Inglewood United Coach Graham Normanton returns to his former club Perth SC in week six of the NPL (Photo by Brett Klucznik)

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18.4.2014

NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES PREVIEW, ROUND SIX

The National Premier Leagues continues on Saturday and the pick of this week’s games being Bayswater City’s visit to Macedonia Park to take on Stirling Lions. Lions coach Gary Williams has a number of players returning from injury, as they look to end City’s unbeaten start to the season, but he knows it will be difficult. “I am looking forward to the game on Saturday, they are top of the league for a reason, so it will be a real test to see how far we have come as a side over the last 2 to 3 months,” he said. Moses Kalau is available for selection for the home side, along with David Micevski and Phil Arnold, which is a massive boost ahead of the game. Bayswater keeper Devon Spence say’s they head into the game full of confidence. “We’re unbeaten this season so we are full confidence, but they beat us at their place last season, so we will be looking to change that on Saturday,” he said. “It’s never an easy game down at the Den, especially against a wounded Lion. Stirling does have some players out, but it’s the team we are playing and not the individuals.”

Both ECU Joondalup and Balcatta will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeats, ‘We’ve had mixed results in the last couple of weeks, but on the positive side we have blooded a couple of youngsters in recent weeks which bodes well for the club for the future,’ said Joondalup assistant coach Craig Stevenson. “The squad has been working extremely hard at training to ensure our shape, and we are aiming to put in a strong performance on Saturday, against a good Balcatta side.” In team news Ryan Lowry returns from suspension for the home side, but they will be missing David Caine, Joe Smith and Tommy Amphlett, while Balcatta will be missing Kris Gate.

Armadale coach Lee Bamber will be looking for a huge improvement from last week’s 6-1 defeat against Inglewood, when they travel to take on Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium. “It was a bad day at the office against Inglewood, but we move on, and I will be looking for a response from the players this week,” he said. Bamber will be sweating on the fitness of Billy Quinncroft, Sam Loveless and Luke Bogoni, but do have Jackson Bealey and Faustinho Machochi due to suspension. Peter Murphy takes control of his first game for Floreat Athena for the visit to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City, and the home side welcome back Paul Natale and Euen Grant.

Graham Normanton takes Inglewood United to Dorrien Gardens, to face his former club Perth SC. Inglewood welcome back David Perich and Andrija Jukic from injury for the trip, while the hosts regain the services of Ashley Rosindale, and Mark Pritchard will be pushing for a starting role after coming off the bench last week. Subiaco AFC entertains Sorrento at the WA Athletics Stadium. Sorrento will have Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson pushing for a starting role after recovering fully from long term injury, while the home side are at full strength.

18.4.2014

DIVISION ONE PREVIEW, ROUND TWO

In the second week of the First Division the pick of the round is Ashfield’s trip to Grimrey Reserve to take on Shamrock Rovers. ”I think it will be a tough game. Shamrock are always a quality side and are coming off a good win against Dianella,” said Ashfield midfielder Tom Kennedy. “Everyone has been working hard at training and will be up for a battle.” New import Craig Miles is hoping to get clearance to play, while Graham Tough is still missing.

Wanneroo City will be looking to bounce back from last week’s thrashing in Bunbury, but will face another tough test with Gosnells City heading to the Kingsway Reserve. “Any team coming off such a heavy defeat is going to redeem themselves,” said Gosnells striker Chris Holland. “We head there with a game plan, which we have worked on all week at training and are expecting nothing less than three points, and it would be nice personally to get on the scoreboard for the season.” Gosnells will still be without their injured skipper Michael Louge, while the Roo’s hope new signing Anthony Campbell is available, as Stuart Montgomery is out with a knee injury.

In other games Western Knights will look to bounce back from their first up defeat at Ashfield, when they host Bunbury Forum Force at Nash Field, while Swan United will looking to continue their good start to the season when they entertain Canning City at the Swan Italian Club. Morley Windmills host Dianella White Eagles at Wotton Reserve, while Mandurah City and UWA-Nedlands will look for their first wins of the season when they meet at the Hyundai Stadium in the late game (5pm).

18.4.2014

DIVISION TWO PREVIEW, ROUND TWO

All roads will lead to Charonia Park on Saturday where title favourites Joondalup United and Forrestfield United do battle. “Saturday will be a real challenge against a good side on their ground,” said Forrestfield Coach Rod Banjac. “I expect a free flowing game as both sides have players with plenty of skill, pace and passion to entertain and I hope there is a big crowd on hand to watch it. It’s a long trip up north, and we don’t expect them to be generous, but we will be going for all three points.” Forrestfield lose Trent Wood and Jordan Hart, while the home side will be missing Gareth Davies, and have brought in Mike Kenny to the squad as cover.

In other games Balga play their first home game in the Saturday competition for 17 years when they meet Fremantle United at Princess Road Reserve, and they welcome back striker Lee James back from injury. Kelmscott Roos entertain Olympic Kingsway at Frye Park, while Joondalup City makes the trip to Lark Hill to take on Rockingham City. Melville City and Ellenbrook United meet at Len Shearer Reserve. The round opened on Thursday night when Curtin University hosted Quinns at Edinburgh Oval.

17.4.2014

MURPHY TAKES CHARGE AT FLOREAT

Floreat Athena has appointed Peter Murphy as senior coach, to replace Chris Barbas, who resigned his position two weeks ago. The Scotsman is eagerly awaiting the challenge at the Litis Stadium, and he’s happy to be back in WA football. “It’s a huge club, and it’s huge challenge for me, but one I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I’ve watch a few games this season in the NPL, and I know what we need to be successful, it’s now down to the hard work and getting the players to play the way I want to.”

Floreat had to work hard for the three points last week against Subiaco AFC, and Murphy will be looking for more of the same when he takes charge of his first game against Cockburn City on Saturday. “I’ve seen the results from the last two games the club have played there, and it’s not good reading,” Murphy joked. “It’s a tough first up game, but Glen Grostate has the players ready for the challenge, and we will look to take something out of the game.”

Murphy, the former Armadale and WA state Coach, has his own thoughts on the new league structure, but knows he can’t do anything about it. “Some of the changes in the new NPL do concern me, but that’s only my views,” Murphy explained. “The point’s system and salary cap is a massive change in the game and I’m not sure if it will achieve any real outcomes, but only time will tell.”

The Scotsman immigrated to Perth from Scotland in 1984 and joined East Fremantle Tricolore, before joining Perth Italia. While at Perth, Murphy helped them to the 1990 and 1991 Super League Grand final victories, and the club's 1993 league title. He won the D'Orsogna Cup with Italia and Stirling Macedonia, and played in the National Soccer League with Melbourne Croatia, before winning the league's top goal scorer with Swan IC as a 33-year-old in 1995, and he has played for the WA state side on a number of occasions.

The 53-year-old, who still plays for Perth Saints in the Vets, will get down to business at the club immediately, but he isn’t going in, swinging the axe. “I’ve been in this game for a while and that’s what you don’t do,” he said. “The squad is talented and I need to give them the opportunity to perform and show me they want to play for this club, and that will come out in the weeks to come.”

16.4.2014

A NEW NEIGHBOUR IN AT THE DEN

English striker Howard Neighbour has settled in well at Macedonia Park and his brace last week earned the Lions a 2-2 draw against Sorrento. The 27-year-old made the decision to head down under after a mate told him about the club, and he’s happy he decided to make the move. “Things are going really well at Stirling, and the club have made me really welcome, and it’s always nice to find the back of the net at a new club, and it helps you settle in quickly,” he said. “I’d spoke to my mate Rikki Smith, who joined them in the off season, and he told me about the club and they invited me down to pre-season training, and the rest is history, and now I call Macedonia Park home.”

The draw at Percy Doyle Reserve moved the Lions up to fourth on the table, and Neighbour said it was a tough game. “Friday night was a hard match we didn't play well at all first half, too much easy passing and not enough forward penetrative passes, which we improved on second half,” explained Neighbour. “It was nice to score the goals but the second half performance from the lads was great, and I was just happy to take my chances when I got them.”

The striker who had a season at Bognor Regis in the Ryman Southern League, and the last two seasons in the UK at Pagham FC in the Sussex County League, has found the football in the National Premier League a lot more intense, but he’s enjoying it. “The league here is a good standard, higher than the one which I was playing in England. The intensity here is high and if you’re not switched on you will get beat,” he said.

Lions’ coach Gary Williams was delighted to get Neighbour to the club after losing a few strikers from last season. “Howard has been a great addition to the squad, and he has contributed a huge amount to our recent performances,’ Williams said. “He has a great first touch and holds the ball up well and attacks crosses, which has resulted in a few goals. He is valued by his team mates and hopefully his good form will continue this week.”

The Lions squad has changed dramatically from last season, with a number of new faces, but Neighbour believes Williams has the side playing well. “The squads looking good we have a few quality first team players returning soon from injury, which will make us even stronger,” he said. “. Gary has done a great job so far, and after winning the league last season I can only see us improving as the season goes on.”

This week the Lions face their toughest test of the season when they take on the unbeaten Bayswater City, but Neighbour, and the rest of the Lions players are looking forward to the challenge. “It’s always good to play the best, and Bayswater are at the top of the table for a reason,” he said. “I'm looking forward to the match, and so are the rest of the lads and we know it will be a tough game but the training this week has lifted and were ready for the challenge.”

16.4.2014

SUBIACO ON THE IMPROVE SAYS YATES

It’s been a tough start to life in the National Premier League for newcomers Subiaco AFC, but defender Rowdy Yates believes they are on the improve and believes they are learning quickly what it takes to compete in the top level. “The club have big ambitions and it’s good to be part of that. There’s a great bunch of lads here and we are being looked after well by the club,” said Yates. “It has been a big step up to the NPL, not only for me but the club as well. I think we have held our own in every game we've played so far and have been unfortunate in a couple of games not to of taken more points.”

Last week Subiaco dominated the chances against Floreat Athena, and were unlucky not to come away with the points, but Yates believes they are getting used to the pace of the league and wins will come. “I thought we were unlucky on Saturday not to have come away with at least a point. We created the better chances but lacked quality in the final third and just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. We are improving every game under Gerry (McEwan) and it won’t be too long before it starts to happen for us,’ explained Yates.

The 23-year-old played for ECU Joondalup as a junior, before moving to Wanneroo at 15. He was part of last year first Division wining Roos’ team, before heading to Subiaco with his former coach. “I’m enjoying being back with McEwan who gave his league debut when he was coach at Wanneroo and my first taste of first team football aged 16, and I’ll always remember that,” said Yates. “He has a knowledge and passion for the game like no one else and we all learn a lot from him. He gives us a lot of confidence and self-belief which is important for the team to have when results haven't gone our way.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Subiaco with Sorrento heading to the WA Athletics Stadium on Saturday, but Yates is looking forward to the challenge. “Sorrento will be a big test for us. They are a physical and well-structured side so it will be hard to break them down,” said Yates. “But if we can take our chances I think we will have a good chance of getting something out of the game. The lads are determined to get our first three points of the season so we will be well up for it.”

15.4.2014

THE NUCLEUS IS THERE FOR GLORY : LOWE

Interim coach Kenny Lowe says there were plenty of positives to come from Perth Glory’s failed season. Glory entered 2013/14 with high hopes but it proved a bumpy ride with Lowe taking the reins following the mid-season sacking of Alistair Edwards, itself the end result of a rift with senior players. The change of coach sparked a tumultuous period of upheaval for the club which included training ground and post-game bust-ups between players and coaching staff. It all came to an end on Sunday when Glory conceded a stoppage time goal to fall to a 2-1 defeat at Sydney FC after dominating large periods of the second half.

Lowe feels there have been major benefits from the season, including significant game time to the club’s youth contingent, including Jack Duncan, Riley Woodcock, Matthew Davies, Brandon O’Neill, Jack Clisby and Daniel De Silva. “If you said to the younger players, those around 17-18 years old, you would play around fifteen games this season they would have laughed,” said Lowe. “But all of a sudden we have got kids in the group now who have that (experience). You have to give them experience, but sometimes it means you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.”

While this season did not go according to play, Lowe is confident Glory is in a strong position for future success. “There is a nucleus there,” said Lowe, who remains hopeful of being offered the coaching role on a full-time basis. “If someone thinks I’m good enough to do the job, I’m more than glad to take it. I think I have proved that, but that is just personal opinion. The guys at the club have been open and honest, and very, very supportive. But they have a big decision to make because they want the best for the club.”

14.4.2014

MISSING THE SIX “COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE” SAYS TAGGART

Adam Taggart has labelled Newcastle Jets’ failure to reach the A-League finals as “completely unacceptable”, saying both the players and the club need to take responsibility for the situation. Newcastle were consigned to seventh spot despite carving out a 2-0 win over Adelaide United on Friday night. “There’s six teams that go into the finals every year and very few that miss out, so for us to miss the finals for four seasons in a row is completely unacceptable,” Taggart told footballaustralia.com.au “For us players it’s something we really need to have a good look at ourselves and understand what kind of club we want to be.”

Taggart, whose 16 goals were rewarded with the Golden Boot award, believes Newcastle’s failure to accumulate significant points against the A-League’s lesser lights ultimately cost them a finals appearance. “We beat all the top teams, including Brisbane (Roar) three times, yet teams like Perth (Glory) we were struggling to get results,” 20-year old Taggart said. “That’s something that just can’t happen. If your beating the top sides you have to keep that motivation and consistency when you’re playing the so-called bottom sides, at your home ground especially. The Golden Boot’s lovely but it would have been even better to make the finals and really try and carry this campaign on even longer.”

14.4.2014

ARNOLD KEEN ON GLORY

Graham Arnold admits he would be hard pressed not to coach Perth Glory next season should the club come forward with a firm offer for his services. Arnold emerged as a surprise frontrunner for Glory’s full-time coaching position last week after splitting with Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. “It (Perth) is definitely a job that would interest me,” Arnold said the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper. “I’ve always looked at Glory as one of the glamour clubs of the A-League, they’ve under-achieved this year and there’s been some turmoil around the club. You want to be successful, you want to fill that Shed and stadium each game and get them back to the glory days when they were the benchmark of the NSL (National Soccer League).”

13.4.2014

SYDNEY BOOKS FINALS BERTH

Richard Garcia struck deep in stoppage time to book Sydney FC into the A-League finals with a 2-1 victory over Perth Glory at the Allianz Stadium. Terry Antonis’ superb long-range strike gave the hosts the lead but in the shadows of half-time Rostyn Griffiths grabbed Glory a deserved equaliser. A nervy second period ensued and it looked as though there would no addition to the scoreline when Garcia settled matters in the final seconds of the regular season. Sydney ended the home and away in fifth position and will meet rivals Melbourne Victory in next weekend’s finals, with Glory placing eight on the final ladder.

Sydney may have dominated early possession but the first shot on goal came at the other end where Chris Harold’s effort flew narrowly past Vedran Janjetovic’s post. It didn’t take long for the Sky Blues to return fire with Antonis calling goalkeeper Jack Duncan into the action. Alessandro Del Piero whizzed a dead ball just wide and Milos Dimitrijevic wasn’t far off target from distance. Although there was a lack of urgency in Sydney’s play, they got the breakthrough on 38 minutes when Antonis’ low strike from 30-metres found the bottom corner. Glory conjured an equaliser with virtually the last action of the half, an unmarked Griffiths finishing at the back post from a Nebojsa Marinkovic corner.

Del Piero seemed destined to restore the hosts’ lead soon after the restart but Duncan somehow blocked his stab from point-blank range. After that scare Glory took a scrappy game by the scruff of the neck, however, they failed to create anything in the way of a genuine chance on goal. Sydney weren’t a great deal more successful, although Garcia forced a save from Duncan as the clock wound down. Just when it appeared Glory had done enough to earn a point, Garcia latched onto Del Piero’ lofted through ball to score the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

13.4.2014

INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO SEASON PREVIEW

There’ll be plenty of thrills and spills in this year’s expanded Division Two. Competition newcomers Joondalup United have been installed as red-hot favourites to win promotion but should they falter then Forrestfield United and Joondalup City are ready to pounce. This week Brett Klucznik takes a look at the twelve clubs before the footballwa.net team is joined by Richard Kreider, author of ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, in offering their thoughts on how season 2014 will pan out...

12.4.2014

PERTH TAKE OUT ITALIAN DERBY

Perth SC ran out 2-1 winners in a hard fought Italian derby against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Adam de Luz gave the visitors the lead in first half stoppage time, before Mark Pritchard doubled their advantage with ten minutes remaining. Benny Kouakou pulled one back for the home side late, but Perth hung for the points, and the bragging rights. “I thought the whole team played well, and we controlled the game for long periods of the match, and we deserved the three points,” said De Luz. “It was great to score the goal on the stroke of half time, it gave us a lift going into half time and we went on with it after the break to bounce back from last week’s loss against Bayswater.”

It was a lively opening to the game, with a number of players playing against their former clubs, but referee Trent Fleskens kept a close eye on proceedings. Chances were few and far between, but on the stroke of half time the visitors hit the front. Clark Keltie’s through ball sent Friday Zico racing clear of the offside trap, the striker squared the ball to Da Luz who slotted the ball home from 8-meters.

Balcatta were out of the blocks early after half time but Craig Simpson and new signing Alex Castiello keeping them at bay, but against the run of play, Perth almost added a second. Nicholas Ambrogio was sent clear of a static Balcatta defence, but keeper Clint Davies came to his sides rescue saving well from the strikers shot. Balcatta weren’t going to go away and went close to the equaliser moments later, Perth failed to clear the ball from a corner, and Adam Tong’s snap shot was well saved by Alex Dunn.

On the hour Perth thought they had added to their lead, but Zico’s header was disallowed for offside. Then Ambrogio was brought down in the penalty area by Kieran Colwell and Perth thought they had a penalty, but the referee waved away their protests. The vital second goal came with 10 minutes remaining. Zico was brought down 20-meters from goal, and second half substitute Pritchard hit the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Davies then had to be alert to save Pritchard’s shot from the edge of the penalty area, as Perth looked to kill off the game. The home side pressed late, and Gustavo Catarcione fired wide with the goal at his mercy, and in the first minute of stoppage time they found a lifeline. Kouakou run and powerful shot flew past Dunn, to set up an exciting last couple of minutes, but Perth hung on take the points.

12.4.2014

SUBIACO PAY THE PENALTY

A penalty five minutes from time from Floreat Athena English striker Jamie Eames has given them a 1-0 win against Subiaco AFC at the E&D Litis Stadium. Subiaco defender Laurence Gaughan was adjudged to have handled the ball, rather harshly, but Eames fired home to give new Coach Chris Grostate tenure off to a good start. “We battled hard today, but overall I think we deserved the points,” said Eames. “We kept the ball well and were patient, and we knew we would break them down, and we got the opportunity with the penalty, and I was happy to score it.”

It was the visitors who opened brightly, and Jordan Rhodes’ shot after only three minutes was superbly saved by Tom Dixon. Rhodes was a real handful for the Floreat defence and his shot from 12-yards flashed wide of the post on the quarter hour. The first opportunity for the home side didn’t come until 28 minutes, Blair Govan’s cross picked out Zdenek Bezxdek, whose header was saved by Sam Stone. The Serbian striker went close again eight minutes later.

Aryn Williams’ cross from the right found the unmarked Bezxdek, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over from six-yards. Both sides had late chances to take the lead into the break. First on 43 minutes, Gaughan’s shot was deflected goalwards, and Guy McDonald’s flick was saved on the line by Dixon. Then in stoppage time Williams’ corner from the right was met by Bobby Wilson, his header from six-yards was superbly saved by Stone.

Like the first half Subiaco began well and went close in the opening minutes. This time Rhodes’ slide rule pass slid in Matt Akehurst, but his shot from the angle went into the side netting. Moments later Mark Walsh’s header back to the keeper was short and Akehurst nipped in. He rounded the keeper but the angle was tight and he failed to find the target.

But with five minutes remaining the home side broke the deadlock, in controversial circumstances. Eames raced clear down the left, and he crossed into the penalty area looking for a team mate, but Gaughan under pressure from Ludovic Boi, slipped and fell on the ball, and to his, and the rest of the Subiaco players disbelief referee Alex Azcurra pointed to the spot. Eames kept his nerve and fired past Stone to give Floreat the points..

12.4.2014

BAYSWATER CONTINUE PERFECT START

Bayswater City maintained their lead at the top of the NPL-WA table after a hard fought 2-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve. First half goals from David Heagney and Declan Hargreaves made it five wins from as many games for Chris Coyne’s side. “We totally deserved the win and we could have added a few more on the day," said Bayswater striker Steve Burton. "They fought hard and made it difficult for us in the second half and Devon Spence had to make a few good saves late on."

The home side, which are the only unbeaten side in the league, opened brightly and were ahead on 16 minutes. Adam Bachiller’s diagonal pass picked out Burton, who played in Heagney, who finished clinically past ECU keeper Andy Banks. The ECU custodian was a busy man saving well from Todd Howarth and moments later producing another smart save to deny Brian Farrell, before Howarth’s long-range shot smacked off the crossbar.

ECU looked to hit back and Jon Stynes should have done better when picked out by Jake Benson-Cooper’s cross, but Spence was alert to save. But as they looked to get back into the game, it was Bayswater who added a second three minutes before the break. Howarth wasn’t closed down in the middle of the park and he picked out Hargreaves, whose shot from 18-metres flew into the top corner of the net, giving Banks no chance.

The visitors opened the second half well, and when Tommy Amphlett was brought down on the edge of the penalty area, John Higgins’ free kick beat Spence, but crashed off the crossbar. Spence then came to his sides rescue again on the hour, pushing away John Higgins’s goal bound shot. Both sides had chances late. Substitute Danny Dixon hit the wood work after good work from Heagney, before Spence tipped around the post John Higgins’s free kick, but the home side ran out winners.

12.4.2014

GLORY LET IT SLIP AGAINST THE COCKERELS

Perth Glory let slip a two goal lead to draw 5-5 with Cockburn City at Intiga Stadium. A brace from Harry O’Brien, and singles to Rocco Pizzata, Bor Bor Sambindi and Jamie Maclaren, was cancelled out by Feisal Zaw, Julian Teles, Jonty Turner, Papa Kpatar, and a late Alan Carroll strike. “Glory coach Scott Miller was at a loss about the sides defending. “When we got to 5-3 we stopped still and Cockburn came right over the top of us and probably looked more likely to score their sixth,” he told the NPL-WA web site” “Again, every week we are going to be challenged by big bodies, but we’ve got to learn now, it’s a man’s game and you’ve got to be able to hold leads.”

The visitors began the game brightly and they were ahead after 26 minutes. Zaw was sent down the right, before cutting in and firing low past Fraser Greenwood. They doubled their advantage six minutes later, Zaw the provider this time, his cross headed home by Teles. Greenwood was keeping his side in the game with a number of good saves, and they were back in it six minutes before half time, O’Brien scoring against his former club. Then in first half stoppage time Pizzata fired home from 18-meters to send the sides to half time level.

The Glory came out after the break full of confidence and scored twice in the space of three minutes. First on 51 minutes Sambindi shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected off a Cockburn player to send the ball over a stranded Dejan Aleksic. Then three minutes later it was 4-2, a long ball into the area found O’Brien, who fired home into an empty net after. Then on 69 minutes, Cockburn were back in the game. Substitute Kpatar crossed to Jonty Turner, who lost his marker and fired home.

But four minutes later the Glory added their fifth. Jacob Collard won the ball in the middle of the park, and found Qua Qu, who beat the offside trap and crossed to Maclaren who scored from close-range, and it looked game over. But Cockburn had other ideas, and reduced the margin on 82 minutes. Kpatar volleying home after being picked out by Ryan Haslett’s corner. Greenwood produced a stunning save moments later as Cockburn pressed, but there was little the keeper could do when the visitors snatched a point on 87 minutes. Devon Gibson’s cross headed home Carroll to end and extraordinary game.

12.4.2014

INGLEWOOD GIVES ARMADALE SIX OF THE BEST

Inglewood United opened its league account after a 6-1thrashing of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Ryan Clarke gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time, but just after the break Armadale striker Faustinho Machochi was sent off. Nicolas Tatasciore then levelled on the hour for the ten men, but from then on it was one-way- traffic with Clarke, Ryan Francis, Henock Butshire, Greg Sharland and John Stripe giving Inglewood their first win of the season. "It was a great win for the club and we truly needed it," said Inglewood midfielder Sean Browne. “We’ve been a little unlucky in a few games this season but today we were on our game and got the rewards, hopefully it’s onward and upwards now.”

Inglewood dominated the first half without creating any clear cut chances, while Armadale defended stoutly with Billy Quinncroft and Nathan Costello working overtime. But with Clarke and Francis a constant threat, it was just rewards when the visitors took the lead in first half stoppage time. Clarke finding room in the penalty are to fire home past Matthew Gould.

It was a horror start to the second half for Armadale with Machochi receiving his second yellow card from Adam Fielding on 52 minutes and was sent off. That didn’t deter the home side and they equalised eight minutes later, Tatasciore firing home from four-meters. That was as good as it got for Lee Bamber’s side, and Inglewood went back in front on 70 minutes, Francis’ chip giving Gould no chance.

The floodgates then opened, substitute Butshire tapped home the third on 80 minutes, after a turn over by Armadale in the middle of the park, before Sharland scored a curling free kick from the edge of the penalty area three minutes later. The icing was put on the cake late with Clarke adding his second and Stripe headed home the sixth late to give Graham Normanton his first win in the NPL-WA.

12.4.2014

ASHFIELD EDGE KNIGHTS IN SEVEN-GOAL THRILLER

Jamie Burns struck just minutes from the final whistle to earn Ashfield a 4-3 win over an under-strength Western Knights outfit at Ashfield Reserve. Two goals from Burns and singles to Jay Lang and Joe Briggs cancelled out quick succession finishes by Sean French, Paul Lloyd and Johnny Mirco. The home side could not have wished for a better start to their season with Lang calmly converting a one-on-one with goalkeeper Scott Rowe after only 12 minutes. A driving run out of midfield by Briggs in the 33 minute took him past the Knights defence to slide the ball into an empty. Controversy erupted four minutes from the break when Burns took the difference to three goals, albeit amid loud appeals for offside from the away side.

The deficit was cut six minutes after the restart with substitute French heading Josh Noorgate’s cross into the far corner. French turned provider two minutes later when he glided past a trio of defenders before teeing up Lloyd, who side-footed in from 9-metres. And by the 55th minute the teams were level, Mirco nipping in between defender and goalkeeper after French turned the ball over. The Knights were up in arms shortly after when Lloyd was felled from behind inside the area after out-pacing the defence, however, the referee over-looked the misdemeanour and signalled for play to continue. The momentum shifted back in the hosts favour late on and with five minutes to go Burns shot on the turn flashed underneath the ‘keeper to decide the outcome.

Knights boss Robbie Dunn said he had mixed emotions about the day’s events. “I was extremely pleased with the boys fighting spirit, but also horrified by our naivety shown in the first half,” commented Dunn, whose team finished the afternoon with ten men after losing Craig Riley, Robbie Phelan, Ben Coulter and Tom Sellers to injury. “Today showed me though that we have a great group of players and when we get some luck and keep eleven players on the field then we will do very well. We now have seven injured senior players and that will really test our depth in the next month. That said, I know the lads will come through.”

12.4.2014

SHAMROCK WITH A LATE FLOURISH

A late flow of goals allowed Shamrock Rovers Perth to begin the new Division One season with a resounding 4-1 win over home side Dianella White Eagles. Mike Pritchard, Will Pender and Gino Hampshire struck in the closing minutes after Shane Cassidy brought the sides level in the first half. A good size crowd was on hand to see Dianella take an early advantage when a defensive slip was punished with a powerful shot into the net. The away side responded with a barrage of attacks but both Barry Mulligan’s lob and a powerful Cassidy header clattered into the crossbar. Cassidy, however, was not to be denied and from a Mulligan free-kick to the far post he headed in the equaliser.

Shamrock wasted no time in resuming the attack after the interval and David Murphy should have given them the lead from the penalty spot but his tame effort was kept out by Justin Scarvaci. The pressure on Dianella continued to mount and through some solid defensive work it looked as though the hosts would earn themselves a share of the points. But those hopes vanished with five minutes to go when substitute Pritchard scored neatly from inside the penalty area. Shamrock captain Pender made sure there would be no late revival from Dianella by putting away his team’s third goal, and 17-year old Hampshire had been on the park just minutes when he rounded out the scoring.

12.4.2014

FORRESTFIELD HIT BALGA FOR SIX

Forrestfield United made an early statement of intent by thrashing Balga 6-0 in the opening round Division One fixture at Hartfield Park. A tentative start by both teams gave no indications of the whitewash which was about to unfold. Forrestfield slowly began to get into rhythm with close-range chances coming the way of Trent Wood and Rhys Loxley, while Forrestfield goalkeeper Brad Eiffe foiled Michael Bangura following a defensive error at the other end. It wasn’t until just before the break that the deadlock was broken, Jordan Hart receiving a through ball which he placed in the back of the net.

Any hopes Balga had to getting back on level terms vanished within minutes of the restart, Jason Godfrey doubling the host’s advantage from only a few metres. Forrestfield were now beginning to assert their authority over the game against a Balga side that struggled for any meaningful possession. Trent Wood put the result beyond doubt by scoring twice in the space of a few minutes midway through the half as the margin began to balloon. Loxley capped a lively performance by also finding the back of the net twice in the final fifteen minutes to give coach Rod Banjac a dream start to the winter campaign.

12.4.2014

JOONDALUP MAKE A WINNING START

Joondalup United scored their first three State League points by defeating Kingsway Olympic 2-0 at Kingsway Reserve. Goals either side of the break from Adam Buckley and team captain Aaran Maplestone were enough to give Joondalup victory on the opening day of the new season. “We planned for a battle and we got one … Kingsway will be a tough place for teams to go to so we are happy to leave there with three points,” Joondalup coach Danny Smith commented on the hard-fought win. “The way the players reacted to our instructions, before the game and at half-time, shows that the team is listening and believing in what we are planning. .”

Joondalup were on the attack from the outset with wide players Tony Taylor and Maplestone asking questions of the home defence. And it didn’t take long for that approach to be rewarded with Buckley racing clear to coolly finish past the oncoming goalkeeper. Garin Collins appeared to have doubled their lead with a stunning shot from distance which crashed against the underside of the crossbar, however, the assistant referee ruled the ball did not cross the line. The pressure remained on Kingsway after the turnaround and when Maplestone completed a neat move by hitting the target the game was effectively over. Even so, Joondalup continued to push and substitute Callum Stocks was unlucky not to add a third goal.

12.4.2014

ELLIOT GETS QUINNS THE REWARDS

Quinns opened the new season by sneaking a 4-3 win over Division Two newcomers Kelmscott Roos at Gumblossom Park. The better of early play came from Quinns but with their first attack Kelmscott almost snuck the lead, Glory Bahigwa brilliantly denied in a one-on-one with Dan McAnish. Without skipping a beat Quinns again pushed forward with Liam McGurk cutting in from the right to slip an inviting ball through for Brian Cairney, who poked between the ‘keeper’s legs after 10 minutes. The margin was doubled soon enough, this time with Dom Elliot tapping after meeting Alex Sallery’s squared pass. And Quinns’ hold over the game would have been further strengthened had Elliot not been caught offside before Cairney netted.

Kelmscott pulled a goal back soon after with Christian Hogge flicking on a long ball for Moussa Mbambe, who nipped in ahead of the defence to beat McAinish from 7-metres. Two minutes later Joe Tomlin got on the end of another searching ball forward to bring the teams level. Sallery was unimpressed and on the half hour he stabbed into the net at the second opportunity after slicing past two defenders. There was still time for Kelmscott to draw level with Jonathan Ingram drilling in from 16-metres after playing a neat one-two with Tomlin. The deciding goal arrived just after the hour when Cairney linked to terrific effect with Elliot, who made no mistake with his finish from 10-metres.

12.4.2014

ELLENBROOK TAKE THE HONOURS

Ellenbrook United honoured their first ever State League appearance by out-scoring Rockingham City 4-3 at Arbor Grove Reserve. The home side made a dream start with Oliver Langdale tapping them into an opening minute lead following an error by Rockingham custodian Cyril Sharrock. Going ahead gave Ellenbrook the confidence they needed and shortly after it was two-nil, Paul Williams nodded down a long ball for Craig Allen to slam in on the half-volley at close-range. A response was needed from Rockingham but despite openings for Roy Hissey and Matt McDonald it was Ellenbrook that held the upper hand after 45 minutes.

It was more of the same after the turnaround, Callum Harwood tucking in goal number three after latching onto a booming clearance by goalkeeper Jake Bungert. And more poor defending by the visitors was punished by Williams, who was allowed a free header inside the 6-yard box. Rockingham may have thought their day couldn’t get any worse but with twenty minutes to go it did in the form of a red card to Sean Brady. Four goals down and playing with ten men, Rockingham now decided to come to life. Reece Frank, Hissey and captain David Clark hit the back of the net in quick succession but, ultimately, it was too little too late to Rockingham who ventured home empty handed.

12.4.2014

SYDNEY KEEP GARCIA WAITING

Sydney FC attacker Richard Garcia is yet to learn if he has a future with the Sky Blues. The former Socceroo is out-of-contract at the end of current campaign and has yet to hear much from his club about a new deal. “I’m only 32 and I feel great so still have plenty left in me,” said Garcia, who counts West Ham United and Hull City among his former clubs. “As far as the A-League I can’t really answer that until I see what offers I have in front of me, but I’m enjoying playing in Australia. I would never say never to Asia but it’s not on my radar at the moment.”

Utilised on both wings as well as an out-and-out striker, Garcia has been one of Sydney’s best performers over the summer. “I’ve done all right this season, I’ve scored goals and had assists but it’s been a hard season with constant changes to the squad and team,” commented Garica, scorer of five goals in 21 appearances so far this season. “I’ve moved position a lot and we really haven’t had a chance to settle as a team. Injury and those changes to the squad have made it hard to have a consistent line-up, which is probably why we as a team have been inconsistent.”

12.4.2014

GLORY SHAKE-UP LOOMS

The make-up of Perth Glory’s squad for next summer could be very different with the futures of several senior players up in the air. The sounding of the final whistle tomorrow in Sydney will signal the end of existing contracts for veteran defender William Gallas Adrian Zahra, Steven McGarry and Shane Smeltz. It is understood McGarry and Zahra have been offered new deals but it is unclear whether the club intends to retain Smeltz and Gallas, both who have struggled with injury this season. Team captain Jacob Burns (retired) and fellow midfielder Travis Dodd (released) have already been confirmed as not being part of the set-up along with on loan pair Ryan Edwards and Darvydas Sernas, who will return to Reading and Gaziantepspor respectively.

11.4.2014

LIONS HIT BACK TO SHARE THE SPOILS

Stirling Lions scored two second half goal to take a share of the spoils, in a 2-2 draw with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. A goal in each half from Todd Harnwell looked to have The Gulls set for the points, but English striker Howard Neighbour scored twice to give the Lions a point. “It was a game of two halves, Sorrento set up really and were hard to break down getting 2-0 ahead and we seemed to come home with a wet sail,” said Lions keeper Aleks Vrteski. “In the end of the day it was a fair result, in a pretty entertaining spectacle for both sets of fans.”

Sorrento hit the front after only 17 minutes. Reece Vittiglia made space down the left and cut inside two Lions defenders before pulling the ball back from the bye-line, and Harnwell fired home from close-range. Both side struggled to create clear cut chances, with both Aleks Vrteski and Curtis Aspden having little to do. The Lions almost levelled just before the break. A corner by Hayden Doyle was only cleared to Andy Brown on the edge of the box, the Lions skippers shot was cleared off the line by Danny Cain.

The home side were out of the blocks early in the second half and six minutes in they doubled their lead. Cain’s in-swinging corner beat everyone and crashed off the far post, but Harnwell was quickest to react to home from close-range. It looked all over, but Gary Williams’ side had other ideas and four minutes later they pulled one back. Neighbour was given far too much space in the penalty area and he fired home from eight-meters.

The Lions were now on top and they were rewarded on 77 minutes with the equaliser. It was Neighbour again, the striker finishing low past Aspden from six-meters. The visitors almost nicked all three points late on. Ali Ghoulami raced down the right, and he had Daniel Micevski in the box, but the cross from the midfielder was well cleared by the alert Daryl Platten to deny them.




Articles compiled by Brett Klucznik and Peter Simcox unless otherwise stated.

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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