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21.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE PROMOTION AND RELEGATION PLAY-OFF - FIRST LEG

After twenty hard fought regular league games the relegation/promotion play-offs will complete the 2018 State League season, with the first leg on Saturday, and the return leg on Tuesday evening. First up Wanneroo City host Mandurah City at Wanneroo Reserve. Wanneroo finished second in Division Two, while Mandurah finished tenth in Division One. Wanneroo pushed Champions Olympic Kingsway all the way and missed out on the title on the last day, but Coach Tim Kantor has been pleased the way his squad have played this season. "It's been an outstanding season by our boys finishing equal points with undefeated Kingsway," he said. "They are a resilient and determined group and they can’t wait till Saturday."

Kantor said Saturday's opponents can be very damaging, but he is hoping his side can maintain their good home form on Saturday. "I’ve watched Mandurah a couple of times this season and I’m surprised at where they finished on the table because I thought they are a lot better than the table suggests. They’ve got a few really experienced lads and if allowed to play can be very damaging," he explained. "We are at home in the first leg and have taken 28 of the 30 points at home this season so we go into Saturday with confidence and momentum. It’s extremely important that we defend well because we certainly don’t want to give up away goals which in this format are critical."

Wanneroo will be missing Stuart Siddall for the game due to injury, but Kantor said they up for the challenge. "Stuart received a boot in the face midweek against Swan and unfortunately broke his nose so that’s the season for him," he said. "We have other lads who are carrying little niggles, but I think at this time of year everyone is so no other real injury concerns and thankfully no suspensions. The whole club is looking forward to Saturday and the boys will be ready to go come 3pm."

Mandurah looked down and out mid-way through the season, but a good run of form took them out of the relegation spot and Coach Alex Grayson said the players turned things around and played some good football. " We switched a few things up towards the back end of the season which seemed to fit our personnel a bit better and it saw us come into a bit of form,” he explained. “Huge credit to the players for taking the information on board and applying it to the best of their ability. We are still learning so training time has been crucial. It's tough right now to find the balance between end of season fatigue and the sharpness to learn something new but I feel like we are getting better every day.”

Grayson said Wanneroo have a great home record, but his side head their full of confidence they can get the job down. "Really tough fixture to begin this post season campaign but with the format, no game is going to be ideal. Again, their tremendous form opposing our late revival will make for a fantastic game I'm sure,” he said. “We aim to keep our good defensive record going from these past few weeks and have it all to play for in front of the pod on Wednesday night. We are a full-strength team going into the games which is not something I have said often this year. Our post season training squad is super competitive with a lot of guys eager to play in these games. Andy Brown and Josh Warren back in this week are huge additions for us.”

The Other Semi-Final sees Swan United host Dianella White Eagles at Francis Street. It's been a difficult season for the Eagles, Robbie Dunn standing down due to work commitments early in the season and Salv Todaro doing likewise after last week’s 1-0 against Mandurah City in the final league game. The club have acted quickly to replace him for the play-offs, with former Olympic Kingsway coach Graham Normanton coming on board, but unfortunately, he has been given a two-game suspension by Football West so will have to watch the game from the grandstand. Dianella defender Spiro Nenadic said the win in the final game of the season has given them a massive boost going into Saturday's game. "Yes, getting a win always gives your team a boost, and the win was well-deserved," he said. "It was more important, especially this time considering we are going to have play in the relegation play offs."

Nenadic heads back to his former club in Saturday's first leg and is expecting a tight contest. "Swan have made huge strides since the previous two times we played them this season, they have brought in a few quality experienced players into a squad that already was good to begin with," he said. "It will be a great contest, I believe it’s a club with great tradition and history and especially for me since I used to play for them and will be coming up against some former teammates of mine."

Swan United were in the mix for the title midway through the season but after several years in the wilderness it's their second consecutive appearance in the play-offs, and midfielder Jay Lang said it was a very competitive league this season. "Unfortunately, we had a few games when we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders and it ultimately cost us in our pursuit of the title," he said. "In this division there are a lot of teams who are capable of taking points off each other."

Lang, who broke his leg three years ago playing against Dianella for Ashfield, is looking forward to the home leg of the playoffs and getting off to a good start is vital. "With the first leg at home it would be nice to get a positive result to take into Tuesday second leg," he said. "We’ve prepared well and hopefully we can put our game plan into practise over the two legs and come away with a positive result and take the club one step closer to promotion.

"The clubs got a lot of very good people who have been working hard behind the scenes so it's great for them that we're now in a position where we can gain promotion back to Division One. But we're under no illusions how difficult the games against Dianella will be, but we're fully focused and confident that if we play to our maximum then we can come away with a positive result."

21.9.2018

AMATEUR CUP FINAL PREVIEW

The Belt-Up Amateur Cup Final takes place on Sunday when Leeming Strikers take on Kingsley at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. (4.45pm) Leeming eased past Murdoch University Melville 5-0 away in the first round, before a hard fought 3-2 win again on the road against Stirling Lions in the second. In the third round they travelled to Ballajura and had a might scare. It was 1-1 after normal time and in the shoot-out, they prevailed 10-9 to take their spot in the Quarter finals. There they faced fellow Premier League side Wembley Downs and ran out 4-0 winners. In the Semi-Final they took on Division One side Stirling Panthers and goals from Lucas Pickering, David Palin x 2 and Karl Gorman gave them a 4-2 win.

Leeming player/coach David Palin said he was expecting a tough game in the Semi-Final and he got one. "We knew heading into the game Stirling Panthers, would be a tough test, as they were going well in Division 1 and on top of that any Semi Final is always going to be tough," he explained. "On the night we started well, but we just couldn’t make our pressure count and they scored in the last minute to take it to extra time. The boys kept their nerve in the extra 30 minutes and showed good character to get us into the final."

Led by skipper Danny McKenzie Leeming will be looking for their first Amateur Cup Final win, and player/coach Palin is the leading scorer, and he said they are looking forward to the game against a side they have had several close games this season. "This will be the fourth time we play Kingsley this year, so we are aware of each other at this stage of the season. All three encounters were tough affairs, they’ve got a lot experience in their side and they are well drilled. We expect the final to again be a close, we’ve been out of the league running for a month or so now, so we have been able to rest players and rotate to get everyone available for the final," he said.

"We are confident moving into Sunday and we know as a squad if we execute our game plan the result will take care of itself. It’s a great achievement to make the final it was one our main goals at the start of the season after falling short at the semi-final stage last year. To win the night series, challenge for majority of season in league and to make the cup final, I couldn’t be prouder of the squad and its reward for all the hard work, but we need to be at it one more game and we are desperate to win our second piece of silverware this season on Sunday."

Kingsley were given a bye in the first round, before making the trip to South Perth United and came home with a convincing 14-0 win. In the third round they travelled to Olympic Kingsway in a Saturday double-header with the State League game and came home with a 3-0 win. In the Quarter-Finals they played Joondalup United and won 4-0, to set up a Semi-Final tie against fellow Premier League side Jaguars. Josh Waldock levelled to send the game to extra time and in the 118th minute Jesse Higgins popped up with the winner.

Head coach Steven Dimitrovich said it was a great Semi-Final and the Jags played well but he was happy to get the win. "The Semi-Final was a very hard-fought win against a well organised Jags outfit who played some great football on the night," he explained. "They made it hard to break them down and to be fair they probably could’ve been more than one goal up at half time. But we stuck to our game plan and Josh brought us level, before Jesse bagged the winner late in the second period of extra time."

Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford has been outstanding this season, while skipper Higgins and leading goal scorer Jayden Drummond will be vital in this one, and Dimitrovich said it's going to be a great game. "Leeming are a good side and they have proved that throughout the year," he said. "They play a hard-physical game and get numbers behind the ball, so they make you work hard to break them down. So, I’d imagine the final would be no different and pretty sure the game will be full of entertainment with the final piece of silverware up for grabs this season."

21.9.2018

AMATEUR RESERVES CUP FINAL PREVIEW

The Belt-Up Amateur Reserves Semi-Final also sees Kingsley and Leeming Strikers in action, the pair meeting at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (2.30pm). In the first round Leeming were given a 3-0 forfeit against Murdoch University Melville, before a 9-3 win against Stirling Lions in the second round. In the third round they beat Yanchep United 3-0, before a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win against fellow Premier League side Southern Spirit. In the Semi-Final goals they beat Warnbro Strikers 6-0 with a hat trick from Ethan McKenzie, with other to Kieran Witt, Mark Townsley and Garrie Mould.

Leeming coach Mark Howell said the Semi-Final could have been a banana skin for them, but they put in a good performance to get the win. "We were really happy with the semi-final win, it can be tricky when playing a team from a lower division because it’s an unknown," he explained. "On the day Warnbro played well and battled to the end, but it was one of the best performances of the year. We were well organised, were very professional and got the job done with a 6-0 win."

Brad North has bagged 20 goals this season and will be one Kingsley need to close-down, while skipper William Kirkpatrick will lead the side out in the big one. Howell said they have had some tight games against Kingsley this season and he’s expecting more of the same on Sunday. "We knew Kingsley would be our biggest competition this year. After a good pre-season we went to Kingsley and executed the game perfectly to get the 4-1 win," he explained. "At home we weren't at our best and Kingsley had the better of the game. I was happy that we fought back from two goals down to draw the game 2-2. I have a lot of respect for Kingsley and know it will be a very tough game. They are strong and very well organised, so we will need to perform to our best to win the Cup. I expect it to be a hard, physical and competitive game. With so many goals in both teams i expect it to be a crowd-pleasing high scoring game."

Kingsley had the bye in the first round, before a big 9-1 win against South Perth United in round two. They travelled to fellow Premier League side Ellenbrook United in the third round and came home with a 3-0 win, before a big 6-0 win against another Premier League side Subiaco. That set up a Semi-Final game against Kwinana United and a hat-trick from Ollie Valentine and others to Sam Church, Joe Joyce and Cameron Bishop gave them a comprehensive 6-0 win.

Kingsley Coach Chris Brady said their Semi-Final performance was outstanding. "It was an excellent all-round team performance from the lads in the semi-final, probably one of our best overall performances of the season. We knew Kwinana would come out firing early and if we could contain that then our pace up top would cause them plenty of problems as the game went on," he explained. "It was a brilliant night for the club with our Masters, Reserves and First team all winning their semi-finals together, so it was great for the reserves to be a part of and it sets up a big day for the club on Sunday."

Kingsley took out the league this season with skipper Jamie Kane leading from the front, while leading goal scorer Luke Dove will be one to watch. Brady is expecting another tight tussle in the final, but they will be hoping to do the double. "Leeming have no doubt been the big improver in the Reserves competition this year and the first league game between us in Round two, Leeming won quite comfortably 4-2 at Chichester, and it was a good wake-up call for us," he said. "In the second game down at John Connell, we were cruising at 2-0 up midway through the second half and it probably should have been more, but in the blink of an eye Leeming banged on two goals to finish the game level at 2-2.

"So, we know how dangerous they can be and I'm sure they won't want to finish 2018 trophy-less after such a good season. That said, our lads have been outstanding all year long and the league title was testament to that. Cup games are of course a completely different affair, but the lads now have a chance to create a little bit of club history by winning a double and will be going all out to do that on Sunday. With ten goals between the sides in the two league games this season, it's sure to be an entertaining match and I'd encourage all the neutrals to get down and see two very good reserves sides going at it on Sunday."

21.9.2018

MASTERS CUP FINAL PREVIEW

The 2018 Masters Cup Final sees North Premier League AFC Joondalup taking on Division Three Kingsley at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon (12.15pm) AFC Joondalup beat Spearwood Dalmatinac 3-2 t Beale Park in the Preliminary round, before a 5-0 win against Olympic Kingsway in the first round. They then beat Perth Saints 10-0 in the second round, and in round three they travelled to Rosalie Park and came home with a 3-0 win, before a 3-0 forfeit win against Fremantle United. That set up a Semi-Final against FC Shoalwater at John Connell Reserve, and late goals from Danny Allen and Stuart Banks gave them a 2-2 draw and in the penalty shoot-out they won 4-2 with Simon Turner scoring the winner.

AFC Coach Graham Tyson said the come-from-behind win in the Semi-Final was great and showed the character they have in their side. “It was an unbelievable win especially after being 2:0 down with seven minutes to go and down to nine men,” he explained. “But the boys never stopped creating chances in the second half and got what they deserved with the two goals late on, Danny straight from a corner, while Stuart’s was a screamer from the edge of the box into the top corner.”

AFC will have former Preston, Fleetwood, Morecambe and ECU Joondalup keeper Andy Banks between the sticks, while leading scorer Richard Burton, who has scored 24 goals in 12 games this season will be a key in this one. Tyson said it will be a tough challenge but one they are looking forward too. “It’ll be very tough as they have beaten some good sides on the way to the final, and are unbeaten in their league,” he said. “We have some friends in their team as well which always makes the game interesting.”

Kingsley had the bye in the Preliminary Round before edging past Bozzy SC 4-3 on penalties in Round One after the game had ended 3-3. In Round Two they travelled to Gumblossom Park and came home with a 7-0 win, before a forfeit in Round Three against Dianella White Eagles. In the Quarter Finals they beat Premier League side Carramar 4-2 at Houghton Park, which set up a Semi-Final clash against Premier League Southern Spirit at Chichester Park. It was a tight affair with Adam Robertson (Robbo) scoring in normal time, and in the shoot-out, John O’Brien scored before Spirit missed the final spot kick.

Kingsley Coach Ben Foster said it was a game of very few chances, but they held their nerve in the shoot-out. “We switched Robbo to Left wing to see if that would change the game and he managed to get a toe onto a through ball that got past the Keeper,” he said. “It was literally a game of two chances Spirit took theirs and we took ours, it was a real tug of war with neither team wanting to give any opportunities away. I was pleased with our defence against a Premier side as we have had little to test it playing in Division Two.”

Skipper Adam McReath will need to be at his best on Sunday, while keeper Kevin Towers has been in good form this season. Foster said it’s a huge occasion for the club having three sides in the Cup Final and they are looking forward to the day. “For me it’s just amazing that we have been able to pull a team together from the “ageing” Kingsley Members, who most have been a part of this club and have played together for years in the amateur leagues,” he explained. “So, to be able to walk out to the Masters Football West Cup Final on Sunday in our first season it’s a massive credit to the quality of players we have and the kind of Club that has kept us all together. We know AFC are a good high-quality talented team and my plan is to make sure the lads enjoy the moment and go out with a Cup Final mentality where anything can happen.”

21.9.2018

METROPOLITAN CUP FINAL PREVIEW

In the Belt-Up Metro Cup Final it’s a local derby when Metro North Premier pair Sorrento Vikings and Hillary’s FC meet at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium at 10.00am. Hillarys beat UWA-Nedlands 6-1 at UWA Sports Park in the Preliminary Round, before a big 9-0 win at Kelly Park against Kwinana United in Round One. In Round Two they beat Phoenix Glory 3-1 at Flinders Park, then beat their (Hillarys) North Division One side 9-0 in Round Three. In the Quarter-Finals they won in a penalty shoot-out 5-3 against Perth Saints, after the game was 3-3 after normal time, and that set up a Semi-Final against Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve and goals to Danny Hockridge, Anthony Nolan and Jonny Morris gave them a 3-0 win.

Coach Jason McBride said Balcatta were head to beat and it wasn’t till late they managed to take control of the game. “It was a tough game on a crap pitch - we are used to playing on a carpet at Flinders – but Balcatta pushed us all the way and kept battling until around the 80th minute mark,” he said. “But our second goal killed them off with the third following soon after. They were a decent side and you could see why they made it through to the semi’s and turned over a few Premier League teams on route.”

Eoin Murphy will skipper the side on Sunday, while Nick Banks is the leading goal scorer for Hillarys, but it’s Ciaran Judge who has done the damage in the cup, scoring nine goals. McBride said games between the two sides has a history and Sunday will no doubt be a tough encounter. “Sunday should be a good game given the previous two encounters. The first game was abandoned when the Sorrento player went straight over the top of the ball and fractured our players ankle,” he explained. “The second game was a nil contest as we ran out 6-0 winners, so I’m sure they will be looking to put that behind them and get some redemption in the final.”

Sorrento Vikings beat Sporting Bibra Lake in the Preliminary Round, before beating Peel at Percy Doyle Reserve in Round One. They then beat Fremantle City in Round two, before a 3-1 home win against Quinns FC in Round Three. They were at home again in the Quarter-Final when they overcame North Perth United 3-1, to set up a Semi-Final against Chipolopolo against at Perth Doyle Reserve. John Haydon gave them the lead, but Chipolopolo scored two to take control. But a late goal from Dale Bloor sent it penalties and they won 4-3.

Coach Scott Taylor said it was a great Semi-Final. “We took the lead but let them back in the game and they scored twice, and it looked game over,” he explained. “But we equalised with Dale’s header from a corner in the last minute of normal time. They had a chance to win it with their last penalty in the shoot-out, but Scott Duffy saved, then we won in sudden death penalties.”

Joint top goal scorers Bailee Yeomans and John Haydon will be important in this one, and Taylor will look to keeper Duffy to see them home on Sunday. Taylor said it will be a typical derby and one they are looking forward too. “No doubt it will be a tight game for sure. Both teams like playing football and have match winners in their squads,” he said. “They (Hillarys) recently won 6-0 against an undermanned Sorrento so no doubt go in as favourites, but we’re hoping for a fair honest game, but should be tight all the way to the final whistle.”

20.9.2018

MORGAN APPOINTED FIRST TEAM COACH (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)

Inglewood United have begun a new era with the appointment of Trim Morgan as first team coach. Morgan, 50, joins the club following a successful three-year spell at the helm of Western Knights, who he guided to last year's Division One and State Cup titles. He takes over from Andy Keogh, who vacated the top job last month.

"We feel strongly that Trim is the right person to lead Inglewood United and that his appointment can be a catalyst for change within our club," said president Cesare Colli. "Trim matched all the criteria and qualities we were looking for in a coach and he is enthusiastic about moving Inglewood forward."

"Trim is a no-nonsense character who is respected for what he has achieved as both a player and a coach. He has a detailed knowledge of the local leagues and its players, an understanding of what it takes to be successful and a holistic approach towards coaching and player development."

As a player, Morgan carved out a reputation as a finisher of the highest calibre. An England Schoolboy international, he wore Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Inglewood, Western Knights and Fremantle City colours while collecting two Premier League championships, two Top Four Cups and one State Cup winners' medals.

His time on the local stage was interrupted by professional spells with Canberra Cosmos (Australia) and Negeri Sembilian (Malaysia). Amongst his eight appearances for the State team were outings against Werder Bremen (Germany), Cereko Osaka (Japan) and Red Star Belgrade (Yugoslavia).

It was on the English Channel island of Guernsey that Morgan first turned his hand to coaching at Vale Recreation, Sylvans SC and Northerners AC. He was reunited with the Knights in 2016 and the following year guided the club to a historic league and Cup double, for which he was awarded Division One Coach of the Year.

19.9.2018

HONOURS EVEN IN PRE-SEASON CLASH

Perth Glory continued their preparation for the up-coming A-League season with a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday evening at Coopers Stadium. Elsey inadvertently volleyed Fabio Ferreira's cross past Paul Izzo in the home goal to gift Glory the lead after 11 minutes and Tomislav Mrcela made it 2-0 with a half-volley from outside the area, his second goal in two games. But a Ken Ilso penalty just before the break halved the arrears, however and sixty seconds later, fellow-new-recruit Mirko Boland found the net with a low shot to lock it up at 2-2. Chances were fewer and further between in the second half, although Liam Reddy was called upon to deny George Blackwood at close-range with a fine save on the hour-mark.

Glory coach Tony Popovic drew plenty of positives from the friendly. "Ultimately, it was about playing an A-League opponent which is a tough thing to do for us, we accept that," he said. "These games are very beneficial for us. We travelled today, and the boys' attitude was excellent, and I thought they performed very well. It's clear that we're making progress. We were up 2-0 which was very good and aspects of our game, both in attack and defensively, were also very good. Ok, we gave two cheap goals away just before half time which may have been due to a bit of fatigue and a lack of concentration, but this was a game against the kind of opposition that we haven't faced since Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup.

“It was a satisfying night in terms of the game, the performance, the result and the fact that we didn't pick up any injuries. We really appreciate the club making it possible for us to travel over here and would like to thank Adelaide for the hit-out. Now we head home, recover, tick off more progress in our playing style, work hard and keep improving as we continue to close in on the Round One game against Western Sydney."

Adelaide United: GK Paul IZZO, 3 Scott GALLOWAY, 4 Ryan STRAIN, 6 Vince LIA, 8 ISAIAS, 10 Ken IISO, 14 George BLACKWOOD, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 31Mirko BOLAND - Substitutes: RGK Isaac RICHARDS, 2 Michael MARRONE, 9 Baba DIAWARA, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 27 Louis D'ARRIGO, 28 Kristin KONSTANDOPOULOS, 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 39 Carlo ARMIENTO

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Substitutes: 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE

16.9.2018

PERTH BOW OUT OF NPL NATIONAL FINALS IN A THRILLER

Perth Soccer Club have bowed out of the NPL National Finals Series after a pulsating Elimination Final 1-0 defeat against NPLNSW Champions Sydney Olympic at Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon. The only goal of the game came from the skipper Jason Madonis, but Perth had their chances the best falling to Paul Zimarino, whose shot was well saved by Olympic keeper Ezequiel Consoni.

It was a great day for football at the home of APIA Leichhardt, and Olympic were on the front foot from the first whistle, and they hit the front on six minutes. William Angel cut inside from the right and was brought down by Kieran Colwell and referee Steven Lucas pointed straight to the spot. Madonis stepped up and drilled the resulting penalty down the middle giving Francis Soale no chance.

Perth went close to a quick response, Matthew Milenkovic found Zimarino, and the midfielders shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Consoni. Sydney looked lively on the break and they went close to adding to their lead moments later, Max Burgess was sent clear, but Soale was out bravely to save at the strikers’ feet. The Perth supporters were off their seats on the quarter hour when Niccolò Sabatini’s corner picked out Harley Orr, whose goal bound header was cleared off the line.

It was end-to-end football with chances at both ends. First Perth’s Jordan De Leo raced down the left and found Gustavo Catarcione, who fed the lively Zimarino, whose shot was well saved by the alert Consoni at his near post. Olympic hit straight back and former Perth Glory defender Riley Woodcock crossed from the left and Nikolas Tsattalios fired inches wide. Olympic were in again just before half time the impressive Max Burgess sending Sanchez in on goal but Soale stood tall to deny the Spanish striker.

Perth opened the second half brightly and Sabatini’s cross was headed back across goal by Catarcione, but Zimarino couldn’t keep his volley down. Zimarino was in again moments later, this time picked out by Matthew Milenkovic, but his shot was deflected wide. The challengers were getting more aggressive and Orr and Woodcock were both shown yellow cards for a couple of tasty challengers.

It was a great game and the tie was still in the balance, and Max Burgess went close again for the home side, his shot from the angle was well saved by Soale. Then on 64 minutes Perth should have levelled, Sabatini sent Milenkovic clear, he held off Thomas Whiteside and raced into the box, but his shot drifted just wide. Perth were pressing, but Olympic looked dangerous on the counter attack.

This was the best period of the game for Ramon Falzon’s side, and they went close again on 71 minutes. A quick free kick from Catarcione caught Olympic napping and Zimarino’s flick sent the Brazilian in on goal, but his shot on the run flashed inches wide of the post. Perth defender’s Rocco Pizzata and Colwell were outstanding, and the pair kept the talented Sanchez quiet all afternoon, but it was Max Burgess who was the danger, and after combining with his brother Darcy, ended with a Sanchez’s volleying home but the flag was up for offside.

It was a great advert for NPL football with both sides pressing forward and Max Burgess sent Sanchez in on goal again, but Soale was quick off his line to block. Then it was Perth’s turn on 83 minutes, Sabatini cross found Zimarino, and it looked like the youngster would score, but Consoni produced the save of the match to deny him. Perth went all out attack in the final three minutes of stoppage time, but they couldn’t find the equaliser, and their brave effort was in vain and Sydney Olympic move through to take on Campbelltown City who beat Canberra City 3-0, in next week’s Semi-Final.

Sydney Olympic 1 (Madonis 6’ pen)
Perth SC 0
Sunday September 16, 2018
Lambert Park

Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistants: Lance Greenshields, Brad Wright

Sydney Olympic: GK Ezequiel CONSONI, 2 Thomas WHITESIDE, 6 Nicola KULEVSKI (24 Christopher GLIGOR 72’), 7 William ANGEL, 8 Jason MADONIS (21 Steven ATHANASERIS 91’), 10 Max BURGESS, 11 Junya AN, 12 Zachary MACKENZIE, 14 Alejandro SANCHEZ LOPEZ, 23 Riley WOODCOCK, 33 Nikolas TSATTALIOS (61’)19 Darcy BURGESS Subs not used: RGK Nikolas LOE, 5 James DEMETRIOU Yellow Cards: Orr 52’

Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 5 Niccolò SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE (18 Richard HOWLES 84’), 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Kristian SANTICH (7 Aleks JOVIC 80’), 16 Kieran COLWELL, 20 Paul ZIMARINO Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 8 Tom KING, 10 Nicolas AMBROGIO Yellow Cards: Angel 38’, Woodcock 60’

16.9.2018

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW

The final relegation spot in the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division has been decided after Subiaco were beat 8-0 by Champions North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. “It was definitely an impossible task, there was nothing that we could do about it. North Perth are quality and it is what it is,” Subiaco coach Keegan Roos said. “First half it was only 1-0, second half the red card made it tough and again not having a consistent team. We had three, four players out from last week. The commitment was just not there from us this season. A lot of players left us, top quality players, so we had five or six who all left us this season and we could not replace them.” On the day Alex Carter’s side collected the league trophy Subiaco need a big win to avoid the drop but found themselves behind after only on the half hour, Nigel Murray tapping home after good work from Oscar Kelly. Subiaco keeper Jeff Cornez was in sparking form and he produced a couple of fine saves to keep the score line to 1-0 at the break.

But after half time the floodgates opened, and Murray scored twice in as many minutes. First a fine finish, before heading home. Subiaco were then reduced to ten men when Jakub Chrusinski was sent off by referee David Bruce for a foul on Kelly in the box, and he picked himself up to score from the penalty, at the second attempt. Kelly added another moments later, before Patrick Montgomery added two more late. Murray added his fourth of the game in stoppage time to give United a comfortable 8-0 win. “It was an enjoyable day with no pressure,” North Perth Coach Alex Carter said. “Sometimes it can go two ways when there’s no pressure – you can take it for granted or you can go about your business as per usual. And I think we did for most of the time and the boys had a lot of fun. I think when you’re in the position where you’ve got that mindset – and you’ve had that mindset for such a long time – it’s hard to sway from that. So, it wasn’t too hard to get the boys motivated for today, but we also made a point that it is a bit of a celebration day and to really try and enjoy it.”

Southern Spirit ended their time in the Premier League with a hard fought 4-3 win against Leeming Strikers at John Connell Reserve. The home side were ahead on 25 minutes, a corner was flicked on by Karl Gorman and the unmarked Lucas Pickering slotted from 10-meters into roof of net. But Spirit hit back with Jacob Ledo’s shot deflecting into the net. But the home side hit the front again on the hour, a cross from the left was laid off by David Palin and Ben Greaves struck first time into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Spirit restored parity with Ledo again on target and extended their lead when Brandon De Abreu’s long-range shot flew home. It was 4-2 when Ledo scored to complete his hat-trick. Leeming scored a late consolation goal in the final minute, a ball into the box was knocked down by Palin, and Karl Gorman volleyed home from 12 meters. "We knew it was going to be a tough game, and a hard-fought game,” Ledo said. “Although we knew we were getting relegated this year, we still played with are head held high and with pride, and it was great to end the season off with a win."

Ellenbrook United ended their season on a high with a 3-1 win against Kingsley at the Ellenbrook Spots Hub. The visitors hit the front early, a throw was flicked on and David Ashworth scored at the near post. The home side levelled before the break, Matty Clarke was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was saved but Max Harlen was on hand to fire home the rebound. The home side hit the front early in the second half Kingsley lost possession of the ball in the middle of the park and Cammy Bar raced forward to finish clinically past the keeper. The points were made safe for the home side when albert Amankwaa raced into the box, rounded the keeper to score. “The boys put in a solid shift today and were rewarded for all the hard work they have put in on and off the training track,” Clarke said. “We showed today what we are capable of and look forward to next season.”

Jaguar travelled to Gerry Archer Sports Complex and came home with 5-1 win against Belmont Villa. The visitors started well and where ahead early when Derick Yuga found space down the flank, beat his marker before cutting inside and finishing well. Moments later Yuga grabbed his second racing through finishing clinically. Belmont where handed the chance to cut deficit when they were awarded a penalty, but Jags keeper Lam Gai saved. The Jags were then reduced to ten men when Akuei Guot was shown a second yellow card. After the break Belmont tried to make their one-man advantage count, but they were caught out again when Yuga shot was turned home by a Belmont defender. It was 4-0 when Bol Bol Wurok through ball released skipper Juma Wade, who kept his composure to fire low pass the keeper. It was 5-0 moments later, when George Duke race through before rounding the keeper. Belmont scored a late consolation goal, but it was Jags taking the points.

“It has been a great debut season in the Premier Division, we’ve come a long way from our debut season in the amateur Division 6 in 2010,” Gai said. “To finished third in our first season and make our second semi-final appearance amateur Cup, is great achievement and everyone around the club is proud of how the boys have done, and all the hard work they have put in. I’ve been lucky enough to see the transition around the club over the years.

It great to see the achievements over the years. No doubt next season is going to be even harder with Joondalup and Quinns joining the premier. But for now, we just going to enjoy the off season and hopefully we can take off from the start next season."

In other games Wembley Downs ended the season with a 3-2 win against UWA-Nedlands at the UWA Sports Park. Wembley were 2-0 up at the break, with goals from James Greene and Dean Wall. But UWA hit back with Abdul Farah and a brilliant volley from Brennan Childs, from Jack Retallack’s cross. But Wembley won it when Az Gray was brought down in the box and Wall added his second from the penalty spot. “It was nice to finish the season with a win and ensure our 5th place finish,” Wembley’s Ryan Fish said. “UWA gave us a good test and never gave up, with them nearly snatching the lead late on but it was a credit to the boys that they didn’t stop pressing for that decisive goal.” In the final game Kwinana United beat Hamersley Rovers 2-0 at Carine Open space. Robbie Hamm gave them the lead wit ha great finish, before Lewyn added the second with a great chip. “Delighted with the result and the work rate of the boys,” Kwinana coach Kris Donnell said. “But again, we went a full half with ten men, after Lee Bates was sent off at the death of the first half.”

15.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW

Rockingham City have been crowned State League Division One Champions after a 4-1 win against Fremantle City at Lark Hill on Saturday afternoon. They had to wait until Sunday to officially take the title, with Gwelup Croatia needing a big win to topple them, but they could only draw 2-2 against Western Knights. Rockingham will take their place in the NPLWA next season, the first time the club has played in the top flight of WA football since 2000. “The result today was important and were all a bit disappointed we can’t celebrate the title after the game, but we will have to wait until after the Gwelup game tomorrow,” Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord said. "But regardless what happened today it’s been a fantastic season for this club and to cap it off with a good performance against a good Fremantle side, well in the first half, was good. We’ve made great progression as a club and fingers crossed the result goes our way tomorrow and we can celebrate the title and promotion.”

The home side made a perfect and they were ahead on nine minutes. James Harmer's through ball sent Ross Staley in on goal, and he held off his marker and lobbed the on-coming keeper to score. Fremantle looked to hit back, and Callum Roberts raced clear, but his shot from the angle flashed the wrong side of the upright. But on 24 minutes it was Rockingham who doubled their lead. Staley was the provider this time playing in Jason Pottier who finished clinically past Struan Herd. The home side were rampant, and they added a third ten minutes later when American import Kody Millard played a neat one two with Pottier and raced clear to score. They were in again five minutes later, Harmer picked out Staley who raced into the penalty area and lobbed the on-coming keeper to send them to the sheds well in command. The hosts opened the second half in the same manner and Harmer's shot was cleared off the line by Jason De Gennaro, before the Rockingham skipper saw a shot well saved by Harmer. Fremantle got themselves a consolation goal in the final minute, much to the disappointment of Rockingham keeper Cyril Sharrock, Sheldon Nogueira played in Alan Carroll, who finished low past the Rockingham custodian.

Gwelup needed a 12-goal win to take top start in the Croatian Derby against Western Knights at Nash Field and they opened the scoring on 17 minutes, James Sammut’s free kick picked out Bobby Wilson at the back post, whose cross found Cameron Yorke who made no mistake from close-range. But the Knights hit back and levelled two minutes later. A poor back pass to keeper Connor Campbell was intercepted by Domenic Sardi, who rolled the ball into an empty net. The Knights hit the front on the half hour, Dean Hurley was brought down in the box by Nelson Tshongo, and referee Shane Skinner pointed to the spot. Hurley picked himself up to score the resulting penalty. Gwelup levelled four minutes before half time Brian Mashingaidze cutting in from the right and curling past Sam Stone. The second half was another tight affair, but no one could score to give bragging rights, and it ended 2-2. “It’s disappointing to not come away with three points,” Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaides said. “When it’s a situation like that where it’s beyond normal practices, I think we wanted to go out there and finish on a high and come away with a win and we couldn’t do that. When you look back and reflect on our season as a whole there’s been a lot of positives but there’s definitely room for improvement.”

Both Ashfield and Joondalup City needed maximum points at Iluka Sports Complex to avoid relegation and the play off's respectively, but it was Ashfield and that came away with a come-from-behind 2-1 win, to seal safety, while defeat sent Joondalup down to Division Two. The home side made a great start and took the lead when Jamie Gardiner’s cross picked out Jason Rubridge, whose glancing header beat the keeper. It looked like Ashfield would end up in the play-offs, but they rallied after half time and levelled, Pat Sara shot on the run from the edge of the box flew into the bottom corner. Both looked for the winner, but it was Ashfield who found it, Kevin Ashwood’s long-range free kick winning it for Matt Wardle’s side. “A massive result for our club and a much needed three points. Ending the season where we did was a disappointing result as we were second at the turn of the year and to not win a match in nine or so games was hard to take considering we were never out played or well beaten. Just individual mistakes and not taking our chances in front of goal effectively cost us,” Wardle said. “Now to enjoy a little break before I start planning for next year. With plenty of positives to build on from this year I’m expecting a big season next year.”

Dianella White Eagles were hoping for a different result at Joondalup to miss the play-offs, and despite a 1-0 win against Mandurah City at Dianella Reserve they will take on Swan United in a two-leg play-off. The only goal of the game came in the second half from Jimmy Taban, who pounced on a mix up between keeper and defender to finish into an open goal. “The goal came after a period of intensive pressure on the Mandurah goal and probably was deserved on the balance of play in the second half,” Dianella Coach Salv Todaro said. “The win is a good morale booster as the team prepares for the relegation play off’s next week.”

In the final game Morley Windmills finished of the season and the coaching career of Coach John Castrilli on a high, after coming from 0-3 down to beat UWA-Nedlands 4-3 at Wotton Reserve. The visitors arrived in good form and on the back three straight wins and hit the ground running with Alex Krteowicz scoring a hat-trick in the opening 35 minutes. But Morley hit back when Mitch Castrilli crossed to Darren Francis who headed home, and they added another before the break, Deng Mawien heading back across goal for Marco Perizzula to score to set up an exciting second half. Morley then levelled when Ben Wantee cut in from wide and finishing low past the keeper. Both sides looked for the winner, but it was Morley who found it. Boas Mtwale played a neat one-two with Francis on the edge of the box and fired home from 10 meters to win it. “To be 3-0 down and come back to win 4-3 it’s the kind of thing dreams are made of,” Mitch Castrilli said. “It’s also a extra special for me and my dad as it was his last season as he’s decided to step down from being manager. At the end of the game all the players and fans lined up and clapped him through the players run it was a pretty emotional day.” - South West Phoenix had the bye this weekend.

15.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW

Olympic Kingsway are the 2018 State League Division Two Champions after a 4-1 win against Curtin University at Edinburgh Oval on Saturday evening. The win meant Graham Normanton's side went through the whole league season unbeaten, and pipped Wanneroo City, who beat Shamrock 2-0 to temporally top the table earlier in the afternoon, to the title. “All the lads were buzzing with the win and to go undefeated is pretty incredible,” Olympic striker Danny Hodgson said. “The lads have worked hard since day one and we deserved to win the league. All the boys are looking forward to playing in Division One next season.” The visitors made a good start and were ahead when Chris Rizidis’ cross was volleyed home by Hodgson. They doubled their lead before half time, this time Dan Corbett put pressure on the Curtin keeper, whose missed kicked the ball and Corbett rolled it home. The ‘Green Machine’ were fully tuned up after the break and added a third when Ben Fairburn slide the ball across the six-yard box and Rizidis tapped home from close-range. The party on the side lines was really getting started, and Olympic put the icing on the cake by adding a fourth, Corbett lost his marker and finished clinically from the edge of the box. Curtin scored a consolation goal late with Jon Krawec on target.

Wanneroo did all they could to push Olympic after a 2-0 win against Shamrock Rovers at Wanneroo Reserve, but will have to go through the First/Second Relegation/promotion play off's, and first up they will play Mandurah City on Saturday afternoon at Kingsway Reserve. “It has been a huge week for us, and yesterday capping off a great season,” Wanneroo coach Tim Kantor said. “Well we were top of the league at least for an hour or so, but we’d like to congratulation Kingsway on a great year going through the season undefeated.” The home side dominated possession and went in at half time 1-0 up courtesy of some great individual work from Shak Alexander, who eased past three Rovers defenders before slotting coolly in the bottom corner. It was more of the same after half time, but Shamrock defended well and made it hard for the hosts, but they did manage a second goal when Flynn Nolan delivered a defence splitting pass to Gareth Lloyd on the edge of the box and he finished clinically.

Swan United will also go into the play-offs after finishing third, but they go into the game against Dianella White Eagles on Saturday after a 1-3 home defeat against Murdoch University Melville at Francis Street. The visitors led 3-0 with a brace from Christian Long and another from Rion Robertson, while Gavin Knight scored a late consolation goal, converting from the penalty spot in the final minute. “It was another good performance, and I thought we totally dominated and were unlucky not to score more,” MUM Coach Gavin Brown said. “They only scored with a debatable penalty in the last minute and otherwise didn’t trouble us. The only frustration is that we couldn’t find the consistency we’ve shown in the last seven games in the first half of the season. We’ve finished with five wins and a draw out of seven. The draw was against Gosnells when they equalised with a last-minute penalty and the loss was against Kingsway (2-1) when we led 1-0 and had far more chances than they did. Overall it has been a season full of promise, but next year we need to be less naive and manage games and winning positions better.”

Balga, who finished just outside the play-off spots, ended the season with a comfortable 6-2 win against Kelmscott Roos at Princess Road Reserve. Balga made a great start and were ahead after only two minutes, Vlad Naumovski found himself at the top of the box and easily scored. Danny Moss then made it 2-0 on the quarter hour, curling home in the corner of the net gaving keeper Kristian Usedo no chance. Balga made it 3-0 on the hour, when Scott Bulloch was through on goal, his shot hit the post and his rebound found the net. Bulloch added his second to make it 4-0 in the 73rd minute before Kelmscott got one back from the penalty spot. Hermon Habtegergish scored to make it 5-1 in the 81st minute before Ogi Radonic shot from outside the box, Usedo could only carry it into the net. Kelmscott got a late goal in stoppage time, a great shot found the top corner.

In the final game Gosnells City ended their season on a high with 5-2 win against Quinns at Gumblossom Park. The visitors raced to a 3-0 lead with Jordan Parfitt, Liam Cave and Daniel Stone on target. The home side pulled one back Chris Williams scoring with a looping header from a corner. But Gosnells regained their three-goal lead when Parfitt added his second. Scott Pereira added a fifth to the visitors and sealed a comprehensive win. Quinns pulled one back late Williams adding his second. With Sunday Amateur Premier Champions North Perth declining promotion there will no teams relegated this season - Canning City had the bye this weekend.

14.9.2018

PERTH HEAD EAST LOOKING FOR MORE GLORY - MATCH PREVIEW

Perth Soccer Club head to Sydney this weekend to take part in the NPL Finals Series Elimination Final against NPLNSW Champions Sydney Olympic at Lambert Park on Sunday (1.30pm EST) It's been a successful 70th anniversary at the Dorrien Gardens club, winning the title on the final day and it was capped off with a big win last week against Perth Glory in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Final. They take on an Olympic side who also won the NPLNSW title on the last day of the season and beat APIA Leichhardt last week in the Finals, so with both sides in good form this game should be a cracker - You can watch it live on the National Premier League website.

Perth midfielder Harley Orr said their consistently won them the title, and he said their character came to the fore last week against the Glory. "It was a fantastic season for our club no doubt, and it was like a fairy tale finish to the end the season, with a great come-from-behind 4-1 win against a good Glory side," he explained. "I thought the boys showed great character to overturn a 0-1 half time deficit, and our second half was fantastic, and we came away with a great win."

It was superb second half of the season for Perth, and they went unbeaten in their last 12 games to catch runaway leaders Glory, and the work of Head Coach Ramon Falzon and assistant Marc Wingell had a great deal to do with the resurgence. "The second half of the season was terrific, and there we’re a few games where it was do or die and we had to come away with wins and massive credit goes to Ramon and Marc," he said. "They continually believed in us week in week out and really showed great faith in us boys. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today that’s for sure."

Orr said they are all looking forward to Sunday's game and they will be doing all they can to represent WA football on the national scene and come home with a positive result. "We fly to Sydney on Saturday, and we're determined to show the rest of the country that WA football is on the improve. " he said. "Sydney Olympic look like a strong side with a few key players, but we definitely fancy our chances against them, we have done some video study during the week and think we have a real opportunity to progress further."

Head coach Ramon Falzon said to win the clubs 22nd title in the club’s anniversary was a special moment. "It has been a great season for the Perth Soccer Club, and it's a massive achievement to win the double in its 70th year anniversary," he said. "From a coach’s perspective, we are very proud of our players and very happy to see them rewarded for their efforts by winning the double twice in three years is a fantastic effort."

The Top Four Final win against the Glory was huge, but Falzon said the score line probably flattered them a little. "The Grand Final against Perth Glory was a much tougher game than the result might indicate. Glory were the better team in the initial 30 minutes and took the lead, however we started settling in the game just before half-time," he explained. "Then, I thought that our players were superior in the second half, although it was not easy to break Glory down and level the score but once that happened, our players dominated the rest of the game and capitalised our chances to secure the result. Although we are very happy with the performances of our players, we recognise the massive improvement that Perth Glory made. They have been a very tough opponent to break down this year and they have reached new heights with John Gibson and his players."

Falzon said their unbeaten run at the end of the season was down to the hard work and determination of his squad, and he said he is proud of his players. "Marc and I are incredibly proud of the performances and results that our players delivered in the second round. Every club in the world, every season, has at least one very tough and challenging period, and we had ours at the end of the first round of fixtures," he explained. "But we persevered with our players because we were confident that we could turn things around, just like the previous two seasons. We consistently guided our players to believe and work harder because leagues are won in the second round and not the first round. Big credit to the players, because they performed to necessary standards to deliver consistent performances and results in the second round which ultimately led to 12 unbeaten NPL games, the NPL title and the Top 4 Cup."

The coach is relishing the challenge of pitting their wits against the best in country, and is hoping to do WA proud, but he knows we have struggled against NSW sides in the past. "We are very proud that we will be representing WA in the NPL Finals, however we are aware that as a State, we do not have a good track record against NSW clubs," he said. "Sydney Olympic have had a fantastic season, and they are a very strong team and won the double in the NSW NPL. We are mindful of their quick and powerful striking force and their work-rate and intensity compares to A-League teams. Although we know that Sydney Olympic will be a very tough team to break down, we do have our game plan and we are focused on delivering it come Sunday."

There is a familiar WA face in the Olympic side for Sunday's game and that’s former Perth Glory, Sydney FC and Cockburn City defender Riley Woodcock. The 23-year-old said it's been an unbelievable season for the club and they capped it off with a big win last week against a strong Apia Leichhardt side. "It’s been a great year for us taking out the minor premiership and then going all the way and winning the grand final as well," he explained. "We’re a really close group of players that want to win things, and I think our unity as a group really showed in the finals series winning 4-0 and then 3-1."

The club changed coaches’ days before the start of the season, and the appointment of former Socceroo Abbas Saad has given the club a huge lift, and Woodcock said they have flourished under his guidance. "Naturally it’s a little unsettling for the playing group when there is a change of manager just a few days before the start of the season, but we’re all professionals that understand our roles as footballers is to continue and perform on the pitch for the club," he explained. "Abbas has been great, he settled the group and brought out the best in everyone and got us playing an exciting brand of football that suited everyone."

Woodcock knows how successful Perth SC have been in WA football, but he said they are playing with confidence and believes they can get the job done on Sunday. "At the moment we don’t fear anyone and are thriving with confidence," he said. "Perth are a great side and have been dominant in WA football for a number of years now, and I’m sure it will be a great game of football and played a high intensity. We are both young teams and have players with a lot of attacking flair, but we’re confident we should get the job done on Sunday at Lambert."

14.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW

The State League Division One title has gone down to the final game of the season, with Rockingham City and Gwelup Croatia still in contention to lift the trophy. It's Rockingham who hold all the cards, and a win against Fremantle City at Lark Hill, in the Footballwa.net 'Match of the Round" will see them take their place in the NPL-WA. A draw or loss could let in Gwelup, who meet Western Knights in the 'Croatian Derby' at Nash Field on Sunday, and with Gwelup not illegible for promotion it will mean Rockingham will play Subiaco in a two-leg play-off to seal the final spot in the NPL-WA.

Rockingham's great form has seen them go 14 matches unbeaten and are close to their first ever appearance in the NPL-WA. Skipper James Harmer said all their hard work is now paying off. " Cameron and Gaz have really changed the atmosphere around the place this year. The things they have implemented into the training and game day routines are brilliant,” he said. “As for all the lads there is not one player who hasn’t put a shift in this year. Everyone has worked their socks off to put us in this position and I am so proud to be involved with this bunch of lads.”

City came home from Bunbury with a 7-1 win, which boosted their goal difference to plus 33, and they scored 52 goals the most in the league and have only conceded 19, also the best in the league. That win has put them on the verge of promotion, and Harmer said it was a great team performance. "We knew before the game that first and foremost we had to win the game,” he said. “It was as simple as that but after we were in control we knew we had to push as hard as we could to get that goal difference as high as we could.”

Harmer knows what is at stake on Saturday, a win will see them promoted and he said they will be doing all they can to beat a good Fremantle City side, who pushed them all the way in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. “We are well-aware Fremantle are no push over, they have a good side,” he said. “We had a really tough game against them early on in the season and expect the same this weekend. However, we know what it means this weekend if we win the game. Its history for the club and we will all be putting 100% in to win the game and get that trophy.”

Rockingham coach Cameron Lord said it's been a great season both on and off the park at the club, and he knows they need to stay focused and produce the football that has got them in this position on Saturday. " We are really looking forward to Saturday’s fixture against Fremantle City. We understand the implications and significance of the match, and we will be putting everything in to making sure we win the game,” he explained. “For us, Saturday is about doing as we have done for a large percentage of this season and that is winning. To be in the position that we are now, with just one game remaining, we are all desperate to win and be rewarded with the league title in what has been a great season, and a great battle with Gwelup throughout the season.”

Lord knows Saturday’s visitors have a strong side and they will have to be at their best to get the right result. “We would never expect Fremantle to come to us and roll over for us, we need to earn the win and if we do we will have rightly earned and deserved the opportunity to be league champions, pending the result on Sunday. The league will not be decided on the weekend games alone, but the league title is decided over an accumulation of all results over the course of the season,” he explained.

“To be in the position that we are with the last game of the season, there is no greater motivation in the world to play a football game, knowing that winning the game means that you are potentially league champions and earned the right to be promoted into the NPL. We are desperate to achieve something at Rockingham that has not been done in 42 years, and that is to be crowned as Division One champions. But again, we need 90 more minutes of our absolute best against a very good Fremantle City team, to put us in the best possible position to first of all win the game.”

Fremantle come into this game unbeaten in their last three games, including a come-from-behind win against Dianella last week. Coach Marc Anthony said all the pressure will be on Rockingham and they will be doing all they can to win the game and consolidate third spot on the table. "It was a good win against Dianella, it was wasn’t our best performance of the season, but important for us in terms of our finishing position in the league,” he said. “We know Saturday is going to be an extremely tough game travelling down there especially the run they are on at the moment. But it's a challenge we will face head on, my concern is Fremantle not Rockingham, so we will be doing our utmost to try and stay in 3rd place on the league.”

Gwelup will know their fate before they kick off on Sunday and will be hoping Fremantle can do them a favour at Rockingham. Last week they had to fight all the way to beat Morley and skipper James Sammut said it was a tight game but should have but it to bed earlier. "It was a good game against Morley and a shame we didn’t put the game to bed earlier,” he said. “We missed some chances throughout the game, but lucky it didn’t come back to bite us, and we got the three points which was the most important thing.”

Sammut said Sunday will be another tough game, like all Derbies are and if the results go their way then they are up for the fight. "Croatian derby is always a competitive fixture. They are a good side and we will be going out to hopefully come away with three points and finish the season on a high,” he said. “We can’t do anything about Saturdays fixture and what the results will be there, we just need to plan and prepare for a big game on Sunday. If results go our way, we need to ensure we give our best possibly chance to take the three points against the Knights.”

Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaides said whatever happens this weekend it's been a great season for the club. "The Knights are a very good outfit and it definitely will be a competitive game. Our last encounter was a smashing end to end game and I expect this to be no different. Regardless of other results we will be going out there to get three points,” he said. “It has been a successful season and we have definitely raised a few eyebrows with our FFA Cup run and our consistency in the league. It’s a club that’s ambitious and have taken a massive step forward this year. We just need to make sure we keep on improving in all areas.”

The only other matter to complete is the relegation spot, with Mandurah City and Joondalup City fighting it out. This week Mandurah travel to Dianella Reserve to take on Dianella White Eagles, while Joondalup host Ashfield at the Iluka Sports Complex, one will be relegated, the other will go into the play-offs with two Division Two sides, while Ashfield and Dianella need a win to avoid the play-offs. The Dolphins are unbeaten in their last four games which has seen them move off the foot of the table, and they have a three-point advantage on Joondalup and plus three better goal difference, and coach Alex Grayson said their form late has been outstanding.

“We have worked hard over the past few weeks to put ourselves into a position to have our fate in our hands, so it is a huge credit to the lads for remaining positive towards the back end of the season,” he explained. “The senior boys stepping up coupled with the fantastic determination of the young lads has been the key to our recent run of form. Spirits are high at the moment, so we are hoping that can spur us on to a good performance against Dianella.”

Grayson said they go into Saturday's game confident they can get the right result. "Dianella will be a really tough place to go, especially with themselves having a lot to fight for,” he said. “Again, we have worked our socks off to claw our way out of the automatic relegation spot but our efforts this year will ultimately come down to the 90 minutes we can put in on Saturday. We are really looking forward to the occasion. The next few weeks basically become a knock out for all the clubs involved. It should make for some terrific neutral viewing.”

Joondalup’s Alex Robertson said last week’s draw wasn’t the result they were after, but it was a probably a fair result on the day. “Definitely not the result we were looking for, but the score reflected the game quite fairly. We held most of the possession but struggled to break down their experienced defence and it got harder to break them down the more the game went on,” he explained. “We came out flat footed after half time letting in a goal within 10 seconds of the whistle. We battled out the rest of the game having a goal disallowed and finally equalising in the last 10 minutes, which I thought we deserved.”

Robertson said on Saturday they need to focus on their own game and just give it everything they’ve got. “Our record against Ashfield the past couple of seasons has been good apart from them knocking us out the state cup early this season, so we are all feeling confident we can put them away at home,” he said. “Obviously we need Dianella to beat Mandurah and the goal difference is another factor, but we just have to do our bit and hope for a bit of luck with the other game. Luck isn’t something we’ve had much of this year so hopefully we finally get some on Saturday.” In final game the fast-finishing UWA-Nedlands make the trip to Wotton Reserve to take on Morley Windmills and a win and results elsewhere going their way could take them to third on the table, while a win for Morley could take them as high as fourth so it's all to play for. - South West Phoenix have the bye this week.

14.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW

Like Division One the State League Division Two title will go down to the wire with Olympic Kingsway and Wanneroo City level on points going into the final round of the season. Olympic are in pole position with a 11 goal better goal difference, and they travel to Curtin University on Saturday evening (5.00pm), while Wanneroo City host Shamrock Rovers at Wanneroo Reserve at 3.00pm. Wanneroo closed the gap on the leaders after a 2-1 win in midweek against third placed Swan United and head coach Tim Kantor was pleased with the win. “The boys were certainly up for Wednesday game. We started very well and had a couple of great chances early but couldn’t capitalise,” he said. “We continued to create chance after chance and if not for their keeper Joey Smith we could have been 3 or 4 up, but we did manage to take a lead into the break. In the second half Swan were pressing for an equaliser, and we caught them on a counter attack for a second. Late on we relaxed, and Swan got one back, but we hung on for a well-deserved win.”

The win continued their unbeaten run at home, and Kantor will be hoping for more of the same when they host Shamrock on Saturday. “Our unbeaten home form continues, having conceded a miserly six goals all season. We’ve made home a fortress and long may it continue,” he said. “But what a final week of Football coming up. We are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves because we know Shamrock are a very much improved side and we will have to be at our best to get the result. Should we achieve a win at the 3pm kick off, in the late game Kingsway will know they must win away at Curtin to win the league. I’m quite happy with the staggered kick off times. If we win on Saturday it will put massive pressure on the Kingsway lads, but fair play to them they have handled the pressure well so far.”

Olympic conceded a late equaliser last week against Swan, which prevented them from taking the title, and striker Danny Hodgson said it was a huge disappointment for the group. “It was disappointing to concede in the last few seconds, but we had two injury’s after 20 minutes which meant we had to change our game plan we suited the way Swan wanted to play, but I thought we deserved the three points,” he explained. “The goals that swan scored we couldn’t do anything about - A really soft penalty that not one of their players appealed for and no one saw the foul except the referee, and I thought the second one was offside, but in saying that Swan played really well, and they were the better team in the first half without a doubt. The lads showed character to get two second half goals and we were unlucky to share the points but over a 90-minute period I think a draw was a fair result.”

Hodgson said it’s been a great season, and they will be doing all they can to win the game and the title and go unbeaten for the whole season. “This season has been great, and we’ve played some amazing football. Every time we need to play well or step up we do, and every team has tried to knock us off the top since day one, but we haven’t moved. The league is tight up at the top, but we knew that if we didn’t lose any of our last 6/7 games the league is ours,” he said. “Saturday is a huge day for everyone the players, the staff and the club itself. Curtin are going to be hard to beat without a doubt, but I know the lads will be up for the game, and hopefully we can get the job done and claim the title.”

Swan United have secured the final play-off spot and this week they host Murdoch University Melville at Francis Street. MUM have consolidated fifth spot after last weeks win against Kelmscott, and Coach Gavin Brown will be looking to end the season with a win. Swan on the other hand face a play off game next week, and coach Paul Dundo said Saturday's game will be a perfect lead up game to them. "We're lookig forward to the play-off's but we have a tough game on Saturday against a very well organised MUM side," he said. "The first game between us was tough game with MUM coming out on top, be we will be looking to end the regular season on a high note. We need to continue the great momentum from our recent games, and take it into the play-offs, foucsing on achieving our target of promotion."

In other games this weekend Balga host Kelmscott Roos at Princes Road Reserve. It's been a long season for Kelmscott, and they will finish bottom of the table, but with North Perth United not wanting promotion they will stay in the league. Balga on the other hand just missed out on a play-off spot and winger Scott Bulloch said they will be looking to end the season on high with a win. "Its been a frustrating season for us. The ability and talent we have in the change-room, we really should be playing playoff football as a minimum," he said. "It just goes to show if your not switched on when the whistle goes, anyone can beat anyone in this league. We deserved a result last week against Wanneroo last week which ended our season, but it wasn't to be. With the hard work Aleks and the club have put in this year, we will make sure we go out with a win." In the final game Quinns host Gosnells City at Gumblossom Park. Quinns, who will finish sixth, were beaten at Canning last week, while a ten-man Gosnells, who finished ninth, fought back to draw 4-4 against Curtin, both sides will be looking to end the season on a high. - Canning City have the bye this week.

14.9.2018

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW

It's the final round of the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division on Sunday and only position to be resolved is the second side to be relegated. Southern Spirit’s fate was sealed many weeks ago, but the other spot will be taken by either Kwinana United or Subiaco. United are three points clear of Subiaco, and have a six-goal advantage, and a point will keep them in the league, but a loss and a big win from Subiaco could see them drop down.

Kwinana produced a great come back last week to earn a valuable point against Leeming, and this week they head to Carine Open space to take on Hamersley Rovers. A long list of injuries has hit United hard this season, and coach Kris Donnell said they haven't had a settled side and that's hurt them, but it’s no excuse, and he was pleased with the character they showed last week against Leeming. " The result last week was probably the most important one for me this season. To come back from three nil down the way we did with ten men was a good team effort,” he said. “The injuries have hurt us a lot, but it can’t be an excuse, the boys know the position we are in and they never give up which is most important for me.” Donnell said they will be looking for a positive result on Sunday and end their disappointing season on a high but knows it won’t be an easy game. "We want to end the season on a high and go to take the three points at Hamersley,” he said. “But it has to be a big performance as they are a good side and have a few tricky players in their team.”

Rovers have ended the season well under the tutelage of Mike Howard and Terence Stupple, and striker David Morris said last week’s win against Subiaco, that secured their survival was a great performance. "We had a few late drop outs Sunday morning for various reasons which meant last minute reshuffles to squad and starting line-up, but we still should've been four nil up at half time, but we didn’t take our chances,” he said. We then started the second half slow, giving ball away a lot and sat to deep, inviting a desperate Subi unto us. But we weathered storm and got that all important second goal and ran out comfortable winners after they got best player sent off. Should've been double figures really with chances created but poor finishing and everyone trying too hard to get in on the goals.”

Morris said Kwinana will be looking for a win to seal their safety, so it should be an entertaining game. " We can now go out on Sunday, relaxed and enjoy the last game at home and hopefully play the great football we are well capable off,” he said. “Obviously they need the points more than us and will no doubt be a physical game, but we want to win, with the aim of jumping up to 5th for a good end to the season. We also have four players involved in the ongoing state team trail games, so we will want to keep going form and fitness wise, especially couple of us on the recovery road from injuries.”

Subiaco will be hoping Hamersley can do them a favour, but even if that happens they must go to Woodville Reserve and take on the Champions North Perth United and win big. The loss last week against Hamersley was disappointing and skipper David Grose said they had their chances. “I was a very disappointing result last week, although we had to reshuffle the team due to a couple late pull outs and we struggled to get going,” We had our chances, but we couldn’t put them away, and Rovers were clinical in front of goals and punished us in the midfield.” Grose said it's going to be tough, but they will go to North Perth and have a go and see what happens. " Yes, it’s pretty simple this weekend, we lose we get relegated. We win, and we have a chance of staying up,” he said. “Obviously will need a bit of luck and hope other results go our way but will just be focusing on our game and give it a go and will see what happens.”

North Perth lost for only the third time this season last week at Jaguars, but coach Alex Carter said the game could have gone either way. "Last week we rested a few players but the guys that came in put up a great show against a tidy Jags team,” he said. “There were very few chances for either side and they proved a little more clinical at the crucial times.” Carter said they have only lost once at home this season, and that was their opening game of against Hamersley, and he is looking to end the season with another win as they collect their trophy but is aware Subiaco have it all to play for, so he is expecting a tough game. "I’ve already said to the boys that I want to finish the season with a hard-competitive game of football,” he said. “Hopefully play some nice football that we can showcase to our loyal fans for one last time in 2018. It would be great to do this, get a win and lift the cup afterwards.”

In other games Kingsley make the trip to the Ellenbrook Sports Hub to take on Ellenbrook United, Belmont Villa entertain Jaguars at Gerry Archer Sports Complex, UWA Nedlands host Wembley Downs at the UWA Sports Park, while in the final game Leeming Strikers host Southern Spirit at John Connell Reserve, and will be doing all they can to reverse the score the last time the pair met, where Spirit won 2-1, they only win of the season.

13.9.2018

LATE OWN GOAL SINKS WA STATE TEAM

A late own goal from Gold Fields WA State team skipper Callum O’Connell has given Perth Glory a narrow 2-1 win in Thursday’s Challenge Cup match at Dalmatinac Park. Tomislav Mrcela headed the Glory in front in the second half, before Bayswater City defender Trent Kay levelled with 17 minutes remaining, and it looked like they would hold on for a draw, but it wasn’t to be. “I was really pleased with the side tonight, they kept their shape well, and were disciplined all night, and I couldn’t have been more-prouder of them, and to lose narrowly to an A-League team, four weeks out from their season is very pleasing,” Gold Fields WA State team head coach Jamie Harnwell said. "The players enjoy playing these games and you could see the desire amongst them, the work rate was excellent. We flagged a bit late, but you get that, but I thought it was a great advert for the talent we have in our local leagues.”

The WA side made a positive start with Bayswater City's Gian Albano a constant threat, and after being picked out by great cross field pass by his club team mate David Stokoe early, his shot on the run was well blocked and cleared. Moments later Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer’s long-range effort stung the palms of WA keeper Luke Radonich, before Jason Davidson’s effort was saved low by the Cockburn shot stopper. Glory lost youngster Jacob Italiano on 16 minutes with a knee injury, but coach Tony Popovic strangely didn’t replace him, meaning the Glory played the rest of the half with only ten men.

Both sides had chances as the game started to open up. First Forrestfield United striker Hasani Sinclair headed over from an Albano cross, before Brandon Wilson’s long-range effort was well saved by the alert Radonich. WA were having their best spell of the game and they went within inches of the lead on 35 minutes, when former Glory Youth player Albano cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot which beat Jackson Lee but crashed off the upright. Glory should have gone into the break with the lead in the final minute, when a cross from Mrcela picked out the unmarked Chris Harold, but the striker failed to find the target.

They were several changes at the break for the Glory, and they did start the second half with a full side, but it was the WA side who went close early. A long ball sent Armadale striker Chris Jackson racing clear, but Glory keeper Lee stood tall to deny the 2018 Joint NPLWA Golden Boot winner. But on 56 minutes it was Glory who hit the front, Brimmer’s corner was headed home powerfully by Mrcela. It was a bitter blow for the WA side, and they almost conceded a second moments later, Harold’s shot on the run was saved low by Radonich.

WA continued to push and almost levelled when Sinclair’s header was saved by Glory trialist keeper Devon Spence. But on 73 minutes the WA side were rewarded for their pressure with the equaliser. Stirling Lions midfielder David Micevski’s corner picked out Kay, who rose highest to head home. It was well-deserved, and they almost grabbed a second when Spence spilled a Micevski in-swinging corner, but the keeper got back in time to save the ball on the line at the second attempt.

It looked like the WA side would hold on for a draw but five minutes from time Glory found the winner in fortunate circumstances. A great run into the box by Joel Chianese ended with a low shot that hit one post, and rebounded onto the other, before the unfortunate O’Connell’s attempted clearance went into his own net. WA had a final chance to earn a draw in the final minute, when Forrestfield midfielder Liam Merigan’s shot on the run was saved low by Spence, but the Glory held on for the win.

WA State Team: GK Luke RADONICH (RGK Sam STONE 63’), 4 Callum O'CONNELL, 5 David STOKOE, 6 Johnny CHALMERS, 7 Gian ALBANO (15 Chris SALDARIS 57’), 10 Chris JACKSON, 11 Hasani SINCLAIR (12 David MICEVSKI 71’), 14 Brian WOODALL, 16 Scott ROBERTSON (2 Liam MERIGAN 63’), 27 Jonathan CORNESS, 28 Shane CASSIDY (13 Trent KAY 63’) - Subs not used: None

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE (RGK Devon SPENCE 67'), 2 Alex GRANT (6 Dino DJULBIC 46'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON (25 Walter SCOTT, 46'), 4 Shane LOWRY (19 Zayd FARAH 46'), 23 Scott NEVILLE (7 Joel CHIANESE 67'), 14 Chris HAROLD (11 Brendon SANTALAB 67'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA (24 Henry HORE 67'), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (9 Michael DOMFEH 46'), 20 Jake BRIMMER (8 Jordan ABRAHAMS 67'), 15 Brandon WILSON (88 Neil KILKENNY 67'), 31 Chok DAU (22 Fabio FERREIRA 67') - Subs not used: None



The WA State Team - 2018. (photo courtesy of Football West)

11.9.2018

WA STATE SCHOOLBOYS/GIRLS COME HOME WITH MEDALS

The 2018 WA State under 16’s Schoolboys and under 18’s Girls teams have come home from Shepparton in Victoria with medals after both teams performing well. Gavin Brown coached the boy’s side and he said it was a great tournament for the players. “We achieved the best-ever points total of any WA team at a National Schools Championships with 12, four wins and a loss,” he explained. “We started well against NSW but had a 20-minute nightmare spell just before halftime where they tore us apart scoring four.

“We were 4-0 down at half time in that (our first game) against NSW and it was looking a wee bit bleak, however, the boys showed great resilience and a real togetherness to turn their week around. We lost a last-minute goal to make it a 5-0 loss, but then won our 2nd game vs Queensland 2-0 in a solid defensive performance. Jasper Bourchier scored a penalty and Shaun Mukwevho finished off a great counter attack late on.

“We dominated the next game against South Australia leading 3-0 at half time, but tired late on and conceded two in the last five minutes to make it a nervy finish. In the fourth game it was a strong performance against the hosts Victoria. Jasper Bourchier was outstanding, scoring a hat trick and setting up the fourth for Adam Fields. The results meant that our final game against ACT was a silver/bronze decider. A draw or a win would mean we became only the second WA boys’ team to achieve Silver. We showed great maturity and discipline to control the game and won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Andrew Maranta.

Brown said the team’s performance was outstanding and he was delighted to see one of his players selected in the Australian squad. "Bunbury lad, Andrew Maranta was selected to tour the Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales in January as part of the Australian Schoolboys. Jasper Bourchier, Shaun Mukwevho and Declan Collins were all selected as part of the shadow squad," he said. "We were a little bit disappointed to have only one player selected in the touring party, but it does indicate that the selectors saw us as a group who lacked stars but achieved success through being well organised and demonstrating a strong team ethic.”

The Under 18’s girls were coached by Wayne Baseden and Jenny Porter, and they also achieved a good outcome finishing with the bronze medal. They overcame a disappointing start to the week by finishing with a win against South Australia, a draw against Victoria and a win against ACT to claim third. Jenna Onions (Queens Park) was selected for the Australian Schoolgirls touring team who are travelling to Dallas in January.

The team had two country players and ten first year players, and Baseden said they were outplayed by NSW in the first game but finished the tournament strong. "We were 2-0 down at half time the team went on to lose 5-0 with some clinical goals from NSW. The next game against Qld was better and after conceding a goal early from a defensive error a scrambled corner effort saw WA draw back to 1-1. In the first two minutes in a blustering breeze another defensive error saw a Qld player take an opportunity to capitalise on the breeze and lofted home a shot form 20m out to go 2-1 up. The game seesawed a little and with only 10 minutes to go WA was on the end of a great cross in front of an open goal to just tip over the bar and alas another loss," he said.

"The SA was game displayed of signs of continued improvement and going into half time WA were 2-0 up. A cracking 25 meter shot from outside the box from Corrine Denton (Fremantle City) and a one touch finish form Nyana Jayme (Fremantle City) were the highlight of the goals and WA won 4-0. With the no option but to get points from the last two games a tactical shift was required and the introduction of Meghan Hulsman up front helped prove that success. Victoria in the fourth game went two goals up by half time and with a game to go were confident of then going on to finish third. Meghan worked tirelessly once coming on up front and broke the game open with some relentless pursuit of a ball to regain possession for the team and then finish herself to make it 2-1. With WA now dominating play Chelsea Johnstone (Fremantle City) snapped the game back in our favour by getting on the end of a great cross from Charlie Wainwright (Rockingham City) to gather and beat a player 25m out from goal to slot home to make it 2-2. The Vics tried desperately to get ahead again and an appeal for a penalty with only 4 mins of play left was ruled a dive by the Vics to bring the game to an end and WA a point.

"With that point WA trialled ACT by a win going into the last fixture. ACT only needed to win or draw to see them finish 3rd WA 5th. WA opened strongly from the start and were dominating play and winning a lot of ball in and out of possession even though ACT had shown earlier in the week to be strong in these areas. On a rare move forward by ACT a flanking player took an opportunity to shoot form the far left to slip the ball past our keeper to go 1-0 up. WA then returned the favour just before half time when Meghan Hulsman again was able to be work inside the box and capitalise on her strength to give us a chance at 1-1 going into half time. With the game in the balance Meghan again got hold of a through ball weighted perfectly to hold off one player and an advancing keeper to put the game in WA’s favour at 2-1. With dominance still in play and a handy lead WA finished the game with a win and the right for third spot.

Baseden was thrilled at the end of the tournament, also having one player selected for the Australian squad. "We're delighted for Jenna Onions (Queens Park) who was invited into the Australian Schoolgirls team to travel to San Francisco and Dallas in the United States, while Grace Smith (Queens Park), Meghan Hulsman (Queens Park) and Asha McClurg (South West Phoenix) were named as Shadow players," he said. "Of the last representative team to travel to the US, 16 of the 18 players were offered scholarships for Football in the United States opening up options around the world. The squad’s success is contributed a lot to the team work shown by the players and the player rapport, but it was also a good reflection of the commitment of the coaches at club level to help players attain the skills required at this level and we thank all involved in the process for our success."

11.9.2018

GLORY ADD MORE SOCCEROO TALENT IN IKONOMIDIS

Attacking midfielder Chris Ikonomidis has signed a three-year deal to join Perth Glory. The 23-year old becomes the fourth Socceroo to be added to Tony Popovic’s squad for the 2018/19 season, taking the total number of full internationals on Glory’s books to seven.

Ikonomidis flew into Perth last night and can’t wait for what he believes will be a very successful season. “The appeal of coming here was the project that is happening at the club,” said Ikonomidis, who scored three goals in ten appearances for Western Sydney Wanderers last season.

“I definitely think that Glory will be competing for the title this year and that was one of the most tempting things about signing. I spoke to Matt Spiranovic over the ‘phone a few weeks ago and he really convinced me what a great place this is. I enjoyed my time in the A-League last season and now I’m really excited to get started with Perth.”

Cronulla-born Ikonomidis, who first rose to prominence at youth level for Sutherland Sharks, moved to Italy at the age of 16 to sign with Atalanta. 18-months later he signed a three-year deal with Lazio from where he was loaned to Serie B outfit Salernitana, AGF in Denmark and Western Sydney.

11.9.2018

MELBOURNE SIGNING FORMER SOCCEROO BIRIGHITTI

Melbourne City have completed the signing of former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. The 27-year old rejoins the A-League after two seasons abroad, following year-long stints at English Premier League outfit Swansea City and Dutch top flight side NAC Breda.

Birighitti made 17 appearances for the Eredivisie side last season, and returns home on a three-year deal that will keep him in Melbourne until 2021. He replaces Dean Bouzanis who joined Dutch club PEC Zwolle on loan last month.

“I’m pleased to be returning to Australia and to join a club with genuine title aspirations and a group with talent like Melbourne City is very exciting,” Birighitti said. “I’ve worked hard over the past couple of seasons and learnt a lot which I hope to put that to good use this season and challenge for a regular place in the team.”

Birighitti joins Melbourne with a legion of experience, having tallied up 87 appearances through spells with Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United. Capped once by Australia at senior level, he was a major contributor during his rise up through the youth ranks, turning out 38 times for the national Under-17, 20 and 23 teams.

10.9.2018

MRCELA PLESAED WITH GLORY MOVE

Defender Tomi Mrcela always expected to return to Australia to play football at some stage of his career, but may not have planned on featuring alongside a shock Socceroos World Cup bolter. The 27-year old spent some 17 years of his life playing football overseas, predominantly in Croatia and more recently South Korea.

Mrcela moved back home to Western Australia in June, joining Tony Popovic’s revolution after ending his time at K-League 1 outfit Jeonnam Dragons. It was an anticipated - if unscheduled - return down under for the towering centre-back, who featured for the likes of RNK Split, Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva Zagreb.

Mrcela said it became evident the time was right to come home when approached by Popovic. “I planned to come for at least one year to play in Australia once in my career,” he said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen but now it’s happened.”

“The preseason is so special from what I had before, it’s so long, 10-plus weeks of pre-season. It’s really intensive, especially under Tony Popovic. To be honest, it’s been the hardest preseason I’ve ever had and for sure it’s going to get harder.”

“But it’s all for being 100% ready for day one of the A-League and for doing something special this year. Hopefully at the end of the year, we’re going to look back at the preseason (and) we’re going to say ‘that’s why we worked so hard in the preseason, for this’.”

10.9.2018

KERR CLINCHES SECOND GOLDEN BOOT

West Australian Sam Kerr netted her 16th goal of the National Women’s Soccer League to secure the Golden Boot for a second successive season. While Chicago Red Stars finals place was already assured, they were hoping to finish the regular season in style only to be undone by a second-half fightback by Utah Royals, wo triumphed 2-1.

But Kerr was again the star for Chicago, giving her side the lead to pull further ahead at the top of the scoring charts. The Matildas star got on the end of Arin Gilliland’s cross to head in from close range to put her team 1-0 up at the break. It was Kerr’s 16th goal of the season, one short of her record-setting haul of 17 last term.

Kerr became the first player to win back-to-back WNSL Golden Boot awards in the competition’s history. Chicago will take on Premiers North Carolina Courage in the semi-finals next weekend, when the winners progress to the season decider.

10.9.2018

SAINSBURY DISCUSSES CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHANCES

Trent Sainsbury says the possibility of playing alongside fellow Socceroo Aziz Behich in the Champions League is something special. World Cup squad members Sainsbury and Behich have both recently joined PSV Eindhoven, who have won the Dutch Eredivisie title in three out of the last four seasons.

The two defenders obviously impressed then Socceroos assistant coach Marc von Bommel, who took over as PSV head coach after the World Cup. Sainsbury, who made his PSV debut last week, and Behich, who only moved from Turkish club Bursaspor just over a week ago, were among Australia's best performers in Russia.

"It's always nice to have friends at the club, especially ones that I've known for a long time now,' Sainsbury said in an interview at the Socceroos training camp in Antalya, Turkey. "It makes the transition a whole lot easier and we can always communicate with each other if we ever need help with anything."

PSV have been drawn in a tough Champions League group alongside Spanish giants Barcelona, Italy's Inter Milan and England's Tottenham Hotspur. "It's a crazy group that we have been drawn in," said Sainsbury, whose football journey began as a junior at Armadale.

"But getting to walk out to that (UEFA Champions League) theme song, that's the stuff that you dream of as a kid. Being able to do it alongside a fellow Aussie, that's going to be something special. (We have) a long way to go, a lot of hard work to go, but we will get there in the end."

9.9.2018

HOW THEWORLD CUP TRANSFORMED RISDON

Josh Risdon was watching on at home when the Socceroos won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Three years on, the Western Sydney Wanderers defender was one of Australia's brightest performers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Risdon came face-to-face with the likes of French finisher Antoine Griezmann and Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen in Russia and has since emerged as a key contender to lead Australia's AFC Asian Cup defence in January 2019.

“It was the highlight of my career,” said Risdon. “I learnt a lot from not only the World Cup but also the camp before that. I learnt that I can mix myself with the best in the world. But nothing’s changed really, I still want to improve and work my way to cementing my spot.”

Risdon returned to Antalya earlier this week as the only A-League representative in Graham Arnold's 30-man squad. With the rest of the Socceroos well into their respective club seasons, the 26-year old is relishing the return of domestic football under new Western Sydney boss Markus Babbel.

Risdon says Babbel has made a big impression at the Wanderers during his short tenure as he attempts to fire the club back into title contention. “It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed working with Markus, he brings so much to the club not only in his coaching career but also his playing career," Risdon said.

“He sets very high standards for all us players and I think everyone’s really enjoying working with him this season. We’ve also got a lot of changes in the coaching staff and players as well. It’s an exciting time for us.”

9.9.2018

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

In the Sunday Amateur Premier Division relegation battle, Hamersley Rovers have beaten Subiaco 2-0 at Rosalie Park to seal their safety, but the loss means Subiaco look like they will be relegated. The visitors were ahead on 36 minutes, Subiaco lost possession in the middle of the park, and Ricky Andrews and Yeta Mulugeta broke away on a counter attack against two defenders. Yeta played Ricky Andrews in who slotted the ball low across the keeper and in to the net. Subiaco should have levelled just after half-time, but Morgan’s free header failed to find the target. Rovers went close again on the hour, Tom Clarke was picked out in the box, but his first touch let him down and a Subiaco defender got back with a last-ditch tackle. Things went from bad to worse for the home side when Paul Sopp was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

The visitors took advantage of their one-man advantage by adding a second. A quick free-kick taken at the edge on the box by Ricky Andrews put Matt Emery through on goal whilst the Subiaco defence were setting up and he fired home close-range to seal the win. “Everybody at the club is extremely happy to have secured our position in the Amateur Premier league for next season,” coach Terence Stupple said. “It’s been a pretty close league this year from fifth down, so this game was massive for us, anything but a win would have meant we went in to the last game under pressure to beat Kwinana. “But from the kick-off the lads showed their desire to win and I don’t think Subiaco were able to match our intensity. It might not have been one for the purists but sometimes you need to go back to basics. We made sure we were disciplined in our shape and gave ourselves a platform to get the three points.”

Ellenbrook United have also saved themselves from relegation after a big 5-1 win against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. Ellenbrook took the lead early from an Albert Amankwaa low drive from 20 yards. The home side continued to dictate terms and added a second when a great cross by Chassey David picked out Amankwaa to score. They added a third before half time, when Sahr cut in from the right and dispatched a fierce low drive from just inside the box.

Wembley player-coach Sully Sullivan pulled one back early in the second half, but Ellenbrook stayed compact and kept pressing and was soon out of sight with a great run and finish from Amankwaa to complete his hat trick, Wembley were reduced to 10 men when Jay McDonald was shown a second yellow card, and United made them pay and they added two more, the final one a penalty from Liam Hurley.

There were also three valuable points for UWA-Nedlands, after they beat Southern Spirit 2-1 at Watson Reserve. The visitors scored in the first minute of the game. A free kick given close to the touch line just outside the box and was whipped in by Langdon Heath with Simone Sichel getting on the end of it, the ball flew into the roof of the net. They added a second with Giorgio Savini scoring. After a quick break the ball found him just outside the box, and he finished clinically. Spirit pulled one back before half time, and the second half was a tense affair but UWA held on. “It’s great to have secured our spot for next season,” UWA coach Arthur Hiemstra said. “With the pressure off we’ll be able to fully enjoy our last (home) game of the season and maybe improve our standing on the table by one or two spots.”

Kwinana United and Leeming Strikers produced a six-goal thriller after a 3-3 draw at Kelly Park. The visitors opened the scoring on 25 minutes with Karl Gorman heading home at the back post. They doubled their lead ten minutes later Oli Mortenson was played though and finished well. It was 3-0 five minutes after half time, Lucas Pickering was found in the box, he controlled it well and fired home. It looked game over, but Kris Donnell’s side pulled one back with Lee Bates scoring. Then on 65 minutes the home side were reduced to ten men when Martin Barnes was given a straight red card, but the ten men reduced the margin again with Bates added his second. Amazingly the home side then levelled five minutes from time when Craig (Irish) Tone converted from the spot. Leeming pressed late to find a winner, but Kwinana weren’t to be denied a vital point.

Champions North Perth United lost for only the third time this season time this season after a 1-2 defeat at Herb Graham Recreation Centre against Jaguars FC. North Perth started well and keeper Lam Gai made a couple of good saves to keep his side in the game, but they did take the lead when Richard Dendle raced clear and held off two defenders before swivelling on the edge of the box and firing low past Gai. The home side levelled before half time, a great through ball by skipper Juma Wade sent winger Derrick Yuga in on goal and he raced clear of his marker before finishing well. Gai kept his side level after half time, producing another top draw save, and midway through the half the Jags won it. Yuga found space down the flank and his low cross was turned home by Akuei Guot. Both sides had chances late, but Jags held on to secure three points.

In the final game Kingsley easily beat Belmont Villa 6-0 at Chichester Park. Luke Armstrong headed home a cross early to give them the lead at half time, but they went on with after half time. It was 2-0 when Jayden Drummond picked out Luke Coltman to score, and it was 3-0 when a long throw from Lee Thomas found Jesse Higgins who put it away. They added a fourth after some good build up play ended with Bailey Salmon finishing well, before Drummond flicked the ball into Josh Waldock who went one-on-one with keeper and he finished with aplomb. They put the icing on the cake late with a sixth, Drummond sent in Aaron Lickiss who made no mistake. “It was a slow start by us, we didn’t really get going,” Drummond said. “But at the end of the day we’ll take six goals any day of the week.”

9.9.2018

JOONDALUP UNITED AND QUINNS AMATEURS GAIN PROMOTION AND KINGSLEY WIN PREMIER RESERVES

Joondalup United and Quinn FC have both been promoted to the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division after results over the weekend. United jumped above Quinns at the top of the table after a 11-1 win at Perth Royals, but both sides are clear of the nearest challenger Stirling Panthers, so the title will go down to next week, with both sides having home ground advantage against Perth Royals and Gosnells City respectively.

United coach Ben Williams said it’s been a great season. “Our target this year was to get promotion to the Premier Division after narrowly missing out last year, and we have achieved that and now we are one win away from the title, with Quinns also in the hunt,” he said. “It’s nice that the lads have set up a good rivalry with a very improved Quinns and a very exciting final weekend to go.”

“This year division one has been very competitive – Quinns, Stirling, Gosnells, Warnbro and the later Queens Park all decent sides we have been pushed the whole year and the lads have performed consistently knowing any slipping up Quinns are right behind breathing down our necks. It comes down now to how much the lads want to win the league. I'm looking forward to competing against the best amateur sides next year and think we will be very competitive.”

Quinns coach Darren Kay said it’s huge to get promoted, after many years of trying. “Promotion to the Premier Division was massive for our club, as Division One has been a brick wall for many years, it's a very tough league to get out of and this year was no different, so to gain promotion for the first time is a great achievement,” he explained.

“This season has been about consistency for us and playing a competitive brand of football week in, week out. Being such a competitive league, each week always presents a different challenge and apart from one slip up earlier in the year our group of players have been brilliant. Still, one week to go and it would be icing on the cake to win the league but either way, we can't wait to take things into the Premier Division next year.”

Meanwhile Kingsley Reserves side have made it three title in three years in the Sunday Amateur Reserves League after a 9-0 win against Belmont Villa. Coach Chris Brady said it’s been another good season for his side. “Delighted to again see our players lift the Reserves league title on Sunday and see their last eight months of hard work rewarded. The last couple of seasons we have won the league on the final day of the season, so it was nice to get it done with a game to spare this year, so we can go out and enjoy the final league game of the season next week at Ellenbrook,” he explained.

“The Reserves league this year was very similar to the First team league in that three teams (ourselves, Leeming and North Perth) broke away from the pack early on and it was cat and mouse each week as we all tried to steal a jump on each other. We were coming off an unbeaten season in 2017, and got a wakeup call in Round 2 this year when we were thumped by Leeming at our place. On reflection it’s probably the best thing that could have happened, as it made the lads realise they were going to have to work even harder for every single point this season and they took that resolve into the rest of the season, going 19 games unbeaten after that early loss.

“There’s been a real buzz throughout the whole club this season from the first team through to the masters and socials and it’s been great to be a part of. It looks like we will end up with three, possibly four, league titles from our six teams as well as three cup finals coming up on September 23rd. Dima has had a very settled first team squad this year which has really helped me, David Swales and John Cann run the reserves. Hopefully some of the younger players from the Reserves will make the step up to the first team in 2019 and help the club push for the Premier League title.”

8.9.2018

PERTH TAKE THE GLORY IN MCINERNEY FORD TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL

Perth Soccer Club have made the perfect end to their NPL-WA season, and 70th anniversary celebrations, after beating Perth Glory 4-1 in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. They had to come from behind to do so, after the Glory youngsters took a 1-0 lead to the break courtesy of Michael McDougall's goal on the half hour. But a second half hat-trick from Paul Zimarino, who also won the 'Gary Marocchi Medal' as Player of the Match, and another from Gustavo Catarcione give Ramon Falzon's side a well-deserved win. "It’s an unbelievable feeling, the boys have been rewarded for their enormous hard work," Falzon said. "It took a long time to get into the game, I thought Glory dominated the first 30 minutes, but in the second half, our quality on the ball and the way we started driving forward made a big difference. “Paul (Zimarino) has had a fantastic season, he’s scored a lot of goals for us this year, never a hat-trick, but he waited for the right time to score one.”

These two side meet in a cracking Semi-Final last week, with Glory prevailing, and it looked like more of the same this time around as they made a fast start. Yacoub Mustafa saw an effort fly wide, but on 27 minutes they deservedly hit the front. Michael Domfeh turned his marker on the edge of the box and slide the ball into the path of McDougall who finished clinically. Both sides created some good chances, but it was Perth who picked the pace up and started to take control and went close to levelling in the shadows of half time. Young midfielder Kristan Santich's long-range shot was tipped on to the bar by the alert Jackson Lee.

It was an even start to the second half, but it was Glory who went close to doubling their lead on the hour, the lively Mustafa's curling shot looked destined for the net, but Perth 'keeper Francis Soale produced a stunning one handed save to deny him. That save became more important five minutes later when Perth levelled. A cross from the flank picked out Catarcione, his header was well saved by Lee, but the rebound fell to Zimarino who made no mistake from close-range. Glory almost regained the lead moments later when Domfeh broke on a quick counter-attack, he outpaced defender Rocco Pizzata, but he failed to test the keeper.

That miss came back to haunt Glory and on 72 minutes Perth hit the front. Alex Silla won the ball from Chok Dau and raced down the right flank, before delivering a perfect cross to Zimarino who fired home. That goal took the wind out of the sails of Glory and they conceded a third three minutes later. Niccolò Sabatini ball into the penalty area picked Catarcione, and the Brazilian striker made no mistake under the legs of the on-coming Lee. They put the icing on the cake five minutes from time when Zimarino completed his hat-trick, the midfielder racing clear after a wayward pass from Glory defender Daniel Walsh, his first shot was saved by Lee but he fired home the rebound, much to the delight of the Perth faithful.

Glory hat-trick hero Paul Zimarino said it was a great day for the club. “I thought it was a very tough game and Glory came out firing and we were really under the pump for the first 30 minutes especially, and you could say lucky to get in at only 1-0 at half time,” he explained. “But we got in and re-grouped and just gave it our all and came out on the front foot. We got the equaliser and from then I think we had them on the ropes and they just couldn’t get a handle of the game as they like to do. Even after playing Tuesday credit to the boys just kept pushing and managed to come away with the trophy.”

Glory head coach John Gibson said the better team won on the day. “We weren’t good enough today,” he said. “You’ve got to be honest, you have to give fantastic credit to Perth who showed fantastic spirit and wanted it more than us. “Has the season been successful? We’ve shown some growth, but it hasn’t been successful because we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve in the end.”

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 3 Sam RIAK, 4 Daniel WALSH, 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS (12 Jack LEECH 78'), 7. Chok DAU (17 Gomo DUKULY 72'), 8 Henry HORE, 9 Michael DOMFEH, 10 Michael MCDOUGALL (13 Aiden EDWARDS 78'), 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA, 16 Zayd FARAH - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 14 Nic MCDONALD

Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 5 Niccolo SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE (7 Aleks JOVIC 89'), 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC (16 Keiran COLWELL 86'), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Kristan SANTICH (10 Nicholas AMBROGIO 83'), 20 Paul ZIMARINO - Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 19 Adam ZIMARINO - Referee: Adam Fielding



Perth SC celebrate winning the Top Four Cup (photo courtesy of Football West/FotoEnzo)
8.9.2018

PERTH SPOT ON IN 20’S TOP FOUR FINAL

Perth Soccer Club have won the 2018 McInerney Ford Under 20 Top Four Cup after defeating league winners ECU Joondalup 4-2 on penalties after the game ended in a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve. Louis Rossi gave Perth the lead on 20 minutes, but ECU levelled when the unfortunate George Festa turned the ball into his own net. But in the shoot-out Perth were unstoppable and converting all four of their penalties to win it.

Goal scorer Rossi said it was a great day and huge in the clubs 70-year anniversary. “It was a great experience, to be on the field with some of the best players in the league and Western Australia,” he said. “To score in a final is also a surreal feeling, over all proud of my team and the clubs’ efforts.”

Keeper Malek Luc who saved two penalties in the shoot-out, echoed Rossi’s comments. “Yeah so first off, I think it’s a great win for the lads and I to get some gold around our neck, with the difficult times we have had with things changing around us and having to cope with that all while playing, so at the end we finished as winners, huge congratulations to the boys on that,” he explained.

“I think ECU has been strong throughout all their season and brought a challenging game to us. But as a team we all stuck together and played with a bit of character, we were fortunate with our goal and then unfortunate with the goal we conceded being an own goal. But that’s what happens, we manage to keep it 1-1 defending well and so did ECU. But we happened to come on top with the penalty shoot-out – it was a good game to be a part of.”

ECU, who beat Perth SC 4-0 in their semi-final last week, found themselves behind on 20 minutes, with Rossi firing home. ECU hit back and created several chances, the best went to Jack Carroll, whose half volley flashed over the top. ECU were on the front foot after half time, but couldn’t break a tight Perth defence, but on 70 minutes they did find the equaliser. Liam Fyfe’s ball into the box was turned into his own by Festa.

It was ECU on top now and they went close to winning it seven minutes from time, Liam Murray cut in from the left and his curling shot hit the post and away to safety. Both sides pressed late but couldn’t the winner, and it was off to penalties. Perth custodian Luc was the hero for his side in the penalty shoot-out, making two excellent stops to deny Ronald Rixer and Ben Hinshelwood.

“It just wasn’t our day, we had a nervous first half performance and conceded a poor goal from a follow up from a free kick, and at half time we refocused and came out more like ourselves,” ECU Coach Mark Scanlan said. “I thought we dominated the second half, Logan had a goal disallowed controversially for offside. We equalised but couldn’t find a winner, and penalties is a tough way to decide a game, they took their chances and we didn’t – but I couldn’t be prouder of my side though, we’ve had a terrific season.”

ECU Joondalup: GK Jack NUNN, 3 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Harry EDWARDS, 5 Nicholas KOEFLER, 7 Jack CARROLL (17 Dylan LEONARD 57’), 8 Ronald RIXER, 9 Ben HINSHELWOOD, 10 Liam MURRAY, 11 Liam FYFE, 12 James BRUCE, 18 Logan MCISAAC – Subs not used: 2 Luke RHODES, 6 Lewis TUCKER, 13 Euan FRASER, 20 George JACKSON

Perth SC: GK Malek LUC, 3 Sam THORNILEY, 6 Michael ZIMARINO, 7 Luke GARAS, 9 Adam ZIMARINO, 10 Cameron PIQUE, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 13 George FESTA, 15 Louis ROSSI (11 Ali NAZARY 82’), 17 James FANELLI, 19 Ben PULLELLA - Subs not used: 14 Jacob STUBBERSFIELD, 21 Lennon CRANE, 23 Seb BELL - Referee: Stephen Knight



Perth SC with the Under 20's Top Four Cup. (photo courtesy of Football West/FotoEnzo)

8.9.2018

BAYSWATER WIN 18’S TOP FOUR FINAL

Bayswater City have won the McInerney Ford Under 18’ Top Four Cup Final after a 3-0 win against Perth Glory at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday morning. A brace from Conor McKee and another from Ajak Riak gave Gary Williams’ side a well-deserved win. “I’m very proud of this player group. They are an outstanding group with a great attitude to the game and this is reflected in their success this season,” he said.

“Whilst we were collectively disappointed to miss out on the league the lads stepped up and won both the State Cup and the Top four Cup. The games against Perth Glory have been particularly enjoyable as they are two teams who are well matched in terms of ability. I’m confident some of these players will progress through the club and will end up representing Bayswater at first team level which is and will continue to be the primary objective for the Under 18’s playing group.”

Glory started brightly with Danyel De Souza and skipper Christian Belladonna causing plenty of headaches for the City defence. But it was City who opened the scoring on the half hour, when Daniel Harrison picked out McKee racing into the box and finished well past Jacob Range. Glory went close to levelling before the break, Jacob Muir couldn’t force home after the ball broke loose to him from six yards.

It was a tight affair after the break and Matthieu Fellaife long-range for Glory flashing over the top, while at the other end Riak went close. But Glory were caught out again after keeper Range was forced to hurry a clearance under pressure from Riak, and it went straight to McKee, who’s long-range chip went into an empty net from 26 meters. Try as they might Glory could not force their way back into the contest, and it was Bayswater who added a third two minutes from time.

A ball over the top sent Riak in on goal, he held off his marker before finishing into the bottom corner. "We've had a great season and all the players deserve great credit for what's been achieved," Glory coach Callum Salmon said. “The result hasn't gone our way today, unfortunately, but I'm just so proud of the team and all the staff involved. Congratulations to Gary [Williams] and his staff and players on their win."

Bayswater City: GK Jak MALONY, 2 Tyler GARNER, 3 Jake MELIA, 6 Dean KEZURER, 8 Conor MCKEE, 10 Ajak RIAK, 11 Jayden LAM, 13 Gyles DAVIES, 15 Hristijan JANKULOVSKI, 18 Daniel HARRISON, 20 George NORTON – Subs not used: 5 Oleg TARSHIN, 12 Freeman NYATSAMBO, 21 Carl DIAS, 25 Jacob CAREY

Perth Glory: GK Jacob RANGE, 2 Joseph FORDE (17 Aiki TSUKAMOTO 77'), 3 Ale CIRCATI, 5 Albert FULLARD, 6 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 7 Danyel DE SOUZA, 9 Christian BELLADONNA, 10 Tyler VECCHIO (12 Matthieu FELLAIFE 52'), 11 Oscar WRIGHT, 13 Jacob MUIR (18 Joseph HOBSON 55'), 14 Aiden FORMSTON - Subs not used: 16 Jayden GORMAN, 20. Michael HODGSON - Referee: Troy Malatesta



Bayswater City celebrate winning the Under 18's Top Four Cup. (photo courtesy of Football West/FotoEnzo)

8.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

The 2018 State League Division One title will go down to the final game of the season after both sides won this weekend. Rockingham City sit in pole position, with a better goal difference, and it was helped on Saturday after a big 7-1 win against South West Phoenix at WML Stadium. The visitors led 3-0 at the break with James Harmer, Jason Pottier and Ross Staley on target. They added another four after half time, with Harmer bagging another three, and Pottier adding the other, while Lee Stewart scored the consolation goal for the Phoenix. It was a delighted Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord who spoke after the game. “We travelled to Bunbury with intent and purpose, firstly wanting to make sure we won the game,” he explained. “Our quality shone through and we were extremely clinical on the day. We are delighted with the result, but we need to perform for 90 more minutes against Fremantle to get the job done.”

Gwelup Croatia kept the pressure on Rocky after a hard fought 1-0 win against Morley Windmills at Wishart Street. It was a lack-lustre first half with chances few and far between, but after the break the chances started to come. First James Sammut curled an effort from the edge of the box which flew narrowly wide, before Benny Kouakou crossed to Sammut at the back post on the hour, but he was denied by a great save from Morley keeper Yousri Gharsallah. But on 78 minutes the home side got the opener, David Heagney’s cross picked out Bobby Wilson who headed home. Things went from bad to worse for Morley when substitute Anoa Loic was sent off by referee Simon Hicks, after a strong sliding challenge. But the ten men gave the hosts a scare late, when it looked like Marco Perizzula had levelled, but he was adjudged to be offside and the goal was disallowed. “I thought we moved the ball around quite well and I thought we got in behind and created some chances,” Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “We worked hard, we defended resolutely and got another clean sheet which is always good. At the end of the day I thought we deserved the win.”

Fremantle City maintain third place on the table after a 2-1 win against Dianella White Eagles at Hilton Reserve. The visitors were ahead in half time, with a goal from Jimmy Taban. But City hit back after the break, and Alec Robinson levelled from the spot, and they won it when a ball over the top found Callum Roberts, who made no mistake. “Really happy with the three points, especially after being one down at half time,” Fremantle Coach Marc Anthony said. “It sets up and interesting game next week and gives us a little momentum going into a tough game against Rockingham next weekend.”

UWA-Nedlands continued their recent good form after a 2-1 win against Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors opened the scoring with a brilliant individual goal from striker Alex Kretowicz. He cut inside from the right side and fired home from 18 meters, with the help of a slight deflection which took it past the keeper. But Ashfield levelled moments later through Abdul Abudalla, but UWA regained the lead before half time, after some neat work from Tristan Taylor, Bryce Conway and Kretowicz. Taylor played in Conway, who played a first time pass to Kretowicz behind the defence out wide. Conway had continued his run into the box, and the striker crossed to him, and he made no mistake heading into the bottom right corner from 10 meters. “The lads showed great character to dig deep and grind out another win on the road, it wasn’t champagne football by any means, but we did enough in the first half to gain the ascendency and the defence did a superb job in the closing stages to prevent Ashfield from creating anything and we deservedly grabbed the three points,” Conway said. “I thought Andrew Xydas was pivotal in the second half, he bossed the midfield and won countless headers to keep the game on our terms.”

In the final game Mandurah City and Joondalup City fought out a 1-1 draw at Securitas Protect Stadium and takes both sides relegation fight to the final game. It was a tight first half, but it was the home side who hit the front early in the second half. The home side were ahead straight from the kick off after the break, Dylan Urquhart sent a long ball was nodded on by Joe O’Brien, and Jeff bright made no mistake at the near post. But Joondalup levelled when Jonny Hulme was brought down in the penalty area and Sam McCracken scored from the spot. Both sides had chances late but had to settle for a point each. “We’re all a bit disappointed we felt we could have won the game, but we got unlucky,” Hulme said. “But we’re not out yet, so we’re all still hopeful we can get a win next week.” Mandurah’s Joe O’Brien thought they deserved the points. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the win as we had many chances to seal the game and didn’t take them,” he said. “But there are positives we can take from the game.”

8.9.2018

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

Olympic Kingsway's State League Division Two title celebrations will have to be put on hold for another week after a John Monterosso’s stoppage time goal gave Swan United a 2-2 draw in the game at Kingsway Reserve. It was tight game early and referee Anthony Walsh had his hands full with several tough challenges. But on 25 minutes it was the visitors who opened the scoring. The referee spotted a foul in the box and pointed to the spot and Gavin Knights made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Kingsway hit back and created several good chances, but not like them, they squandered them. After Coach Graham Normanton’s half time address it was a different Olympic side after the break and it wasn’t a surprise when they levelled on the hour, with skipper Luke Palmateer headed home from a corner. It looked like the title was theirs in the final minute when they hit the front, Dan Corbett scrambling the ball home from a free kick, much to the delight of the home supporters. But their cheers were replaced with groans on 92 minutes, when Monterosso pounced on a loose ball in the box to level.

“It was a tough game. In the first 45 minutes we didn’t carry out what we wanted to but in the second half we did,” Olympic Coach Normanton said. “We probably should have won the game and there were a few chances we should have taken. On the second half performance we probably deserved to win it, but we didn’t shut up shop and it cost us. But fate is in our hands. If we win the game (next week), we win the league – it’s as simple as that.” The point secured a play-off spot for Swan and Coach Paul Dundo was pleased with his sides character. “Credit to Kingsway they’re a good side, but at the end of the day we didn’t get beat. I’m proud of my boys just to stick it out,” he said. “It was concerning to concede two goals from set pieces and there’s still some things for us to work on as we head into the play-offs. But, the main thing is that we’ve secured that play-off spot. To see the club, get back to where it once was, that’s my intention. The boys have done well to get us into the position to do that.”

Wanneroo City moved to within three points of the leaders and have a game in hand after a 2-1 win against Balga at Wanneroo Reserve. It was a tense first half, with both sides needing the points, and it was the visitors who started on top with Nahom Michael, Scott Bulloch and Vinnie Longo having good chances. The home side weathered the storm and started to get back in the game and they found the opener, somewhat against the run of play. Gareth Lloyd’s ball into the box hit the arm of a Balga defender and the referee pointed to the spot, Lloyd stepped up to score and send the home side into the break with the lead. Balga pressed after the break and deservedly levelled fifteen minutes from time, with Danny Moss on target.

But the home side weren’t finished and made a few tactical changes, young Flynn Nolan was one of those changes and he came on and his impact was almost immediate. He was sent through one-on-one with Balga keeper Lance Alavakis, but he stood tall to deny him. Moments later Alavakis pulled off another unbelievable save low to his left to deny Joe Allsop. But the youngster wasn’t going to be denied and five minutes from time he found the winner. A ball into the box was flicked by Nolan, giving Alavakis no chance. It was a tense final few minutes as Balga pressed for the equaliser, but Wanneroo held on for three points. “It’s the start of an exciting week for us, with Swan heading to the Ashfield Arena on Wednesday,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kanto said. “At 1-1 we knew a point was no good, so we made a couple of personnel and structural changes to try and get a winner and it worked. “

Murdoch University Melville maintained fourth spot after a 4-1 win against Kelmscott Roos at Murdoch University Synthetic Arena. The visitors took the lead early when they pounced on a mis-placed pass out of the back. But the hosts levelled after good work down the right by Matt Sljivic and Aldaine van Dyk ended wit ha header from Declan Tanna. MUM hit the front when Scott Campbell’s free kick was only parried by the Roos keeper and Adam Mangions pounced on the rebound to score from close range. After the break the home side continued to press, and Christian Long added a third with a great diving header after a great passing move. But Kelmscott had the opportunity to reduce the arrears when they were awarded a penalty, but Alex Radonich saved it. They added a fourth late when Tanna added his second after great work from Sljivic and Dan Davey on the right. The introduction of Brett Tucker led to a chance for Declan to get his hat trick, but he smashed over after another good passing combination. “We weren’t great on Saturday, and I was a bit disappointing after how well we played against Olympic the week before, when I think anyone who was there would say we dominated,” MUM Coach Gavin Brown said. “The performance didn’t match the heights of the last few weeks, but we have won four, drawn one (when Gosnells equalised with a last-minute penalty) and lost one (against Olympic when we led and dominated) of the last six, so we are travelling well with a young squad.”

There was a goal feast at Walter Padbury Reserve after Gosnells City and Curtin University fought out a 4-4 draw. The home side opened the scoring, Liam Cavo chipped a ball from our defence over the top for Jordan Parfitt to run through on goal, the keeper got a hand to his shot, but Parfitt fired home the rebound into an empty net. The visitors levelled before half time, Kristian Beven tapping home after some great work on the left by Eddie Tikoft. Curtin hit the front after the break, with Kye Middleton heading home a Tikoft cross. But Gosnells restored parity when a long free kick picked out Scott Pereira, who managed to get to it in the crowded box and head it into the net. But Curtin took control with two great goals. First on the hour Carlo Chiellini curling home a superb free kick from 18 meters, before Farruh Mavlonov’s great overhead kick from 10 meters gave the home keeper no chance. Gosnells then had Justin Onek sent off for two yellow cards, and it looked the points would be leaving. But Brad Rushton’s team had other ideas and they reduced the margin when another ball over the top sent Parfitt in on goal, his shot beat the Curtin keeper, despite him getting a hand to it. The home side went search of the equaliser and they found it when Kamando Sikazwe raced down the flank, and his low cross was turned into own net by a Curtin defender.

In the final game Canning City recent good form continued after a 3-2 win against Quinns at Burrendah Reserve The visitors were in control with only 12 minutes to go, with goals from Luke Doyle and Alex Sallery. But the hosts pulled one back through Dane Navarro and the momentum shifted. Steven Kane headed them level, before Navarro won it late firing home from close-range after a goalmouth scramble. “We struggled to get any rhythm going and were deserving to be a goal down at the break,” City coach John Drewett said. “We improved after half time and the game open up but found ourselves trailing 2-0 and heading for defeat, but the lads fought it out to the end to take the points. “Obviously we’re overjoyed winning three of our last four, is a tremendous effort from our group.” – Shamrock Rovers had the bye this week.




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