Perth Glory's Daniel Stynes, here in action against Perth SC, is looking forward to Saturday's trip to Bayswater City (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

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24.5.2019

NPL-WA ROUND TEN PREVIEW

After last week’s cup round, the NPL WA is back this weekend and the Round Ten Footballwa 'Match of the Week' takes us to Frank Drago Reserve, where Bayswater City host Perth Glory. (3.00pm) Glory weren’t in action last weekend, but are coming off a hard fought 1-1 draw at Cockburn in round nine, the point keeping them in second place on the table, but left them six points behind league leaders Perth SC. Bayswater came from behind to beat Cockburn in the cup last week, while in the league they throw away a two lead to draw at Rockingham, which left them in sixth place, five points adrift of Saturday's opponents. The last time these two sides met in the league at the venue was in round 20 last season when Glory ran out 3-1 winners. Michael Domfeh gave the visitors the lead at the break, but Gian Albano levelled from the penalty spot early in the second half. Daniel Stynes restored Glory's lead before Henry Hore wrapped up the points seven minutes from time.

Glory midfielder Daniel Stynes has been outstanding this season and he was on target in the draw against Cockburn last time out and he said they weren't at their best, but he still thought they should have taken all three points. "I thought we deserved more from the game at Cockburn, and despite it not being our best performance, we should have taken all three points but their keeper made some fine saves late,” he said. “But on the whole, it kept us in touch with the leaders but we just needed to be a bit more clinical in the final third.” The 20-year-old is still a youngster, but he is the older statesman in the side, and he said the young players are doing extremely well and are not getting bullied by the more experienced players in the other NPL sides. "We may be young but I think we’ve got a very physical side this year as opposed to previous years,” he said. That helps us when we come up against the physical sides, but we are just as good technically.” Stynes said Saturday is another huge challenge, against a side who have struggled for consistency this season, but he knows what talent they have in their squad. "Bayswater are always a tough team to play against and they have recruited well and have some good players,” he said. “But we’re only concerned on our performance, but we know it should be another tough trip.”

Bayswater City's Scottish striker Gordon Smith was on target in the cup win last week and in the 2-2 draw at Rockingham in the last round of the league, but he said it was a disappointing result. "Yes, we were all disappointed after the Rockingham game, especially after letting our two-goal lead slip,” he said. “We really should’ve put the game to bed with the chances we created.” Smith, who joined the Frank Drago Reserve side from ECU Joondalup this season, believes they are starting to fine their form, but they need to be more consistent, but last week’s comeback against Cockburn in the cup was a great start. "We have been performing well and have all been working hard in training but just need to be more consistent when it comes to Saturday’s and we will start picking up more points,” he explained. “Last week’s fight back against Cockburn in the cup could be just the spark we need to do that.” The former Hearts, and Raith Rovers player knows the talent Glory have in their line-up and he is expecting a tough and entertaining game on Saturday. "Glory are a really hard side to play against, they are fit, sharp and good young players, so we know we will be in for a tough game,” he said. “But with the quality and experience we have in our side we will be going all out for the three points.”

Perth SC will be looking to maintain or increase their lead at the top of the table when they entertain Cockburn at Dorrien Gardens. Ramon Falzon’s side sit six points clear after a 3-1 win against Armadale last week, with Michael Domfeh continuing his scoring, while Matthew Milenkovic and Kristian Santich were again good. They will be without the suspended Niccolò Sabatini, but do regain the services of Alex Silla, Rocco Pizzata and Gustavo Catarcione, while Frank Furfaro should come into the starting line up to replace Sabatini. Cockburn fought out a 1-1 draw against Glory in the last round, Daniel Robinson’s late goal giving them a share of the spoils in that game, while keeper Luke Radonich was outstanding making some vital saves to keep Glory at bay, and he will have to be at his best again on Saturday. American import Hasani Sinclair has fitted in well to his new club, while Devon Gibson and Riley Woodcock continue to give Scott Millers side drive down the flanks, this one will be a tight game.

Floreat Athena are one of the form teams in the NPL at the moment and this week they host bottom of the table Stirling Lion at E&D Litis Stadium. The Lions have bolstered their stocks with new coach Trevor Morgan signing a number of players including Sorrento duo Steve McDonald and Danny Jones and the coach will be looking for an improvement. They had a disappointing result in the cup last week against UWA Nedlands, but the league is their concern and Morgan will be looking for a similar performance from the one his side had against Inglewood last time out in the league. A trip to Floreat is never easy, especially when they are on a good run of form, but that’s the challenge ahead for Morgan and his side. Floreat continued their good form with a clinical win at ECU Joondalup last time out, and eased through to the next round of the cup. Luka Ninkovic and Robert Petkov have both been in outstanding form up top for Garret McDuling’s, while former Lions duo Dean Evans and Phil Arnold are leading by example and both will like to get one over their former club.

It's been a disappointing run of form for Armadale and they will be looking to that around when they host Sorrento at Alfred Skeet Reserve. After leading the league earlier in the season, the Reds have gone eight games without a win in all competitions, which has seen them drop to tenth place on the table. They weren’t in action last week, but were beaten at Perth in the previous round, and Head coach John O'Reilly has been busy on the transfer market with two imports coming on board in Uriel Marcias and Moez Aloulou joining the club. Sorrento moved into the last eight of the FFA Cup WA last week with a win against Gwelup, and the week before edged out Balcatta in the league with Czech defender Jakub Prajza scoring in both games, the win in the league moved them to fifth. The form of the Morgan boys (James and Alex) must be pleasing Jamie Harnwell, likewise the defence duo of Scott Robertson and David Stokoe, who were outstanding in the win against Gwelup in the cup.

It's a real six-pointer at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday when eighth-placed Balcatta entertain eleventh-place ECU Joondalup. Balcatta started the season well, but have also fell off the pace in recent weeks in the league, and needed a last-minute goal to beat Canning City in the FFA Cup last weekend. The problem for all to see at Balcatta is goals, and their nine goals for the season is the second lowest in the league, and something Goran Stajic needs to rectify sooner rather than later, but at the other end they have only let in 11 goals, which is the second best, with Alex Castiello and John Kearney performing well and new keeper Lewis Italian o is in line for a start on Saturday, against his former club. It's been a poor start for ECU Joondalup, only one win this season and they need to start picking up points or they will be in for the relegation fight. They have had a bad run of injuries but welcome back Josh Whitmore and Shane Cassidy this week, while new signings Billy Quinncroft, Charlie Keena and Arran Maplestone will come into contention. Dale McCulloch will be looking for a response from his players so this one should be a cracker.

The final game takes us to Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium where Inglewood United host Rockingham City. Inglewood have moved into fourth place on the table and will be looking to keep tabs on the top three, and Andres Oliveira’s side are on a three-game winning streak, which included a hard fought 1-0 win at Stirling last time out. Mark Barnett and David Cyrus has been solid at the back for Inglewood, but Barnett is suspended for this one. Rockingham sit in ninth place, and are coming off a big win in the cup against Curtin, while last time in the league they fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Bayswater City, which pleased coach Cameron Lord. "To come back from 2-0 down to draw against a quality side in Bayswater is testament to the quality and will to win that we have in our group,” he explained. “Moving forward though, we must do better to make sure that we stop giving ourselves too much to do to get a result."

With many clubs bringing players in to boost their squad Lord said he is happy with the one he's got and is looking forward to the trip to Inglewood. "We did not feel the need to make any changes within our group. This group of players have been together since November now and there is a fantastic spirit within the group. We want this group of players to continue to grow and develop together this season. The return from injury of Mitch Firth will feel like a new signing for us, and will certainly give us added quality moving forward once 100%,” Lord said. “This week will be another test against a very good side in Inglewood. We are desperate to get back to winning ways in the league. We believe we have the quality to get what we want out of the game, but it is important that we start to get back to perform from the first minute, and not wait until the second half to play with the quality that we have.”

24.5.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND EIGHT – PREVIEW

It's week eight of the State League Division One and the Footballwa.net 'Match of the Round' takes us to Wishart Street for the top of the table clash between Gwelup Croatia and Ashfield. Gwelup were knocked out of the FFA Cup at Sorrento last week, but in the league Taki Nicolaidis side moved to second with a win against UWA Nedlands and with two games in hand they sit only two points behind Saturday’s opponents. Ashfield lost for the first time in the league last time out at Fremantle City, and Matt Wardle will be looking for his side to bounce back this week. The last time this two sides met at the venue was in round 14 last season when Gwelup ran out 3-0 winners. Isaac Koomson gave them the lead early from the penalty spot, and he added another, moments later. Ashfield then had Daniel Tait sent off and Benny Kouakou added the third.

After a first up defeat in the league Gwelup have won the last four games, and defender Ciarán Salinger said they were made to work hard to get the three points against UWA last time out. "It’s been a great reaction from the lads since the Morley game.” He said. “UWA are an energetic team, they made it difficult for us to play in the first half, but in the second half we played some great football and eventually led to two goals that we deserved.” Like Ashfield, Gwelup are ambitious and a new grandstand is under construction at their home ground, and Salinger said the club are well run and it's up to them to do the business on the pitch. "Everyone at the club is looking forward, and the ambitions is to be one of the biggest clubs in WA,” he explained. “We as players have to deliver on the pitch and get results each week, to help the club go forward, and that continues on Saturday.” Salinger is well aware the talent Ashfield have in their side, and he said Saturday will be their biggest challenge this season. "Saturday is massive game of course, we are excited, training has been good and even with the loss against Sorrento the boy’s spirits are high,” he said. “We are confident in our footballing ability, to get the result we desire, so it should definitely be a cracker of a game.”

In other games third placed Olympic Kingsway entertain Fremantle City at Kingsway Reserve. Olympic were held to a draw at the Knights last week, while Fremantle shocked league leaders Ashfield, so this one will be another tight game. Fourth placed Western Knights will look to get back into the winners’ circle when they hit the road, with a trip to Forrest Park to take on Joondalup United. A draw last week left them three points of the leaders, but they do have a game in hand, while Joondalup moved away from the drop zone after a big win at Morley. Forrestfield United are coming off the bye and this week they host Morley Windmills at Game Guardian Stadium at Hartfield Park. It's been a disappointing start to the season for Graham Normanton's side and he will be looking for a response from his players this week. Morley let the lead slip to lose to Joondalup last week to see them bottom of the table, so a win in this one is vital.

The final game of the round is the local derby between Subiaco and UWA Nedlands at Rosalie Park. Subiaco leapfrogged UWA with a win against Mandurah last week, a game that pleased coach Basil Lenzo, and he will be looking for a repeat in the derby this week. UWA were beaten at Gwelup last week which dropped them to seventh, and Michael Janssen will be hoping his chargers can bounce back in this one " As we had some issues with injured players in the last few weeks the results in the league were not ideal. But our performance and the effort the boys in each game were good but we just couldn't finish our chances,” he said. “This week we have players back in the squad. That gives us more and different options for our setup in the next games. The cup win against Stirling was already a first step into the right direction. Now we have to keep on working hard to get the right results.”

Janssen is looking forward to the derby, and he said with only one point separating the two teams a win is important. "Saturday is a different story. Derby time is always special and playing Subiaco in the league now is a game each player wants to start and play in. The week of training was intense and players back in the squad made their statements, so I have to decide now what is best for Saturday and who is ready to come back and start,” he explained. “The club is very excited about the game and the players know what it means this weekend. We played two games in the Night Series against Subiaco, but our team is totally different now from what we had before the season. Now it counts and the Boys in Green will be ready for the Derby.”

24.5.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND SEVEN – PREVIEW

It's week seven of the State League Division Two and the Footballwa.net 'Match of the Round' takes us to Princess Road Reserve where Balga host Gosnells City. Balga stunned Quinns in the last round, handing the leaders their first defeat of the season, while Gosnells bounced back from defeat at Kelmscott with a hard-fought win against Dianella White Eagles. The last time these two sides met at the venue was in round six last season Balga won in an eight-goal thriller, with Vlad Naumovski scoring a hat-trick in the 5-3 win. The loss at Kelmscott was Marc Anthony's sides first of the season and the coach was pleased the way his side bounced back against Dianella last week. "Yes, it was very important to get back on the winning trail after a poor result against Kelmscott,” he said. “I thought we controlled the game against Dianella, which was good to see and to keep a clean sheet was very pleasing." Anthony knows there are no easy game in this competition and he is expecting another tough one on Saturday. "We are expecting a tough game against a good Balga side this weekend,” he said. “They have had some great results already this year beating Quinns and having a great cup run, so we need to be at our very best to get a result with the league so tight this season.”

Balga moved to seventh with their win against Quinns, and Coach Aleks Vrteski said it was a hard-fought game. "It was defiantly a hard fought win against Quinn's who were extremely physical and I thought we were good value the whole game,” he explained. “It was a six-pointer for us, and had we lost we would have been 13 points behind them. The former Perth Glory keeper is expecting another battle on Saturday against a good Gosnells side. “It is definitely becoming a league of who turns up on the day, and if you're ready for a battle you're a chance if not you'll get turned over,” he explained. “Saturday is another real six-pointer for us. Marc has assembled a good side that is free scoring and plays attacking, so we will need to be at our best to combat them, but following our pour result against Perth I'm expecting a response from my boys.”

In other games fifth placed Swan United travel to the Iluka Sports Complex to take on fourth placed Joondalup City. Swan will have new striker Chris Holland available for the trip, and Coach Paul Dundo will be looking to get back to winning ways after back-to-back draws, while City have won three out of the last four games. Canning City will go in search of their first win of the season when they host Curtin University at Burrendah Reserve. City were gallant in the last round drawing with Swan for their first point of the season, and pushed Balcatta all the way in the FFA Cup, and they will be looking for a win against their local rivals. Curtin were beaten by MUM last time out, and they need to improve if they are to climb the table. Bottom of the table Shamrock Rovers make the trip to Dianella Reserve to take on Dianella White Eagles, while the improving Kelmscott Roos host Murdoch University Melville at Frye Park.

The final game takes us to Gumblossom Reserve for the northern derby between Quinns and Wanneroo City, with a 5.00pm kick off. The visitors are having an injury crisis at the moment and coach Tim Kantor will be hoping to get a few back this week. They were beaten at home last week by Kelmscott, the loss dropping them down to eighth on the table. Quinns were beaten for the first-time last week at Balga, which saw their lead at the top cut, and keeper James Bosdet said it was just one of those days. "The loss at Balga was disappointing, it was just a bad day at the office for us,” he said. “We didn't turn up and got punished by a team that wanted it more on the day.” The former Joondalup United keeper said Saturday's game against Wanneroo will be another tough test, like they all are in the league. "The league is tight this season and every game is difficult and especially being at the top of the league, teams have an extra incentive to play against you,” he explained. “We know we are going to have a battle every week and we just need to make sure we are up for it.”

24.5.2019

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND SIX PREVIEW

It’s week six of the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division and the Footballwa.net ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Chichester Park on Saturday evening where second placed Kingsley host fourth placed Quinns. (6.30pm) Both these sides are coming off big wins in the last round, Kingsley beating UWA 7-0, while Quinns beat Ellenbrook United 7-2, so this one should be a cracker under lights.

Quinns have started life in the Premier League well and are unbeaten on the road this season and Coach Darren Kay said the win last week was important to keep their momentum going after the big win at Leeming the previous week. “Yes, the Ellenbrook game was important to keep momentum, but to be fare the opposition put very little up so it wasn’t much of challenge for the lads,” he explained. “But on the whole the league is very challenging, and what a great thing for amateur football. It’s just one challenge after the next but it also means that a team can go on a run and find themselves top of the pile which is great incentive.”

Kay, whose team have won both games on the road this season, believes Saturday’s game is their biggest challenge of the season, but one they are looking forward too. “Kingsley have definitely been the benchmark in this league and they are in great form, so it’s a huge challenge for us,” he said. “But we’re going to have to test the depth of our squad again this week but as a young emerging group we couldn’t be more excited about another opportunity to have a crack at Kingsley on their patch.”

Kingsley midfielder Jayden Drummond was on target in the big win against UWA in the last round and he said it’s was good to get some goals, and like Kay he said the league is very tough this season. “Ii took us a while to get going against UWA, but good to put some goals away but more importantly a clean sheet,” he said. “Absolutely I agree with Darren, apart from the odd team the league is very strong this year, can’t take anyone for granted and if you do, you’ll get punished. We’ve had a pretty consistent side this year which I think really starting to gel, improving each week. Not ideal but to play Jags away twice in three weeks and come away with a win and a draw shows where we are this year.”

Quinns beat Kingsley in the Semi-Final of the Night series and Drummond said it would be nice to get one back on them. “Yes, we defiantly owe Quinns one from the night series, we certainly didn’t turn up that night at all and we got beat on the counter,” he explained. “That is something we can’t afford to do this time around, because they’ve had a good start to the season, but I think we’ve definitely had the tougher schedule so far, so we are quite happy with how we are travelling.”

In other games on Sunday, Ellenbrook United host Kwinana United at Jack Mann Oval, leaders North Perth United entertain UWA Nedlands at Woodville Reserve, while Jaguars meet Belmont Villa at Herb Graham Recreation Centre. Wembley Downs make the trip John Connell Reserve to take on Leeming Strikers. Wembley coach Mike Ford said they will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss at Belmont in the last round. “Yes, I was really disappointed with our performance against Belmont they thoroughly deserved the win, we just had too many players that didn’t turn up prepared to play,” he said. “Leeming will be a real challenge for us and we will need to be at our very best to get anything out if the game. Given recent results in the cup with second and first division teams beating Premier league teams it shows how important it is for players to turn up and be switched on ready to play against any opposition.”

In the final game Hamersley Rovers entertain Joondalup United at Carine Open Space. Rovers were beaten at Jaguars last week and will be looking to bounce back in this one, while Joondalup played well but were edged out by league leaders North Perth United. Joondalup coach Ben Williams said they had their chances to win it. “After having the majority of the possession against North Perth the final third let us down we just didn't create enough and North Perth are clinical and took their chance when it came,” he said. “I was much happier with the lads desire and work rate just we need to be better in front if goal.”

Williams comes up against a mate this week and he said it should be a good game. “Yes Hamersley this week is a huge game, both sides need the points and I'm good friends with Glynn the coach so bragging rights up for grabs,” he explained. “The lads have worked super hard off the field and the bye last weekend came at a good time to get some lads back with knocks. We’re expecting a tough afternoon against a very organised side and Glynn has done great after taking the job week before the season started and they have brought in lots of new players some we know very well after they swapped our shirt for theirs. The lads know how important this one is and I'm sure the opponents feel the same so should be a great contest come 3pm Sunday.”

23.5.2019

MATILDAS WILLIAMS 'NEVER THOUGHT' SHE'D REACH FOURTH WORLD CUP

It's been twelve years since Lydia Williams first pulled on the gloves for the first time at a World Cup. But if playing in front of 30,000 fans was surreal in 2007, it's nothing compared to what the Matildas will face next month in France.

Williams was one of three veterans named in Ante Milicic's 23-player squad last week with Lisa De Vanna and Clare Polkinghorne also earning their fourth selection. The 31-year old shot-stopper never imagined they'd head to France together in 2019 after three World Cups and 340 caps between them.

"It’s crazy. I wouldn’t have thought about this in 2007 – that this would be my fourth (World Cup)," said Williams said after training at the team’s pre-World Cup training camp in Antalya, Turkey. "But I'm definitely glad to be here. It's kind of surreal."

"Women’s football has come a long way. In the last two years it’s developed in a way that no one saw coming. But the experiences from my previous World Cups with people like Alicia Ferguson, Cheryl Salisbury, Di Alagich, and then the youth and talent that we had growing up to now the mature players is definitely going to help our road leading into this campaign."

"I’ve always had the idea that I want to leave the game better than when I first came in. It’s about leaving my mark, in whatever way, shape and form that’s possible. Hopefully inspiring the younger generations – whether that’s goalkeepers, or players, or Indigenous people to come and play the game. That’s my biggest goal."

"I'm happy to share my knowledge and I just want to perform at my best for my team and country." The Matildas kick-off their 2019 World Cup campaign against Italy on Sunday, 9 June, before squaring off with Brazil (14 June) and Jamaica (19 June).

22.5.2019

RISING STAR O'NEILL SET FOR SOCCEROOS DEBUT

Brandon O'Neill is edging towards locking his international future in with Australia after accepting a call-up to the Socceroos for next month's friendly against South Korea. The Sydney FC midfielder is set to cap off an impressive season with his international debut for his country of birth, having been monitored closely by his ancestral home of Ireland.

O'Neill is understood to be one of a several new faces selected by Socceroos coach Graham Arnold for the friendly in Busan on 7th June that will showcase Australia's depth in talent. Arnold is likely to rest several Socceroo regulars, opening the door for players on the periphery of the squad as well as a handful of youngsters yet to be given a chance at international level.

22.5.2019

GLORY HOPEFUL OF RETAINING IKONOMIDIS

Perth Glory attacker Chris Ikonomidis is set to attract significant interest from overseas clubs, but he might stay in the A-League. The 24-year old is contracted with Glory for another two seasons, but is set to attract significant interest from overseas clubs following his standout campaign and hot displays for the Socceroos.

Ikonomidis has flourished under Glory coach Tony Popovic this season, and has settled nicely in Perth. Although Glory missed out on the A-League Championship following their heartbreaking Grand Final loss to Sydney FC, they have qualified for the Asian Champions League for the first time in club history.

The ACL could prove crucial in convincing Ikonomidis to stay with Glory for at least another season. "I haven't spoken to my agent or the club about anything, so we're just going to go as if I'm going to stay for the next two years, because that's the contract," Ikonomidis said.

"We're playing the Asian Champions League next year, and we've got a big player in Bruno Fornaroli arriving at the club. There's a lot of things to look forward to. The Asian Champions League definitely raises your profile individually as a player if you get on that stage and do well. And it's exciting for the club."

21.5.2019

NOW IS THE TIME, SAYS MATILDAS' RECORD HOLDER DE VANNA

Australia’s most prolific World Cup goalscorer says the time is right for the Matildas to stake their claim for greatness. Lisa De Vanna has netted seven times across three World Cups, and she was in a positive mood ahead of a pre-tournament camp in Turkey.

“The hard work starts tomorrow, so we’re really excited,” said De Vanna, whose team have been grouped with Italy, Brazil and Jamaica at France 2019. “It’s been a big long build up for this and it’s just come across so quickly.”

“We’re looking forward to the next 10 days. There is no bigger honour or privilege, or sporting event. I’d give up all my medals just to go to a World Cup. So to be here for a fourth one ... I can’t put words to it.”

De Vanna began her World Cup journey in China in 2007, and alongside goalkeeper Lydia Williams and defender Clare Polkinghorne. The 34-year old also featured in the Germany 2011 and Canada 2015 editions of the tournament.

The Sydney FC forward believes the current Matildas squad is as strong as it has ever been. “Lydia, Polks and myself, we’ve gone through all the generations and I can speak on their behalf that this is the team, it’s a golden generation," De Vanna commented.

“You look at a lot of the girls, it’s probably their third World Cup and they’re still (only) 25. So they’re still young but with a lot of experience. Now they know what it takes to take it to the next level. If we’re going to do something magic it’s going to be at this World Cup.”

21.5.2019

MATILDAS CAPTAIN KERR CALLS ON AUSTRALIA TO #GETONSIDE

Football Federation Australia has launched a video designed to encourage all Australians to #GetOnside with their country’s bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. The video features Matildas captain Sam Kerr who explains that everything the team have achieved so far has been building up to one moment, the opportunity to host a World Cup on home soil.

“This is it,” Kerr said. “Everything we’ve been working for. The early mornings, late nights and sacrifices have all led to this, a World Cup in Australia. The Women's World Cup to me is the pinnacle of our sport, and the pinnacle of my dreams too. It would mean everything to host a FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil.”

“To be playing in front of your family and friends is one thing but to be playing in front of a full stadium of people that are all on your side is such an amazing experience. To have that kind of home support at a World Cup in Australia would be unbelievable. It gives me chills just thinking about it.”

Records are expected to be broken when the 2019 Women’s World Cup kicks-off in France in just 17 days. The most recent tournament in Canada in 2015, saw a total match attendance of 1.35 million and a global television audience of 764 million.

21.5.2019

IKONOMIDIS PROUD OF PERTH GLORY DESPITE GRAND FINAL HEARTBREAK

Star attacker Chris Ikonomidis says Perth Glory should be proud of its achievements this season. Glory were the best team all season, easily winning the Premiers’ Plate and qualifying for the Asian Champions League for the first time in a brilliant first year under coach Tony Popovic.

But, after a scoreless Grand Final of 120 minutes, Sydney FC snatched the title from Glory’s grasp in a one-sided penalty shootout. “I had my heart set on winning this one. It would’ve been the icing on the cake but it obviously wasn’t meant to be,” Ikonomidis said. “But I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved this season.”

After being subbed out during extra-time, Ikonomidis admitted it was tough watching the shoot-out - won by Sydney 4-1 - from the sidelines. “I was on the bench so it was harder to watch it and not be involved,” Ikonomidis said. “You can’t really say it’s luck but it’s a cruel way to decide a whole season.”

Ikonomidis, 24, said it was an “unreal” experience playing in front of a record A-League Grand Final crowd of mainly Glory supporters in a sea of purple. The 56,371 attendance beat the previous Grand Final record of 55,436 when Melbourne Victory romped home 6-0 over Adelaide United in 2007.

“It was unreal from our fans, they were awesome the whole game and I’m sorry we couldn’t give them a title at the end of it but they were fantastic and we really appreciate it,” Ikonomidis said. “If we keep playing the way we played this season the (crowd) numbers will continue to grow and speaking to a lot of fans outside, they’re fanatical, they love it.”

20.5.2019

GLORY AIM TO BECOME KINGS OF ASIA

They missed out on being crowned A-League champions but Perth Glory have set their sights on an even bigger goal - to be the kings of Asia. Glory's long history of Grand Final heartbreak continued on Sunday when they lost the title decider to Sydney FC on penalties.

Glory players, coaches and staff were gutted after the match, with owner Tony Sage saying he and his family even shed some tears. Still, he remains proud of the team and rates the season a huge success with Glory capturing the Premiers Plate and qualifying for the Asian Champions League.

Sage has dreamed about the ACL for years and he doesn't want his team to merely make up the numbers. "We really want to be the best club in Asia," said Sage, who has pumped almost $30 million of his own money into Glory over the past 12 years.

"We're the premiers. That's fantastic for us. My whole dream of getting into Asia - once we get over this disappointment (the Grand Final loss), the realisation that next year we'll be hosting those bigger clubs out of Japan and China and Korea - that's going to sink in."

Glory will be boosted by the arrival of star striker Bruno Fornaroli next season. A record A-League Grand Final crowd of 56,371 turned out for Sunday's match and Sage hopes to convert some of them into Glory members.

20.5.2019

THEY ARE CHAMPIONS IN MY EYES: POPOVIC

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has labelled his players champions despite yesterday's heartbreaking Grand Final loss to Sydney FC. Glory lost 4-1 in the penalty shoot-out after veteran duo Andy Keogh and Brendon Santalab had successive shots saved by Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

It meant Popovic has now been to four A-League Grand Finals as a coach for four losses. But Popovic refused to dwell on his own misfortune after Sunday's loss. Instead, his heart was bleeding for his players and he wants them to know that they are champions in his eyes.

"I'm proud of everyone at the club. It's been a real pleasure to coach them this year," Popovic said. "In this country you're deemed the champion if you win a one-off final. But there is a group of champions in that room, including the staff and everyone associated with the club."

"We finished first as the best team in the league. We are in the Champions League, we won the Premiers Plate. It was a phenomenal season. We couldn't get the icing on the cake. But the players gave everything. In the end it wasn't meant to be."

Glory's transformation under Popovic has been outstanding. They notched their first piece of A-League silverware this season by winning the Premiers Plate, a feat achieved with two games to spare, and had the best defensive and offensive records in the league.

But Popovic has even higher goals set for the club. "We've been a big team this year. The plan is to be a big club, and that takes time," Popovic said. Glory will be boosted next season by the arrival of Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli, who scored 57 goals in 83 appearances for Melbourne City.

20.5.2019

GLORY RALLY AROUND DISTRAUGHT SANTALAB

Perth Glory players have rallied around Brendon Santalab following the veteran’s penalty shoot-out anguish in Sunday’s Grand Final loss to Sydney. Santalab’s cheeky panenka penalty turned into a horror moment, with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne holding his ground to snaffle the easiest of saves as Sydney claimed victory 4-1.

Santalab had already announced his retirement earlier in the season, meaning his penalty flop was his last kick in professional football. The 36-year old was near inconsolable after the match. But Glory players were quick to make it known that they didn’t blame Santalab or Andy Keogh for their penalty misses.

“I pulled him aside and said, ’Just keep your head up’ because he’s a mentor for me and a lot of other boys at the club,” Chris Ikonomidis said of Santalab. “He’s had a big impact for all of us this year and he’s got nothing to be embarrassed about or upset about.”

Neil Kilkenny also threw his support behind Santalab. “He was upset, like all of us. A bit gutted,” Kilkenny said. “It’s hard on him, the last A-League game. But he’s had a fantastic career, he’s a fantastic guy, and all the lads love him to bits.”

Glory coach Tony Popovic said Santalab should be proud of his career despite the way it ended. “He’ll reflect in his own time. No words are going to help him now,” Popovic said of Santalab’s penalty. “He’s probably down for a lot of reasons.”

“His career is coming to an end in the A-League. It’s not the way he envisaged it happening. But that’s football. Football does these things. You have great moments, you have ups and downs. We’ve had plenty of highs, and today Santa is a bit down. But I’m sure when he reflects, he’ll be proud of the career he’s had.”

19.5.2019

SYDNEY HOLD THEIR NERVE TO WIN A-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL

Sydney are the 2019 Hyundai A-League Champions after a penalty shot out win against Perth Glory at a packed Optus Oval on Sunday afternoon. The game didn’t reach any heights, but Sydney did have the ball into the net in the first half, but the flag was up for offside, and tv replays showed it was onside. The two sides battled to a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes in front of a record Grand Final crowd of 56,371, with Glory creating some good chances throughout, but Joel Chianese, Dino Djulbic and Diego Castro all drew fine saves from Andrew Redmayne, who was also the star in the penalty shoot-out saving Andy Keogh and Brendan Santalab’s shot to give Sydney their fourth A-League Championship.

"Firstly, congratulations to Sydney and Stevie [Head Coach Steve Corica]," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said post-match. "It was a tight game with not much in it. They defended extremely well and their 'keeper made saves and we defended very well as well. Then it went to penalties and unfortunately, we couldn't get over the line. We just had a chat with the players after the game and told them to reflect on an amazing year, first and foremost. I told them that I'm proud of everyone at the club; staff and players. It's been a real pleasure to coach them and watching them today was a pleasure as well because we did everything, we could to win that game."

The ground was jumping at kick off and the first chance went to the Glory, Chianese nodding narrowly wide after rising highest to meet a Jason Davidson cross from the left. They went close again on 17 minutes, this time Redmayne producing a fingertip save to keep out Djulbic's header after a quickly-taken corner had caught Sydney's defence napping. While under pressure for much of the opening half-hour, Sydney thought they had the lead when Adam Le Fondrw fired home Michael Zullo’s cross, but the flag was up for offside, but it looked like Glory got lucky with replays showing the player was onside.

It was more of the same after the break, Redmayne again going full stretch to keep out a header, this time from Castro who had been picked out superbly by Ivan Franjic. The visitors reacted well to that let-off and proceeded to enjoy their best period of the game and yet it was Glory who continued to create the better opportunities. Franjic delivering another inch-perfect cross which just eluded the sliding substitute Andy Keogh in the box, before Castro saw a goal bound effort blocked by a cluster of Sky Blues defenders.

That was as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock in normal time and neither goalkeeper was tested in a cagey first period of extra time, but in the second half substitute Scott Neville firing over as Glory poured forward and Shane Lowry just failing to keep his header on target moments later. Popovic's side continued to press right up until the final whistle but they couldn’t break down a tight Sydney defence, superbly led by Alex Wilkinson, and we were off to penalties. Juande scored the first of the Glory’s penalties, but Redmayne got down well to his right to save Keogh’s shot, before saving Brandon Santalab’s attempted Panenka. While Adam Le Fondre, Brandon O'Neill and Rhyan Grant all fired past Liam Reddy ahead of Reza Ghoochannejhad's clincher.

“Unbelievable – it’s one of my crowning achievements. I came out here to win big things and what better than winning the prize thing in Australia. I’m really buzzing. It’s what I came for really,” Sydney striker Le Fondre said post-match. “It’s a testament to the boys. They’re such a great group. Team spirit carries you a long way in football. I can’t speak highly enough of the boys and how they’ve accepted me. We’ve got such a fantastic group; it’s carried us all the way here. It fully vindicates everything I’ve done in the past 12 months. To come out here and be a champion – that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to win things. [Now] we look forward to backing it up again next season, that’s what champions do.”

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (23 Scott NEVILLE 91'), 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (9 Andy KEOGH 73'), 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (11 Brendon SANTALAB 115'), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY (20 Jake BRIMMER 106') - Subs not used: RGKTando VELAPHI

Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Michael ZULLO, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE (16 Reza GHOOCHANNEJHAD 95'), 22 Siem de JONG (17 Anthony CACERES 78'), 23 Rhyan GRANT - Subs not used: RGK Alex CISAK, 8 Paulo RETRE, 11Danny DE SILVA - Attendance: 56,371 - Referee: Shaun Evans

19.5.2019

BELT-UP AMATEUR CUP - ROUND TWO – REVIEW

The biggest upset in the Belt-Up Amateur Cup Second Round came at Britannia Reserve where Premier League side North Perth United were beaten 3-0 by Division Two side Floreat Athena. Ovi Paraschiv gave the hosts the lead at the break, before second half goals from Nick Studer from the penalty spot and Yani Pogbeu gave Floreat the upset win. In the all Premier Division tie Kingsley beat Jaguars 3-1 at Herb Graham Recreation Centre. The visitors made a perfect start to the game scoring two goals in as many minutes. First after 40 seconds Jesse Higgins got on the end of a long throw to head home into the top corner of the net. The second arrived shortly after with a great cross from Ryan Brown finding Jayden Drummond who headed into the bottom corner giving the keeper no chance

Jags pulled a goal back when Paul Sopp fired home after a scramble in the box from a corner. But Kingsley made the tie safe with their third, when Lee Thomas crossed to Ryan Fish at the back post who’s shot was saved by the keeper but fell to Josh Waldock who calmly finished from 10 yards out with his first touch after coming off the bench. “We were very pleased with the result and the performance of our boys. We asked for a fast start to put them under pressure but to score two goals in two minutes was beyond what we expected,” assistant coach Stuart Montgomery said. “But credit to Jags they came at us strongly in the second half and had a few good chances but found our keeper Ryan Moss in fine form. But I have to give credit to our boys who didn’t go into the shells and continued to take the game on and in the end deservedly got the result and progression into the next round which was our goal before the game.”

In Friday’s first tie Kalamunda United moved through after a 3-0 win against Olympic Kingsway at Kingsway Reserve. The visitors were ahead on the half hour, Michael Schalk’s cross was turned home by United skipper Adrian Street. The hosts went close to levelling after the break when Ben Harris found space in the box, but his header went wide of the target. But on 50 minutes Kalamunda doubled their advantage, Eddie Sorna racing clear, rounding keeper Raj Hirani and rolling the ball into an empty net. The game was put to bed deep into stoppage time when Street fired home from the spot to send Kalamunda into the next round. “Today was a great performance,” Street said. “The boys worked hard at the back and a couple of goals was the icing on the cake.”

Peel United moved into the next round after a 3-0 win against Fraser Park at Fraser Park Reserve on Saturday evening. First half goals from Mitch Kelman and Brad Mallinder set them on their way, before Scott Martin sealed the tie in the second. “Consistency is proving to be a factor building a winner culture amongst the playing group only utilising 15 different players to start matches this season while dropping only three points in all competition formats,” United player/coach Clint Brown said. “We knew Fraser Park would be up for the challenge and they came out the box flying, once we settled Douglas Meyer broke down opposition attacking transitions with composure on the ball and sound defence. Scott Martin’s distribution flourished creating several scoring opportunities in which led to two goals before the break. Ryan Maddison’s commitment continued in the second half stopping fast break before another Scott Martin volley finished the trifecta. We have set our short term and long-term goal targets for 2019 and we hope to break down each one week by week.”

Leeming Strikers were too strong for Subiaco winning 5-1 at Rosalie Park on Saturday afternoon. But it was Subiaco who started the better and Cameron Chambers scored after only four minutes. Chambers had an opportunity to add a second moments but fired wide. But Leeming hit back on the half hour, Michael Maratea cutting the ball back to Aaron Bahadori to score. Leeming hit the front nine minutes later, Paulo Coelho finishing from the edge of the penalty area. It was a tight second half but it was Leeming who increased their lead on 70 minutes. Maratea’s shot was well saved by Subiaco keeper Oscar Baxendale but Bahadori fired home the rebound. That goal killed the game off and Leeming added a fourth when Baldave Singh headed home a Coelho corner before Bahadori completed his hat-trick, turning home a Maratea cross to give Leeming a comprehensive win. "We started well but gave a sloppy goal away early, after that I thought we moved and controlled the ball well and deserved the 2-1 lead at half time,” Leeming Coach David Palin said. “Second half we created numerous chances and got the goals to make sure there wasn’t a cup upset, so we are pleased to have moved into the next round. Credit to Subiaco as well they made us work for it all day and for a young side they never gave up and if they keep that up in the league, they'll start getting the wins their effort deserves.”

Premier League side Wembley Downs have had to come from behind to beat Division Three side Forrestfield United 3-1 at Hartfield Park. The hosts were ahead on the quarter-hour mark, Jason Feather received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and his volley flew into the net. The home side dominated the first half and had a number of chances to increase their lead, but they failed to take them. But it looked like they would cause an upset, but Wembley started to get back into the game and found the equaliser seven minutes from time, when Jay McDonald’s glancing header from a long-throw beat the Forrestfield keeper. It was end-to-end now with both sides looking for the winner and it was Wembley who found it in stoppage-time, Will Fishleigh cross shot beat the keeper and went in off both posts before ending in the back of the net. Forrestfield pushed men forward looking for the equaliser and were caught out again with the last kick of the game, with David Morris scoring.

In other games Westnam United beat Port Kennedy 3-2 at Shelvock Reserve in the last Round One game on Sunday afternoon. Quinns eased through to the third round after a 6-1 win against Yanchep United at St Andrew Park on Sunday afternoon, Emerald FC won 4-2 on penalties against Perth Hills United at Fraser Park Reserve after the game ended 1-1 at normal time, while North Beach beat Canning 4-1 at Burrendah Reserve. Stirling Lions beat Fremantle City 2-0 at Hilton Reserve, while Southern Spirit moved through on penalties against Lynwood United at Hossack Reserve after it ended 2-2 at normal time. Carramar FC beat Bassendean Caledonian 5-2 at Jubilee Reserve, and East Perth beat Maccabi 4-1 at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. Finally, Mandurah City moved through after Ballajura forfeited the game.

In the final game, the 2017 cup winners Kwinana United progressed to the next round with a 3-2 win against Belmont Villa at Gerry Archer Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon. There was a somber moments before kick off with both sides standing in a minute’s silence for Kwinana player Tino Calisto, whose mother passed away during the week - from everyone at Footballwa we send our condolences to the Calisto family. But it was the visitors were started the better and it was Calisto who put them ahead, but Belmont levelled soon after through David Musa. Calisto regained the lead for Kwinana, before Shane Boyle added a third with a great finish. Belmont pulled one back through Luqman Abdirahman but it wasn’t enough and it’s Kwinana through to the next round after an entertaining game. “We changed the system up this weekend after a few poor results and also went with a lot of reserve players due to the ongoing injury list we are dealing with,” Kwinana coach Kris Donnell said. “The boys who stepped in did a really good job and I was delighted for the whole team to come away with the result. We played some really nice football today so overall, it’s a good win for us and we can look forward to the next round now. Also, it great for Tino to get the double after a tough week for him and his family.”

18.5.2019

PRAJZA SENDS GULLS FLYING THROUGH

A goal from Czech defender Jakub Prajza has given Sorrento a hard fought 2-1 win against Gwelup Croatia, in their round five FFA Cup WA tie at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Alex Morgan had given the home side the lead early, but David Heagney levelled for the State League Division One side after the break, but a long-range shot from the former FC Slovácko defender was enough to see the Gulls home. “I thought it was a good cup tie and you can see why Gwelup have beaten so many NPL sides, but a good goal from Jakub saw us home,” Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “We’re looking forward to the draw and see who we get, and we’ve had a taste of the national stage of the competition and it’s an exciting prospect.”

Gwelup had knocked out NPL WA side Armadale in the last round, but it was Sorrento who started the better in this one and they were ahead on 17 minutes. There looked little danger when a ball went into the Gwelup penalty area, but a mix-up between keeper and defender let in Alex Morgan, and the striker finished well. The visitors looked for an immediate response and Heagney was sent clear one-on-one with James Morgan three minutes later, but his lob was well over the top, before the lively Samuel Wynne saw a shot hit the side netting.

The visitors made a great start to the second half and Sam Wynne fed Heagney early, who failed to find the target. Moments later Heagney turned provider playing in Healing, whose shot on the run flashed wide of the post. But on 11 minutes Gwelup found the equaliser. Healings’ corner was flicked on by Bobby Wilson and Heagney found space at the back post to poke the ball home. Sorrento hit back and Prajza shot hit the side netting, but on 64 minutes they regained the lead. A ball into the penalty area was only cleared to Prajza, and the Czech defenders shot bounced just in front of Riley Stephenson and went over the keeper into the net.

Gwelup pressed late looking for the equaliser and James Morgan got down well to deny substitute Danny Hodgson, before the Sorrento custodian pushed away the English strikers shot moments later. Hodgson was a real handful and he went close again on 80 minutes, but his effort was headed inches wide of his own goal by Sorrento defender David Stokoe. The visitors were well on top late and Sparrow’s shot on the turn flashed over the top, Hodgson’s shot was cleared off the line by Jordan Brown, before Wilson’s header was over the top and Sorrento hung on to progress to the next round..

Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 2 David STOKOE, 3 Jakub PRAJZA, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 5 Scott ROBERTSON, 7 Alex MORGAN (8 Scott WITSCHGE 79’), 10 Jordan ROBERTS (13 Steven MCDONALD 90+5’), 11 Tim HILL, 17 Reece VITTIGLIA, 18 Jordan BROWN, 19 Jack SALTER (23 Cameron TEECE 70’) - Subs not used: RGK Matt GIUDICATTA, 20 Jaxon TEMATA

Gwelup Croatia: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Samuel WYNNE, 6 Brodie MARTIN, 7 James SAMMUT, 8 Matthew SPARROW, 9 David HEAGNEY (12 Isaac KOOMSON 79’), 11 Blamo QUA-QUA, 14 Lawrence SHURUMA (10 Danny HODGSON 61’), 77 Ellis HEALING, 88 Bobby Wilson - Subs not used: RGK Connor CAMPBELL, 15 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 17 Sean CANHAM - Referee: Shane Skinner

18.5.2019

KELLY’S EYE NUMBER ONE FOR UWA

State League Division One side UWA-Nedlands produced the upset of the FFA Cup WA fifth round after beating NPL side Stirling Lions 2-1 after extra time at the UWA Sport Park on Saturday afternoon. Joe Haydon gave the hosts the lead after half time, but Lions defender Michael Gama levelled just after the hour. The winner came four minutes into the second period of extra time from Riaz Kelly, and despite Stirling pressing late they held on for a famous win. “After a few weeks not being able to finish a game of, we took the opportunity to get back to winning,” UWA Coach Michael Jansson said.

“Overall, we played as a unit and defended well when we needed to, but also played our football going forward. “I thought we deserved to win and go to the Quarter-Finals, the boys coming in for our injured players grabbed their chance and endorsed that we made the right choice to trust our depth of the squad. Led by our captain Tim Robertson we grew into the game and scored twice as a result of our football we enjoy to play. Now we are looking forward to the cup draw and focus on Subiaco.” It was the visitors who opened the game the better, but the same problem, missed chances, that has seen them languishing at the bottom of the NPL table was on show again. But some last-ditch tackles from the UWA defenders and some wrong decisions at vital times cost them. UWA, who missing a number of their first team players battled hard, and they went into the break all even.

But the breakthrough for the home side came on 54 minutes. Patrick Morrison’s shot was well saved by Lions keeper Ryan Montgomery, but the rebound fell to Haydon who made no mistake from close-range. But their lead only lasted for nine minutes. A ball into the box wasn’t dealt with by UWA and in the goalmouth scramble Gama fired home. With UWA substitute Alex Kretowicz a constant threat, UWA looked to finish it in normal time, but it was off to extra time. Both sides had chances in the first period of extra time. First, Stirling keeper Montgomery produced a great save to deny the danger Kretowicz, before Daniel Jones’ long-range free kick beat Luke Stonebridge but it crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. It looked like it would go to penalties but on 109 minutes UWA won it. Some great lead up play on the left ended with Kelly, and he made no mistake to set off wild celebrations amongst the home faithful.

UWA-Nedlands FC: GK Luke STONEBRIDGE, 2 Sam GUTHRIDGE, 6 Riaz KELLY, 7 Tim ROBERTSON, 8 Joe HAYDON, 9 Thomas WHITE (19 Cameron HOLLEY 68’), 12 Nikolas THEODOROU, 13 Tristan TAYLOR, 15 Thomas MALONEY, 18 Patrick MORRISON (10 Alex KRETOCOICZ 58’), 30 Max WELTON - Subs not used: 3 Tim ROSSI, 5 Aaryie SHARP, 22 Adam CIHS

Stirling Lions: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Mike PETKOVSKI, 3 Darren O’RIORDAN, 4 Griffin BESCI, 5 Nelson TSHONGO, 6 Dhors CHOL, 7 Blerion MAMUDI, 8 Reive KIASA, 9 Michael WANTEE, 10 Daniel JONES, 11 Michael GAMA, Subs not used: RGK Daniel MARQUES 12 Filip MINIC, 14 Joseph PERKINS, 15 Angel DEJKOVSKI - Referee: Tom Glavouz

18.5.2019

LAST MINUTE HEARTBREAK FOR CANNING

Canning City produced a gutsy performance in their FFA Cup WA Fifth Round against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve, but a last-minute goal from Shubham Mokala gave the hosts a hard-fought 2-1 win and a place in the next round. Daniel Bryant had given the visitors the lead early, but Balcatta skipper Calum O’Connell levelled before Mokala stole the show late. “The magic of the FFA Cup is always tough and we played against a very determined team in Canning City,” Balcatta coach Goran Stajic said. “I’m so pleased with the attitude and how we fought and approached the game. We created loads of chances and 2-1 is a little short of the result we deserved but to make the last eight of the competition is so important for us.”

The visitors arrived sitting near the bottom of the State League Division Two, but made a perfect start and hit the front on 16 minutes. Bryant’s free kick took a wicked deflection off the Balcatta wall and wrong-footed Balcatta keeper David Keenan and ended in the net, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. But their lead only lasted for nine minutes, when Mokala’s cross picked out O’Connell at the back post and he headed home. Balcatta were now on top and Canning keeper Eric Cutri had to be alert to deny Alex Wild on two occasions, before Jonathan Hoareau cleared another one off the line. Canning hit on the counter attack and went close to the lead just before half time, Ronan Cowley’s cross shot floated across and over Keenan but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Balcatta custodian.

The home side were out of the blocks early in the second half and Cutri saved well to thwart Ben Pellizzari’s low drive, before the same player fired wide when well placed after O’Connell’s header. Cutri was having a great game and he produced the save of the game to deny John Kearney. It looked like the game would head into extra time but in the final minute the home side won it. Balcatta won a free kick 18 meters from goal and Mokala’s curling free kick into the top corner. Canning had one last chance to draw the game, when James Drewett’s cross was inches away from a Canning player in the box.

Balcatta: GK David KEENAN, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 John KEARNEY, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Shubham MOKALA, 7 Alex WILD (30 Michael ZIMARINO 60’), 10 Jonathan CORNESS, 12 Robert DEL BORRELLO (29 Adam FALCONE 62’), 16 Alex CASTIELLO (11 Callum STOCKS 66’), 21 Nicholas CHALLOT, 22 Ben PELLIZZARI - Subs not used: RGK Damien STANOEVSKI, 13 Carmelo GIUFFRE

Canning City: GK Eric CUTRI, 3 Shaun MORRISON (2 Steve KANE 64’), 4 Oliver DAHLSKOG, 5 Joshua WALLMEAD, 7 Boubo MORNA, 8 James DREWETT, 9 Ronan COWLEY, 10 Ante JUKIC, 13 Jonathan HOAREAU (15 Nicholas LOMMA 80’), 14 Zibu MOYO, 16 Daniel BRYANT (12 Suyash VASIST 20’) - Subs not used: 11 Alistair GOMES, 21 Lachlan HACKETT - Referee: Steve Gregory

18.5.2019

NO UPSET FOR PERTH AT BALGA

Perth SC proved too strong for State League Division Two side Balga, cruising in to the next round of the FFA Cup after a comprehensive 7-0 victory over Balga at Princess Wallington Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The Azzurri were made to work hard for the first 30 minutes, but once Michael Domfeh opened the scoring it was all downhill for the home side. Kristian Santich doubled their lead from the spot before half time, but second half goals to Paul Zimarino (2), another to Santich, Frank Furfaro and Alex Jovic gave Ramon Falzon’s side a comfortable win.

“It was a hard-fought game, and Balga tried a lot before the game by making the pitch tiny to make it harder for us but we pushed that aside and just played our game,” Zimarino said. “It was a bit of a frustrating start on the small pitch Balga sat back and made it hard for us to break them down but I think we controlled all the game once we got the first forced them to come out a little bit more and found more space in behind for us. The early red card for them in the second half opened the game up and the flood gates opened and we took full control again.”

The hosts were well in the game early with Daniel Cain marshalling the defence and Vincent Longo busy in the midfield, but it was Perth who hit the front on the half hour, Domfeh pouncing on a mistake at the back from Balga to finish low past Lance Alanakis. Balga weren’t going down without a fight and they went close to an equaliser when Hermon Michael’s cross wasn’t dealt with the ball had to be saved on the line by the alert Perth keeper Dejan Aleksic.

The visitors added a second seven minutes later when Matthew Milenkovic was brought down in the box by David Martins, and referee Joshua Nixon pointed straight to the spot. Santich stepped up and scored past Alanakis from the resulting penalty. The hosts started the second half well, but they couldn’t find away past a tight Perth defence, and they were caught out again on 56 minutes with the goal of the game. Zimarino was found on the edge of the penalty area and his first-time volley flew into the top corner of the net to make it 3-0.

That goal took the win out of the Balga side and it wasn’t a surprise when Perth added a fourth seven minutes later. Furfaro, who had only been on the pitch two minutes, raced into the box and finished with a thunderous shot which went in via the crossbar. The home side were then reduced to 10-men when defender Zoran Vrteski was shown a second yellow card and was sent off. Perth took advantage and Aleks Jovic added a fifth, set up after good work from Domfeh. Balga did go close to a goal, but Longo’s shot smacked off the crossbar, but Perth added a sixth with Santich scoring another penalty, before Zimarino grabbed his second and Perth’s seventh with the last kick of the game.

Balga: GK Lance ALANAKIS, 2 Bojan NINKOVIC, 3 Daniel CAIN, 5 Vincent LONGO, 6 Jason STEPONOVSKI, 7 Jake VERINI, 16 Herman MICHAEL, 17 Kris SPASESKI (9 Tyron TORRE 74’), 19 David MARTINS, 30 Christopher COLTTON (4 Zoran VRTESKI 50’), 31 Thiak KVEL (11 Dejan ANDRIC 53’) - Subst not used: 10 Joshua CONTI, 15 Giulian ZACCONI - Red card: Vrteski 64

Perth SC: GK Dejan ALEKSIC, 3 Andreas THEODOSIADES, 7 Aleks JOVIC, 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC (17 Frank FURFARO 61’), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH, 15 Thomas SOUTHGATE 16 Kieran COLWELL, 18 Michael DOMFEH (10 Luke GARAS 74), 19 Bojan RADIONOVIC, 20 Paul ZIMARINO - Subs not used: RGK Frances SOALE 9. Gustavo CATARCIONE, , 13. Rocco PIZZATA Yellow cards: De Leo 31, Furfaro 85 Red cards: Nil Referee: Joshua Nixon

18.5.2019

BAYSWATER FIGHT BACK TO SEAL PROGRESS

Bayswater City have come from two goals down to beat Cockburn City at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon and move into the next round of the FFA Cup. The visitors were ahead just before the break with substitute Hayden Stevens on target, and Daniel Robinson doubled their advantage on the hour. Daryl Nicol pulled one back seven minutes later, before Gordon Smith levelled things up, and an own goal from Stevens gave Chris Coyne’s side the comeback. “The team showed fantastic character to come from two goals down and get the win,” Nicol said. “It’s the second time this season we’ve came from two behind and hopefully it will give us a huge lift going into next week’s game.”

It was a tight first half with clear cut chances few and far between but it was the hosts who hit the front on 43 minutes. David Araya’s corner found Stevens, who had replaced skipper Euen Grant om the half hour, and the big defender headed past Devon Spence. It was 2-0 when Robinson burst out of the middle of the park and found Ryan Pratt, Robinson continued his run into the box and Pratt found him, the striker finishing low past Spence.

Bayswater made an immediate change bring on Gustavo Giron-Marulanda for Giordano Colli, and they were back in the game seven minutes later. Kenny Keogh was brought down in the box and referee Matthew Southern pointed straight to the spot, and Nicol converted past substitute keeper Ben Radonich, who had replaced his brother earlier. It was level two minutes later, Smith found space in the penalty area and finishing well. The comeback was complete 11 minutes from time when Adam Tong’s ball into the box was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Stevens. Cockburn sent extra men forward in the dying minutes to try to salvage the result but Bayswater’s composure saw them through to the final whistle.

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 3 Jack ALLEN (2 Declan HARGREAVES 85’), 5 Adam HARRIS, 10 Jason MIRCO, 11 Ryan PEARSON, 13 Trent KAY, 17 Daryl NICOL, 19 Gordon SMITH, 20 Giordano COLLI (9 Gustavo MARULANDA 59’), 21 Kenny KEOGH (30 Adam TONG 77’), 27 Ross MILLARD - Subs not used: 22 Shaydon PASSALAQUA, 25 Sam REILLY

Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH (2 Ben RADONICH 57’), 4 Euen GRANT (14 Hayden STEVENS 35), 5 Julian TELES, 6 Ruben TRISTAO, 10 David ARAYA, 12 Ryan PRATT, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Daniel ROBINSON, 17 Devon GIBSON, 19 Hasani SINCLAIR, 23 Riley WOODCOCK (9 Tonci SKORICH 80’) - Subs not used: 3.Daniel DOLS, 18 Adam ANFUSO - Referee: Matthew Southern

18.5.2019

ATHENA SECOND HALF BLITZ SINK OLYMPIC

Floreat Athena proved too strong for Olympic Kingsway beating them 3-0 and progressing into Round Six of the FFA Cup on Saturday evening ay Kingsway Sports Complex. Kingsway were undone after half time with Nicholas Ambrogio, Robert Petkov and Jonathon Stynes on target, to see Garrett McDuling’s side through. “The match was evenly contested in the first half with both sides playing good football looking to take an early lead. We had good stints of possession however struggled to make effective forward passes as well as the final pass letting us down,” McDuling said.

“We went into the break at 0-0 and brought our captain Dean Evans on who was instrumental in playing provider and getting us the 3-0 win. Credit must go to Jesse Fuller and our back four and keeper Jason Saldaris who kept another clean sheet with us now only conceding the one goal in six games. Dennis Galan was superb and back to his best and we really now look forward to Stirling Lions at home to continue our league surge in order to try bridge the gap to Perth SC.”

The visitors were on the front foot early and went close to the lead when Ambrogio’s corner picked out Petkov, who headed over the top when well placed. Luka Ninkovic thought he had found the lead late in the half, but Olympic keeper Luke Hutcheson produced a great save to deny him. The introduction of Evans at half time gave Floreat the ascendency after the break and it wasn’t a surprise when they hit the front on the hour.

Phil Arnold made space down the flank and his cross picked out Ambrogio at the back post to head home. Hutcheson was called into action again moments later as Floreat looked to kill off the game. The Olympic custodian then made a great save to tip Arnold ‘s curling effort on to the post, before saving the rebound. But the Floreat pressure was rewarded with a second on 70 minutes, Evans’ cross was finished by Petkov. They made sure of the win nine minutes later with Stynes finishing from close-range to seal the win.

Despite the loss Olympic coach Gary Williams was pleased the way his young side performed. “I thought we competed well for the first 60 minutes but then the quality and persistence of Floreat took over,” he said. “We showed for large periods of the game that we can match one of the best sides in the state. We struggled to contain Floreat for the last 30 minutes during which they scored their goals. Congratulations to Garrett and his team on progressing to the next round of the cup.”

Olympic Kingsway: GK Luke HUTCHESON, 3 Jordan POKLER, 4 Luke SERRA, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 6 Kris GATE, 7 David MOLINARI (8 James VENESS 83’), 12 Christopher RIZIDIS, 13 Charlie BREEN, 14 Joshua TUCKER, 17 Eraste VYAMUNGA (10 Nathan THORP 84’), 19 Kieron STALLARD – Subs not Used: RGK Duncan LENNON BLACK, 9 Daragh KAVANAGH, 15 Alexander DOMIANOPOLOUS

Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA (3 Tristan COLLI 82’), 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Jonathon STYNES, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Luka NINKOVIC (17 Dean EVANS 46’), 11 Dennis GALAN, 15 Chris SALDARIS (29 Jack ANDREWS 46’), 18 Phillip Arnold, 21 Nicholas AMBROGIO – Subs not Used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 13 George FESTA - Referee: David Bruce

18.5.2019

GLORY AND SYDNEY TO BATTLE OUT THE A-LEAGUE GRAND-FINAL

The Premiers Plate is already in there trophy cabinet and on Sunday Perth Glory will be looking to add the Hyundai A-League Grand Final trophy to that when the they host Sydney FC at Optus Stadium (4.30pm) After last week’s tense penalty shoot-out win against Adelaide United at HBF Park, Tony Popovic's side will need to be at their best to beat a Sydney FC side who thrashed Melbourne Victory 6-1 in the other Semi-Final last weekend.

Glory have taken all before them this season winning the Premiers Plate with two games to spare, and having the best defensive and offensive stats of the season, but Sydney have beaten them twice and will be on a high after last weeks thrashing of Victory. There will be close to 60,000 fans at Sunday's Grand Final and Popovic is confident his team are ready for a big game in the clubs first ever A-League home Grand-Final. "You can never anticipate in terms of how many goals will be scored. But I'll anticipate we'll be very good," Popovic said. "I know the mindset we'll go out with on Sunday. They (the players) have been confident all year and they've produced all year.

"They've embraced every challenge that's been put in front of them, and they'll embrace this one. I'm really looking forward to seeing them play. We're very clear on what we need to do on Sunday and how we want to do it - that’s play football. The preparation has really been done throughout the whole year. We've been working towards this moment. We're at home, we'll have a fantastic crowd. It's a great reward for us to get to this stage. We're excited by the challenge."

Both sides have similar strengths, and there are some vital match-up's in this one, but it's in the middle of the park where this game will be won or lost. Former Glory midfielder Brandan O'Neill and Josh Brillante have been outstanding for the Sky Blues this season, but Glory duo Neil Kilkenny and Juande haven't been bad either. Both pairs are the engine room of both teams and this battle will be pivotal.

Up top English striker Adam le Fondre has had a great first season in the Harbour City, and along with skipper Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic are a potent strike force, but Glory trio of Andy Keogh, Diego Castro and Chris Ikonomidis have been very officiant. Then wing backs Michael Zullo and Rhyan Grant for Sydney and Jason Davidson and Ivan Franjic for Glory have all had fantastic seasons, and keepers Andrew Redmayne and Liam Reddy are amongst the best in the league.

Reddy saved four penalties in the dramatic semi-final shootout win against Adelaide, and even nailed one himself. Glory will start as warm favourites for Sunday's game, but if the game does go to penalties, Reddy will be backing himself in the shootout. "Hopefully it won't go to that. Hopefully we'll wrap it up in 90 minutes," Reddy said. "But we're prepared to go 120 minutes and then if it goes to penalties, we'll be confident going into that too. When it was sudden death (against Adelaide in the shootout) there was more pressure on the kicker. I tried to psych them out as much as possible and it worked.”

Reddy has been given all the plaudits this season for the clean sheets, but he said it’s a strong defence that has done the work. “We've had 12 clean sheets - that's not me, that's Matthew Spiranovic, Dino Djulbic, Shane Lowry, Alex Grant, Tomi Mrcela, Scott Neville, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic," he said. "They've been tremendous. But I think the difference this year is that we defend from the front. Diego Castro, Andy Keogh, Chris Ikonomidis, Joel Chianese - those players start the press and they work extremely hard defending. It's a whole team effort to keep a clean sheet, and that's something all the players have bought into this year."

Alex Wilkinson believes Sydney FC's familiarity with big time football can get them over the line on Sunday. The central defender has tipped his hat to Glory's achievement of dominating the regular season and booking home advantage for Sunday's decider, but the former Socceroo pointed out his team comprise more players hardened by the experience of major matches, which he said counts for plenty in a one-off occasion.

"We've got a lot of players who have been involved in big games that last couple of years. We've been in grand finals, we've been in a few FFA Cup finals, Champions League games," Wilkinson said. "All that breeds experience and confidence in pressure cooker situations. Our boys will know exactly what to expect and hopefully that will be an advantage. Perth's not been a hard place for us to go over the last few years, we've gone over there and got good results, so we take confidence in the fact that we beat them over there... that flight holds nothing to be afraid of."

Hyundai A-League 2019 Grand Final

Perth Glory v Sydney FC

Optus Stadium, Perth

Sunday 19 May 2019

Kick-Off: 4:30pm (Local) (6:30pm AEST)

Referee: Shaun Evans

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY. RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MRCELA (promoted), FERREIRA (promoted) Outs: None - Unavailable: 2 Alex GRANT (illness – 1 week)

Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, RGK Alex CISAK, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Danny DE SILVA, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 16 Reza GHOOCHANNEJHAD, 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Jacob TRATT, 22 Siem de JONG, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 25 Joel KING - *two to be omitted* - Ins: TRATT (promoted), KING (promoted) - Outs: None - Unavailable: 3 Ben WARLAND (ACL - indefinite), 12 Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19 Chris ZUVELA (ACL – indefinite)

18.5.2019

I'M STILL THAT KID WHO GOT SIGNED BY ROMA': DE SILVA VOWS TO LIVE UP TO HYPE

It's like a blur in Daniel De Silva's memory reel. Was that really him who signed for AS Roma as a 16-year old? And how on earth was that six years ago already?

"It's crazy, even to think (about it)," De Silva says. "It was a whirlwind. When (my agent) called and said 'Roma wants to sign you' I was like, 'What? Are you serious?' It's gone by so fast, a lot of stuff has happened."

He's right - a lot has happened since the Perth-born midfielder put pen to paper with one of Italy's biggest clubs back in June 2014. But it's also true that, by the lofty standards which are automatically set for you when you sign for a club like that at an age so young, not quite enough has happened either.

De Silva, now 22, is coming off a very frustrating season on loan at Sydney FC. He was the only player to have used the intra-league loan mechanism brought in this year, granting him a temporary exit from the Central Coast Mariners, who partly own his contract.

Injury has restricted him to just five A-League starts, two goals and no assists in a campaign where he was supposed to finally cement himself as a first-team player. A hamstring strain and then a hyperextended elbow forced him to miss a huge chunk of the season.

"That was my full intention - to come and be able to play every game in that starting 11," he says. "The injuries put me back a bit, it was just a very interrupted season for me unfortunately. Whatever happens next year, I just hope that it won't be the same and I'll be more consistent and my body will stay strong."

De Silva still shows flashes of genius every now and then. But every year that passes brings him dangerously closer to becoming a "never was", rather than what he could, or probably should, be - a starting Socceroo, playing regularly at a high level in Europe. He still firmly believes he will be, one day soon.

"I think I still can do that," he said. "That's what I wanted to do this season - to prove that. I'm still working hard every day, trying to become a better player. If I just have one good solid season I can prove that - that I'm still that kid who got signed by Roma.

"Hopefully I'll live up to it and I'll be able excite the crowd and do all those things that I was doing when I was that young. That's when I am the happiest - just playing and having a good time."

Where he plays next season remains to be seen, and the notoriously jumbled nature of his contract - one of the A-League's great mysteries - makes that a tough question to answer.

"It's so complicated. It's basically like I'm on loan from Roma to the Mariners to here. To be honest it's a quite difficult situation," he says, with a return to Sydney a definite possibility if all parties can reach agreement. "But it's not so black and white."

For now, his focus is on Sunday's A-League Grand Final, where he'll have to be content with another appearance off the bench. Around 30 to 40 of his friends and family will be in the Optus Stadium stands to watch him play against the team he grew up supporting.

"Everyone's buzzing. I've got loads of messages, 'I can't wait for you to come! Home final!' To be able to go back there and play a Grand Final is very exciting," De Silva said.

17.5.2019

JONES WINS SAUDI ARABIAN TITLE

Goalkeeper Brad Jones is celebrating a league title in Saudi Arabia after his Al Nassr side sealed their triumph overnight. The Socceroo was a key part of the squad that pipped Al-Hilal to the title by a single point, keeping an impressive 11 clean sheets, the equal most in the competition.

Its the fifth trophy of 37-year old Jones’ career, adding to his English League Cup won with Liverpool and the Dutch Cup, Super Cup and Championship won during his time at Feyenoord. He started in goal for all but five league matches this season, including the 2-1 win over Al-Batin that sealed the title overnight.




If you have any additional information on Western Australian soccer that we have left out, or if you would like to get in contact, email Jacob at jacob@footballwa.net

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