead before Sasa Slavujevic added another to have Curtin reeling. To their credit, the hosts refused to lie down and within minutes Nathan Smith tapped in before Chiellini completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after 67 minutes. The momentum was now with Curtin but their fight back hopes suffered a blow with Norwegian defender Nicolay Morland issued his marching orders for a second yellow card. The introduction of Daniel Young and Khaled Salhah provided some late spark for Curtin but they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Melville backline which held on for a deserved win.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND NINE
Dorrien Gardens is the place to be on Sunday when Perth SC and Stirling Lions battle it out for the Dylan Tombides Trophy. Tombides, who passed away last month from cancer at the age of 20, represented both clubs at junior level before heading to West Ham United. “Dylan played with a number of the boys who are now playing in our first team and there will be no greater honour for these boys to participate in a tribute match for their former teammate and friend,” said Perth president Gary Marocchi.
Bayswater City is expected to make it nine league wins on the trot when they face Perth Glory at Frank Drago Reserve. Three-time Golden Boot winner Gustavo Giron-Marulanda is back in contention for the home side, whose only major absence is suspended midfielder Jamie Coyne. It’ll be a much-changed Glory side that takes to the field with Jacob Collard (ill) and Rocco Pizzato (broken wrist) unavailable and A-League sextet Jack Duncan, Brandon O’Neill, Riley Woodcock, Cameron Edwards, Jamie Maclaren, Danny De Silva being rested.
John Thornley and Shane Nunes are in line to make their Floreat Athena debuts away at Sorrento, who have Curtis Aspden and Sean Canham coming into their squad. There are some notable absences in both the Inglewood United and Subiaco AFC camps for their meeting at Intiga Stadium. Jon Stripe (broken arm) and Greg Sharland (overseas) are unavailable for the hosts, whereas Subiaco are without Nathan Diaz (suspension) Matt Akehurst (study) and possibly Ian McMurray (injury). Patrick Quinn, Kieron Stallard and Benny Kouakou are in doubt for Balcatta’s home fixture with Cockburn City, who welcome Devon Gibson back into the line-up
Three vital points are up for grabs at Alfred Skeet Oval where eleventh-place Armadale take on ECU Joondalup, who sit just one rung higher. Armadale have not won in two months and their chances of changing that have taken a blow with Llewelyn Bake unavailable through work and Sam Loveless and Alec Solomons to suspension. Ryan Lowry and Danny Dickson come back in for Joondalup who have major concerns in the finishing department, the northerners not having found the net in six-plus hours of league football. All National Premier Leagues games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND FIVE
Veteran attacker Johny Mirco is quietly confident Western Knights can breathe new life into their season by taking the points away to Morley Windmills. “We haven’t had the start we were hoping for,” said Mirco, whose team have one win from their first four games. “There are no easy games in this league, every game is a battle and you must take your chances to win games. Morley, by contrast, have had a great start to the season and we go into this game confident of turning our season around with a performance that a club like the Knights demands and expects from its players.”
Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force will be missing Oliver McGee (suspension) for their home date with Swan United. Ashfield coach Paul Dundo has the pleasant headache brought on by a near-full squad for his team’s clash with Mandurah City at Ashfield Reserve. Home ground advantage isn’t likely to count for much when bottom-of-the-table Wanneroo City hosts Shamrock Rovers Perth. New recruit Daniel Trevisiol is likely to go straight into Gosnells City’s line-up in place of injured attacker Chris Holland for their visit to Dianella White Eagles, who’ve won their last two games.
The round concludes with Sunday’s clash between Canning City and UWA-Nedlands at Burrendah Reserve. Jarrad Smith is likely to be handed his first start of the season and Laurence Cheyne is also knocking on the door after scoring off the bench last time out for Canning, whose only absence is Tom Gibbins (away). UWA have been hit hard by injury of late with Kevin Fields (broken leg) and Sime Lozic (ankle) facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, however, there is some good news with Dani Goetsche and Ben Reynolds available. All six Division One games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND FIVE
Melville City are looking to get their season back on track with a win over Curtin University tonight at Edinburgh Oval (8.30pm). “We started the season well but after back-to-back defeats we’re desperate to collect all three points,” said Melville’s Matt Donlevy. “Curtin have certainly made a solid start to the year and results indicate they’ve been hard to score against. But I’m confident we can get the result. The boys are refreshed after a week off and raring to go. Robbie Gasper and Mark Lucas are two great additions to our side which should hopefully see us take home the three points.”
Joondalup United are without captain Arran Maplestone but welcome back Lee Shephard for Saturday’s northern derby with Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Complex. There aren’t expected to be any changes to the Fremantle United and Forrestfield United line-ups when they square off at Hilton Reserve. Kingsway Olympic have Aaron Lickiss, JP Mills, Josh Rolls and Oliver Hilton under injury clouds leading into their trip to Ellenbrook United. Rockingham City boss Rob Crerar has added Rafael Insurralde, Connor Price, Brendan Birney and Fraser Marr to his squad which heads east to play Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park.
Balga may have lost four straight but Quinns coach Glen Moore isn’t about to underestimate his opponent. “We are expecting a tough game from Balga who, although they have no points, have only lost their games by the odd goal,” said Moore. “We need to push on from our outstanding display against Melville City the other week.” There’ll be plenty of movement in the Quinns squads where Brian Cairney (holiday), Lewis Hall (travel) and Josh Reid (suspension) are likely to be joined by Ross Edwards (foot injury). All Saturday Division Two games kick-off at 3.00pm.
PERTH WELCOMES MADASCHI HOME
Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi will make his long-overdue first team debut for Perth SC this weekend after signing on as the clubs’ marquee player. Madaschi, 31, played his junior days with Perth before embarking on a successful professional career that took him to Italy, Scotland, Australia and South Korea. “I thank the club, the coaching staff and the players for welcoming me back,” said Madaschi, who was only 15 when he last stepped out at Dorrien Gardens. “I hope that I can help in every way possible to keep bringing in positive results and be up there challenging for the top spot.”
Madaschi was a teenager when he left Perth to take up a youth team spot with Atalanta. Despite loans to Monza and Pistoiese he remained on the fringes of first team selection and in late 2003 sought released from Atalanta to sign with Scottish club Partick Thistle, where he featured regular over two seasons. Brief spells with Dundee and Grosseto proceeded a mid-2006 move to Portosummaga for whom Madaschi gained in excess of 150 appearances. After six-seasons with Portosummaga he enjoyed a short cameo with Melbourne Heart before switching to Korea’s Jeju United, where he played the last couple of years.
Perth president Gary Marocchi, a former Australian captain, considers Madaschi’s recruitment as a coup for both his club and the National Premier Leagues competition. “Adrian is an elite professional and an outstanding defender, and to have a player of his calibre running around in our competition is a major boost for the NPL,” said Marocchi, who is grateful Madaschi chose to return home to Dorrien Gardens after a sixteen-year absence. “We welcome Adrian back home to Dorrien Gardens and I look forward to seeing him once again in a Perth SC shirt after all of these years.”
Madaschi, who has played five times for the Socceroos, is hoping to use his time on the local scene as a springboard back into the national league. “This is the perfect opportunity for me to gain and maintain fitness and game time. I still have a very big desire and ambition to be playing again in the A-league and I am confident of succeeding at that level if and when that opportunity comes along,” said Madaschi, whose immediate focus is on Perth. “I will look to use all my experience from over the years and be at everyone’s disposal to help the players and team to grow and mature together to produce on-field success.”
DUNCAN URGES PLAYERS TO SEEK THEIR OWN INSURANCE
Ashfield’s James Duncan estimates he is tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket over a serious injury sustained on the field of play. And the 27-year old has taken a swipe at Football West, questioning the peak bodies’ insurance policy which he says “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”. Duncan was with Inglewood United when, in July 2011, his career was halted by a horrific broken leg, the result of an innocuous 50/50 challenge while playing Stirling Lions. The extent of his injuries – a tibia broken in two places and a fibula broken in three – required four rounds of surgery and the insertion of a rod into Duncan’s leg, not to mention a lengthy and continuing rehabilitation program.
Duncan, who returned to football with Ashfield last year, has personally paid a heavy price for his two years out of the game. “I can only estimate what the all-inclusive financial outlay has been regarding the injury, but it’s easily in the tens of thousands (of dollars),” said Duncan, who advocates all footballers ensure they have private health coverage before stepping on the field. “Sadly, I haven’t seen cent from Football West or their insurance companies … their insurance policy isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. My advice to any footballer is make sure you have private health insurance. But more importantly give something back to the football community as ultimately it’s the clubs that have your best interests at heart – not the governing body.”
The good news is Duncan wasn’t left totally in the lurch. “Fortunately, the incident involved two well-respected football clubs, Inglewood and Stirling” he commented. “Through Don Evans, Stirling provided a donation towards the surgery, as did Inglewood United. And I can’t thank my Inglewood teammates enough, not only for their moral support which helped me get through the injury but also the fact they contributed their wages from that game towards medical expenses. To put my on-going costs into perspective, I’m still required to undertake multiple physio sessions each week in an effort to get me through day-to-day activities, let alone training sessions and matches.”
Duncan admits that in his darkest hours he considered giving football away. “You do question whether it’s worth all the hours and finances spent to get back to playing but, at the end of the day, it comes back down to why the majority of us choose to play football – for the love of the game,” he said. “As difficult as it is at times getting yourself along to training on a cold and rainy Tuesday night, it’s made all the worthwhile when you and your mates have each other’s back and grind out a result on a Saturday. Furthermore, the decision to apply myself and make a comeback was in many ways aided by my surgeon telling me I’d never play the game again.”
With a full pre-season under his belt, Duncan is looking forward to playing his part in a successful season for Ashfield. “It’s great to be back out there and contributing but due to mobility, alignment issues and a lack of sensation in my right leg I won’t be the same player I was prior to injury,” he said. “We’re the league’s only undefeated side which would suggest we’re performing well, however, our standards are high and we look at the two draws as two points dropped rather than one gained. We’ve kept only the one clean sheet this season which, as a defender, I’m not necessarily happy with and shipping six goals in four games shows there is certainly room for improvement.”
Competition for spots in the Ashfield line-up this season is red-hot, something Duncan feels will put them in the frame for top honours come seasons end. “The first team squad is as competitive as I’ve seen, we’ve got three or four players competing for each position which ensures every training session is of a high competitive standard … it’s all a welcomed headache for the gaffer, Paul Dundo,” Duncan explained. “There’s a chance some player will want to move on as they’re not getting the game time they desire, but I genuinely believe if we can keep the current squad together then there’s no reason why we can’t seriously challenge for the title.
BIRIGHITTI TO LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has vowed to put his best foot forward after being named in the Socceroos’ 30-man preliminary World Cup squad. Birighitti will join coach Ange Postecolgu and the rest of the squad in Gosford today for a two-week training camp in the build-up to Australia’s farewell friendly against South Africa on 26 May. “The hard work starts now,” said Birighitti, one of four shot-stoppers in the squad. “We’ve got a tough couple of weeks coming up in camp and I don’t want to be the goalkeeper that is left out of the final squad.”
Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior, is under no illusion as to the mammoth task he faces convincing Australia’s coaching staff he deserves a spot on the plane to Brazil. “They’re all top quality goalkeepers,” said 23-year old Birighitti, who is up against good friend Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund) and Mat Ryan (Club Brugge). “Obviously I had a lot to do with Eugene while I was at Adelaide United and both Mitch Langerak and Mat Ryan have had fantastic years overseas. I just want to go into the camp, train well and make a good impression.”
PERTH STARTING TO PLAY AS A TEAM SAYS DONINGER
English midfielder Mark Doninger is enjoying his first taste of football down under with Perth SC. Doninger arrived at Dorrien Gardens on the eve of the regular season and has settled comfortably into his new surrounds, where his creativity in the middle of the park has been a key ingredient in Perth’s rise to second in the National Premier Leagues. “I’m enjoying each and every game and feel like I’m starting to gel well with the lads, both on and off the pitch,” said the 24-year old. “It’s been hard to adjust playing in such warm heat, but I feel like I’m acclimatising more and more to it every week.”
Doninger has been quick to form a strong central partnership with fellow imports Clarke Keltie and Mark Pritchard but says their best is yet to come. “We are starting to play really well at the moment, and more importantly playing together as a team,” he said. “It’s great to play with Pritchy and Kelts, they are both English lads and we understand each other very well in the middle of the park. It’s a struggle to keep both of them fit all the time as they are getting on with age, but when we are all fully fit we will be a strong unit.”
As a junior Doninger was picked up by Newcastle United but after only a handful of first team appearances he was released. An eight-month spell in Ireland with Sligo Rovers followed after which he moved to Iceland to play for IA Akranes and FC Stjarnan. It was at the insistence of good friend Kris Gate that he try his luck in Perth. “Balcatta got in touch with me whilst I was deciding what my next move in my career would be,” he said. “With what Kris had to say about the football, Balcatta and the lifestyle in general, I jumped at the chance.”
Although things didn’t work out how he’d planned with Newcastle, Doninger has plenty of fond memories of his time at St James Park. “The highlights would be making my debut for Newcastle against Hull City, and playing three times for them,” he recalled. “Also being on the bench a number of times in the Premier League and playing in stadiums full of 50,000-plus fans such as Etihad, Old Trafford, Anfield, Goodison Park and the Stadium of Light. Being the Newcastle reserve captain for two seasons was also a proud achievement And reaching the Icelandic Cup Final at the National Stadium was a great occasion for me personally.”
Taki Nicolaidis has been charged with returning Perth to the upper reaches of the ladder and Doninger says the club’s coaching appointment could not be more spot-on. “Taki is great to play for,” said the midfielder. “He encourages all the right things both in training and on game day and he man-manages the players very well, along with AK (Ante Kovacevic) and Spooks (Robbie Puca). Between them they know how to get each individual up for every game. The coaches all offer a lot to training and in matches so the lads know we are in great hands.”
Perth are unbeaten in their last four games, and have not conceded a goal in over three hours, but Doninger recognises they can not rest on their laurels. “We all know Bayswater City have set the standard so far this year and it’s massive that we keep in touch with them,” he said. “We have to get focused on our match against Stirling Lions this week and make sure we put in another good performance. Confidence is high within the group but it’s important that we take each game as it comes and not get carried away, nor take our foot of the gas.”
MALAYSIA “SUITS ME DOWN TO THE GROUND”: MAKECHE
Exciting young striker Ndumba Makeche is making all the right moves to forge a successful career with Malaysian club Felda United. 22-year old Makeche debuted for Felda within days of arriving at the club three months ago after ruling a line under a frustrating spell at Perth Glory. His search for regular first team football has been answered with seven appearances and three goals for the Settlers. “I’ve enjoyed every moment,” Makeche said of his time in Malaysia’s Premier League. “The football here is more end-to-end and it’s more about scoring goals, which suits me down to the ground. The fans here are football-mad and they sing from start to end of the game.”
Zambian-born Makeche got his first taste of senior football with Stirling Lions and Inglewood United, the then teenager putting away over a dozen goals for the latter in 2011 to earn a place on the Glory youth team roster. An A-League debut arrived in March 2012 and two months later he turned professional, however, he found opportunities limited at Glory so when Felda came knocking he happily answered the door. “Glory played a friendly against Felda and I scored a hat-trick,” explained Makeche. “I spoke to my agent regarding my next move and about wanting to join a club where I’d play first team football. Felda contacted my agent and the rest is history.”
Makeche admits he was disappointed with how his Glory days panned out. “My time at Glory never really kicked off unfortunately. I made six appearances with only two of those starts but that’s football, you go through up’s and down’s,” he said. “I turned down a US soccer scholarship (to join Glory) but I appreciate everything the club did for me and I know it was best for both parties for me to move on. I made some great friends there and have some good memories, the best would be when Adrian Zahra and I came on after 60 minutes against Wellington Phoenix, we losing 1-2 but ended up wining the game 4-2.”
It’s hardly surprisingly Makeche’s touch in front of goal has brought him to the attention of several rival clubs in Malaysia, where his contract expires at seasons’ end. “They have been a few interested clubs but for now I’m fortunate enough to have been given a chance. I just want to enjoy getting regular game time and hopefully scoring plenty more goals,” said Makeche, who would relish playing in Australia again but only after developing further as a player. “If I had a chance to join another A-League club I probably wouldn’t go unless I felt I was experienced enough.”
POSTECOGLOU PUNTS ON YOUTH FOR WORLD CUP
West Australian pair Mark Birighitti and Adam Taggart have been include in Australia’s provisional 30-player squad for the upcoming World Cup tournament in Brazil. Coach Ange Postecoglou came good on his promise of giving youth a chance by including Birighitti, 23, and Taggart, 20, in a squad which has an average age of 22.5 and features nineteen players with fewer than ten senior caps to their name. The list includes experienced campaigners Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Luke Wilkshire and Mark Milligan, who are on the brink of a third consecutive World Cup.
Postecoglou emphasised a changing of the guard in Australian football as he looks ahead to not only the upcoming World Cup but also next year’s Asian Cup. “From the moment I took over, we have been pretty consistent in saying that we needed to change the direction of our national team,” Postecoglou said of his selection. “It was a meaningful change and we needed to regenerate the team. At the same time, understand this is a World Cup. If people had the form and the fitness, regardless of experience or age, they would be in the squad.” The squad convenes for a week-long training camp in Gosford from Thursday with Postecoglou naming his 23-player party for Brazil on 2 June.
Australia’s provisional 30-player squad for the upcoming World Cup is Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Franjic, Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Curtis Good (Dundee United), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Jason Davison (Heracles Almelo), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic, James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Mark Birighitti, Josh Brilliante, Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Tommy Oar and Adam Sarota (Utrecht).
HERSI HEADS FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have confirmed the signing of former Dutch youth international Youssouf Hersi on a two-year deal. Touted one of the national league’s best imports of recent times, 31-year old Hersi will link with Glory upon the completion of his Asian Champions League commitments with Western Sydney Wanderers, where he’s played the past two summers. “We are delighted to have a player of Hersi’s calibre here at Perth Glory” said club chief executive Jason Brewer. “He is a great player, with a fantastic pedigree … his addition will be the first of many quality signings we will be making in the near future.”
Ethiopia-born Hersi counts some of the biggest teams in Europe amongst his former clubs. He rose up through the ranks at Ajax to make his first team debut at the age of 18 and represented the Netherlands at the under-20 World Cup Championship in 2001. A move to NAC Breda brought Hersi into regular first team reckoning and through spells with NEC, Heerenveen, Vitesse and FC Twente he accumulated almost 250 appearances in the Netherlands top flight. A season with each AEK Athens and De Graafschap preceded his joining Western Sydney in 2012, since when he’s turned out in excess of times for the club.
LOWRY EYES CHAMPIONSHIP STAY
English Championship defender Shane Lowry has ruled out giving the A-League a shot as he eyes his next career move following his release by Millwall. Lowry, renowned for his robust style, became something of a cult figure for Millwall but found himself out of favour this season following the managerial appointment of Ian Holloway. “My aim is to keep playing in England and I am quite confident that will happen,” said Lowry, who made 91 appearances for Millwall over three seasons. “Of course the A-League is flying – and that’s great to see – but my immediate ambitions are all about continuing on in the UK at a good level at the moment.”
Lowry, a former ECU Joondalup junior, moved to the Den in 2011 on an initial two-month loan from Aston Villa, at the conclusion of which he joined Millwall permanently. A favourite of managers Steve Lomas and Kenny Jackett, he played a key role in their 2012/13 campaign with over 40 starts which included an FA Cup semi-final appearance. But injuries, two red cards, a relegation battle and the arrival of Holloway in January painted a different picture this season with Lowry not featuring for the first team since the end of March. It is understood a number of English clubs have already enquired as to Lowry’s availability for next season.
WILLIAMS INKS FRESH FULHAM DEAL
A productive loan to Oxford United has earned Ryan Williams a new deal with Fulham. Williams, who joined the Cottagers in 2012, signed a two-year deal with the club yesterday, only days after their thirteen season stay in England’s Premier League come to an end. Manager Felix Magath is expected to field a youthful team in next season’s Championship and 20-year old Williams, scorer of eight goals in 42 appearances for Oxford, has certainly caught his boss’ eye. A former ECU Joondalup junior, Williams has represented Australia at youth level and is the younger brother of Middlesbrough’s Rhys Williams.
NATIONAL PRIDE SURGES THROUGH DE VANNA
Matildas forward Lisa De Vanna has more reason than most to ensure Australia successfully defending their Asian Cup crown. When Australia stunned Japan in the semi-finals four years ago and then went on to defeat North Korea in the final, De Vanna was nursing a broken leg suffered earlier in the tournament against China. But it is not the fact that she missed the tournament finale behind her desire to lift the trophy in Vietnam this month, rather, it’s the inspiration and pride she felt watching her team mates bucks the odds with their backs against the wall that is fuelling her determination.
De Vanna admits it was only after breaking her leg that she truly understood what it mean to represent Australia. “When you’re in that situation, when you’re vulnerable and can’t do much, you really rely on your team mates,” she said. “For them to battle it out against Japan was probably one of the proudest moments being Australian just sitting there watching my team mates fight to the very end. Not being able to play and seeing how they went about it made me realise what it means to be playing for Australia. When I put that jersey on and the anthem comes on it’s hard not to feel hungry and go out and play for your country.”
Four years on, De Vanna returns to the Asian Cup stage as one of the greatest footballers Australia has ever produced. A fit and firing De Vanna would certainly benefit a Matilda’s side that finds itself up against world champions Japan, Jordan and host nation Vietnam in the group stage of the event. “I’m coming into this tournament healthy – fingers crossed – so it’s nice to be fit and healthy leading up to playing against Japan and the top teams in Asia,” De Vanna said. “I think it gets a bit harder to adjust the older you get but I’m feeling okay and just looking forward to the tournament.”
This year’s Asian Cup will be the first time countries will vie for five spots at next year’s Women’s World Cup, in contrast to just the three that have been on offer previously. The extra places given to Asian nations at Canada 2015 may be in Australia’s favour but De Vanna does not consider qualification inevitable. “My first priority is qualifying, then the next step is getting that title,” she said. “It would be nice to make the finals, we have in the last two attempts but when you’re the defending champions everyone wants to compete against you and you’re the team they want to beat so you can’t underestimate anyone.”
De Vanna is one of eleven Matilda’s who were also on board when they lifted the Asian Cup four years ago. This year’s squad contains a mix of experience and youth, and De Vanna believes the experience of the upcoming tournament will provide valuable experience should the side qualify for the World Cup. “We’ve got a lot of talent in this team, a lot of depth,” De Vanna said. “This is a major tournament and not many of these girls have experienced it yet. You can play international friendly games but with this there’s more at stake so it’s a good insight into potentially what we could experience in a year’s time.”
LOWE TO BOOST FIREPOWER
Coach Kenny Lowe will dip into the transfer market as he goes about assembling a Perth Glory squad that will have the quality and depth to be truly competitive next summer. Glory finished eighth on the A-League ladder last season, ten points adrift of the top six and only two above last. “Obviously it’s a big job,” said Lowe of the challenges which lie ahead. “If we can add to the playing group – we’ve lost a few players – then we’ll add a little bit of quality into the squad as we’ve lost some experienced players. Bring some quality in to allow us to improve and finish higher up in the league.”
Lowe is happy with his defensive stocks but it’s a different story when it comes to midfield and attack. “I think the midfield area we’ll look to strengthen and our attacking options we’ll look to strengthen,” Lowe told fourfourtwo.com/au “We’ve always had a fairly solid base defensively … Josh Risdon was out for most of the year, Scott Jamieson was out for most of the year (and) we’ve added Dino (Djulbic) … we just lack a little of firepower in scoring goals with Shane (Smeltz) being out for a long time. The focus will be to bring an exciting, dynamic forward and midfield players into the club.”
Another aspect Lowe has targeted as needing attention is Glory’s facilities and back-room team. “I want to cover all the bases if I can,” he said. “Obviously budgets restrict that – we can’t go out and get Premier League facilities and cover every single base but I think if we’re intelligent, smart, we’ll look to tie into the expertise and the local universities and cover things like nutrition, hydration, sports psychology and especially the strength and conditioning and sports science. We’re well advanced on maybe covering all of those areas. We’ve had dialogue and we’re bringing full-time experts in, and especially on the strength and conditioning side.”
GILL RATES ASIAN CUP SQUAD AS MATILDAS STRONGEST EVER
Perth Glory Women striker Kate Gill believes Australia’s squad for this week’s Asian Cup is the strongest ever assembled. The Matildas broke new ground four years ago when they became the first Australian team to win a senior continental title since the country’s 2006 move into the Asian Football Confederation. Gill, who was part of that squad, says their Asian Cup defence is well on track under new coach Alen Stajcic. “We have a younger squad (than four years ago) and it’s a more talented squad,” Gill said. “It’s by far the strongest Matildas group we’ve ever had (but) a lot of the girls haven’t been exposed to that environment at senior level, even though they have been involved at youth level.”
The Matildas commence their Asian Cup defence on Wednesday against world champions Japan followed by outings with Jordan and host nation Vietnam. “We’re respectful of Japan but we don’t need to be fearful,” Gill said. “We’ve beaten them on occasions and they’ve beaten us on occasions.” The top two teams from each group advances to the semi-finals, which are expected to feature Australia, Japan, South Korea and China. Western Australia will be well-represented at the tournament with Sam Kerr (Western New York Flash), Lisa De Vanna (Boston Breakers) and Lydia Williams (Washington Spirit) in the Matilda’s 25-player squad alongside Gill.
TAGGART HOPEFUL OF MAKING WORLD CUP CUT
Adam Taggart is being touted as a World Cup bolter after a breakout A-League season in which he scored sixteen goals to take out the Golden Boot. National team coach Ange Postecoglou will name his 30-player squad next week and Taggert is doing all he can to be ready should he be named for a ten-day training camp on the Central Coast, after which the final travelling party for Brazil will be announced. “You need to make sure you give yourself the best chance possible,” he said. “It’s about training hard and trying to get as much as you can out of it before the squad and the camps come up.”
Taggart maintains the lure of playing at a World Cup didn’t act as inspiration for his goal scoring exploits this season. “To be honest, during the season it didn’t motivate me any more than wanting to score goals the year after a World Cup,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s about doing a job and doing as best as I can and develop as a player and a person. I was just concentrating on week to week performances. That’s what’s going to get the opportunity. If you’re concentrating on the end product too much then that’s what’s going to interrupt how you’re performing.”
Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane has no doubt Taggart has something unique to offer the Socceroos. “He’s so quick and as an impact player he can be a real asset,” said Zane. “There’s no doubt he can have a big positive influence on the team just from an impact point of view, not from a starting role. I’m sure Ange, when it comes down to a fine line between two players, might go for a kid that is someone we want to invest in for the future of the national team so that’s another reason to take him, to give him that experience and open his eyes a bit as well.”
Postecoglou’s mandate for selection has been to be playing regular first team football at a high level, something Taggart has achieved. “Everyone knows Ange isn’t a silly coach. He’s very experienced and really knows what he’s doing,” 20-year old Taggart said. “For us to have that confidence in him that if you’re doing well, you’ll get the opportunity is lovely. Having an Australian coach with that understanding is a massive motivation for us because he understands us as footballers and has been there every week to see us with your clubs.” Postecoglou will name his preliminary squad of 30 this Wednesday with seven players to be trimmed by 27 May.
MILLWALL LET LOWRY GO
English Championship club have opted not to retain Perth-born defender Shane Lowry upon the expiration of his contact. Lowry, a former ECU Joondalup junior, had been at Millwall since a loan move from Aston Villa in 2011 before his move was made permanent in January of 2012. The 24-year old left-back was a prominent figure throughout Millwall’s 2012/13 campaign, starting over 40 games and helping the club to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Unfortunately, this season has been a very different story with Lowry suffering a number of injury set-backs while suspension, including two red cards, has also limited his game time.
JOONDALUP FIND THAN SOMETHING EXTRA (with Bianca Niederberger, footballwest.com.au)
ECU Joondalup qualified for the State Cup semi-final with a resounding 3-1 win over Balcatta in extra-time at the Edith Cowan University campus. Although Balcatta drew first blood via James Sammut, the home team fought their way back in with Jake Benson-Cooper equalising before Charlie Comyn-Platt and Tommy Amphlett completed the comeback. “We have been working extremely hard in training to ensure our shape and our football philosophy is still evident with the players,” said winning coach Dale McCulloch, whose team came into the game on the back of four successive losses in the league.
It took Balcatta just 7 minutes to go in front, Sammut converting at close-range after the loose ball from an Andy Banks’ parry landed at his feet. Joondalup didn’t get into gear until the hour when Benson-Cooper seized on a loose ball and tucked past goalkeeper Simon Madaschi to bring the sides level. With this the northerners swung into action with Amphlett and David Foster working tirelessly to open up their opponents’ defences. As tensions mounted Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch was order from the technical area by referee Steven Gregory after his emotions got the better of him.
A fumble by Madaschi two minutes into extra-time was all the invitation Comyn-Platt needed to tap Joondalup ahead following a Jon Higgins’ free-kick. Balcatta fought back but Benny Kouakou could only angle into the side netting while the addition of Adam Tong to the attack served to intensify the pressure on Banks, who stood up to the task. The game was eventually made safe by Amphlett on the counterattack, the livewire striker volleying in from the edge of the area after 116 minutes to finish a tidy counterattack in which Foster played the ball forward.
SPENCE HEROICS SAVE BAYSWATER
Goalkeeper Devon Spence booked Bayswater City into the last four of the State Cup by saving two penalty kicks in a dramatic 5-4 shoot-out win over Inglewood United on a blustery afternoon at Intiga Stadium. With the score deadlocked at 2-2 after extra-time, the game went to penalties where Spence blocked shots from Andrija Jukic and Scott Blackmore to keep Bayswater’s Cup defence on course. “Sometimes it is pot luck when you are goalkeeping in a penalty shoot-out,” Spence told footballwest.com.au “As a ‘keeper you are either the villain or the hero and fortunately I made two good saves.”
The game was given a crackerjack start with both teams on the scoreboard inside the quarter hour. Brian Farrell tucked in the opener on 8 minutes after Steve Burton chested down a Andy Reale cross. Inglewood responded seven minutes later when Teeboy Kamara produced a scintillating strike from outside the penalty box. The game continued at a fast and furious pace with Bayswater again nudging ahead through David Heagney, who wasn’t required to break stride in taking Todd Howarth’s through ball. But in the shadows of half-time David Perich unleashed a stinging volley that hit the net before Spence could respond.
There was no let-up in the action after the interval. Trent Kay’s goalbound effort was halted on the line, and with the very next play Ryan Clarke’s shot was tipped away by Spence. As full-time approached the pace quickened with both teams going all out for the win, but it was Bayswater that had more in the tank. Luke Martino kept Inglewood alive with a superb saved which put Jamie Coyne’s rasping strike from distance over the top, and both Adrian Caceres and Adam Bachiller went close to stealing a late win. And while there were further chances in extra-time, the game was eventually sent to the spot from where Bayswater came out on top.
CUPSET SENDS SUBIACO INTO LAST FOUR (with Kalon Harrison, footballwest.com.au)
Top flight newcomers Subiaco AFC pulled off one of the surprises of the season by downing Cockburn City 2-1 in this evening’s State Cup quarter-final meeting at the WA Athletics Stadium. Ian McMurray gave the host club an early lead with substitute Jonas Dorling adding their second goal late in the piece, however, Alan Carroll replied soon after to ensure a tense final ten minutes. “We scored first for a start, which makes a difference,” said winning coach Gerry McEwan. “Then just as they change their tactics and throw a defender up, we score straight away because they were caught short at the back … little things like that haven’t fallen in our favour.”
McMurray gave Subiaco a dream start when, with 8 minutes on the clock, he rose highest to head a far post cross over Dejan Aleksic and into the opposite corner of the net. The final outcome would have been much different if it weren’t for Henry Davies, whose heroics between the posts for Subiaco frustrated Conor Kavanagh, Liam Murray and Oscar Thompson over the course of the evening. Subiaco edged closer to the semi-finals when Dorling slotted past Aleksic after being found unmarked by Jordan Rhodes’ 75th minute centre. Carroll pulled a goal back six minutes later but it proved little more than a consolation as Subiaco held firm to advance.
STIRLING RECOVER TO BOOK SEMI-FINAL SPOT (with Daryn McCleave, footballwest.com.au)
Stirling Lions put aside their recent poor league record by recovering from going two-goals down to Floreat Athena to claim a 3-2 victory in extra-time from this afternoon’s State Cup counter at Macedonia Park. The home teams’ defensive frailties were exposed twice in first half by Jamie Eames then Ludovic Boi before finishes after the turnaround by brothers Daniel and David Micevski breathed new life into the game. Jack Salter completed the turn-around with a 108th minute finish to book Stirling into the last four of the knock-out competition.
Floreat settled into the game quickly to take an 8th minute lead, Brian Gwatininga stealing the ball from by David Micevski and playing in Eames who finished emphatically past Aleks Vrteski. The Stirling goalkeeper did well to keep out a Bobby Wilson while Eames’ crashed a dead ball into the post as Floreat sought a second goal. That arrived in the 40th minute when Boi fired into an unguarded net after Vrteski was lured off his line by Ryan Pretorius after he’d broken free of a square defence. Vrteski was at full-stretch soon after in tipping away Wilson’s shot. Stirling’s best chance of the period had Daniel Micevski’s effort from 10-metres blocked by Tom Dixon.
Pretorius was unlucky not to put another goal on the board shortly after the restart, the midfielder’s lob over Vrteski coming back into play off the upright. Stirling now began to lift and on 68 minutes David Micevski atoned for his earlier error by curling past Dixon from 25-metres. There were only six minutes of regular time left when Daniel Micevski found himself in the right place at the right time to finish at close-range. Into extra-time the game went with Stirling creating the better openings. They deserved went ahead for the first time when Daniel Micevski played through Salter whose low shot ricocheted in via the upright to send Stirling through to the last four.
Stirling coach Gary Williams was full of praise for the character his squad showed after the interval. “We could have been three or four down at half-time,” he said. “I had a good stern chat and all credit to the boys they turned it around second-half and it showed we've got good character in the squad. We conceded poor goals but second half we looked solid because we had better possession in midfield. We made a couple of changes to try and force it and try and win it, and great character from the lads, heart attack material and a great game to be involved in."
MANDURAH TRIUMPH IN LIAM DIXON CUP
Mandurah City put one hand on the Liam Dixon Cup by downing arch-rivals Rockingham City 1-0 in the first leg of the friendly event played at Lark Hill Sportsplex. In typical derby fashion, both teams came out fast showing plenty of desire for an early lead. Mandurah came agonisingly close to breaking through when Craig Tone headed just high from an Alain Lengliz cross. Rockingham hit back with a slick passing move that set Reece Frank free down the left only to flash wide of the target. The deadlock was broken late in the half when Craig Tone charged down the left on the counterattack to deliver a low centre which was tucked away by an industrious Gerard Burke.
The second half opened with Rockingham the greater composure as they set about finding a goal to bring them back into the game. Substitute Brendan Birney turned his marker only to have his goal bound shot blocked by a defender. Rockingham were now controlling the tempo with Mandurah forced more often than not to focus on defensive duties. And already simmering tensions threatened to boil over when a cynical foul on Roy Hissey, who was through on goal, drew only a yellow card from the referee. Rockingham continued to push but Ryan Kennedy’s free-kick was turned away by Davie Keenan, while Birney place just wide from Maxwell Snelson’s cut back.
ZAHRA RELEASED BY GLORY
Pacey winger Adrian Zahra is on the lookout for a new home after being cut loose by Perth Glory. Zahra joined Glory in mid-2012 but a lack of first team opportunities restricted him to just 18 appearances over two seasons. The 23-year old spent much of his first term with the club regaining his match fitness after a year out with a serious knee injury. The midfielder’s struggle for regular game time last season, initially under Alistair Edwards and later then Kenny Lowe led to the latter’s decision to release him. It is understood the club are still in discussion to extend the contracts of marquee pair Shane Smeltz and William Gallas.
STATE CUP PREVIEW, ROUND THREE
Attentions switch to the thrill and excitement that is knock-out football this weekend with the staging of the State Cup quarter-finals. It provides Stirling Lions, who host Floreat Athena, a welcome distraction from their poor run in the home and away series. “Recent weeks have been horrid, there has been a lot of soul searching,” captain Andy Brown said. “On Tuesday we put all our cards on the table and cleared the air, then trained with an intensity that has been lacking. We are looking forward to putting on a big show on Saturday and turn our season around … in my eyes there is no better fixture to do this.”
Inglewood United has hit a rich vein of form but they’ll need to be in tip-top condition to get the better of a Bayswater City that has not lost this year. “We’ve turned the corner in the league and we have been in good form, but we all know Bayswater are the benchmark,” commented Inglewood’s David Sesay. “We are playing good football at the moment and are now at full-strength, we will be giving it our all to reach the semi-finals as these are the sorts of games you just love to play in.” Million Butshiire and Ryan Clarke return to the Inglewood squad, likewise Adam Bachiller for Bayswater.
ECU Joondalup will be out to avenge their recent league loss to Balcatta when the teams meet at the Edith Cowan University campus. “With some disappointing results over the last couple weeks we are aiming to put in an improved performance this weekend against a tough Balcatta side,” Joondalup assistant coach Craig Stephenson said. “To have a good Cup run is exciting for the club. We want to progress further into this competition, playing in finals is where the club wants to be and we have a great opportunity of achieving this this year.” Joondalup will be without David Caine, Ryan Lowry and Lee Jones whereas goalkeeper Clint Davies is Balcatta’s only absence.
With this year’s State Cup finalists qualifying for the inaugural FFA Cup, Cockburn City defender Euan Grant says victory is a must when his teams travels to Subiaco AFC (6.30pm). “Given what’s a stake if you make the final, this is a massive game for both teams,” said Grant. “It was a tough game when we played them last time in league last week and we are expecting the same again on Saturday.” Alan Carroll comes back in for Cockburn but injury prevents Blake Adams and Devon Gibson from participating, Subiaco regain Laurence Gaughan and Alex Randell. All State Cup quarter-final games kick-off at 2.30pm on Saturday unless stated otherwise.
SOUTHERN RIVALS UP FOR THE CUP
Mandurah City will be looking for their first win of the season when they take on southern rivals Rockingham City in the Liam Dixon Cup this weekend. The first leg of the Cup, named after the late son of former Mandurah and Rockingham player Paul Dixon, takes place on Saturday evening with the Dolphins focused on retaining the trophy. “Soccer rivalries don’t get much bigger than this in our region,” Mandurah president Peter Rowe told mandurahmail.com.au “There has always been great deal of intensity whenever we play each other – last year shirts were torn and a player sent off. Hopefully we won’t have that on Saturday night, but we’re determined to hold on the Cup.”
Mandurah have spluttered their way through the opening rounds of the new Division One season with the absence of several key players plunging the club to the foot of the table. But the return of Gerard Burke, Craig Tone and Robbie Hamm has provided a timely boost as they attempt to breathe new life into their winter. “It’s been a tough start to the season but I can’t fault the youngsters’ endeavour,” Rowe said. “We need a win and we probably need a couple of old heads back in the starting line-up to steady the ship and get us back on track.” Rockingham and Mandurah contest the Liam Dixon Cup from 6.00pm on Saturday at Lark Hill Sportsplex.
HARGREAVES SHINES FOR BAYSWATER
Bayswater City’s Declan Hargreaves has been one of the young stars of the inaugural National Premier Leagues season. Hargreaves was on the fringe of first team selection last year but a strong start to the new campaign has propelled the 19-year old into coach Chris Coyne’s first eleven. “The season has been good for me so far. I have enjoyed the environment at the club which makes playing a lot easier,” said the talented midfielder. “We are performing well, team confidence is high and everyone is bringing out the best in each other.”
Hargraves has come on in leaps and bounds since joining Bayswater in 2012 from the National Training Centre. “It was good for my development coming through the reserves ay Bayswater, it’s been good to work my way up and earn my spot,” Hargreaves explained. “I was in the process of leaving the NTC program and I got a call from (Bayswater coaches) Alun Vernals and Stewart Moses to come down, I did and I enjoyed it. I’m happy with my performances this season so far, but I need to work hard and be at my best for Chris to select me.”
English-born Hargreaves was only eleven when his family moved to Perth. He initially played for Sorrento followed by a spell with ECU Joondalup which, in turn, led to trials at English club Portsmouth. “I really enjoyed the trials in the UK. I showed me what is required to be a professional player, which every player aspires too,” Hargreaves said. “Things didn’t work out for me at Pompey, at the time they were in financial trouble, so I headed back home and joined the NTC program. But when the opportunity to work with Chris and Stewart at Bayswater came up I jumped at it.”
Bayswater have a number of former national league players within their ranks and Hargreaves is determined to learn all he can from each and every one of them. “There is a lot of A-League experience and English league players in our team, and they are the ones that have helped the most with my development,” he commented. “Chris and Stewart are very good to work for. They are very good at man managing players and make it easy for me to understand (my role in the side). As long as you show them you want to learn, they will teach you.”
Hargreaves attentions this weekend will be on helping Bayswater defend their State Cup crown. The trophies holders make the short trip to Intiga Stadium to take on an Inglewood United side which is unbeaten in six games. “Inglewood have hit some form over the past month and when we played them at our place in the league we needed a stoppage time winner from Paul McCarthy to win it,” he explained. “But we are the Cup holders and want to hold on to the trophy. We know we will have to be at our best, but we are confident we can come away with the right result.”
BALCATTA “STILL A FAIR BIT OFF” FROM PEAKING REVEALS RANDAZZO
Luke Randazzo has sent an ominous warning to the National Premier Leagues field by stating Balcatta’s best is yet to come. Balcatta have surged to fourth in the fledgling competition on the back of a three-game winning streak with Randazzo promising a whole lot more in coming weeks. “We had a good pre-season and have started to play some better football in recent weeks, but we are still a fair bit off how we would like to be playing on a more consistent basis,” said Randazzo, who joined the club over the off-season. “I’m really enjoying my football down at Balcatta, I’ve been given plenty of opportunities to play first team football which has been great.”
The summer months were a turbulent period for Balcatta with a new coaching team put in place and a near-total overhaul of the playing roster. “There’s only a few boys who were part of last year’s team. It was always going to take a little bit of time for everyone to gel and adjust to how one another play,” explained Randazzo, contributor of four goals to Balcatta’s early successes. “As a winger it’s my role to be an impact player and be as damaging as possible in the front third. It’s been really good to hit the scoreboard and hopefully I can add a few more goals to my tally during the rest of the season.”
Randazzo benefitted from the tutelage of former Socceroo Shaun Murphy while studying at Trinity College. He represented Western Australia at Schoolboys level in 2009 and played a year with Perth SC before switching to Inglewood United, where he spent last two seasons. “I enjoyed my time at Inglewood,” he said. “I occasionally came off the bench for the first team but played mostly in the Reserves. It was special last season winning the Premier Division and Top Five play-offs with the Reserves, they were a great bunch of guys to play with and it was even better to win some silverware.”
Ramon Falzon was sufficiently impressed with what he saw of Randazzo last year that, upon being appointed coach of Balcatta, he snapped up the midfielder. And although the 21-year old has been under Falzon’s guidance just six months, he feels he is already a better player. “Ramon is a great communicator and I feel I’m definitely developing under his guidance,” said Randazzo. “Ramon’s got a great insight into the game and has been really good to work with. His training drills are well constructed and it’s nice to see what we practice during the week get exhibited on game day.”
Balcatta scrapped past Subiaco AFC in the league last time out and Randazzo knows they’ll need a grander all-round performance if they’re to beat ECU Joondalup in Saturday’s State Cup encounter. “The Cup game at Joondalup is a massive game for us,” said Randazzo, whose team recently downed Joondalup 2-0 in the league. “We won’t look too much into the fact we beat them a few weeks ago, we know they’ll definitely be up for the game, the stakes in this Cup are pretty important. We’ll be much more focused on playing a good brand of football and hopefully can put in a consistent 90 minutes.”
BAMBER LASHES REFEREE AFTER COCKBURN DUMP ARMADALE
Armadale coach Lee Bamber took aim at match officials after Cockburn City handed out a 5-1 thrashing on a blustery evening at Dalmatinac Park. The game was evenly poised at one-each when referee Josh Mannella made his mark by sending off Armadale goalscorer Alec Solomons for a sloppy tackle, and in the process earn the ire of Bamber. “It was an unbelievable decision and we keep getting them – it beggars believe,” Bamber told nplwa.com.au “We were in the game and playing some good football but when those sorts of decisions come along your game plan goes out of the window. I can’t say too much as I will get in trouble but to say I’m fuming is an understatement.”
Howling wind and driving rains forced the abandonment of the Reserves fixture, and for a period there was concern the first team game would meet the same fate. Once play began it took the home side just 8 minutes to register the opening goal, Blake Adams reacting quickest to put away the follow-up to a Devon Gibson shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Matthew Gould. Armadale returned fire ten minutes later when Luke Bogoni’s free-kick was headed back across goal by John Thornley for Solomons to net at close-range. But the visitors joy was short-lived with Mannella issuing Solomons a straight red card for his 25th minute sliding tackle which, given the wet conditions, was something of an over-reaction.
It took Gibson only until the 33rd minute to put Cockburn back in front, the winger’s cross hitting the far post and deflecting into the net off the unfortunate Gould. The host tightened their grip three minutes later when Gibson finished clinically after a tidy one-two with Liam Murray. Jason Barrera would have brought Armadale back into the game if not for a superb saved from Dejan Aleksic, who also did well to keep out Bogoni’s long-range strike. Murray made it four-one after 73 minutes with a powerful header after getting on the end of a Ryan Haslett corner. The game was in stoppage time when Gibson converted a contentious penalty awarded after Jonty Turner went down under Sam Loveless’ challenge.
GARCIA SNAPPED UP BY MINNESOTA
Attacking midfielder Richard Garcia has signed for American Soccer League side Minnesota United. 32-year old Garcia will join former Sydney FC teammate Tiago Calvano at the club, who have won their first four games of the new season. “This is a great opportunity for me to continue playing uninterrupted from the A-League season, and I am very excited to join Minnesota United with the goal to help the club secure a spot in the NASL Championship,” said Garcia. “I expect my transition to be much easier after playing with Tiago at Sydney this past season and I cannot wait to join my teammates and look forward to meeting everyone in Minnesota.”
Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos said he was pleased to sign Garcia, whose 18 caps for Australia include appearances at the 2010 World Cup. “We are excited to add a player with the experience that Richard Garcia brings to the table,” Lagos said. “He has been a player that’s had a great career all over the globe and we are thrilled to add someone of his quality to our team. It’s nice to bring in a player who has played at the highest level and represented his country in the biggest soccer tournament in the world.” Minnesota currently tops the Spring Championship with four wins from as many games.
TRIO SELECTED FOR MATILDA’S ASIAN CUP CAMPAIGN
West Australian trio Lisa De Vanna, Samantha Kerr and Lydia Williams will defend Australia’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup title after gaining selection in coach Alen Stajcic’s squad. Appointed coach only last month, Stajcic finalised his 23-player squad for this month’s tournament in Vietnam following a six-day training camp on the Gold Coast. Headlined by W-League Player of the Year Tameka Butt and Young Player of the Year Stephanie Catley, the squad includes four players based in the United States of America – De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Kerr and Williams – and eleven who were part of the Women’s Asian Cup winning squad of four years ago..
Stajcic admits the selection process was difficult. “During the camp I was impressed with the quality and standard of football that the girls produced and we certainly have been blessed with having some really good depth to pick from,” Stajcic said. “We have only been able to work together for a short time since I came in but we implemented some new things at the camp which they responded well to and I’m confident that this squad has the potential to be successful in Vietnam.” The Matildas will play world champions Japan, Jordan and Vietnam in the group stage of the tournament, which doubles as a qualification event for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
The top five teams at the tournament will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Australia’s squad for the upcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup features Lisa De Vanna (Boston Breakers), Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar), Michelle Heyman, Ashleigh Sykes (Canberra United), Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey (Melbourne Victory), Kathryn Gill (Perth Glory), Caitlin Foord (Sky Blue FC), Nicola Bolger, Casey Dumont, Leena Khamis, Teresa Polias (Sydney FC), Samantha Kerr, Lydia Williams (Western New York Flash), Teigen Allen, Alanna Kennedy and Emily Van Egmond (Western Sydney Wanderers).
SAINSBURY IN WORLD CUP LIMBO
Trent Sainsbury’s World Cup fate rests in the hands of the Socceroos’ medical staff as he continues to battle after a freak knee injury. The 22-year old defender could return to Australia by the end of the week after Dutch-club PEC Zwolle granted him an early release as he aims for a last-ditch attempt to be fit for the World Cup. Sainsbury gained his starting debut with days of arriving at Zwolle in February but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise after he landed on a sprinkler, fracturing his kneecap, late in the away win over FC Utrecht.
The initial diagnosis of three weeks on the sidelines has now blown out three months, and lingering pain has Sainsbury in doubt to be named in the Socceroo’s 23-man squad. “It’s not often a player fractures their kneecap landing on a sprinkler. They’ve ever seen anything like it,” said Sainsbury, who has been told he may require surgery . “It’s hard to diagnose, it’s playing on my mind a lot. It’s difficult, I always hear about injured players struggling to get back and think it will be easy, but when you’re in the situation you realise it’s hard.”
Sainsbury has been told he may be able to play on, albeit with pain, but if it doesn’t respond he may require surgery. “One morning I think, nah forget about it (the World Cup), I’ll wait until next season starts,” he said. “Another day I get out of bed and think I can do it, I’ll keep going and see what happens. At the moment my gut feeling is that I’ll go for it. I’ve got to get the final blessing from the coach here, but he’s said its best to go home, get treatment and get the opinion of the Aussie docs before making up my mind up.”
GLORY DUO RETURN TO PARENT CLUBS
Perth Glory have confirmed Ryan Edwards and Darvydas Sernas will return to their respective clubs upon completion of their loan deals. Edwards joined Glory last July on a season-long agreement with English Championship outfit Reading and made 15 appearances for his hometown club. Sernas, a Lithuanian international, heads back to Turkish club Gaziantepspor after turning out ten times since joining his January move to Glory. The departure of Edwards and Sernas comes only days after goalkeeping coach Neil Young was released by Glory.
BOI SHINES AS FLOREAT TRIUMPH
Floreat Athena moved up to fifth in the National Premier Leagues following a 3-1 win over Armadale at Litis Stadium. Jamie Eames put the hosts ahead from the penalty but John Thornley did likewise at the opposite end to send the teams into the break on level terms. Floreat regained the lead through Jack Allen with Bobby Wilson sealing the win late on. “The lads have work hard over the past four weeks, both on match days and training and were getting the rewards now,” Floreat captain Ludovic Boi said. “We battled hard and we knew we had to against Armadale but overall I thought we deserved the points and continue on with our good form.”
Floreat were quick out of the blocks and went close to the opener on 23 minutes, Wilson’s header from Boi’s corner was cleared off the line by Jake Sardelic. But six minutes later they hit the front. Boi’s through ball sent Callam Fransz into goal and he fell under Sam Loveless’ challenge in the penalty area, and referee Michael Jasinski point straight to the spot. Eames stepped up and despatched the spot kick to give Floreat the lead. Armadale striker Thornley was a constant threat and in stoppage time he was adjudged to have been pushed in the penalty area by Wilson. Referee Michael Jasinski pointed straight to the spot and Thornley picked himself up to send Tom Dixon the wrong way to send the teams into the break even.
Floreat regained their lead three minutes into the second half. Eames found space down the left and raced past two Armadale defenders, before finding Ashley Corker. His shot was parried by Mathew Gould, but the rebound fell to Allen, who scored with a bullet like shot into the top corner of the net. The home side went close again on the hour; Corker’s shot from 10-meters beat Mathew Gould, but was cleared off the line by Alec Solomons. Armadale pressed late in the game, Mitch Castrilli shot was well saved by Dixon on 74 minutes, and Bake sent Faustinho Machochi clear moments later, but the strikers shot flashed inches wide of the target. But it was the home side that added to their lead with eight minutes remaining. Man of the match Boi’s corner from the left was headed home by Wilson from five-meters, and the points were safe.
BRISBANE WIN A-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
Brisbane Roar became the most successful team in the A-League’s nine-year history by securing their third championship in four years with a 2-1 defeat of Western Sydney Wanderers in today’s Grand Final. But the record books will not truly reflect what Brisbane achieved with their come-from-behind extra-time victory in front of 51,153 fans. Western Sydney dared to dream of a maiden title in only their second season after jumping into the lead thanks to Matthew Spiranovic’s 56th minute header. Besart Berisha left it until the 85th minute to equalise with a well-timed header from Thomas Broich’s free-kick, sending the game to extra-time. And the Brisbane faithful they had plenty more to cheer about as super sub Henrique pounced on James Donachie’s cross to blast in the decider from point-blank range.
BAYSWATER MADE TO WORK FOR THE POINTS
Bayswater City continued their hold on top spot on the National Premier Leagues table after a hard fought 4-2 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Liam Murray but the home side in front early but the sending off of defender Andy Carrol after half an hour changed the game. Adrian Caceres converted the resulting penalty and added a second before David Heagney made it three-one at the break. Heagney bagged a second after the break, and Ryan Haslett added a consolation goal for the home side late in the game. “Sometimes when you’re in a run of results you think you can just turn up and win games,” Bayswater coach Chris Coyne told nplwa.com.au “Football’s not like that, you’ve got to earn the right to win, especially against a good Cockburn team.”
It was a perfect start for the home side, and they were ahead after only three minutes. Murray, who bagged brace against Subiaco AFC in midweek, saw his shot on the turn fly past Devon Spence and into the net. But on the half hour the visitors levelled, Carrol brought down Todd Howarth in the penalty area and referee Trent Fleskins pointed to the spot and sent the defender off, Caceres keeping his nerve to score the penalty.
Bayswater had plenty of possession but were struggling to break a stubborn Cockburn defence well led by Euen Grant, but on 44 minutes there pressure told. Caceres was given too much room on the edge of the penalty area and he fired low past Dejan Aleksic. In stoppage time Bayswater added a third, Heagney’s rich vein of form in front of goal continued, firing home after a good move from the visitors.
Cockburn looked to hit back after the break but they were caught out again on 57 minutes. Heagney bagged his sixth goal of the season, with a great shot from the edge of the penalty area. He went close to hat-trick moments later, but his shot was superbly saved by Aleksic. Cockburn continued to take the game to Bayswater and Spence had to be alert to deny Murray a second, and produced another good stop to deny Devon Gibson. Their hard work was rewarded on 85 minutes with a consolation goal, Haslett scoring, but all the damage had been done early.
PERTH TOO STRONG FOR JOONDALUP
Perth SC put aside a slow start to destroy ECU Joondalup 4-0 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Mark Pritchard and Aden Da Luz each scored a brace to keep Perth second on the National Premier Leagues ladder, seven points behind leaders Bayswater City. “We expected a physical, high tempo start to the game and they didn't disappoint. Having said that, I felt we managed the first half well and scored at important times in the half,” Perth midfielder Clark Keltie said. “It's a sign of a good team when you have players all over the park who can get on the score sheet, and I thought Mark Pritchard composure in front of goal was quality.”
It was even opening with both sides going close but the home side lost influential midfielder Jon Stynes after only 27 minutes, and two minutes later the visitors took the lead. Ryan Lowry was caught in possession, and the home side thought he was fouled, but referee Tim Mihevc waved play on and Friday Zico raced away, he played in Ashley Rosindale who unselfishly released Pritchard to score into an open goal.
Perth doubled their lead ten minutes later and again it was Rosindale who was the supplier. The striker raced clear down the flank, and picked out Pritchard on the edge of the penalty area who fired low past Andy Banks. ECU looked to hit back and went close before the break. Jon Higgins’ corner found Tommy Amphlett, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Alex Dunn.
The home side were out of the blocks early after the re-start and Jon Higgins’ and Jake Benson-Cooper both went close, but with skipper Craig Simpson and Luka Njegich in good form they couldn’t find the break through. Perth steadied and made it 3-0 on 64 minutes, Da Luz was given far too much room in the box and his low shot beat Banks. The visitors put the icing on the cake two minutes from time, second half substitute Andreas Theodosiades crossed to Da Luz who scored from close-range.
SORRENTO REBOUND TO STUN GLORY
Perth Glory’s recent good form in the National Premier Leagues came to an end after they were beaten 3-2 by Sorrento on Saturday afternoon at Intiga Stadium. The Glory youngster had raced to a two goal lead, Jamie Maclaren and Riley Woodcock on target before half time. But after the break Todd Harnwell scored three minutes in, and a brace from Reece Vittiglia put the visitors in control. “I was delighted with the attitude and commitment of the players,” Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell said. “To go two-nil down against a team containing eight A-League players and come back to win is a huge win, and gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
The Glory, who had eight A-League players in their side, hit the front on 12 minutes. Maclaren converted from the penalty spot, scoring his ninth goal of the season. Then on 23 minutes they doubled their lead, Woodcock’s cross turned out to be a perfect shot flying into the top corner of the net giving Sorrento keeper James Morgan. The Glory was bossing the game and there were a few worried looks on the Sorrento bench at half time.
Whatever Coaches Jamie Harnwell and Trevor Morgan said at the break worked, and the Gulls were back in the game three minutes into the second half. Todd Harnwell was picked out on the edge of the penalty area and his lob flew over Glory keeper Jack Duncan. The momentum of the game had turned and Sorrento powered ahead with a brace to Vittiglia in a six minute spell. The game took another twist on 65 minutes when referee Josh Mannella sent off Sorrento midfielder James Morgan for a second yellow card. The Glory youngsters pressed late with substitutes Joe Knowles and Jacob Collard both impressing, but Sorrento hung on to claim the points.
STALLARD WINS IT LATE FOR BALCATTA
A goal deep into stoppage time by defender Kieron Stallard has given Balcatta a 1-0 win over a gallant Subiaco AFC at Grindleford Reserve. Subiaco looked the goods to take a point from the afternoon but the late second half red carding of substitute George Tchami put an end to those hopes. “We were far from our best today, we had really good chances early to take the lead that we wasted and then pressure starts to mount to get that goal,” said Balcatta midfielder James Sammut. “But to the lads credit we showed great character today, never gave up and we got the three points in the end.”
Subiaco began the game well and went close after only three minutes. Pat Morrison’s snap shot was well saved by Clint Davies. The bottom of the table Subiaco were then lucky not to concede three minutes later, Patrick Quinn’s cross picked out Adam Tong, but with the goal at his mercy the Balcatta skipper fired wide from close-range. Tong went close again midway through the half, the big defender heading wide again from Quinn’s cross. Then in stoppage time Sammut sent Quinn racing clear, his initial shot was well saved by Henry Davies, his follow up shot was cleared off the line by Ger Fitzgerald.
Balcatta pressed after the break and Henry Davies had to be alert to save from Gustavo Catarcione early, before the Balcatta custodian did even better to deny Sammut’s long-range strike on the hour. The visitors were then reduced to ten men on 70 minutes after for a rash challenge by Tchami, who was given his marching orders only seven minutes after entering the action. Subiaco were hitting on the counter attack and went close to the opener with five minutes remaining, Nathan Diaz cutting past his marker but shooting just past the post. The game was deep in stoppage time when Balcatta came up with a winner, Benny Kouakou’s shot was blocked but the ball fell kindly for Stallard to fire in from 4-metres.
INGLEWOOD EXTEND UNBEATEN RUN
Inglewood United continued their improved form with a 4-2 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. David Sesay gave the visitors the lead only to have Hayden Doyle level on the half hour. Abdul Sesay and captain Andrija Jukic put Inglewood back in control, and while David Micevski pulled one back for the home team Shane Pickering’s late finish sealed outcome. “All the boys worked really hard for each other and I thought we got the result we deserved,” said Jukic. “It was a great all round effort from the boys, we have been playing some good stuff in the last few weeks and we continued and improved on that against a decent Stirling side today.”
It was an arm wrestle early with both sides having chances, but it was the visitors who hit the front on 22 minutes. David Sesay was given far too much room on the edge of the penalty area, before the speedy winger’s low shot beat Aleks Vrteski and went in off the far post. The home lifted and David Micevski’s long-range shot was well saved by Luke Martino moments later and on the half hour the Lions were level. Phil Arnold picked out Hayden Doyle, who drifted past his marker and finished low past Martino. But eight minutes later the visitors regained the lead. David Sesay showed his pace down the flank and pulled the ball back from the bye-line and Abdul Sesay fired home from close-range.
The visitors continued to take the game to the Lions after the break and David Perich’s shot from 10-meters went wide of the target five minutes in, but on 53 minutes they increased their lead. Jukic found space in the penalty area, and his shot took a deflection off a Lions defender, up and over a stranded Vrteski. But Gay Williams’ side didn’t lie down and pulled a goal back on 64 minutes. Arnold crossed to David Micevski whose first touch took him clear of his marker and he finished with aplomb past Martino. The Lions pressed forward looking for the equaliser and they were caught out again nine minutes later. Matt Danskin’s free kick caused problems in the Lions penalty area and Pickering was the quickest to react when the ball came to him and he finished low past Vrteski frm close-range to wrap up the points.
UWA PULL AWAY FROM DROP ZONE
Defender Sime Lozic gained UWA-Nedlands their first win of the Division One season, 2-1 over Wanneroo City at McGillivrary Oval. Wanneroo entered the break with the lead thanks to Blake Rodgers but Alex Kreds’ equalised soon after the restart with Lozic nodding in the decider with only minutes to spare. UWA settled the better and would have opened up sizeable lead had Jamie Serra not kept out shots from Richard Olsen and Kreds. The loss of Kevin Fields to a serious leg injury failed the halt the hosts with Tom Baxendale rattling the crossbar on the counterattack. Wanneroo pinched the lead against the run of play just before the break, Stuart Montgomery playing in Rodgers whose first time shot from outside the area came to rest in the net.
Serra found himself in the thick of the action upon the restart, the goalkeeper making another great save to deny Kreds after Lozic’s long ball caught Wanneroo napping at the back. UWA got the goal they deserved on the hour, Liam Mallinson’s clipped pass over the defence steered into the net by an out-stretched Kreds. With the score level Wanneroo enjoyed an extended spell in possession but their only genuine chance on goal came via a Montgomery free-kick which was headed over the top by Zac Aley. Andy Brown squandered a similar opening at the other end fashioned by David Cox. With seven minutes left Lozic rose highest to head in the winner from Olsen’s well-flighted corner.
BUNBURY SURGE INTO THE LEAD
Morley Windmills unbeaten start to the season has come to an abrupt end in the form of a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Bunbury Forum Force at Wotton Reserve. The game was effectively over by the break by which stage Lee Stewart, Jon Brooks and Ryan Risdon had the away side in a commanding positions, with Michael Farmer adding a fourth goal midway through the second period. “We played them off the park,” said Brooks, whose team sits top of the table alongside Canning City. “Every point will count this year and there’s a real buzz around the team at the moment. Trent (coach Trent Hathaway) has us well-drilled and anything new we work on pays off the following week.”
Morley came out swinging and should have gone ahead after only 3 minutes but David Malcolm failed to make the most of his one-on-one with goalkeeper Jamie Oakley. That warning was heeded by the visitors and it didn’t take long for Brooks and Jayden Prosser to begin working for openings down the flanks. That approached paid dividends in the 18th minute when Brooks played through for Stewart to cut in from the left and fire beyond Daniel Agudelo from 10-metres. Eight minutes later Brooks popped the ball into an empty net after getting on the end of Kenny Taylor’s pass and rounding the Morley custodian. Risdon added his name to the scoresheet just after the half hour with a tidy finish from 11-metres after Farmer nodded down Brooks’ free-kick.
Johannes Tadesse and Kris Dennis entered the game at half-time for Morley but the one-way nature of the game continued. Within minutes Stewart was sent clear of the defence by Taylor but his low strike flashed narrowly wide of the far post. With Bunbury dominating possession and territory, there seemed a very real likelihood that the margin would really blow out. But the only goal of the period arrived on 71 minutes, Brooks’ swinging a corner beyond the far post with Risdon returning the ball into the danger zone where Farmer looped his head into Agudelo’s net. An already miserable day out for Morley got worse shortly after when striker David Houston suffered a knee injury and, having used all three substitutes, the hosts finished with only ten men.
NIEDERBERGER CAPITALISES ON CANNING’S DOMINANCE
Canning City claimed victory for the third successive time by out-gunning Gosnells City 3-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home side began the day unbeaten but that meant little to a Canning side for whom Daniel Niederberger netted twice before Laurence Cheyne sealed the win. “Gosnells had conceded only two goals prior to this game and they certainly frustrated us in the first half,” admitted Canning’s playing coach Paul Van Dongen. “We eventually broke the game open and were in control for the whole the second half. Keeping another clean sheet is a big positive, and it’s great to have Daniel Niederberger back amongst the goals, including an absolute peach of a strike for his second.”
Gosnells were on the front foot early and could have been ahead inside a minute, Ben Howe’s free-kick from the right finding an unmarked Scott Pereria whose header crashed against the post. While Gosnells were creating the better of early opportunities on goal, it was Canning that was controlling the tempo of the game and gradually having a greater say in proceedings. Josh Findlater should have done better that lift high of the target, likewise Niederberger with a dead ball. The visitors persistence was rewarded via a swift move down the left, Nathan Hubbard crossing for Paul Van Dongen whose shot was parried by goalkeeper Tom Allen with Niederberger netting the follow-up.
The balance of play remained with Canning after the turnaround, whereas Gosnells were limited to breaking on the counterattack. Niederberger’s second goal came midway through the period, the attacker drilling into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box after Simon Versaico beat a couple of opponents on the left and cut the ball back to his team mate. A sweeping move ten minutes from full-time put the icing on the cake for Canning, the ball eventually making its way to substitute Cheyne who angled his finish under the advancing ‘keeper. 17-year old Charlie Parry also the ball in the net for a fourth time but his stoppage time strike was disallowed for offside.
BURNS SEES ASHFIELD TO ANOTHER THREE POINTS
Ashfield extended their unbeaten to the new season to four games with a 4-0 demolition of Swan United at the Swan Italian Club. Jamie Burns found the net late in each half after an early own goal and Jay Lang’s finish put the visitors in a comfortable position. “I’m happy to be back playing after last year’s disappointing run with injury, it’s good to bag another couple of goals,” said Burns, who now has six goals for the season. “We were up at half-time against Western Knights and Morley Windmills and both times we let those sides back into the game. Today proves we have learnt to shut up shop and stop leaving the door open for teams to come back in.”
Ashfield lived up to their pre-game favourites tag by monopolising the early exchanges. With 9 minutes gone Joe Briggs streamed away down the right to whip in a low cross which a defender turned into his own net under pressure from Burns and Craig Miles. With Lang and Ruben Tristao dictating play from the centre, and Briggs and Luke Colli probing down the flanks it was only ever a matter of time before that lead was added to. Lang obliged by converting a 26th minute penalty awarded after Tristao was unceremoniously felled inside the area. And seven minutes from the break Lang put Burns in behind the defence with the striker rounding Koroma to tuck into an empty net.
Swan returned for the second half determined to find a way back into the game, however, they spend much of the period again on the defensive. There were a few nervous moments for Koroma as Miles and Burns got off shots at close-range, while efforts from distance by Lang, Briggs and Tom Kennedy also required a response from the over-worked Swan custodian. It wasn’t until the 86th minute that Ashfield fashioned their fourth goal, Briggs playing through for Burns to race clear and tuck into Koroma’s net at the second attempt. Three minutes later Swan created their only opening but ‘keeper John Perkins parried the shot with his defence clearing the danger.
PENDER INSPIRES SHAMROCK
Shamrock Rovers Perth midfielder Will Pender played the starring role in this afternoon’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Western Knights at Grimley Reserve. Pender, who missed the last fortnight through injury, celebrated his return to action by setting up Darren O’Riordan for the opener before deciding the outcome after the interval. The opening exchanges were evenly but the Knights were thrown onto the back foot when Tom Sellers’ tackle on Pender was harshly dealt with by the referee, who issued a straight red card. Shamrock made the most of their extra player just before the half hour though O’Riordan, whose powerful back post header was the perfect response to Pender’s cross. Half-time was only minutes away when Paul Lloyd brought the sides level with a fierce grass cutter which went in via the upright.
An all-action start to the second half had both teams on the attack. The Knights should have gone ahead when Lloyd broke free but instead of taking the shot he teed-up team mate Luka Jukic whose finish rolled harmlessly across the face of goal. This missed was punished in the 62 minute when Pender got in behind the defence and cleverly convinced goalkeeper Sam Hutchings to go one way before tucking into the opposite corner from 14-metres. The away team desperately sought a second goal and it looked as though they’d have an opportunity to hit the net again when Johny Mirco was crudely felled by Charlie Kenna, however, the referee disagreed and play was allowed to continue. The win moves Shamrock into fourth place, two points behind the leaders.
FORRESTFIELD CONTINUE TO GATHER MOMENTUM
Rhys Loxley scored twice to lead Forrestfield United to a 4-0 win over eastern corridor rivals Kelmscott Roos at Hartfield Park. It was clear this was going to be a long afternoon for Kelmscott from the moment Joe Tomlin was sent off midway through the first half. Loxley opened his teams account soon after and added another after the turnaround as Trent Wood and substitute Josh Appleby also found the net. “The boys are now controlling the games through possession, structured attacks and in the timing of our attacks,” said Forrestfield coach Rod Banjac. “It’s difficult to dominate for 90 minutes but we have matured as a collective unit and now have depth with a blend of experience, youthful exuberance, creativity and speed.”
All the early pressure came from the away team but strong defensive work by Nathan Watkins and Jason Godfrey limited the damage to a smattering of half chances. The turning point came on 23 minutes when Tomlin collected his marching orders following an off-the-ball involving Wood. Forrestfield were now in the ascendency and just before the break Loxley latched onto some great build-up play to make it one-nil. Chris Perrott had the ball in the net for a second time soon after but a foul in the lead-up meant it counted for nothing. The second half was pretty much one-way traffic with Wood doubling the margin before Appleby and Loxley rounded out the scoring.
RUBRIDGE SINKS SPIRITED BALGA
Jason Rubridge popped up deep in stoppage time to grab Joondalup City a 3-2 win from their visit to Balga. The northern suburbs side had twice gone ahead, through Jody Thompson and Shane Doyle, only to be pegged back on each occasion before Rubridge netted for the fourth successive game. “We’re delighted to have ten points from our opening four games, especially as we haven’t yet achieved the consistency we are looking for,” Joondalup coach Gary Kalaher said. “Balga will be a difficult place for teams to come this year with the bumpy pitch, vocal home support and cold showers, not to mention that they have some very talented players who caused us real problems.”
There was no end of openings scattered throughout a first half in which the two teams traded attacks. The first came the way of the home team after only 4 minutes but Saah Tamba managed to only find the side netting from an acute angle. Joondalup showed him how it’s done ten minutes later when Rubridge played in behind the defence for Alex Corner whose centring pass presented Thompson an easy finish. Michael Dudek brilliantly foiled Corner at point-blank range, while at the opposite end Kyall Osborne’s shot from 15-metres brought a fine save from the goalkeeper.
Balga returned for the second period fired up and just before the hour a crisp exchange of passes between Osborne and James Rowlands was finished into the net by the later. Doyle had been on the park only a few minutes when he side-footed in Joondalup’s second goal after meeting a corner from fellow substitute Adam Proctor. This time it took the home side just three minutes to restore parity, Michael Bangura lobbing into an empty net following an error by the goalkeeper. 92 minutes were on the clock when Danny Beattie got down the left to deliver an inch-perfect cross for Rubridge to head in the deciding goal.
JOONDALUP HIT FIVE AGAINST LUCKLESS ELLENBROOK
Joondalup United were forced to come from behind in defeating Ellenbrook United 5-1 at Forrest Park. In a game that was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests, the away team were on the board first through Paul McCafferty but an own goal restored parity before Josh Whitmore, Adam Buckley and a late double from substitute Mike Kenny sent the points north. McCafferty gave Ellenbrook a dream start when his looping volley evaded the outstretched gloves of James Bodset after only 5 minutes. Joondalup’s response came twenty minutes later and through the unlikely source of Steven Ashforth, who turned Alex Wild’s cross into his own net. Wild was involved again just before the break when his spilled cross was netted by Whitmore.
It was with coach Danny Smith’s words ringing in their ears that Joondalup returned for the second half. Substitute Tony Taylor instantly started wreaking havoc down the right and it was from his inch-perfect cross that Buckley lashed in from 6-metres to make it three-one. But Ellenbrook refused to give in, Paul Williams heading just past the target while Oliver Langdale and Ashford both called Bodset into action. Kenny, fresh from scoring a hat-trick in the reserves, came on for the final ten minutes and immediately raced clear to further extended Joondalup’s lead. With only minutes left Kenny struck into the top corner from 22-metres to add some gloss to the win.
TEN IS ENOUGH FOR QUINNS
Quinns survived going a man down to run out 2-0 winners from their visit to Melville City. Luke Zeller put the away team in front midway through the first period but it wasn’t until close to the final whistle that Liam McGurk made the game safe. Quinns started strongly by winning a series of corners at which Ross Edwards made his presence felt. The goal they sought arrived after 25 minutes, Zeller meeting a cross with a thunderous volley into the top corner before the goalkeeper could react. Brian Cairney was unlucky not to double the difference but after beating the offside trap his lob over the oncoming ‘keeper drop the wrong side of the post.
Melville returned for the second half fired up and on the attack. Matt Donlevy steered his header goalward only to have John McGahern clear off the line and Daniel McAinsh was at full-stretch in tipping away Sasa Slavujevic’s shot from outside the area. Quinns were doing all they could to hold out but when Josh Reid received his marching orders with twenty minutes to go for dissent it seemed only a matter of time before the home team would find a way through. However, Quinns had no desire to forgo any points and in stoppage time McGurk tucked in goal number two from 16-metres after the ‘keeper blocked Lewis Hall’s attempt.
FREMANTLE BOUNCE BACK
Andrew Morrow put Fremantle United back on the winner’s list with his second half finish earning victory by 2-1 over a ten-man Kingsway Olympic. All the action came in the second half, PJ Mills opening goal cancelled out by Giuseppe Agnello after which Kingsway’s Craig Highet was red carded for dissent. “We showed a lot of heart in coming from a goal down to win two-one. As soon as we conceded everyone lifted and battled to the very end,” said Fremantle’s Ty Fenwick. “It’s an important win as we need to get our season back on track and, like all sides, we still have areas of improvement but I can only see positives going forward for Fremantle.”
Genuine chances were few and far between in a lifeless first half but it was a much different story after the break. Kingsway were on the board first with Mills heading in after lee Thomas’ long throw was spilled by goalkeeper Peter Wile. It took Fremantle only ten minutes to draw level, Andrew Ambrogio slicing open the defence with an exquisite pass that allowed Agnello to coolly stroke into Ben Towers’ net. Kingsway’s position took a turn for the worse when, with twenty minutes remaining, Highet received his marching orders. Morrow rubbed salt into the wound by scrambling in the winner after the home side failed to clear at a late corner.
ONE EACH FOR ROCKINGHAM AND CURTIN
The points were shared at Lark Hill Sportsplex where Rockingham City and Curtin University played out an entertaining 1-1 draw. Trevor Laure brought the sides level close to the final whistle with a miss-hit cross to negate Rory Binnie’s early opener. A cautious start by both teams was punctuate when Curtin edged the lead on 10 minutes, Binnie punishing poor defending at a Kristian Bevan corner by sticking the ball in the net at close-range. Rockingham immediately set about getting back on level terms but found few holes in a resilient Curtin backline. Alex Grayson should have done better than lift over the crossbar while goalkeeper Calum McMulkin tipped Laure’s effort onto the post.
There was little change to the overall pattern of play after the break with Rockingham dominating possession and Curtin bunkering down at the back. Grayson, Laure and Max Snelson were all presented opportunities to equalise but on each occasion their efforts were met either by McMulkin’s gloves or the woodwork. Their persistence was eventually rewarded in the 77th minute when Laure’s cross drifted over the ‘keeper and into the net to set-up a tense finish. The game now opened up with Rockingham coming closest to grabbing a winner through Snelson, whose close-range attempt was turned onto the post by McMulkin.
THWAITE NAMED GLORY’S BEST
Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite capped an outstanding season by being named the clubs’ Most Glorious Player. One of few standouts in a tumultuous campaign, Thwaite’s efforts were also recognised with the Volunteers Player of the Year award along with an inaugural Home Ground Hero prize. The 31-year old was a stabilising presence throughout his 24 appearances this season and is a leading candidate to take over the captaincy from retired midfielder Jacob Burns.
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, currently on loan for Japanese club Vegalta Sendai, was honoured with the Players’ Player and Supporter’s Player of the Year trophies. Brazilian import Sidnei picked up the Supporters Man of the Match, which highlights supporter interaction on game day, and Goal of the Year awards. The Golden Boot was shared by Shane Smeltz and Steven McGarry while Travis Dodd, who missed the season through injury, was named Best Clubman. Jacob Collard was the Most Glorious National Youth League player and Chris Harold was voted Young Player of the Year.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND EIGHT
There’s been little joy so far this year for Stirling Lions when on home soil but they’ll be out to change that when an improving Inglewood United drops by tomorrow afternoon. “I have no doubt that this will be a challenging game for us,” said Stirling defender and former Inglewood captain Rikki Smith. “Our last two results have been unacceptable, so we will doing everything we can to get our season back on track with the three points.” Stirling’s injury problems are clearing up with Phil Arnold, Miki Vujacic, Jovo Pavlovic, Dean Evans and Moses Kalau all knocking on the selection door against an Inglewood outfit at full-strength.
A run of form has driven Balcatta up the standings, and that upward trajectory is expected to continue when they host Subiaco AFC. “Hopefully we can put together a good team performance and come away with the three points,” said Balcatta midfielder James Sammut. “I don’t know much about Subiaco but I’m sure they will be right up for the game, so we need to make sure we stay focused to prevent them from getting their first win of the season.” Influential midfielder Kris Gate will again be absent for the home team, whereas Subiaco are hopeful of getting back defender Laurence Gaughan.
Perth SC can stretch their unbeaten run to four games by taking home a point, or three, from ECU Joondalup. “The young guys stepped up and we came away with not only the win but also our first clean sheet of the season,” commented Perth shot-stopper Alex Dunn said. “Joondalup are always a difficult team to play, especially at their home, but we head there full of confidence.” Joondalup have been bolstered by the recruitment of Danny Dixon and Tommy Amphlett’s return. It’s a similar story for Perth with Craig Simpson, Clark Keltie and Robbie Sciascia available.
Joseph Knowles expects Perth Glory’s date with Sorrento at Intiga Stadium to be fiercely contested. “Sorrento are a good team and have some quality players so it will be good game, like most of the National Premier Leagues games this season,” said Knowles, whose team have put away eighteen goals during a four-game unbeaten run. “We just need to play the way we have been playing over the past few weeks, and if we do we will keep going on our winning streak.” The game also re-unites former teammates Scott Miller and Jamie Harnwell, now coaches of Glory and Sorrento respectively.
Cockburn City will be pulling out all the stops to prevent Bayswater City from extending their winning run to seven games when they meet at Dalmatinac Park. Defender Euan Grant comes back in following suspension for the home side but a late fitness test will determine whether Conor Kavanagh takes to the field. New Floreat Athena coach Peter Murphy comes up against his former club when Armadale travel to Litis Stadium for the Sunday fixture. Reds boss Lee Bamber has to work out where new recruits Ryan Shackleton and Mwansa Musonda fit into this week’s plans. All National Premier Leagues games – Saturday and Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND FOUR
Winless teams UWA-Nedlands and Wanneroo City lock horns at McGillivrary Oval in the pick of the second tier action. “The table is already shaping very fast and we are under no illusions that Wanneroo will be hungry given their similar start to the season,” said Lozic. “We’ve had forced changes to our squad each week, due to injuries and international clearances, and I don’t expect we’ll be at full-strength for a few weeks. Having said that, we fear no-one and if we continue to apply ourselves under Mick Lyons’ guidance we will come away with our first three points of the season.”
Division One leaders Morley Windmills welcome goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo back from suspension in time to host third-placed Bunbury Forum Force. Gosnells City, who sit alongside Morley at the top of the table, have home ground advantage against fourth-placed Canning City, who are hopeful Daniel Niederberger will shake off the illness which has plagued his week. Shamrock Rovers Perth and Western Knights both want the win at Grimrey Oval in order to stay in touch with the leading pack. Branimir Mikulic, Nick Davies, Craig Miles and Alex Stamadiatis have each put their hands up for selection when Ashfield travels to Swan United.
Dianella White Eagles opened their season account last time out but Chris Rizidis says they’ll be taking nothing for granted away at Mandurah City om the twilight fixture (5.00pm). “Mandurah are still winless so we know that they will be desperate to get their first win of the season,” said Rizidis. “The boys are buzzing from beating Swan United and we’re hoping to build on that against Mandurah. Its early days but we’re improving already and getting our first win gives us the confidence and belief to get us over the line again this week.” All Division One games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm unless stated otherwise.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND FOUR
It’ll be in a positive frame of mind that Rockingham City heads into tomorrow’s clash with Curtin University at Lark Hill Sportsplex. “Confidence is high after getting our first win last week, training has been very competitive as players fight for a spot in the squad,” said coach Rob Crerar. “From all reports Curtin are a very good side but, like the other new teams we haven’t seen much of them so they’re very much an unknown to us. The attitude and effort from the boys last week was first class and if we repeat that we know we are a good chance of taking three points.”
Joondalup United’s unbeaten record comes under threat when Ellenbrook United ventures to Forrest Park. Adam Buckley and Tony Taylor are knocking on the selection door at Joondalup but it’ll take a lot to convince coach Daniel Smith to change a winning line-up. Home ground advantage won’t count for a lot when a pointless Balga welcome joint leaders Joondalup City to Princess Road Reserve. There’s good and bad news from the Balga camp, Jimmy Rowlands and Saah Tamba come in but it’s doubtful whether Jimmy Taneski (calf) will feature. Joondalup’s Mark Thornton is also in doubt with an ankle injury.
There could be as many as four changes to Forrestfield United’s line-up when they host Kelmscott Roos. Rhys Loxley and Nathan Watkins missed training early in the week with minor knocks, Jordan Hart is suffering the flu and Mitch Sapsworth has work commitments. Melville coach Gavin Brown is without Sean McElhone (injury), Mark Lucas (away) and possibly Matt Donlevy (family commitments) for their clash with Quinns at Len Shearer Reserve. Kingsway Olympic and Fremantle United are seeking maximum points at Kingsway Reserve in order to pull away from the foot of the table. All six Division Two games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.
KAMARA HITS THE GROUND RUNNING
Inglewood United has made quite an impression on new signing Teeboy Kamara, and vice versa. Kamara arrived at Inglewood last month after over two years out of the game but in next to no time he’s rekindled the form which won him Australian youth honours in 2011. After a few cameo outings, the teenage striker opened his Inglewood account in last week’s Cup defeat of Fremantle United and followed that with Saturday’s match-winning double against ECU Joondalup. “Inglewood has been really good to me,” said Kamara. “I like their playing style, it suits my game and I am really happy to get on the scoreboard.”
Kamara shot to prominence in December 2011 when, at the age of 15 years and 212 days, he became the A-League’s youngster ever player by turning out for Adelaide United against Gold Coast United. “My time at Adelaide was really amazing. I learnt a lot from some really talented players and quality coaches, and the club took really good care of me. Without them I wouldn’t be here,” said Kamara, who also made four Asian Champions League appearances. “I still want to play in the A-League and I feel better than I ever have been … if the opportunity came again at another club I would jump at the chance.”
Liberia-born Kamara fled his war-torn homeland in 2002 and upon arriving in Adelaide played for Croydon Kings and Salisbury United. By 2011 he was learning the finer points of the world game at the Australian Institute of Sport. “The AIS is a real amazing place,” he said. “I had a successful year and I learnt a great deal about my game which helped me to a contract at Adelaide, and to represent my new country at the Under-17 World Cup in 2011. I got an injury in the first game of that tournament and although it cut short my campaign it was a great experience and one I’ll never forget. “
Footballers the world over credit their coaches for their successes, but not Kamara who says he wouldn’t be where he is today with the support of his family. “They have been great,” he said. “I owe a great deal to my mum, who passed away a couple of years ago. I’ve got the best and most inspiration brother in the world, who is very supportive, and so are my sister and my cousin. Another person is my amazing girlfriend, who has been a great help to me since I moved over to Perth. Her whole family have looked after me and made my stay in Perth even better.”
Kamara’s ultimate goal is to return to professional football, but of more immediate concern to the 17-year old is coming up with the goods on a regular basis for Inglewood. “I heard Normo (coach Graham Normanton) he is one of the most successful coaches in WA, and he has welcomed me with open arms,” Kamara said. “He is still getting to know me and I am still getting to know him, but I can tell he has lots of Ideas about the game … I’m excited about the future. It was nice to score my first league goals, it had been a while so it was a bit of a relief.”
BUNBURY WILL BE IN TITLE CONTENTION ASSERTS MORT
Bunbury Forum Force have put aside omission from the National Premier League’s to focus on ensuring making according to club stalwart Jarrad Mort. The south west club have made a positive start to their Division One campaign, winning twice in the opening three rounds to be within one point of top spot. “We’re travelling well, especially given all the uncertainty regarding the National Premier Leagues and which players would be at the club this season,” said Mort, who has been with Bunbury since juniors. “Everyone’s stepped up and were gelling really well … I fully expect us to be in title contention at the end of the year.”
Bunbury underwent a fair bit of change after dropping down to Division One but Mort feels they still have enough quality on board to finish near the top of the table. “We’ve lost a couple of experienced players, guys like Ryan Francis, Steve Howson and Liam Hutchinson, but that has given a few players the opportunity to come into the senior side,” 21-year old Mort explained. “We’re probably not as strong as last season but we have a young squad and are where we want to be building from. Captain Ryan Risdon only 22 and most of us are around that age, we’ve been here a few years and we’ve got some good experience behind us.”
Bunbury collected their second win of the season last weekend by fending off illness as well as a strong-finishing Shamrock Rovers Perth to triumph 2-1. “Most of the squad had the flu but we worked hard and could easily have had another four goals before Shamrock pulled one back. Despite tiredness, everyone put in 100% to grind out an important win,” said Mort, who feels Bunbury’s top flight experiences made all the difference on the day. “We had a bit more experience all over the park. To be honest Shamrock didn’t trouble us apart from a ten minutes patch late on when they scored and then came into the game a bit more.”
Mort and his teammates travel to Wotton Reserve on Saturday to take on a Morley Windmills side which is unbeaten after three games. “We don’t really know too much about Morley but we expect every game this year is going to be hard, especially the away games,” explained Mort, who still hasn’t forgotten his visit to Morley of May 2010. “We lost at Morley four years ago when they were bottom and we were unbeaten, so we’ll have to be on our toes this weekend. They’ll be confident but if we play to our strengths and do the right things then we should be able to come away with all three points.”
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This page was last updated on the 24th April, 2014