Perth SC celebrate Andreas Theodosiades' winner against Floreat Athena - (Photo by Fotoenzo)

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22.2.2020

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE REVIEW

It was the final games of the NPLWA Night Series and in Pool Two Gwelup Croatia and Perth Glory have moved into the semi-finals after the games over the weekend. Gwelup needed a point to move through and they that in a hard fought 0-0 draw against Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening. The point was enough for Taki Nicolaidis’ side to finish top of the pool and set up a semi-final against Floreat Athena next week at Frank Drago Reserve. “A draw was a fair result in where both teams were able to give good playing minutes to their squad,” Nicolaidis said. “The other pleasing thing is we remained undefeated and had another clean sheet.”

Perth Glory needed a win against Armadale to progress and they ran out convincing 5-1 winners at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening. They made a perfect start and were ahead after only five minutes, a ball over the top sent Ciaran Bramwell racing clear, he beat the keeper to the ball before unselfishly squaring the ball to Charlie Leech to score. It was 2-0 five minutes later, with Carlo Armiento finishing well. They added a third on 16 minutes to take complete control, Leech getting behind a static Armadale defence before lobbing Blake Henshall. It went from bad to worse for the Reds when Friday Zico was a sent off by referee Shane Skinner on the half hour.

Glory continued to dominate after half time, and it wasn’t a surprise when they added a fourth on the hour, Josh Rawlins free kick picking out Bramwell to score. It was 5-0 on 72 minutes, Rawlins found space down the right and cut inside his marker and slid the ball neatly to Giordano Colli who was one-on-one with Henshall and he finished into the bottom corner of the net. “Obviously we knew we were playing for a spot in the semi-final, so right from the get go we set the tone of the match with high intensity and quick ball movement, and raced to a 3-0 lead,” Colli told the Glory website. “Scoring another couple in the second half was important, but we were all disappointed that we conceded the goal late, but overall it was a great performance from the boys and looking very dominant ahead of the clash against Perth next.” Glory go through to meet Perth SC next week in the Semi-Final at Frank Drago Reserve.

In the other game in the group Balcatta ran out 3-2 winners against Inglewood United at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday evening. United opened the scoring on the quarter-hour, with Harry Evans on target, and they went into the break with the lead. But on 53 minutes Balcatta levelled, Callum Stocks beat his marker and crossed to Joe O’Brien to score. Balcatta hit the front on the hour, O’Brien’s shot hit the arm of an Inglewood defender and referee David Bruce pointed to the spot, and O’Brien made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Inglewood weren’t finished and levelled on 73 minutes, Evans scoring to set up a frantic finish. But it was Balcatta who won it seven minutes from time, when referee Bruce pointed to the spot again for a foul in the box.

O’Brien stepped up and converted to complete his hat-trick. “I thought we deserved the win and once we settled in to the game and started to activate our style of play,” O’Brien said. “We then dominated the game and showed what we can really do.” Inglewood coach said Andres Oliveira he was happy with the performance ahead of the new season. “Both were trying new things, end to end with penalties and goals, so it was entertaining game,” he said. “I’m happy with our performance but we still have a lot to work to do, the only disappointment is having three goals scored against us and receiving two harsh penalties. We just keep working and focusing on our preparation for the first game of the season.”

In Pool One top spot was up for grabs when Perth SC entertained Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens, and it was the hosts who ran out 1-0 winners, to set up a clash with Perth Glory in the semi-finals at Frank Drago Reserve next weekend. The only goal of the game came on 54 minutes, a ball into the box found Michael Domfeh, who cut the ball back to Andreas Theodosiades who fired past Jordan Barbas to win it. “I thought we battled hard in the first half to stay in the game after an early Floreat onslaught,” Perth defender Alex Silla said. “But we came out firing in the second half, created lots of chances and deserved to take the three points on the night and finish on top of the group.”

Bayswater City finished third in the group after a 1-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The only goal of the game came on 25 minutes, ECU turned the ball over in the middle of the pitch and Riley Warland strode forward and found the top corner of the net giving Johnny Perkins no chance. “We started the game really well and caused them a lot of problems getting in behind their defence and we should’ve been at least 3-0 up at half time if we had taken our chances,” Bayswater striker Gordon Smith said. “It was another good team effort from our boys and clean sheet to go with it, and we now look forward to the season ahead, which should be an exciting campaign and very competitive.”

In the final game of the pool Rockingham City won for the first time in the competition after a come from behind 2-1 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening. The hosts made a perfect start, with Ashley Rosindale on target, but Rockingham were level on 21 minutes Ryan Kennedy played a delicate pass to Charlie Betts who rounded the Cockburn keeper for a tap in. Rockingham won it on the hour with Leonardo Salas scoring a 30-yard screamer. “Comments”

22.2.2020

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES – QUARTER FINALS REVIEW

It was an entertaining weekend of football at Hartfield Park, as the State League Night Series reached the quarterfinal stage. First up on Friday evening, Fremantle City edged out UWA Nedlands 1-0 in the opening game. The only of the game came on 17 minutes, Josh Macri played Wesley Britz through on goal who was fouled as he took the ball around the goalkeeper, but play was waved on as Angel Andres was in the right place at the right time to fire into an empty net. “It was pleasing to overcome a stubborn UWA side,” Fremantle coach Cameron Lord said. “It was a good test for us to trust our process despite moments of frustration against a well-organised side. The further we go into the competition the more important the games are in terms of testing ourselves against good sides before Round one, so we will look forward to next week’s challenge against Olympic Kingsway.”

In the late game Olympic Kingsway produced a great performance to beat Stirling Lions 4-1. They were ahead on 12 minutes, when a cross from Hamza Hena was turned home by Antoine Levy. But the Lions levelled on the half hour with Nic Challot on target, and the sides went into the break all-square. But it was the hosts who regained the lead on 51 minutes, Levy was brought down in the area and Hena made no mistake from the spot. It was 3-1 on 75 minutes with Cameron Murray firing home a free kick. They wrapped up the point seven minutes later when Elliott Tattersall crossed from the left and Ajak Riak found the net. “I felt it was the first game of the night series where we have actually put in a performance anywhere near the level that is expected,” Olympic Coach Gary Williams said. “The whole squad played a part in the win and that is what we will need going forward as we cannot do it with 11. We were positive going forward and we defended very well when we were under pressure in the second half. Stirling are a good side so to get to the semi-finals is a positive step for us.”

On Saturday afternoon Western Knights moved through to the semi-finals after a 3-1 win against Wanneroo City. The Knights were ahead when Josh Kamasz put the ball in the top corner after he received a through ball from Jack Rycroft. They added a second when Alex Kretowicz reacted quickest in a scramble in the box from a corner. It was 3-0 when Rycroft pounced from a defensive mistake and scored. Wanneroo pulled one back with Jamie Burns converting from the penalty spot, but it was too little too late. “I thought it was game of two halves,” Knights’ Coach Ivan Zuvela said. “We dominated the first with good possession and created a lot of chances and scored two. The second half Wanneroo were the much better team and made it difficult for us, but ultimately, I am proud of our team for making it to the semi-finals and we are now looking forward to next week against Forrestfield United.”

In the late game hosts Forrestfield United moved through on penalties after they drew 1-1 in normal time with Murdoch University Melville. The home side were ahead three minutes into the second half with a powerful finish by Ben Wantee after the ball ricocheted in the area. But MUM levelled on 55 minutes, some neat lead up play from Ryan Tucker, David Wallnedal and Albert Amankwaa, was finished off with a sublime left foot strike by Ben Pellizzarri. It went to the shoot-out and Forrestfield keeper Luke Martino saved MUM’s fourth spot kick and Dan Corbett fired home the fifth to win it.

Forrestfield skipper Rhys Loxley said they are happy to be in the next round. “It wasn’t our best performance over 90 minutes,” he said. “We really struggled to get going, but we were able to get a result against a well organised MUM FC side and were looking forward to the semi-final against Western Knights.” MUM assistant coach Marcus Edwards said despite the loss it was a good performance. “We were very pleased with our performance against another Division One side, and I have no doubt that game would have taken a lot out of Forrestfield,” he said. “Despite the loss we’ve already got a great deal out of this competition, and the exit leaves us free to concentrate on the remainder of our preseason.”

22.2.2020

GLORY LET IT SLIP IN BRISBANE

Perth Glory have moved to second on the Hyundai A-League ladder after a 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar at Dolphin Park on Saturday afternoon. It could have been better for Tony Popovic’s side after Bruno Fornaroli bagged his 11th goal of the season to give them the lead at the break. They held that lead until five minutes from time when Macaulay Gillesphey headed home to level. Glory had a short turnaround after falling to a 1-0 AFC Asian Champions League defeat against FC Tokyo in Japan only four days earlier and Popovic believes the travel schedule had an impact on the result. “I think performance was very good considering how much we’ve travelled, where we’ve come from to play this match on a very heavy pitch,” he said. “Physically it was very difficult for the players but I thought they acquitted themselves very well, a very professional display. In the end, we had the chance to get the second goal and we probably needed a second goal because, at the end, the corner really was a bit of fatigue that we conceded that.”

Popovic made three changes to the side that in Tokyo, with Jacob Tratt coming in for Gregory Witschge, who was rested, while James Meredith and Jake Brimmer replaced Kim and Kristian Popovic, both dropped to the bench. It was a special day for Liam Reddy and Jake Brimmer, both players playing their 100th and 50th A-League games respectively for the Glory. It was and official sell-out, with the Glory Shed supporters there in numbers on their annual ‘Tour of Duty’ and it was Glory who opened the brighter and had the Roar on the back foot. Fornaroli dragged a shot wide on seven minutes, before Nick D’Agostino fired straight at Jamie Young. But it was the home side who thought they had a penalty on 21 minutes when Scott McDonald was brought down by Ivan Franjic, and referee Daniel Elder pointed to the spot.

But after a VAR check it was overturned with the former Socceroos striker coming back from an offside position in the build-up. But on 33 minutes, Glory found the opener. Diego Castro played a ball across the face of the box, which was dummied by Franjic and Fornaroli showed quick feet to drift past two Roar defenders, his shot took a deflection off Jacob Pepper on its way past Young, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. Castro was then denied Young, as Glory looked for a second, but it was Roar who ended the half the better and McDonald fired wide.

The home side started the second half as they finished the first, and half-time substitute Aaron Amadi-Holloway was a real handful, and his shot on the turn flashed inches over the top on the hour. Aiden O'Neill's strike then found the side-netting as Roar continued to press and McDonald was centimetres away from converting Scott Neville's right-wing cross. Alex Grant came similarly close to getting on the end of a Neil Kilkenny ball into the box, but as the final whistle loomed, it was the men in orange who found a way through.

But on 85 minutes the hosts found the equaliser. O'Shea's corner picked out Gillesphey, and the former Carlisle United defender did the rest, heading past Reddy into the top corner. Both sides pressed for the winner and Reddy pushed Jack Hingert’s effort wide, and there was still time for Joel Chianese to force a save from Young and fellow-substitute Gabriel Popovic was just unable to get his shot away when well placed. The draw continues Glory’s ten game unbeaten run, and they are the road again next week with a trip to Newcastle Jets.

Roar Coach Robbie Fowler was proud to see his squad continuing their knack of fighting until the final whistle, that has proved so successful this year. "It's important that you come into games like this and you try not to lose the game. We've shown in the past how good we are against competing against the good teams in this league,” Fowler said post-game. “We've got plenty of belief. The mentalities are absolutely superb from our bunch of lads. To go a goal down against a strong Perth team and to have the character and the desire to come back and force a point, and maybe we could've gotten a little bit more. Full credit to our boys, I think we've showed it in abundance again."

Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, 2 Scott NEVILLE, 3 Corey BROWN (23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS 82'), 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 8 Jacob PEPPER (20 Aaron AMADI-HOLLOWAY 46'), 10 Bradden INMAN, 12 Aiden O’NEILL, 19 Jack HINGERT, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 77 Scott MCDONALD (30 Mirza MURATOVIC 80') - Subs not used: RGK Max CROCOMBE, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 15 Aaron REARDON, 25 Rahmat AKBARI

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (28 Gabriel POPOVIC 87'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (7 Joel CHIANESE 64'), 20 Jake BRIMMER (29 Kristian POPOVIC 75'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 13 Osama MALIK, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 22 Vince LIA - Referee: Daniel Elder

22.2.2020

ANDREWS AT THE DOUBLE FOR GLORY

Perth Glory have produced another strong performance in the Westfield W-League, beating second-placed Sydney FC 2-1 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. Bobby Despotovski’s side had won back-to-back games, including a massive win against Brisbane Roar last week, and this one was even better. American import Morgan Andrews was the hero, firing a long-range free kick just before half time, and she made sure of the points with another on the hour. Sydney pulled one back in second half stoppage time, with the unfortunate Kim Carroll scoring an own goal, but it was too little too late.

Despotovski was delighted with the performance after the final whistle. "In the last four or five weeks, we've done extremely well," he said. We saw today that the girls are working extremely hard and they got the reward for it. They enjoyed themselves today and in one way, it's nice playing with no pressure. We can't make the top four, so we have just been going out there and giving it a go. I said to the girls today that no-one has thrashed us this season, we've always been in games and there or thereabouts without quite getting over the line. And now with all the hard work they've been doing, we're getting a few wins under our belts and getting goals from all over the park. I'm very happy at this point."

The Sky Blues struggled to break down a tight Glory defence early, but Veronica Latsko, Sofia Huerta and Remy Siemsen had half-chances, but Eliza Campbell was not forced to make a meaningful save. Glory lost youngster Hana Lowry with injury on 21 minutes, she was replaced by Leticia McKenna, but as the half wore on Glory grew in confidence and started to create chances of their own and on 41 minutes, they took the lead. Andrews had been upended just outside the box by Ellie Brush, and she picked herself up and bent a stunning free kick past compatriot Aubrey Bledsoe into the top corner of the net

Glory began the second half as strongly as they had ended the first and on 58 minutes they doubled their advantage. Caitlin Doeglas surging run down the left ended with a low cross into the box and Andrews picked out the bottom corner. The home side threw everything they had at Glory in the final quarter and came close to halving the arrears twice in the space of a minute as Veronica Latsko saw her effort headed off the line by Ari Romero and Campbell then produced a fingertip save to deny substitute Mackenzie Hawkesby. The home side did find a goal in stoppage time when Amy Sayer’s ball into the penalty area was turned into her own net by Kim Carroll, but the goal came too late to be anything more than a consolation for the Sky Blues.

Sydney FC: GK Aubrey BLEDSOE, 2 Teresa POLIAS, (12 Natalie TOBIN 74') , 7 Ellie BRUSH, 8 Lindsay AGNEW, 10 Remy SIEMSEN (20 Princess IBINI 55'), 11 Sofia HUERTA, 13 Veronica LATSKO, 14 Alanna KENNEDY, 17 Angelique HRISTODOULOU, 18 Taylor RAY (15 MacKenzie HAWKESBY 64'), 19 Amy SAYER - Subs not used: RGK Trudy BURKE

Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY (16 Isabella WALLHEAD 88'), 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 9 Crystal THOMAS, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (4 Ayesha NORRIE 66'), 19 Hana LOWRY (11 Leticia MCKENNA 21'), 24 Natasha RIGBY - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO - Referee: Kelly Jones

22.2.2020

GLORY HEAD TO BRISBANE IN WEEK 20

Perth Glory are back in A-League action on Saturday when they visit Dolphin Stadium to take on Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane Roar. (2pm WA time) It’s been a busy week for the club with their ACL game in Japan, but they go into this game looking to maintain their nine-game unbeaten run. Their last game was two weeks ago when they beat Wellington Phoenix 4-2, but a win against the Roar will see them jump to second on the table. Head Coach Tony Popovic said they are refreshed and ready for the challenge and looking at putting on a show for the Glory supporters, as Saturday will be the Shed’s annual ‘Tour of Duty’. "We saw our travelling fans come to Tokyo and we know how difficult that was not only logistically, but also financially," he said.

"They're spending their hard-earned money and taking time off work to come and support their team in what was an historic game for the football club and we could see by their reaction after the game that yes, we didn't get the result. “But they were really proud of their team because they could see it was a fantastic performance that was worthy of a positive result, unfortunately we didn't get it, but I'm sure they travelled home very proud. "Now we travel to Brisbane where we will have a larger contingent of members and fans and we want to let them see a real Perth Glory performance that they can be proud of and hopefully this time, we can take the points home."

Popovic is expecting a stern test against the Roar, who have won four of their last five games and held Glory to a draw at HBF Park in the opening game of the season. "Brisbane are a team that is in good form and have jumped into the top six," he said. "They've only lost once in their last seven or eight games, so they're on a very good run of results and are full of confidence. We know there'll be a good crowd to support them and it's a good challenge for us to shift quickly from the Asian Champions League to take on a team that is playing good football and getting results. The boys know they're going to be in for a real game."

Popovic said his squad emerged unscathed from their midweek ACL game and are keen to get back to domestic action. "We're injury-free from the FC Tokyo match which is a real bonus," he said. “Of course, there'll be some sore bodies, you expect that, but credit to the players, they are embracing this challenge. "Logistically it's difficult to play in two competitions, especially being based in Perth with the amount we have to travel, but the players have accepted that in a positive manner because they want to play in both competitions and sometimes you have to back up after three or four days and perform. So, we'll recover the best we can before the game and the players will switch quickly to focus upon an exciting game against Brisbane."

Glory will be out to extend a four-game unbeaten run against the Queenslanders, during which they have scored a total of 11 goals and in doing so, lengthen their undefeated run of Hyundai A-League games to ten. The Roar will honour former Glory and Brisbane star Liam Miller with a touching tribute at the game and new striker Scott McDonald is expecting a tight encounter. “They're a very tough team to break down. They're coming off a long journey being in the [AFC] Champions League so I'm hoping a little bit that they'll be fatigued but you can't take that for granted or see it as an advantage, you've got to go in there and play it as it is," he said. “Perth are a top side with some great attacking options as well so they'll be a huge threat to us and we're well aware of their capabilities. But as always, it's more what we can do. I think that's been the case in the last few weeks in terms of winning games and being on the front foot and what we can do to hurt teams has been a real positive."

Brisbane Roar FC squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, RGK Max CROCOMBE, 2 Scott NEVILLE, 3 Corey BROWN, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 10 Bradden INMAN, 12 Aiden O’NEILL, 15 Aaron REARDON, 19 Jack HINGERT, 20 Aaron AMADI-HOLLOWAY, 22 Jake MCGING, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 27 Kai TREWIN, 30 Mirza MURATOVIC, 77 Scott MCDONALD - * 2-4 to be omitted * - Ins: REARDON (promoted), TREWIN (promoted), MCDONALD (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 28 Izaack POWELL (international duty), 29 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS (knee – TBC)

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 13 Osama MALIK, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 22 Vince LIA, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 29 Kristian POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: TRATT (promoted), MALIK (promoted), CASTRO (returns from injury) - Outs: 23 Dane INGHAM (omitted) - Unavailable: 6 Dino DJULBIC (ankle – indefinite), 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – season), 27 JUANDE (groin – 1 week) – Referee: Daniel Elder

21.2.2020

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE PREVIEW

It’s the final round in the NPLWA Night Series this weekend, and with Pool One all wrapped up all the attention switches to Pool Two, with three teams still in the running to reach next week’s semi-finals. Gwelup Croatia are in pole position, three points clear and with a superior goal difference, and only need a point on Friday when they take on Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens to seal their spot. (6.30pm)

Sorrento sit bottom of the pool despite four competitive games and they will be doing all they can to get their first win and end the competition on a high. Gwelup beat Armadale last week a game skipper Blair Govan said they didn’t play their best but still got the result. “Armadale was a good test for us, something a bit different, and they tried to make it a scrappy game and get in about us and they done a good job of that and where pretty unlucky not to get a goal,” the defender explained. “But credit to our boys, we picked our moments and scored at good times and got the job done in the end.”

Govan said the new look Gwelup side are gelling nicely, and is hoping they can produce another strong performance against Sorrento to move into the knock out stage, which will be good preparation for their inaugural NPL season. “Sorrento are never an easy team to play. Jamie will have them well organised but we won’t look at that too much. We will just be looking to keep building on our performances every week and trying to put into practice what Taki and Glenn are asking of us. Of course, we would love to go unbeaten in the pool. It would set us up well heading into a semi-final and into the season.”

Perth Glory sit second, three points behind Gwelup and level on points with Inglewood but do gave a better goal difference, so a win against Armadale at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening will secure a spot in the semi-finals. (7pm) Glory produced a good performance last week against Balcatta, one that pleased Head Coach Richard Garcia. “Really pleased with the performance against Balcatta,” Garcia said. “We spoke at half time about being focused from the start of the half, so to concede so early was disappointing, but the way the players fought back and find the third was pleasing, and to see out the game shows the improvement the guys are making.” Garcia said Saturday will be another tough test for his you group, but they are determined to continue their good form and reach be knock out stage. “We move on to Armadale next week, we know a win will see us qualify for the Semi-Finals,” he said. “But we need to maintain the same focus and determination to get the rewards.”

Inglewood are level with Glory, but trail them by four goals, so they need a big win on Saturday when they take on Balcatta on Saturday evening at Frank Drago reserve. (7pm) Andres Oliveira’s side needs a win and results elsewhere to go their way to qualify, and they kept themselves in contention with a come from behind win against Sorrento last week, and Oliveira said they deserved the win after conceding so early in the game. “We haven't played any friendlies and are using the night series for our pre-season preparation games, and so far, and I'm impress with the progress,” he said. “It was a tough game against Sorrento, they are well organised and have great players who can win the game. It was a good test for our preparation and pleased we came out with a win.”

Oliveira said all they can do is get the three points against a good Balcatta side and continue their form and hope results elsewhere go their way. “I do not count the Perth Glory loss, as they decided to play professional players for our NPL pre-season tournament,” he said. “But with the other games we had set out ourselves to work on certain things for each game, but we are still a long way to our best, and this game against Balcatta won't be any different to the others, we not going to worry about the outcome, we just get ready for the season.”

In Pool One Floreat Athena and Perth SC have already qualified for next week’s semi-finals, but they meet each other at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening to see who will finish top of the table. Floreat are the only team in competition to have a 100% record in the competition and moved through with a hard-fought win against Cockburn, and interim coach Ante Kovacevic said they were made to work for the win. “It was important to continue our positive run in the night series, and Cockburn were a difficult opponent and made us work hard to keep our lead in the second half,” he said. “We took a lot out of that game on where we need to improve our own game.”

Kovacevic, who is back at the club after four years in the A-League as Head of Football Operations at Adelaide United, said Friday will be another good test, as the club search for a third consecutive Night Series crown. “Obviously we are going into Friday’s game with a positive mindset and want to remain unbeaten, but Perth will no doubt be a formidable opponent, which will be another tough test,” he explained. “The night series is a great competition in preparation for the season proper. A trophy at the end of it will be a great achievement for the team, and club, but there is still a long way to go.”

Perth SC moved into the semi-finals after a thrilling 3-2 win against Bayswater, with youngster Jayden Gorman bagging a late winner and Head Coach Ramon Falzon said it was pleasing performance. “It was a hard-fought win against Bayswater, however more importantly the players gave us a number of good signs in our progression this season, and it was good to see that we are still a tight-knit unit following the off-season changes,” he said. “The players are always resilient in tough situations and our persistence and discipline helped us cap off a very good performance with a win. Although it is good for the club to secure a Night Series semi-final spot, our focus over the last few weeks has been to strengthen our tactical setups, so it was very good to see the players implement it against a tough opposition like Bayswater and even come away with a win.”

Falzon said they are aware top spot is up for grabs, but knows Floreat are a talented side and it will be a tough test for his young side, but he has every confidence in them. “It is true that top spot is up for grabs, however we are concentrating on more important aspects. Our players know that results are most of the times the by-product of a good performance, therefore we make sure that the players are solely focused on their individual and collective performances,” he explained. “We are aware that we are about to face another tough opponent so our aim is to start getting some consistency in our performances. We have been working hard on identifying areas that require improvement and making sure that we constantly practice to become better.”

In other games in the Pool, Bayswater City host ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon. (5pm) The winner of this one will finish third, and City are coming off a narrow loss against Perth SC that cost them a spot in the next phase, while ECU beat Rockingham City 5-1, with youngster Ben Hinshelwood and Andy Higgins scoring doubles. In the final game Cockburn City host Rockingham City at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday afternoon. (5pm) Both sides are searching for their first win in the competition, so a victory for either side will give them confidence heading into the new season, while the loser will pick up the wooden spoon.

21.2.2020

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES – QUARTER FINALS PREVIEW

We’ve reached the quarter-finals of the State League Night Series and all the games are on this weekend and all will be played at Hartfield Park, the home of Forrestfield United. It all kicks off on Friday evening when Group A winners Fremantle City take on UWA Nedlands, who finished second in Group C. Fremantle won all their games in the group stage and Head Coach Cameron Lord said they are building nicely. “It is nice to have a competitive edge to pre-season through the Night Series, but for us it is important to still view it as pre-season,” he explained. “This is when we look to implement what has been worked on during training into game environments, while trying new things and different personnel.

The entire process for us so far has been about just focusing on what we are trying to do and what we are trying to achieve with the way we want to play football, and though we still have work to do, we are heading in the right direction.” Lord said Friday’s opponents will be up for the game, but he is looking for his side to continue their recent good form. “We are looking forward to a new challenge in UWA on Friday, as we look to see how our players react to playing against different types of players and styles of play,” he said. “It is another football game, so it is another game that we want to win, but we need to continue to perform as we look to get consistency into our game. Now that it is the knockout stages I am sure UWA will want to progress as much as we do, so I am sure it will be an entertaining game.”

UWA moved through as one of the two best second placed teams, and they had to beat Kingsley Westside in the final game to do so, and coach Michael Janssen was pleased with the win, and the whole group stage. “We tested our players in the three games using different line-ups to give all our boys a run in the Night Series,” he said. “The Series games are more competitive than the friendlies are, and they give us a better understanding of where the boys are, and we are going to continue our plan on Friday again. We rest a few players with minor injuries or give some a break to freshen them up. The results for us were overall good but we were more looking at our performance as a team to improve towards the first game of the season.”

Janssen said Fremantle have been the form team in the pre-season competition so far, but they are looking forward to the challenge. “Facing Fremantle will be a good game to test on a higher level again. Their results were perfect and they invested a lot into their team to be the one to beat in 2020,” he explained. “We are going to face a team scoring 15 goals in three games, and keeping a clean sheet throughout. This is an early statement, but the boys are working hard in our three sessions per week and we will be prepared as good as we can to play our game. We are all looking forward to the game to stay in the competition.”

In Friday’s late game Group E winners Olympic Kingsway meet Group F runners-up Stirling Lions at 8.30pm. Olympic went through the group stage undefeated and Head Coach Gary Williams said it’s good to get these sorts of games before the league season starts. “Yes, it was good to finish top of the group, and to date we have played in three matches and created numerous chances, but we need to be a little more ruthless in the final third and maintain our concentration for the entire 90 minutes in the defensive third to be a top team this year,” he explained. “It is a very positive thing that we have finished top of the group without getting anywhere near how I believe we can play, the improvement on performances will come with more competitive matches and greater fitness levels.”

Williams will come up against his former club on Friday, with the coach spending eight seasons in the coaching structure at Macedonia Park, and he said there has been a good rivalry between the two clubs over the years, but they are ready for the challenge this time around. “The club is looking forward to the game on Friday, and there is a lot of history and rivalry between the two clubs,” he said. “I have no doubt Rob and Dave have put a very competitive side together and will be looking for an immediate return to the NPL. But there is a semi-final spot up for grabs, so I am sure there will be an entertaining match.”

The Lions finished second in Group F, but qualified as one of the best two second placed teams. New striker Gavin Knight has continued his goal scoring touch and has settled in well at the club and he said preseason is going well under new coach Rob Milevski. “The night series is always a tough competition as you play teams in different leagues and most squads have new signings and trialist so you can’t really judge the strength of opposition,” he said. “But Stirling’s pre-season has been good, we are still working on a lot of things, but we have good squad and is good to be part of it.”

Knight, who joined from NPL club Balcatta this season, is expecting a tough game on Friday, especially with Olympic in good form and topping their group. “Kingsway will be very tough as they finished top of their group, and they have some good players in their squad with experience,” he said. “But with it being the knock out stages you have to be on the top of your game to get to next round, and we’ll be doing all we can to reach the semi-finals.”

The quarterfinals continue on Saturday afternoon when Wanneroo City take on Western Knights. (5pm) Wanneroo have recruited well this season and Head Coach Jesse Bridgeman was delighted they topped the group and has been pleased with how his new look squad has gelled. “To get out of the group was our first target for the pre-season, so to top the group was even more pleasing,” he said. “But the chance to play against teams in both state league divisions is a good chance to see where we are at quite early on.”

Bridgeman said Saturday’s opponents are talented and unbeaten in group stage and he can’t wait to see how his side goes against them. “The draw against Western Knights is a good test for us and I’m were looking forward too it,” he said. “I’m quite happy with being drawn against them and I know my side is really going to be up for a good battle on Saturday in front of hopefully a big crowd.”

Western Knights went through the group stage winning all their games and Head coach Ivan Zuvela said they have improved with every game, but has also been impressed with the Football played by all the teams. “It has been a good pre-season for us and we believe we are improving every week,” he said. “The night series is not easy and I have been very impressed at the quality of the other teams we have played in Kelmscott, Joondalup City and Joondalup United, so it was a great achievement for our players to win every game and make the quarter finals.”

Zuvela said Wanneroo have been good in the group stage, and he knows a few of their players so he is expecting a tough game and a typical cup-tie. “This week’s game against Wanneroo does present us with another challenge in that it is a knock out game,” he said. “They are a club I respect a lot, and I know they have recruited well, particularly with Scott Johnston, who I rate highly as a person and player. We certainly won’t be underestimating them.”

The final game on Saturday sees host Forrestfield United entertaining Murdoch University Melville 7pm Forrestfield are the current holders of the pre-season competition and skipper Rhys Loxley said despite a first up loss they bounced back to top Group C. “We started the group off slowly probably due to the fact that we hadn’t played any friendlies, but I thought we responded really well after losing the opening game,” he explained. “We have played really well in patches of games, so for us it’s about improving every game.”

Loxley said the players will be doing all they can to win the competition again, but knows MUM will be huge test. “I have watched Matt’s team play once or twice in this competition and they look to be a well organised side and they look to have Improved last year’s squad and look to be really competitive,” he said. “But from our point of view we want to be playing competitive games and the only way to do that at the moment is through the night series. We know that when at our best, we are capable of beating anyone in this competition so for us, it’s about playing to our strengths and improving our performance every week.”

Murdoch University Melville topped Group F, getting the point needed with a last-minute equaliser in the final game against Stirling to progress and assistant coach Marcus Edwards said it’s nice to qualify but knows the hard work is still to come as they prepare for the first league. “To me the trick is not get carried away with any of the Night Series results, which also includes us toping the group. Its early days, but there is still much room for improvement in all teams. The player merry-go-round also starts at the end of the Nigh Series so teams can change considerably.”

Edwards and Head Coach Matt Wardle are excited going into the knock out stage and he is said they are both ready for the challenge. “Well, it’s obviously nice to reach the knockout stage and something we have never achieved before as a club so that we are very happy with that, but we are under no illusion, we must keep our feet on the ground,” Edwards said. “We are six weeks away from being ready for the season itself and as I have said, players move teams at the end of the Night Series. We will enjoy the experience of a quarter final of course and are very proud of the boy’s football so far but we know we still have much work to do. As for Forrestfield, well it’s literally a home game for them so they have the advantage but we will push to give them a game they can remember and, in the process, move ourselves one step closer to being ready for the 2020 season.”

21.2.2020

GLORY HAVE SKY BLUES IN THEIR SIGHTS

After last week’s big win against Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory head to WIN Stadium on Saturday to take on second placed Sydney FC in week 13 of the Westfield W-League. (1pm WA time) The 4-2 win against the Roar made it back-to-back wins for Bobby Despotovski’s side and he hopes they can continue their form a very good Sky Blues side.

"We're looking for more of the same, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “Sydney have lost Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord, I believe, so they are a weaker side than when we played them earlier in the season and even in that game, it was in the balance for a long period of time and it was only a silly penalty that cost us, we are going over there quietly confident.

“If the players by now don't have the confidence to go there and try and win the game, they're in the wrong sport. In the last two games we've scored eight and conceded four and we have nothing to lose. So, we'll go there, give it a shot and look to prove something because Sydney are sitting second in the league."

Saturday's game will also be a big one for Glory skipper Natasha Rigby who is set to make her 50th Westfield W-League appearance for the club and Despotovski was quick to pay tribute his leader. "Tash has played in every game for the past three seasons and this year as well, and that is an incredible achievement," he said. "It's like something from a movie script. She moves up to Perth from a country town in Margaret River, plays in the State League, gets spotted by a professional club and ends up becoming the captain.

"That's what it's all about; providing an opportunity for girls to play and see how far they can go with their football. Will they all end being Tash Rigby’s, no, they won't. But the more opportunities you give people to succeed, the more success stories like this will emerge.” Glory will be looking to secure what would be a first away win over Sydney FC since November 2014 and in doing so, avenge last season's Grand Final defeat.

19.2.2020

GLORY BEATEN IN ACL OPENER

Perth Glory have begun their inaugural Asian Champions League campaign with a narrow 0-1 loss against FC Tokyo at Tokyo Stadium on Tuesday evening. It was a tight game with clear cut chances few and far between, and it looked like they had done enough to earn a point before Leandro deflected shot beat Liam Reddy seven minutes from time. Head Coach Tony Popovic thought his side deserved something from the game.

"Sometimes in football, as a coach, you can walk off the field and accept that the other team is better and you weren't able to win the match, but I think tonight, that was not the case," he said. "We deserved more from the game. For a team that has never played in the Champions League, I thought we put on a very good performance away from home and deserved something from the match. We're a little bit disappointed, which is also a good thing because we know that we competed very well with an excellent team and showed that we're a good team tonight."

It was an evenly-contested first-half, and FC Tokyo went close midway through the opening period, a goalbound strike from Brazilian import Diego Oliveira was well blocked by the alert Tomislav Mrcela. Glory’s first opportunity came moments later and it was Mrcela who got on the end of a Neil Kilkenny corner, his header clipped the top of the net on its way over the bar. The arm-wrestle continued after the break and it wasn't until the hour-mark that either goal was seriously threatened again as Bruno Fornaroli was picked out by Diego Castro, and the Uruguayan striker shot found the side-netting.

As the game went on the opened up and Shuto Abe and Takahari Yujiro then went close for the home side before Glory responded by creating their best opportunity of the night on 77 minutes. Castro was the architect, picking out Ivan Franjic as he burst into the box, but the defender delayed his shot and was unable to get a proper connection. Glory were left to rue that missed chance moments later as, seven minutes from time FC Tokyo won it.

After a spell of sustained pressure from the home side, the Brazilian international unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the box which, with the aid of a slight deflection off second half substitute Nick D’Agostino, looped into the top corner of the net. Despite their best efforts, Glory were unable to find an equaliser in the dying minutes. Glory's next AFC Champions League fixture is another away trip, this time to Ulsan Hyundai of Korea Republic on Wednesday 4 March.

FC Tokyo: GK Akihiro HAYASHI, 2 Sei MUROYA, 3 Masato MORISHIGE, 4 Tsuyoshi WATANABE, 6 Ryoya OGAWA, 8 Yojiro TAKAHAGI, 9 Diego OLIVEIRA (32 Joan OUMARI 89'), 15 ADAILTON (38 Kazuya KONNO 59'), 18 Kento HASHIMOTO, 20 LEANDRO, 31 Shuto ABE (27 Kyosuke TAGAWA 90+2') - Subs not used: RGK Go HATANO, 7 Hirotaka MITA, 23 Kiichi YAJIMA, 37 Hotaka NAKAMURA

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (28 Gabriel POPOVIC 89'), 7 Joel CHIANESE (18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 73'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 29 Kristian POPOVIC (20 Jake BRIMMER 75'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jacob TRATT, 8 James MEREDITH, 22 Vince LIA - Referee: Yaqoob Said A Abdul Baqi (Oman)

19.2.2020

KRISTIAN NOT FAZED AS HE LOOKS FOR GLORY

The word nepotism has been banded around at Perth Glory over the years, and it’s raised its head again over the past month with supporters having there say about the selection of Kristian and Gabriel Popovic, by their father and Glory Head Coach Tony. It was given more air time on social media this week after Kristian was surprisingly named in the Glory starting line-up in the clubs inaugural Asian Champions League clash against FC Tokyo, and the 18-year-old didn’t let his dad down, putting in an impressive performance in the 0-1 defeat.

Popovic junior has just one A-League start to his name along with nine appearances off the bench, but his improvement over the past year suggests he is on track to becoming a regular in the Glory line-up. Kristian said the pair have found it easy to separate work from home life. "He's been my dad my whole life and I've had this so-called pressure my whole life," the midfielder said. “If he selects me to play, I'm ready and I put my best foot forward. When we're at training he'll talk to me about football and when we're at home he'll just talk about family things, it’s easy to differentiate the two."

Popovic said having his 16-year-old brother Gabriel as part of the Glory squad is also a bonus. "It's great, not many players get to play with their younger brothers and especially at such a young age," Kristian said. "It's a great experience for him and it's good for me to have him in the team as well because it's someone that I know I can always talk to." Kristian said he loved the experience of taking on FC Tokyo, especially facing up to classy Brazilians Diego Oliveira, Leandro, and Adailton. "When you think about it, it's crazy," Popovic said. "Not many 18-year-olds get to play against players of this quality. "I just took the opportunity with both hands and I really enjoyed it."

19.2.2020

GLORY ‘CAN COMPETE WITH THE BEST’: POPOVIC

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic says there is no comparison between A-League sides and bigger-financed and heavily resourced J-League clubs. But he believes Glory can compete with the best and players were not feeling sorry for themselves after last night's Asian Champions League debut loss to FC Tokyo.

Tokyo is worth about $60 million, four times the value of Glory. "That's the reality," Popovic said of the Japanese giant. The Glory coach raised the difference after being asked by Japanese media whether he had gained an advantage by being able to study the opposition during an extended break.

"I don't know if we have an advantage. Everyone can do analysis. I don't think you need 10 days to analyse an opponent," added Popovic, whose team had an A-League bye last weekend and had their ACL match against Shanghai Shenhua last Tuesday postponed. "If you think that was our advantage, maybe that was our advantage."

"I think the advantage FC Tokyo has is the resources, the budget, the amount they can spend on their team. There are many advantages for FC Tokyo. We are not feeling sorry for ourselves, that's the reality. We're happy with our performance. We know now we can compete at this level against a team with a big budget, a very good side. We can't really compare the A-League and J-League."

Popovic said his side deserved at least a point from the game in Tokyo. "Sometimes in football, as a coach, you can walk off the field and accept that the other team is better or you weren't able to win the match," he said.

"Tonight that's not the case. Tonight we deserved more from the game. For a team that has never played in the Champions League, I thought we put on a very good performance away from home. We deserved something from the match. We are disappointed which is also a good thing."

"We know we competed very well with an excellent team and we showed we are a good team. I thought we were more aggressive, we pressed them very well, we forced their goalkeeper to kick several balls out of play. We played well enough to win or minimum to draw. We had the best chance of the game before they scored."

17.2.2020

GLORY TO SHOW NO FEAR IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DEBUT

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has declared his team will take a no fears approach into their Asian Champions League debut against FC Tokyo on Tuesday night. The Japanese club boasts players of the ilk of Diego Oliveira, Sei Muroya, Joan Oumari, and Leandro.

Glory's hopes of causing an upset have been boosted by the return of captain Diego Castro from injury. But they will still start as underdogs against the team that finished second to Ange Postecoglou's Yokohama F. Marinos in last season's J.League.

Popovic declared his team were eager to continue their form that has them unbeaten in nine A-League games. "I don't believe much will be expected from us tomorrow night from the outside, but from within we expect to show a good performance against a very good opponent," Popovic said.

"Tomorrow the fans will see a team that wants to play a certain style of football, a very confident team, that will show a lot of belief, and also we'll show a lot of respect to our opponent. I expect our team to play without fear and to continue on the good form that we've shown in our local competition, and to showcase ourselves and show the quality we have with and without the ball."

17.2.2020

GLORY READY FOR FC TOKYO CHALLENGE

Perth Glory will make its maiden appearance in Asia's premier football competition, when they take on J-League side FC Tokyo in Tuesday's AFC Champions League clash at Tokyo Stadium (kick-of at 6pm WST). Glory’s opening game in the group against Chianese side Shanghai Shenhua was postponed last week due to the coronavirus.

Head Coach Tony Popovic said they are rested and ready to go and he is relishing the opportunity. “We’re excited, it’d the first time for Perth Glory being in the ACL and we need to embrace it and we need our fans to embrace it and enjoy it,” he told the Glory website. “We also need to go there, play without fear and put on a good performance.

"It’s quite clear in the way that they’ve been training that the players are excited. Beating Wellington in our last Hyundai A-League game was important before we had a break from the league. You can see that the confidence is there among the players and they’re looking forward to the fantastic challenge of playing against an excellent team from Japan."

FC Tokyo finished second in the J-League last season, and Popovic was quick to point out what a stern challenge they will pose. "We’ve watched them very closely, they have the same coach [from last season] and a few new foreign players, but all in all, their local players are pretty much the same,” he said. “They’re strong and obviously they were top of the league for a long time [last season]. They have an established team that’s been together for three years now.

"Their style is very dynamic and they are a very mobile team and the Japanese league in general is played at a very high pace. That’s something we’ll have to adapt to, but that’s the challenge of the Champions League. You’re up against sides in major competitions that have the resources, the budgets and calibre of foreigners that I don’t believe any A-League team could probably afford. So that’s normal and that’s what you expect in the Champions League. It’s a great chance for us to showcase ourselves and for these players to show what they can do."

In terms of recent form, FC Tokyo drew their opening Group F fixture against Ulsan Hyundai in Korea last week, while Glory do, of course, head into the game of the back of nine Hyundai A-League games without defeat.

16.2.2020

LFE STATEMENT WIPED FROM GLORY WEBSITE

A new twist in the Perth Glory buy-out saga by a controversial London cryptocurrency investment company has thrown fresh doubt on the deal. A statement by London Football Exchange, boasting it had entered into an asset sale and purchase agreement to acquire a majority shareholding in Glory, has been taken down from the A-League club’s website.

Glory owner Tony Sage, who is in three days of talks in London with LFE about off-loading 80 per cent of the club, ordered the statement taken down at the weekend. “It contradicts my statement to the fans so should be taken down,” Sage told the 'West Australian'. Sage, who admits being sceptical about the bid but also becomes LFE chairman on 1 March, has insisted that the buy-out is not a done deal.

The LFE statement went on the Glory website on Thursday afternoon, having been leaked on Wednesday. But when questioned about it 24 hours later, Sage said the sale claim was was incorrect and that nothing had been agreed. Should an agreement be made, Football Federation Federation will have to sign off on the deal before ownership can change hands.

“If they put that out we shouldn’t have put that on our platform,” Sage said. “It is wrong. What they said obviously is for their own marketing purposes. I don’t know why they said it. I’m going to be very angry at them for that reason. If I had executed an agreement I would have had to tell the FFA, but I haven’t.”

16.2.2020

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FOUR REVIEW

It was week four of the NPLWA Night Series and in Pool One the Semi-Finalists have already been decided with Floreat Athena and Perth SC moving through, and they meet next week to see who tops the group. Floreat made it four straight wins with a hard fought 2-1 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. “I thought we didn’t play our best, but also we didn’t give too many chances away to Cockburn so happy to win and progress to the semi-finals despite not playing our best football,” Evans said. “We look forward to taking on Perth next week and seeing if we can secure top spot.”

Floreat hit the front on 20 minutes after Liam Murray was brought down in the box after a mazy run and referee David Bruce pointed straight to the spot. Dean Evans stepped up, and despite Luke Radonich getting a hand to it, scored from the resulting penalty. They added a second seven minutes later, Murray found space out wide and whipped in a cross which Chris Saldaris headed home. Cockburn were back in the game on the hour when David dos Santos scored, but Floreat stayed strong to seal the three points. “I thought we dominated the first half they didn’t really have a chance,” Phil Arnold said. “But second half was end to end and we were quite poor and both sides had a few chances.”

Perth SC teenage Jayden Gorman was the hero, scoring late to secure a 3-2 win against Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon, to knock the hosts out of the competition. Perth opened the scoring on 36 minutes with Andreas Theodosiades on target. But Bayswater hit back in first half stoppage time with Daryl Nicol scoring to send the teams into the break all-square. Bayswater hit the front on the hour through Jason Mirco, but their lead only lasted eight minutes with Gustavo Catarcione scoring on his return to the club. It looked like the points would be shared but three minutes from time Gorman popped up to win it.

“I thought it was a great result for us we knew our individual responsibilities leading into the game and I thought we executed them really well,” Kieran Colwell said. “The game changed in moments with some decisions not going our way, then being down 2-1 we showed tremendous character to get the result in the end. Our substitutes that came on made an impact as well which is great to see, it was a team effort and as a collective we were excellent. The result gives us good confidence leading into the NPL, Bayswater are a strong team and we are looking forward to another challenge against another strong team in Floreat next week.”

In the final game of the pool, ECU Joondalup beat Rockingham City 5-1 in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve. It was a perfect start for the Jacks and they hit the front on 25 minutes, Ewan Fawcett crossing to Andy Higgins at the back post to score. Kenny Lowe’s side doubled their lead in the shadows of half time with a stunning long-range free kick from Danny Hodgson. They added a third early in the second half with Tom Hough picking out Ben Hinshelwood who made no mistake. Rockingham reduced the margin on the hour, Ryan Kennedy hitting a cracking free kick giving Johnny Perkins no chance. But Rockingham were then reduced to ten men nine minutes later and the Jacks made them pay adding two more in as many minutes from Hinshelwood and Higgins to seal a comprehensive win. “It was overall a great performance from all the lads who played on the night, who all knew individually what Kenny expected of us which resulted in a positive result,” Hinshelwood said. “It was a good game for me and it was great to play my third game under Kenny’s guidance.”

In Pool B Gwelup Croatia look certain to take their place in the Semi-finals after taking a three-point lead at the top of the table after a 2-0 win against Armadale at Dalmatinac Park. Taki Nicolaidis’ side were ahead on 22 minutes after referee Joshua Nixon pointed to the spot after Ethan Brooks was brought down in the penalty area, and Daniel Stynes dispatching the resulting penalty low past the keeper. They sealed the points on 73 minutes, Callum Timmins ball sent Hasani Sinclair clear and he finished low past the on-coming keeper. “It wasn’t our best performance but we got the three points and that is the most important thing right now,” Daniel Stynes said. “We’re a new group and I think we’re slowly getting to where the coaches want us to be and where they expect us to be, come the season. So, it’s another performance in the bank and we’ll move onto next week.”

Perth Glory moved into second place with a 3-1 win against Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. It was a perfect start for the Glory youngsters and they hit the front on 15 minutes. Charlie Leech racing into the penalty area and firing low past keeper Riccardo Mazzoleni. They doubled their lead in the shadows of half time, Mazzoleni saved well from a long-range shot from Leech, but Rawlins was quickest to react to fire home the rebound. But Balcatta were back in the game early in the second half, with Balcatta striker Adam Zimarino scoring to make it 2-1, and it was game on. Glory regrouped and scored the decisive third goal on 81 minutes, with new signing Carlo Armiento firing home superbly into the top corner. “It was a great win and performance from the boys and the result showed our maturity and growth over the last few months, to carry out and finish the game off with a win,” Leech told the Glory website. “It was a pleasing result and it will give us great confidence to push onto next week to continue our good run of form and to carry that out through to the start of the NPL season on March 14.”

In the final game Inglewood United kept up their push for a semi-final spot with a 2-1 win against Sorrento in the early game at Percy Doyle Reserve. “Overall it was good to get another win under our belts before the season,” Alex Ishida-Livings said. “We’ve still got a fair amount to work on but given that we were missing a few players through injury and a few others were making their first starts I think we can be proud of ourselves.” It was the hosts who opened the scoring on nine minutes, Alex Morgan heading home from a free kick. But Inglewood lifted and were level on the half hour, Steve Sokol firing into the roof of the net after a goalmouth scramble. It looked like the points would be shared but in the final minute Inglewood won it. A quick break found Robert Petkov, who cut into the box and fired low into the corner of the net. “It was horrible conditions and we struggled to get going in the first half,” Mark Barnett said. “But we levelled before the break and, I felt we controlled the second half and created some good chances going forward and we got our well-deserved winner.”

16.2.2020

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES – WEEK THREE REVIEW

The quarterfinal places have been decided in the Football West State League Night Series after a dramatic final round of games over the weekend. In Group A Fremantle City flexed their muscles for the knockout stage with a 8-0 win against Morley Windmills at Hartfield Park on Sunday afternoon. Wes Britz, Mitch Firth and Angel Andres gave Fremantle a 3-0 lead at the break, while Morley missing a penalty late. But after the break Andres bagged two more to complete his hat-trick, with others to Britz, Abias Bukuru and Dantae Greer completed the big win. “It was a relentless win, but what was most pleasing for me was the attitude that we played the game,” Fremantle Head coach Cameron Lord said. “It is always nice to win games of football, and to top the group, and we will now look forward to testing ourselves further in the quarter final.” In the other game in the group Shamrock Rovers missed out on one of best second placed teams after a 1-0 win against Quinn’s FC at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Lachy Parker saw a first half penalty saved, but he made emends after half time after a push in the back saw them awarded another penalty and Parker made no mistake. “I thought the boys played very well and it was a deserved win,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “We kept our shape well and stuck to the game plan and probably should have scored a few more, but we will build on it and keep working towards the start of the season.”

In Group B Wanneroo City topped the table after a 3-1 win against Ashfield at Wanneroo Reserve. Ashley Corker gave Wanneroo the lead five minutes before half time, but Ashfield levelled ten minutes after the break. Wanneroo won a penalty ten minutes from time, and Flynn Nolan made no mistake. They put the game to bed eight minutes later with Connor Lynch finding the far corner of the net. “We got off to a slow start and got into gear about 35 minutes,” Wanneroo coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “It was a very good win against a good side and very happy for the boys to be going into the next round.” In the other game in the group Subiaco also missed out on a spot in the quarterfinals of goal difference, this despite a 4-1 win against DWE at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. Josh Booysen gave Subiaco the lead on eight minutes, but Michael Rizidis equalised for the Eagles five minutes later. Shay Donovan gave Subiaco the lead at the break before second goals from Ignacio Dominguez and Matthew Lenzo secured the win.

In Group C holder’s Forrestfield United moved through to the next stage after a 5-1 win against Balga at Hartfield Park on Saturday afternoon. The hosts were ahead on 10 minutes from the spot after Ryan Francis was brought down and Michael Fletcher scored from the resulting penalty. It was 2-0 on 19 minutes with Francis firing home from just outside the area. Balga pulled one back three minutes later with Josh Conti on target. But two minutes from half time Forrestfield added a third, Dan Corbett scored from close-range after being picked out by Jordan Hart. After the break skipper Rhys Loxley scored from a tight angle after Ryan Francis flicked the ball on, before Loxley set up Mitchell Crocker for the fifth late, firing home well from the edge of the box. “Going into the game, we knew we had to win by three or more so there was a sense of desperation at times, which probably didn’t help our style of play,” Loxley said. “Fortunately, we able to score some well-crafted goals and advance to the quarter finals after some challenging hit outs. Whilst the focus is still on preparing for the first game of the season, I’m sure a lot of the boys will want to have a crack at going back to back with night series wins and with home advantage this weekend anything is possible.”

In the other game in the group UWA Nedlands moved through to the knockout stage as one of the best second placed teams after a tense 2-1 win against Kingsley Westside at Kingsway Reserve on Friday evening. UWA were ahead on 17 minutes when Max Welton fed Pascal Sedwick to score. They doubled their advantage three minutes from time when Geordie Papathanassiou raced into the penalty area and finished clinically. But Kingsley weren’t finished and Jayden Drummond pulled one back in stoppage time but they couldn’t find the equaliser. “We are happy about the result and the way we presented us in the competition so far, and Friday night the boys had to face a very good Kingsley side,” UWA Coach Michael Janssen said. “It was definitely no surprise that they won the first two games, and we started strong and kept our shape very well and we limited them to long balls in this one. Our own game went as we wanted and the early goal helped our game plans, and our young players matched their team. Our defence was solid, and created some good opportunities for ourselves, including the boys coming from the bench, they fitted in perfectly and did their job second half. At the end the boys deserved the win and showed a great unit on the park despite some late pressure from Kingsley. They will definitely be the team to watch in Division Two next season, now we will get started on the preparations for the next round and 21 March where it really counts.”

In Group D Western Knights continued their winning streak with a 5-0 win against Joondalup City at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening and move into quarterfinals. They opened the scoring in the opening minute when Ciaran Byrne and Callum Roberts combined to set up Alex Kretowicz, who scored from close range. It was 2-0 on the quarter hour, Roberts pinching the pocket of a Joondalup defender, before rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into an empty net. It was 3-0 just after the hour, when Kretowicz cut the ball back to Lewis McMahon to score. Kretowicz completed his hat-trick with two goals late to give the Knights a big win. “I thought the 5-0 score line flattered us, and Joondalup deserved better,” Knights’ coach Ivan Zuvela said. “We scored two early goals and then we just stopped playing. It was not our best performance overall, but we were still glad to get the result and keep another clean sheet.”

In the other game Joondalup United missed out on a spot in the next phase on goal difference after a 5-2 win against Kelmscott Roos at Hartfield Park on Sunday evening. United were ahead on 22 minutes, after a free-flowing move ended with Jamie Gibson scoring from close-range. It was 2-0 on the half hour, great work down the right by Keylun Pollard, and he crossed for Callum Speed to smash home. It was 3-0 five minutes later with Tony Taylor converting from the penalty spot. But Kelmscott hit back on the hour with George Ballah converting a penalty and he did it again on 73 minutes to make it 3-2. But Joondalup steadied and late goals from Gibson and Harry Hutt secured the victory. “We’re all disappointed not to progress in the night series, but missed opportunities last week and tonight ultimately ended our campaign,” Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings said. “Having said that it was pleasing to end with a well-deserved victory and good to see a couple of the young boys get on the scoresheet.”

In Group E Olympic Kingsway topped the table after a 4-1 win against Gosnells City at Kingsway Reserve on Friday evening. The hosts opened the scoring in stoppage time in the first half, a cross from Chris Bilasz found Elliott Tattersall who finished across the keeper into the far corner. It was a tight affair but, on the hour, Gosnells were reduced to 10 men and Olympic made them pay. It was 2-0 when Tattersall cracked home his second with a long-range shot. Dion Burman added a third on 75 minutes, after being sent clear by Kyle Murray, before Murray added a fourth with chip from long-range that caught the keeper off his line. Gosnells pulled one back from the spot in the last minute but it was too little too late. “A good win and a better performance this week to beat Gosnells 4-1,” Olympic coach Gary Williams said. “We are slowly improving as players are getting fitter and getting used to each other, and we go through to the quarter finals which gives us another competitive match which will be beneficial to our preseason.”

The other game in group ended in heartbreak for Canning City, conceding a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Mandurah City and miss out on the quarter finals. “We’re all gutted not to make the next stage, especially the circumstances, having to play over seven minutes of stoppage time, even though the assistant said it was all over before they scored, I’m still scratching my head how he found the extra minutes,” a disappointed Canning Coach Chris Finlayson said post-match. “Mandurah came out firing early and we took a lot longer to settle into the match than we wanted, but second half we had most of the play and really should have ended the game before they scored with the last kick. So, while that cost us a place in the next round, we are extremely proud of the group, but it’s made them hungry for the season.”

It was Mandurah who opened the scoring on 10 minutes, Harry Collins firing into the top corner. But Canning hit back and nine minutes later they were level, Emmanuel Langoya on target. Canning hit the front on the hour with James Atkins scoring, and it looked that would see them through, but deep into stoppage time a cross from out wide was volleyed home by Shane Boyle to level. “We decided to start the game with a really young side and the boys didn’t disappoint giving us our best first half display of preseason so far,” Mandurah Coach Kris Donnell said. “We didn’t look phased and played forward at any given chance with some really pleasing fluid in the passing. Second half I felt we lacked the same intensity but as a whole Pete and I are really pleased with what we saw. We have a lot of work to do before the season kicks off, but we have a young group of players who are playing some terrific football and that’s gives us something to work off. Credit to Canning as well they are a completely different side from last season and will be a tough side to play against next season in Division Two.”

Finally, in Group F, Murdoch University Melville topped the table after a 2-2 draw against Stirling Lions at Edinburgh Oval on Sunday afternoon. The draw also meant the Lions would progress to the next stage as one of the best second placed teams. “Overall, we're happy with the result given it means we go through to the next round, but we felt we missed a lot of chances in the first half,” Ryan Tucker said. “It was a good hit out, and we showed good character to fight back.” It was MUM who opened the scoring two minutes into the second half with Tucker scoring after a one-on-one with the Lions keeper. But Loic levelled for the Lions, firing home from a free kick, and the Lions hit the front nine minutes from time with Gavin Knight scoring. But five minutes into stoppage time MUM found the equaliser, Ben Pellazari heading home to send them top of the table. “It was a scrappy game to play in but maybe good for the people watching,” Knight said. “To concede so late was disappointing, especially after it came in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when we were told there was only three, but a draw was fair result.” In the late game in the group at Edinburgh Oval, hosts Curtin University beat Swan United 2-1.

16.2.2020

GLORY SILENCE THE ROAR

Perth Glory produced their best performance of the season to beat Brisbane Roar 4-2 in a thrilling Westfield W-League game at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. Midfielder Morgan Andrews gave Glory a perfect start, before Crystal Thomas added a second on 12 minutes. Andrews made it 3-0 before the half hour, but the Roar hit back with goals from Carson Pickett and Tameka Yallop either side of the break. But with Roar chasing the equaliser substitute Ayesha Norrie popped up with a late goal to seal the win and dent the finals hopes of the visitors.

"The team looked sharp and fresh today," a delighted coach Bobby Despotovski said post-match. “Towards the end of the game we struggled a bit physically, but with the use of our substitutes, we managed to get over the line. The girls worked very hard all game and I thought they deserved to win. Our girls wanted to build on the win over Newcastle and they did that. You need your midfielders to be standouts and your strikers to be scoring goals and they all were today and it was nice for Ayesha [Norrie] to be on the scoresheet against her hometown club."

It was a perfect start for Despotovski’s side and they opened the scoring on two minutes, with their American pair combining. Thomas’ corner picked out Andrews who lost her marker to head home. To delight of the home faithful, it was 2-0 nine minutes later, Celia sending Thomas clear, and she chipped over former Glory custodian Mackenzie Arnold. It got better for Glory when they added a third on 25 minutes when Matilidas midfielder Clare Polkinghorne handled in the box and referee Casey Reibelt pointed to the spot. Andrews kept her nerve to score from the resulting penalty.

The Roar weren’t going down without a fight and they pulled one back on 33 minutes, Pickett’s cross-shot beating Morgan Aquino. They added a second on the hour with Yallop on target, and the game was back in the balance. Aquino was sparkling form between the sticks and she made a number of crucial interventions as Roar surged forward in search of an equaliser. The home supporters were on the edge of their seats as Roar pressed, but they were off them in stoppage time when Norrie rounded off a swift counter attack to win it for Glory

Perth Glory: GK Morgan AQUINO, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 9 Crystal THOMAS, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (4 Ayesha NORRIE 79'), 19 Hana LOWRY (11 Leticia MCKENNA 61'), 24 Natasha RIGBY - Subs not used: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 16 Isabella WALLHEAD

Brisbane Roar: GK Mackenzie ARNOLD, 2 Carson PICKETT, 3 Celeste BOUREILLE, 4 Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5 Shea CONNORS (21 Winonah HEATLEY 45'), 6 Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (18 Leah DAVIDSON 64'), 7 Indiah-Paige RILEY, 11 Natalie TATHEM, 13 Tameka YALLOP, (22 Anna MARGRAF 78') 19 Hollie PALMER, 23 Isobel DALTON - Subs not used: RGK Georgina WORTH - Referee: Casey Reibelt




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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