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17.9.2021

JOONDALUP AND QUINNS WIN THROUGH TO TOP FOUR CUP FINAL

It will be Joondalup United against Quinns in the Top Four Cup Final on Sunday, after two tight semi-finals on Thursday evening at Macedonia Park. In the early game on the night Joondalup upset the champions and hosts Stirling Macedonia 2-1. “A great night for the club, to beat the champions on their home ground was fantastic. The boys were superb and executed our game plan to perfection, yes, we may have ridden our luck at times but I feel over the 90 minutes the best team on the night won,” Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said.

“We’ve done half a job and know Sunday will be another huge challenge against an impressive Quinns side who showed great character to come back from the dead last night against the Knights. It’s been a few years since the club have lifted any silverware and we are determined to put it right on Sunday. I have a lot of respect for Glenn and have had many battles over the years with him and look forward to going head-to-head in the final and after the game sharing a beer.”

Joondalup were ahead on 14 minutes, James Oldroyd flicked the ball on to Adam Buckley, who held off his marker before firing past James Bosdet. But the hosts levelled early in the second half, Gyles Davies was brought down 20 meters from goal and from the resulting free kick Alex Tanevski curled the ball up and over the wall and onto the corner of the net. Many expected Stirling to go on with it, but Nick Jennings side had other ideas and they regained the lead 17 minutes from time. Anthony Taylor and Joel Sollitt combined on the edge of the box before Jamie Gardiner finished low under Bosdet.

“It was a great team performance against the newly crowned champions, we all had our jobs to do and I believe we were rewarded for our hard work off the ball,” Joondalup goalscorer Buckley explained. “We knew Stirling would have plenty of the ball but we had our game plan and executed it. As for Sunday’s final against Quinn’s this will be another tough battle, they are a good team who move the ball well. Everyone will have to be prepared again for another tough game, but one thing is for sure it will be a great game (battle of the north).”

In the late game Quinns came from two goals down at the break to beat Western Knights 3-2. “So happy to get the win after being 2-0 down at half time an unbelievable second half performance from the whole team,” Quinns skipper Adam Buckingham said. “Excited to be in the final again against Joondalup, we know it’s not going to be an easy game, but we are fully prepared and ready to get the job done.”

The Knights opened brightly and were ahead on 17 minutes, a poor clearance from Knights keeper Patrick Stephenson, went straight to John Chalmers, whose first-time pass sent Alex Kretowicz in on goal and he finished clinically. They doubled their advantage on the half hour, a short corner was played into the box by Dean Hurley and flicked on by Adam Harris and Cameron Yorke swept the ball home. Quinns found a lifeline on 54 minutes, a long throw by Jackson Dongray was flicked on by Adam Tong and Ben Hinshelwood got on front of his marker to score from close range.

They were level on 71 minutes, Hinshelwood continuing his first stellar season at the club, heading home Dongray’s deep cross. Both sides pressed for the winner but it was Glenn Grostate’s side that found it six minutes from time. Kade Fearnall cross was turned goalward by Hinshelwood but keeper Sam Stone made the block the rebound falling to Declan Hudson who scored from close range to seal the comeback win. “It was another great second half from the lads. We changed the plan at half time and got in their faces more, we knew the next goal was always going to be the winner,” Quinns Owen Goodliffe said.

“We pressed for the entirety of the half and it’s a credit to all the lads that we’ve managed to go undefeated this year against a Knights side with bags of quality. We all know what Joondalup are about, they’re a physical side with quality in the right areas. They’ve had an excellent season and have shown what they’re about consistently this year. I don’t think many people would’ve tipped Quinns and Joondalup in the top four let alone final, but it’s teed up to be an exciting day at Dorrien Gardens.”

17.9.2021

NPL-WA TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

The 2021 NPLWA season comes to an end on Saturday afternoon, as Perth SC host Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens, in the Top Four Series Final. (7.00pm) Perth booked their spot last weekend with a big win against Floreat, while Vas Vujacic’s side had to beat Perth Glory 2-1 in Tuesday’s Preliminary Final to seal their spot in the end of season showpiece.

Floreat defender Dennis Galan said the win on Tuesday was a huge improvement on their loss to Perth in the Semi-Final. “After the disappointing loss on Saturday, the lads were determined to make things right for our second chance to reach the final. We ironed a few things out that went wrong in the last game and tried to implement a game plan that would make it difficult for Glory,” he explained. “We knew they would keep the ball very well and create a lot of movement, so we tried to absorb a lot of pressure and make it hard for them to break us down. Fortunately for us, it worked out, and the boys work rate was second to none and was clinical when needed to be. Very proud of all the boys’ efforts after the quick turn around.”

Galan said the player group are determined to show their supporters and the WA football community, their performance last week against Perth was a one off. “Obviously, everyone is buzzing to be in another Grand Final, and these are the games we all want to be a part of,” the defender said. “I believe last week’s game against them was just a really bad day at the office for us, and what better way to prove it than to play them in the final a week later, it should be a great spectacle for all involved.”

Striker Nick Ambrogio echoed the words of his teammate, and said they need to play at their best on Saturday, and he is confident they will. “We needed a response from last weekend’s lethargic performance against Perth and I feel we stepped up Tuesday night,” he said. “We know Glory move the ball nicely and now they mix it up a bit going direct, this adds another weapon to their arsenal but credit to the fellas staying strong and disciplined and coming out deserved winners in my opinion.

“The win tees up a nice rematch against Perth, which will be a mouth-watering encounter. They beat us 4-0 in the 1st vs 2nd play off, and we beat them 4-0 in last year’s final, so it will be a great game. Saturday’s the big dance with neither team there to put socks on centipedes. It’ll come down to who wants it more with both squads equipped with some serious talent, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Perth had a great season, and won the title after chasing Floreat down in the second half of the season, and defender Alex Silla said it continues their positive few years. “We’ve had a really successful last couple of years, and we’ve built this winning culture and it seems no matter who plays young or experienced, that we just keep getting the job done at the business end of the year,” he explained. “It’s a credit not only to the players, but also the coaching staff and the guys behind the scenes, we’ve built something really special at the club.”

Silla said the win against Floreat in the semi-final showed the form they ae in, but is expecting them to hit back on Saturday. “It was a great performance on the weekend and it showed on the scoreboard, we took our chances and, in the end, it was quite a comfortable victory,” he said. “They’ll no doubt be looking to get a bit of revenge this weekend in a game that really matters, but we’re looking to put out a similar performance to last Saturday. They embarrassed in the big dance last year and we will be doing our very best on Saturday to make sure that this year it is us who will be walking out Top Four champions.”

Young Perth defender Lachlan Byrd has been outstanding in his first full season in the senior squad, and he has blended in well with the experienced players they have, and he said it helped him a great deal to settle in the side. “It’s been a superb season for everyone involved, and to come back from where we were, 11 points behind Floreat and storm home like we did was a real testament to the determination and quality of the unit,” he explained. “For myself It’s been unreal journey this year. Being at the club since the inaugural NPL season in U12s, it was always a massive ambition to push into the tremendously successful first team and become a player who can contribute to the team’s success.

“As you say, the translation to first team football was made that much easier by the likes of Bojan, Kieran and Monty, all experienced and quality players in their own right, who have massively influenced and encouraged me every step of the way. As a defender it’s reassuring to have these boys always covering, supporting and backing me up, and I think our defensive record this season (particularly in the second half of the season) is a testament to them and the winning culture they’ve demanded from myself.”

Byrd said Floreat are a very good side, and wouldn’t have liked the heavy loss last week, so he is expecting a fired up opened on Saturday. “I thought it was a dominant and excellent result for us and gives us a real confidence boost to put four past them whilst keeping a clean sheet, and it was nice to earn the mid-week rest, but simply put the jobs not done yet,” the defender said. “As Ramon (Falzon) likes to say, “every game starts 0-0”, and we know the quality and hunger Floreat will bring to the final. The boys are all raring to go, and are mentally and physically prepared for what should be an excellent game of football on Saturday.”

17.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY TWO PREVIEW

We head into the penultimate round of the season in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division and the title race is still to be decided, with only one point separating leaders South West Phoenix and Maddington White City. Our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Kelly Park, as Kwinana United host Leeming Strikers. Firstly, there was supposed to be a game in midweek, but the round five catch up game between Kwinana United and Hamersley Rovers at Kelly Park was forfeited by the visitors.

The Strikers found their goalscoring boots last week beating Hamersley 5-1, while Kwinana edged out UWA Nedlands. Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said it was disappointing to miss out on a game in midweek, but he knows Sunday will be another tight game. “It is what it is, Hamersley forfeited the game, and we’re now focused on the game against Leeming on Sunday,” he explained. “We are looking forward to the game, each time we play it’s always a great contest and we hope this week will be no different.”

Leeming coach David Palin said with their survival hopes secured, they are looking forward to the trip to Kelly Park. “We’re looking forward to the game this week, with no pressure on us anymore with us to get wins to stay up, it will be a nice change from the last few weeks,” he said. “We were supposed to play midweek two weeks ago but the pitch wasn't up to referee's high standard, so we got a forfeit for that. It's always a good game between both teams and with Kwinana pushing to finish as high as they can in the league there will be enough in the game to make it more than a dead rubber end of season game, it's always one we look forward too.”

Wembley Downs make the trip to Nikola Tesla Reserve to take on second-placed Maddington White City. The hosts came home with all three points from Jaguar last week, while Wembley were beaten for the first time in seven games, losing at home to North Perth United. Wembley coach said it was disappointing to let their unbeaten run slip, but they will look to bounce back on Sunday.

“It was a frustrating game, we had been in good form for so long, and to not meet our expectation was disappointing, but credit to North Perth, they played well and did what they had to, very deserving of the points,” he said. “Unfortunately, we picked up a number of injuries and playing two games a week for the last month has taken a toll. So, we just want to make sure we finish the season a strongly as we can, starting on Sunday.”

Wembley skipper Juraj Galba said the loss last week was hard to take, but they will look to make emends on Sunday. “I thought we were a bit unfortunate to lose last week, yes, they are a good side and played tactically well, but I thought we deserved to win as for the majority of the game we were better, we just didn't convert our chances. They scored three goals from three shots on target, but it ended our good run, but we still want to finish off the season strong.

“We are all looking forward to this game, especially the atmosphere which is always fantastic at the Maddington's home games. Last time we drew with them so we're going to the game with a lot of confidence that we can match them again. We expect a tough game as the home team has some quality players and still compete for the title, but last year we won there and we want to repeat the same result this year too.”

South West Phoenix open the round on Saturday evening, when they welcome UWA Nedlands to the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury. (6.00pm) UWA were narrowly beaten by Kwinana last week, while the Phoenix won a hard-fought game at Quinns, to maintain their lead at the top of the table. Phoenix striker Ababio Bright said last week game was a tough, but they managed to get the win. “Gumblossom is a tough ground and place to play for sure, but our team fought from the first minute of the game and had a couple of decent chances for go ahead prior to scoring the first goal,” he said.

“But in all it was a great game from both sides who played till the end. Especially Phoenix who had to dig deep to keep the score line at 2-1 going down to 10 men in the final minutes of the game and still keeping our chances of promotion alive. We’ve said all year long that no game is easy and especially the next one. We will go in focused and try to maintain the winning run we have a home recently. Hopefully we can maintain top spot going to the final round games.”

In other games this weekend North Perth United host Queens Park at Woodville Reserve at 1.00pm, with the visitors needing a point to keep the spot in the Premier League. Joondalup United need all three points, and Queens Park to lose to stay up, as they host Quinns at Beldon Park, while Jaguar make the trip to Carine Open Space to take on Hamersley Rovers.

17.9.2021

NPLWA UNDER 18S AND 20S TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

The NPLWA under 18s Top four final will see Bayswater City taking on Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday (10.00am) after Bayswater beat Perth SC 4-3 on penalties on Wednesday evening in the Preliminary Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Euan Blair gave the home side the lead 11 minutes from time, but Perth hit back to send it penalties, with Alex Da Rocha levelling six minutes from time.

Bayswater coach Paul Lincoln said it was another tough game against Perth, with keeper Preston Gilling again the star. “The game against Perth was a tight contest and when the outcome is determined by a penalty shootout it’s a raffle and fortunately for us, we get another opportunity against Inglewood on Saturday which the players are relishing after the defeat last Saturday to them,” he said.

“Preston again showed his class, replicating his heroics from the Cup Final. The players keep finding a way to win so all credit to their hard work which started back in November last year. We know Saturday will be tough, they (Inglewood) are a physical side, who also have had a terrific season but are yet to win anything so we hope that we can reverse the result from the last time we met and add a third trophy to the cabinet and cap off a remarkable season.”

Inglewood coach Alex Stanojevic said it’s been a very competitive season, and they are looking forward to another competitive game against Bayswater on Saturday morning. “We always have good games against Bayswater, we lost by the single goal against them in the league earlier in the season, so it was nice to get that result back in last week’s semi-final,” he said.

“It’s good to see the top four final is first v’s second, the two best teams from the season. I think Saturday will be a cracker of a game, obviously both sides want to win, the rivalry between us has been good, and we played them a number of times, including the pre-season, so it should a great game to watch, and I hope there is a big crowd to watch it.”

The under 20s final will also involve Bayswater City, who will take on Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. (2.30pm) This after Glory beat Floreat Athena 4-2 on Wednesday evening at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park in the Preliminary final. It was a goal feast in the first half, Joseph Hobson gave the hosts the lead early, but Robert Ferrante levelled for Floreat moments later. Hobson added his second from the spot, before Judd MacDougall made it 3-1 to Glory, but Ferrante added his second from the spot to make it 3-2 at the break.

But it was Hobson who won it for Chris Coyne’s side, completing his hat trick with another penalty 14 minutes from time. “Everyone is looking forward to another challenge on Saturday against a very good Bayswater team,” Coyne said. “It’s a great opportunity for these players to play under pressure and will only enhance their development. The poor scheduling of these finals games will make it very tough for our extremely young group however, they will be ready come Saturday.”

Bayswater coach Alun Vernals said Saturday game against Perth Glory will be another tight one like their semi-final was. “It was a strong victory on Saturday, but we possibly wasted a few too many good chances but was still good value for the win,” he said. “We’re looking to finish the season on a high note, as the lads have been good all year and are one game from defending the top four cup. It’s the two best teams in the league so should be a good showcase of the best talent.”

16.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TOP FOUR SEMI FINALS PREVIEW

We head into the State League Division One Top Four Finals Series tonight, and both semi-finals will be held at Macedonia Park, and first up Champions Stirling Macedonia host Joondalup United. (6.30pm) The home sides romped to the title by 15 points and gaining promotion to the NPLWA next season, but this is a cup tie and Joondalup, who also have had a good season finishing fourth, will fancy their chances of getting a result in a one-off game.

It’s been a successful season for Stirling, and for striker Gavin Knight, who bagged 20 goals, and he said it was amazing to be a part of. “This season has been amazing, from the first game of season against Mandurah we had a great feeling we would do well this season,” he said. “But with the team spirit we have at the club it gives us a lot of confidence and that is a good reason why we were unbeaten for the last 18/19 games. And to win the league with four games to go as well was a great achievement and the club deserve to be in the NPL.”

Knight said tonight’s game will be tight, it’s a cup tie, and anything can happen, but they are certainly looking to progress to the final on Sunday. “Tonight’s game against Joondalup will be a tough one, and we played them a few weeks ago and they gave us a good game,” the striker explained. “So, we shouldn’t underestimate them, but if we play the way we can, then we should make it to the final on Sunday.”

Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings said their successful season has been two-years in the making, and he has been pleased with his sides endeavour during the season. “This season we’ve built on the solid foundations laid in the previous two years, and shown we are back as a top contender at state league level,” he explained. “We spoke at the start of the season and our minimum aim was to make the top four cup which we have obviously achieved, so I’m delighted for the players their efforts and hard work has been rewarded.”

Jennings said a trip to the Champions in the semi-final is a tough assignment, but he knows they can match it with anyone on their day, and his players are relishing the challenge. “To play the champions and best team by a mile at their home ground is a huge challenge but one we will be up for,” he said. “It’s a one-off game and the boys are ready, and we will stand toe to toe with Stirling and look to progress to the final on Sunday, I’m really looking forward to it.”

In tonight’s late game, second placed Western Knights take on third placed Quinns. (8.30pm) The two sides meet in the final game of the regular season, with Quinns scoring late to win 3-2, and this one should be another tight affair. It’s been a great season for Glenn Grostate’s side in only their second season in the division, while the Knights will also be looking to end the season on a high with some silverware.

Quinns’ Ben Hinshelwood has been a big signing, the former ECU Joondalup striker has bagged 22 goals in his first season at Gumblossom Park, and he said to beat the Knights last week will give them a huge boost heading into tonight’s game. “It was a massive win for us all the boys have worked hard this season and to go and cap it off with third place on the final game week was a bonus,” he said.

“It was really a game of two halves with the conditions playing a big part for both teams we went into half time 1-0 down but came out in the second half with the conditions to our favour and put out a good showing. With Second half goals from Owen and two from myself one in the last minute we sealed the win on the day. The result against the Knights has really given a lot of the lads confidence especially playing them again tonight in the top four semi-final.”

Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said the season has had its ups and downs, but he said to finish second was great rewards, but the title winners were too good. “I firstly want to congratulate Ian Ferguson and the Stirling team for winning the league. They are a fantastic side and their performances throughout the season proved that,” he said. “Also, credit to Luke Pavlos, who has done wonders for the club off the field, and I genuinely wish the club all the best in the NPL next season.

“For us we are ultimately disappointed not to win the league, however coming second in this very tough league is still a good achievement. I’m so thankful to the coaching group of Adam Kostrencic and Beto Medrano, and I’m so proud of every player. They gave it everything this year, and the culture amongst the team is the best I have ever seen throughout my time at the Knights, including as a player.”

Zuvela said tonight will be another tight game, like it was on Saturday in the league. “We are all looking forward to the semi-final against Quinns. They are strong all over the park and in particular in the front third they are very clinical,” he explained. “We played them on the weekend and they are a very good side, so if the game is half as good as that game, it should be an entertaining one.”

15.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE 18S AND RESERVES TOP FOUR SEMI FINAL REVIEW

The under 18s and reserves Top Four Series semi-finals were held on Wednesday evening, with Stirling Macedonia and Subiaco moving through to Sunday’s reserves final. In the first game at Macedonia Park, goals from Shuto Gozu, Reece Corrigan and Adrian Koios gave Stirling a 3-0 win against UWA Nedlands. In the late game at Wauhop Park, Subiaco edged out Fremantle City 3-2. City raced to a two-goal lead with Alfred Moore and Bill Orr scoring. But Lachlan Hannah pulled one back for Subiaco before half time, before a brace from Ethan Johnson, including the stoppage time winner from the spot.

It will be Subiaco against Fremantle City in Sunday’s 18s top four final, after both won their semi-finals in midweek. First at Kingsway Reserve on Tuesday evening, Subiaco beat hosts Olympic Kingsway 3-2 on penalties. The game ended in a 1-1 draw in normal time, Lazar Spasojevic had given Subiaco the lead, with Olympic equalising with an own goal. Then on Wednesday evening at Crazy Domains Stadium, at Hartfield Park Fremantle City edged out hosts Forrestfield United 2-1. Henry Wylde and Finley Greenwood gave City the lead at the break, and despite Amro Atta pulling one back for the hosts, City held on to move into the final.

15.9.2021

LAWRENCE RETURNS TO GLORY WOMEN

Sadie Lawrence has returned to Perth Glory Women - nine years after her last outing for the team. The 28-year old midfielder, a former Australia under-20 representative, scored 10 goals in 21 games for Murdoch University Melville in the recently National Premier Leagues.

Lawrence, who played 17 times for Glory between 2009 and 2012, is excited at the prospect of re-igniting her W-League career. “To be back playing for Glory is something that I’ve wanted for such a long time and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to have this opportunity,” Lawrence said.

“My aim is to just play the best football I possibly can and do the best for my home-state club. I’m really looking forward to working with (coach) Alex Epakis and hopefully I can help get the club to where it wants to be.”

Epakis said Lawrence can make a major contribution in the new campaign. “I am ecstatic to have Sadie back at Perth Glory this season,” Epakis said. “She has previously represented the club very proudly and will add a further level of depth and quality to our spine this year.”

“I have been watching the NPLW WA very closely this season and she has been a consistent stand-out player. I believe she has the mind-set and leadership qualities to be a really valued member of our squad.” The 2021/22 W-League season is scheduled to commence in mid-November.

14.9.2021

EAST BENGAL SECURE MRCELA

SC East Bengal have secured former Perth Glory defender Tomislav Mrcela for the upcoming Indian Super League season. The towering centre-back joins East Bengal on a one-year deal as coach Manuel Diaz's second foreign signing for the 2021/22 campaign, after Slovenian midfielder Amir Dervisevic

"I have got good feedback about the club. I have friends who have played in India and also know a thing or two about the club, and they tell me how big it is in this part of the world," said Mrcela after putting pen-to-paper with East Bengal.

"I will look to add experience at the heart of the defence and take care of the locker room as well. The atmosphere within the team is very important and I will leave no stone unturned in doing what needs to be done for the team's benefit... I can't wait to start the season."

Perth-born Mrcela grew up in Croatia where he played youth football for RNK Split before featuring for the firt teams at Jadran Kastel, Primorac 1929, Imotski, Mosor, Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva. He joined South Korean club Jeonnam Dragons in 2016 and two seasons later switched to Glory.

12.9.2021

GARCIA PRESENTED WITH PLENTY OF CHALLENGES IN 25TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

New squad, new home, fresh hope - but uncertainty lingers over of what lies ahead for Perth Glory as they prepare for their 25th anniversary season. Coach Richard Garcia believes they are better-placed after the disappointment of missing out on last season’s finals in a grim COVID-hit A-League campaign, two years after winning the Premier’s Plate.

Garcia is preparing the squad for the planned October 30 start but already there are suggestions it could now be pushed back until after November’s international break. He believes a year of quarantines, hubs, long spells from home, short turnarounds between games has left players better equipped to face any challenge thrown at them.

“When I took over it wasn’t just one or two people we had to change it was a whole load of people,” said Garcia in his second season in charge. “We had to get though a huge amount of work in a small time, getting a team up and running, trying to get the players back on board, going into hubs, playing with lack of preparation. It was physically and mentally very hard.”

Now eight weeks into training Garcia said it was a “breath of fresh air” to be able to work into the season. “The boys are focused on getting themselves fit and ready for whatever comes their way,” he said. “There are going to be challenges. Things are not always going to go to plan. If changes happen we will have plans B and C rather than have to make decisions on the run.”

“If we have to go through it again I would like to think that we will be better prepared. For now we are preparing as if we’re kicking off the season on the start date but who knows what might change. It might be a completely different story. The experiences from last year with travel, injuries all the adjustment we had to make, we want to be prepared so if we need to make change we can do it.”

Making the finals after last season’s disappointment is the obvious aim but Garcia has not yet set any targets. “We just want players to focus on getting better, to improve mentally and physically every day,” he said. “The results will follow. If we are at our best every day it becomes a habit and that leads to finals. We’re a good chance.”

Strikers Chris Ikonomidis and Nick D’Agostino, defenders Jason Geria, Dane Ingham and Sebastian Langkamp, midfielders Neil Kilkenny, Nick Sullivan and Brandon Wilson are among those who have moved on. But Garcia has been busy in the player market adding Spanish flair with striker Adrian Sardinero, former Socceroos Brandon O’Neill and Brad Jones, defensive trio Jack Clisby, Aaron Calver and Antonee Burke-Gilroy plus winger Pacifique Niyongabire.

But they have already been hit by injury with forward Carlo Armiento gone for at least six months after rupturing his ACL and veteran goalkeeper Liam Reddy expected to miss the first month of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Garcia admits versatility is going to be key this season with a limited budget and a smaller squad.

“We’ll look at maybe one or two more players, there are a couple of areas we still need to strengthen,” the coach said. “We probably still need a little bit going forward, an attacking midfielder. We’ve got depth but it’s about the front line, getting it for (Andy) Keogh and (Bruno) Fornaroli. With a smaller squad you need to have people who are adaptable and can play in more than one position.”

The big question being asked by Glory fans is whether star midfielder Diego Castro will be back for another season. The answer is predictable. “We are still in negotiations. He’s a tough negotiator,” Garcia said of the Spaniard, who has chalked up 125 appearances since joining Glory in 2015. “Of course we want him back if possible. He’s a legend of the club.”

Garcia maintains the club needs to build a long-term sustainable future using home grown talent. But he is realistic enough to know it can’t be done on local flair alone. “We need to have a good balance,” he said. “We want to give young local players the chance to prove themselves but they need experience around them. It puts a lot of weight on young shoulders otherwise.”

12.9.2021

FLOREAT BOUNCE BACK TO DOWN GLORY

It’s finals weekend in the NPL, with Champions Perth SC taking on Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens in the Top Four Final at Dorrien Gardens, after Floreat reached the showpiece game with a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory in the Preliminary Final at E&D Litis Stadium on Tuesday evening. Floreat were ahead at the break after an own goal from Glory defender Aidan Coyne, and Robert Harding doubled their lead early in the second half. Ciaran Bramwell scored to give the Glory youngsters hope late, but Floreat held on.

“It was a tough, but an enjoyable game, and we fought hard for each other and made sure to stick out the win so we can get into another cup final this season,” Floreat’s Sean McManus said. “Personally, I was pleased with my game, getting the first goal and an assist for Robbie (Harding) for the second, but the main aim was to get the result to play Perth in the final which the boys are looking forward too.”

The hosts were on top early and Chris Saldaris found the crossbar, before they opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Saldaris found McManus on the edge of the penalty area and his low shot took a wicked deflection off Coyne, wrong footing Cameron Cook. Adam Zimarino saw his shot flash wide, as Glory looked for a response, while at the other end Nick Ambrogio headed straight at Cook when well placed.

But four minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their advantage. Marco Santalucia sent the lively McManus down the left and he eased past his marker and pulled the ball back from the by-line for Harding to fire home, via the crossbar. Glory lifted the tempo and Charlie Leech forced a smart save from Thomas Chudy, and Zimarino saw an effort deflected over the top.

Glory found a lifeline six minutes from time, a short corner routine ended with Giordano Colli’s ball into the penalty area that Floreat failed to clear, and Bramwell forced the ball home in the goalmouth scramble. Glory sent players forward in search of the equaliser, but Floreat held firm to seal their place in the Final.

Match Details - Top Four Cup Preliminary Final
Floreat Athena 2 (OG 13', Harding 49') Perth Glory 1 (Bramwell 84')
Tuesday September 14, 2021
E&D Litis Stadium
Kick off 7.00pm
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistants: Shane Skinner, Simon Hicks

Floreat Athena: GK Thomas CHUDY, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 6 Jesse FULLER (19 Ethan MOM 46'), 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert HARDING (4 Ben STEELE 77'), 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 13 George FESTA, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 20 Andrew PALMER - Subs not used: RGK Theo SARRIS, 14 Laat MATHIANG, 16 Kyle MURRAY

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Will FORMSTON (7 Charlie LEECH 55'), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Joseph FORDE, 6 Chris DONNELL, 8 Aidan EDWARDS (20 Jack ANDREWS 55'), 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 18 Tyler VECCHIO (17 Josh ANASMO 46') - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 14 Joel ANASMO

12.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY ONE REVIEW

With two rounds remaining it's still neck and neck for the title and promotion to Saturday football in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, with South West Phoenix and Maddington White City both winning their respective games on the road in Week 21. Current leaders Phoenix travelled to Gumblossom Park to take on fourth placed Quinns and returned with a hard fought 2-1 win. “I thought we controlled the game most of the time, but Quinns pushed hard and created chances,” Phoenix coach Nick Carter said. “Quinns away is always hard so to come out with three points we are very happy with.”

The visitors had a number of chances in the first half that they failed to take, likewise the home side, but on the stroke of half time Phoenix did find the opener. Corey Barclay latched onto a though ball, before turning the defender and finishing at the keepers near post. They doubled their advantage early in the second half, Kieran Quinn picked the ball up about 20 meters out and stuck it low and hard into the bottom corner. Quinns lifted and created a number of chances of their own and they reduced the margin on 68 minutes.

A ball into the box was finished by Ryan McCready, his 26th goal of the season. They pressed late looking for the equaliser but Phoenix held firm to take a valuable three points, despite being reduced to ten men late when Franco Van Zyl sent off by referee Simon Hicks. “Overall, it was another good performance, we knew it would be tough as was our first game against Quinns,” Phoenix skipper Jamie Oakey said. “To be fair it could’ve been another 5-4 game, with both teams having a lot of chances. The most important thing was the three points though in our last away game, we now look forward to two home games to finish the season off strongly.”

Meanwhile Maddington kept up the pressure on Phoenix, with a 4-1 win against a ten-man Jaguar at Herb Graham Recreation Centre, to remain one point behind them. They were ahead on 37 minutes, a corner from David Sarria was headed home by Gaston Bazet. The hosts were reduced to ten men five minutes before half time, when Deng Akol was sent off by referee David Avison. But in stoppage time the Jags levelled, with Gojam Nyuon scoring from a free kick. City should have regained the lead early in the second half when Bazat was brought down in the box, but Jags keeper Michael Dudek, who was outstanding all afternoon, guessed the right way to save Bazet’s spot kick.

But 20 minutes from time City did find a second, skipper Cesar Orozco stabbing home from close-range. It was 3-1 minutes later, David Sarria made a run into the box and to the by-line, before he cut the ball back for Jose Zuniga to score. Zuniga was on target again in stoppage time, scoring from the penalty spot after Jhonatan Barbosa was brought down in the box, it was his 17th goal of the season. “On one hand we are happy with the win as it was another good performance by the team. On the other hand, Bunbury won again so there is not much to celebrate,” Maddington’s Petar Mrdja said. “I think they have pretty much won the league with that win as I can’t see UWA or Kwinana taking points from them now, we'll look to take out our frustration on Wembley at home next Sunday.”

It was a vital game in the relegation fight at Coker Park as Queens Park hosted Joondalup United with both wanting the win to help avoid the drop, but the game ended in a 0-0 draw. The point helps the hosts more than the visitors, Joondalup now sit four points off safety with two games remaining, so they must pick up a win next week to keep their hopes alive and hope Queens Park don’t win. “It was very disappointing to only come away with a point from a game we had to win but we could still be playing now without scoring, and that's been an issue all season,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained. “Queens Park played well and were very dangerous on the break but I was happy with our defensive effort to finally get that first clean sheet. Unfortunately, we couldn't put the ball in the net and that leaves us needing a lot of things to go our way in the final two rounds.”

Queens Park coach Ricardo Fynn said the performance of his side was very disciplined. “I thought It was a very entertaining draw, and it was our most difficult game this season because if we lost our fate would no longer be in our own hands,” he said. “Joondalup were fantastic yesterday, and I have always said they are coached by a very good coach and a bunch of quality lads who play for club and coach. Our boys were very well prepared, showed very good defensive discipline and were unlucky not to get all three points on the day. Joondalup gave us a few very nervy moments as well but both teams cancelled each other's efforts out. So, over the 90 minutes of football a draw was a very fair result but is obviously a better result for us who are four points clear with two games remaining.”

In other games on Sunday Kwinana United consolidated third spot after a 2-1 win against UWA Nedlands at the UWA Sport Park. Kwinana were ahead on 13 minutes, with Lee Bates finishing off a good team move. They doubled their lead in the shadows of half time, Bates firing home from a free kick. The hosts were reduced to ten men early in the second half when Manuel Piccinini was shown a second yellow card by referee David Bruce, but they did score a late consolation goal in the final minute, with Abel Thomas-Hy scoring from the spot. “I was happy with how we played, and like a lot of teams at this time we are thin on the ground for players,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said. “So, there were a few changes to personal and a change in shape so for the boys to take that on and get the three points was extremely pleasing.”

North Perth United are up to fifth after a 3-1 win against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. The visitors found the breakthrough on the half hour, a cross from the right by Alex Corner, picked out Kyran Broadhurst who made no mistake, heading home. They doubled their lead just before the hour, Broadhurst playing Andy O’Neill through on goal, and the striker fired into the roof of the net. It was 3-0 on 68 minutes, Broadhurst and O’Neill combined again, O’Neill’s cross shot found Javier Pineres Mestre who turned it home.

Wembley pulled one back seven minutes later, with Lachlan Chamberlain’s half volley beat Todd Ross. Moments later they were awarded a penalty, but Ross guessed the right way to save. “It was good to be able to back up the performance from Wednesday night at Queens Park, it’s never easy to play three games in seven days so full credit to the lads they battled and got their rewards,” United’s coach Luke O’Neill said. “Hopefully we can continue that for the rest of the season and look forward to our last home fixture next weekend.”

In the final game Leeming Strikers were the big winners this weekend, beating Hamersley Rovers 5-1 at John Connell Reserve. The home side were ahead six minutes before half time, a cross from Mike Maratea was flicked on by Ben Greaves, which hit the unfortunate Hamersley defender Jack Schyman, and diverted it in for an own goal. But Rovers hit back and levelled in the final minute, Jakub Vychytil on target. But Leeming regained the lead on the hour, Andy Jennings received the ball outside the box beat a player before squaring to David Palin who finished into the corner from 15 meters.

The hosts then took control adding three more goals. It was 3-1 six minutes later, Cameron Anderson was played though and finished low into the bottom corner. It was soon 4-1, Anderson beat a player down the line before squaring for Kieran Witt who tapped in from close-range. Leeming rounded of the scoring in the final minute, Palin controlled on the edge of the box, his shot hit the crossbar before bouncing down and spinning back into the net.

“First half was an end-to-end game, both teams had a case to say they should have been in front but we found ourselves all square at half time. Second half we came out and started well, the press started working for us and we got the goals from working a little harder and getting a bit more pressure on the ball carrier it was certainly,” Leeming player/coach Palin explained. “The Hammers kept trying to play and get at us, it's obviously been a tough season for them but they never gave up and credit to them. That now makes us mathematically safe, which will allow us to enjoy the last two games and we hope to do that with a couple of wins.”

11.9.2021

SOCCEROOS ‘ARE LIKE BROTHERS’: SAINSBURY

Defender Trent Sainsbury was full of praise for the Socceroos’ spirit that helped his side secure a historic tenth victory in a row. Despite the hot and humid conditions in Hanoi, Australia became the first nation in the AFC to win ten consecutive qualification matches in a single qualification campaign by defeating Vietnam 1-0 on Tuesday night.

While the Socceroos of 2019-to-2021 are also just the second senior Australian men’s national team in the 99-year history of the Socceroos to win 10 ‘A’ international matches in a row, Sainsbury insisted there is more to come. “We click so quickly when we get to camp because we are like brothers,” Sainsbury explained.

“And when a new player comes in, we give them a welcome to the family. I think when we play on a good pitch, we can outplay any team in the world. I’m looking forward to playing some good pitches with this team because we can produce some exciting football and score some good goals.”

Following the hard-fought 1-0 victory - achieved courtesy of Rhyan Grant’s 43rd-minute header - Sainsbury praised the Socceroos performance despite the difficult playing conditions. “We always knew it was going to be difficult coming here to Vietnam,” Sainsbury said. “We were causing them a little bit of a problem with those balls over the top in the first half.

“We didn’t really do much in the second half, we kind of took our foot off the gas. They had a couple of half-chances and were getting a little bit desperate on the counter-attack but overall, three points away in Vietnam and a clean sheet, I’ll take that every day of the week.”

Victory against Vietnam gives Australia six points from a possible six to kick-off the Final Round of World Cup qualifying. There are still four matches to play in 2021, with games against Oman and Japan scheduled for October, and Saudi Arabia and China PR on the radar to round out the year.

11.9.2021

PERTH TOO STRONG FOR FLOREAT

The NPLWA Champions Perth SC flexed their muscles on Saturday in the Top Four major Semi-Final, and were too strong for Floreat Athena, running out 4-0 winners at the Inglewood Stadium. First half goals to Calvin Whitney and returning striker Cameron Teece put Ramon Falzon’s side in control, and Teece added a second after the break with Yagoub Mustafa adding the fourth late. The win sees Perth move straight into next week’s Grand Final, while Floreat take on Perth Glory in the Preliminary Final on Tuesday. “It was a really good performance from start to finish,” Teece said. “I thought it was a very comfortable win, and the boys played great and we got the goals to show for it, and yes it was nice to grab a couple goals on my return.”

The sides had met twice this season with both sides winning one each in tight encounters, but it was Perth who made the better start in this one and were ahead on eight minutes. Great work down the right by Michael Domfeh, and he cut the ball back to Whitney who found the bottom corner. Floreat looked for an immediate response and Chris Saldaris’ shot after a goalmouth scramble deflected just wide. But on 19 minutes the Champions added a second. A long clearance from Alex Silla sent Teece racing clear and he lobbed the on-coming Theodore Sarris, to double their advantage. Floreat needed to hit back, and they went close on 34 minutes, Perth failed to clear a corner and George Festa’s overhead kick was headed wide at the back post by Phil Arnold. It was Floreat’s best period of the game and Sean McManus shot from the edge of the box was saved by Ryan Montgomery. But try ae they might they couldn’t break down a Perth defence superbly led by skipper Bojan Radinovic and at the break they had all the work to do in the second half.

Floreat opened the second, like they finished the first and Andrew Palmer’s cross to the back post was headed wide by an unmarked Saldaris. But Perth showed them how to do it, when they added a third on the hour. Whitney’s corner found Teece, who powered his header home from five meters. Floreat weren’t going down without a fight and three minutes later Ludovic Boi’s free kick crashed off the crossbar, before Montgomery tipped the rebound over the top. From the resulting corner Boi’s snap shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Montgomery.

Both sides went to the bench with games coming up next week, but both sides had good chances. First Radinovic’s overhead kick flashed over the top, before Arnold shot was saved well by Montgomery. But in the second minute of stoppage time, Perth added their fourth. Whitney sliding Mustafa in down the right and he finished clinically past Sarris, and celebrated with and acrobatic back flip. “I think it was dominate performance for the boys and proved why we won the league,” Perth midfielder Calvin Whitney said. “I was happy how the team played and the work rate was high, so in the end a well-deserved win and hopefully keep the momentum for the final.’

Match Details - Top Four Cup Major Semi-Final
Perth SC 4 (Whitney 8’, Teece 19’, 62’, Mustafa 92’) Floreat Athena 0
Saturday September 11, 2021
Venue: Inglewood Stadium
Referee: David Bruce
Assistants: Julian Serra, Joshua Nixon

Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA (12 Sam FLORES 88’), 4 Lachlan BYRD, 6 Nik MCDONALD (15 Will GORDON 88’), 9 Cameron TEECE (3 Jordan DE LEO 73’), 10 Michael DOMFEH, 11 Yagoub MUSTAFA, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kieran COLWELL 19 Bojan RADINOVIC 22 Kristian SANTICH (18 Federico ACHILLI 79’) – Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA

Floreat Athena: GK Theodore SARRIS, 4 Ben STEELE, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN (2 Marco SANTALUCIA 62’), 13 George FESTA, 14 Ludovic BOI (9 Robert HARDING 62’), 15 Chris SALDARIS (21 Ethan MOM 79’), 18 Phil ARNOLD (16 Kyle MURRAY 79’), 20 Andrew PALMER - Subs not used: RGK Jake LUMPKIN

11.9.2021

GLORY BEAT SORRENTO IN EXTRA TIME

Perth Glory have moved into the Preliminary Final on Tuesday evening after an 3-1 win against Sorrento after extra time at Percy Doyle Reserve. The hosts were ahead just after the half hour mark, with Chris Jackson scoring, but Glory were level shortly after, with Joshua Anasmo scoring. Both sides had chances in normal time, but it was off to extra time and Charlie Leech scored early to give Glory the advantage. Adam Zimarino added a third late in the first half of extra time to seal the win, and the hosts were reduced to ten men when Jackson was sent off late. “It was a very tough battle but I think we showed great character to come back and play the football that we did on that pitch,” Glory skipper Giordano Colli explained. “Now its full focus for the game on Tuesday night against Floreat that will be another tough test but we will be ready for the fight and hope to get the win.”

It was a cagey opening to the game, with so much on the line for both clubs, the winner moving through and the loser seeing their season over. Both sides had early chances, first a long throw from Jordan Brown was headed goalward by Jackson, but it was straight at Glory keeper Cameron Cook. Moments later Joseph Forde’s surging run down the left saw him cut inside his marker and his shot on the run flashed the wrong side of the upright. The Gulls were creating the better chances and on 22 minutes they had the best opening of the game. Jackson burst down the right and his low cross picked out Alex Morgan, whose close-range shot was well saved by Cook at his near post. Moments later they created another good chance, Ollie Annis’ cross was headed wide by Jackson. Sorrento was making all the running and on the half hour Mark Morgan burst into right of the penalty area and he cut the ball back to Dean Cummings whose shot was cleared off the line by the alert Aidan Coyne. But the hosts pressure was rewarded with the lead four minutes later.

Brown’s long throw wasn’t dealt with by Glory and Jackson swept the ball home from eight meters and raced off to celebrate and held up a DH7 shirt message in support of his mate Danny Hodgson, who is still in a coma after a one punch attack last weekend. But their lead didn’t last long and with their first shot on target for the game Glory levelled six minutes later. Adam Zimarino cut in from the right and his low shot was parried by Connor Campbell and Anasmo nipped in to fire home the rebound from close range. Both sides had late chances before the break, first Zimarino goal bound shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide, before Jackson’s shot on the run drifted wide at the other end, but at the break it was all to play for.

After the break, the game opened up significantly. Brown's header crashing off the underside of the Glory bar and away to safety, before Cook pushed Jackson's effort around the post. Glory also threatened. Giordano Colli's free-kick was palmed away by Campbell and Zimarino hit the side netting. Sorrento had one final chance deep into stoppage time, but Tim Hill couldn’t keep his effort down after Glory failed to clear a corner, so it was off to extra-time. Glory needed just three minutes of the first period of extra time to find the lead. Substitute Tyler Vecchio crossed from the bye-line and Leech was on hand to head home.

Sorrento looked for an equaliser immediately, and thought they had found it when Jackson's volley beat Cook, but the offside flag was up and the goal was ruled out. It was end-to-end football, but Perth was creating the better chances, the best falling to Colli, whose shot was well saved by Campbell. But Glory found the third in the final minutes of the first period, William Formston's pass found Zimarino and the striker finished across Campbell to all but seal the tie. Sorrento pushed in the second half, but they could find a way back into the game and it went from bad to worse for the Gulls, when Jackson was shown a straight red card by referee Shane Skinner for an incident involving Glory keeper Cook.

It sets up a Preliminary Final against Floreat at E&D Litis Stadium on Tuesday evening, the winner to take on Perth SC in next weekend’s Grand Final. “It was a great game and we fought really hard against a tough Sorrento team to get the result, the boys put in a great shift both on the ball and off the ball and our strong mentality is what got us the win in the end,” midfielder Charlie Leech said. “We are now fully focused on the game on Tuesday night against a strong floreat and we are eager as a group to go another step forward and go all the way to the end.”

Match Details - Top Four Cup Minor Semi-Final
Sorrento 1 (Jackson 34’) Perth Glory 3 (Joshua Anasmo 41’, Leech 93’, Zimarino 102’)
Saturday September 11, 2021
Venue: Percy Doyle Reserve
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Shane Skinner
Assistants: Michal Jasinski, Troy Malatesta

Sorrento: GK Connor CAMPBELL, 2 David STOKOE, 4 Shaun KILKELLY (19 Jaxon TEMATA 106’), 6 Chris JACKSON, 7 Alex MORGAN, 10 Ollie ANNIS (14 Jordan POKLER 102’), 11 Tim HILL (3 Daniel FAICHNEY 102’), 15 Tristan STEVENS, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 20 Jordan ROBERTS (8 Scott WITSCHGE 69’) – Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI – Red Card: Jackson 122’

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Joseph FORDE, 6 Chris DONNELL, 7 Charlie LEECH, 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL (18 Tyler VECCHIO 90’), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (8 Aiden EDWARDS 103’), 17 Joshua ANASMO (15 Joel ANASMO 108’), 22 Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS (12 William FORMSTON 90’) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY

11.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND TWENTY TWO – REVIEW

Ashfield will be playing Division Two football next season after the final round of State League Division One fixtures on Saturday. Ashfield needed a win at Olympic Kingsway and results elsewhere to go their way to avoid relegation but they found themselves behind six minutes before half time at Kingsway Reserve, Asa Sippits slipping in Harry Evans who fired past Jamie Serra. Ashfield pressed looking for a way back into the game, but their relegation was sealed when Olympic added a second nine minutes from time. James Fanelli made space down the right and pulled the ball back to Riley Gordon, who fired home his first goal for the season. “It was great way to finish the season with a well-deserved victory,” Olympic coach David Tough said. “The game was a bit like our season, where at times we played some great football, but missed far too many chances.”

That result meant Swan United have avoided automatic relegation, but will have to go in the play-offs, after a 2-1 defeat against Champions Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Stirling on winning the league and gaining promotion to the NPL, and of course we knew that this would be a difficult game and against the run of play we were able to go into the break with the lead,” Swan coach Dan Evans explained. “Unfortunately, we were unable to hold on and disappointingly we conceded with the last kick of the game to lose. If you consider the chances, we created we were very unlucky not to get something out of the game. We were unable to convert three one on one chances and the main difference was that Stirling were able to find a way to win late on. That’s why they finished where they finished. Despite the loss the important thing for us was that results went our way and we secured a playoff spot. The boys were delighted with that but felt hard done by to get nothing out of the game. We now shift focus to the playoffs and I’ve got no doubt that if we are prepared to work as hard as we’ve worked in the last month then we will secure our status in this division.”

The black and whites hit the front on 35 minutes, Alex Young finding Brennan Borzecki, who brought the ball down well before finding the bottom corner. The hosts levelled things up just after the hour mar, Swans failed to clear a corner and skipper Dejan Spaseski volleyed home from 10 meters. It looked like United would leave with a hard-earned point, but with the last kick of the game Stirling won it. Sam Wynne dribbled into the box, and his shot was parried by Nick Stone and Alex Taneski fired home from close-range. “It was a good result and a tough game,” Stirling keeper James Bosdet said. “Swan were physical and played to their strengths and restricted us to minimal chances. Good to get the win in the end and give us some momentum going into the top four finals.”

Western Knights secured the runners-up spot, despite losing 3-2 to Quinns at Gumblossom Park. The Knights made a good start and were ahead on 25 minutes, Matthew Henry sending Paul Lloyd clear and he finished well past Patrick Stephenson. But Quinns were level seven minutes into the second half, referee Steven Gregory spotted a push by Tom Kennedy on Ben Hinshelwood, and pointed straight to the spot. Hinshelwood picked himself up and finished emphatically from the resulting penalty. They were ahead 15 minutes later, Hinshelwood turned provider this time, sending Owen Goodliffe down the right and his shot from the angle beat Sam Stone. But the Knights weren’t finished and restored parity ten minutes later, with a penalty of their own after Dean Hurley was brought down in the box, and the striker stepped up to convert from the spot.

It looked like the points would be sharded but deep into stoppage time, it was Quinns who won it. A long throw wasn’t dealt with and Hinshelwood pounced to fire home his 22nd goal of the season. “The first half performance wasn’t great but in the second we really turned it on,” Quinns Owen Goodliffe said. “We looked really organised and by far the better team second half which is impressive especially with four key lads not in the 11 and a young side playing. To secure third place with the last kick of the season is always special. When Ben (Hinshelwood) is in the box nine times out of ten he’s going to score so it’s always about finding a way to feed him. If we bring the same intensity and desire on Wednesday, there’s no reason why we can’t get a result again.”

Forrestfield United finished their season on a high beat Joondalup United 3-1 at Crazy Domain’s Stadium, at Hartfield Park. The visitors were looking to seal the runners-up spot, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring on ten minutes. Moses Macauley raced into the left side of the penalty area and crossed to Rhys Loxley, his shot was well saved by Joe Smith, but the ball fell to Laurence Todd, who finished well from the edge of the penalty area. But their lead only lasted four minutes, Anthony Taylor sent James Oldroyd down the right and his cross found a diving Brad McDonald who headed home. Forrestfield regained the lead just after the hour mark, a quick break saw Oliver Parry slide-rule through ball send Loxley clear, and the skipper finished clinically. They wrapped up the points with a third on 79 minutes, Tarek Atta’s cross from the left was turned home at the back post by Dan Corbett. “Saturday was a culmination of the last three games against the top three teams in the league, and we set ourselves a target of seven points from a possible nine,” Forrestfield Coach Graham Normanton said. “We achieved that goal with relative ease especially against Western Knights and Joondalup Utd and it showed how much improvement that this group of players have made over the second half of the season.”

UWA Nedlands ended their season with a bang, thrashing Mandurah City 5-1 at the UWA Sports Park. It didn’t start the best for the hosts, and they found themselves behind after only 13 minutes. Craig Barker sending Joseph McEvatt clear to slot low past Peter Pilkadaris. They held that lead until 17 minutes from time when Luke Randazzo levelled. The hosts then bagged three goals in nine minutes to turn the game around, first Sam Moffatt gave them the lead, before Tim Robertson and Randazzo added his second. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time when they added a fifth, with Robertson scoring his second of the game. “Fantastic win and nice way to finish what has been an underwhelming season for the club,” Randazzo said. “Having gone down 1-0 at halftime we felt we were doing a lot right but just hadn’t hit the score board. Upon getting the first goal the rest flowed on quite quickly afterwards, and it was some small reward for our efforts this year and we will look to improve on this for 2022.”

In the final game Fremantle City also ended the season on a high after a hard fought 2-1 win against Subiaco at Rosalie Reserve. They were ahead on the half hour, Subiaco failed to clear a free kick and Chris Thackray crossed to the back post and it was turned into his own net by Mella Loding. Subiaco were leveling on 64 minutes, Joshua Kotio’s cross from the left was headed home by Ben Johns. But it was Cameron Lord’s side that won it three minutes later. Matt Sparrow’s free kick was turned home acrobatically at the back post by Todd Howarth.

11.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND TWENTY TWO – REVIEW

The three spots for the State League promotion/relegation playoff spots have been decided on a thrilling final round of fixtures in the State League Division Two. There was one spot still available and it went to Murdoch University Melville, who became the first team to beat Champions Dianella White Eagles this season after a 3-0 win at Wormall Civil Stadium and Saturday evening. “Going into the game, we decided as a playing group we didn’t want to know what was happening elsewhere, we were so focused on winning the game and controlling what we could,” Dion Berman said. “We know our best is good enough to beat anyone and the desire we showed was massive, so hopefully we can build on that performance against Gosnells in the play-offs.” The hosts were ahead just before half time, a corner was flicked on by Dylan Urquhart and Daniel Tait scored from close-range. They added a second seven minutes into the second half, Patrick Quinn’s corner found Declan Tanna, who headed home via the post. It was 3-0, 18 minutes from time, Kai Jones was played clear, his first shot was well saved by Dejan Aleksic, but Jones reacted quickest to the rebound to score. Dianella ended the game with ten men when Daniel Mackenzie was showed a straight red card by referee Andre Ferreira and sent off.

The side to miss out was Wanneroo City, who needed a win and hope MUM didn’t, to pip them. They kept their side of the bargain with a gutsy win against Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park, but the result at Murdoch saw them miss out. “It was a great win yesterday and it felt like the boys done really turned up to play, but the three points were just not enough to make the play off,” Wanneroo coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “Unfortunately missing out by one point really hurts, because we were in the top four all season up until last week, premature end to our season but I’m proud of the effort the guys put in all season.” The visitors were ahead after only nine minutes, Jack Reilly cutting in from the left and finding the top corner with a stunning shot. They doubled their lead four minutes later, when Charlie Breen ran onto a great through ball and finished a great move by firing across the keeper.

But Kingsley hit back with two quick goals. First Joel Gillespie found the net from a free kick, and moments later a corner wasn’t clear and in the goalmouth scramble young debutant Jamie McLeod scored. But it was the hosts who won it early in the second half, Jack Hailstones cut in from the right, his shot rolled through the legs of Kingsley keeper Peter Stewart. “It would’ve been nice to get a win going into the play offs, but Wanneroo started fast but after their second goal it was all us in the first half,” Kingsley skipper Jayden Drummond said. “The second half was a tight affair and unfortunately they grabbed the winner, but it was good to give some of the young lads their first team debut, and especially for young Jamie to bag a goal. All our focus is on Swan now.”

Gosnells City took out the runners up spot after a 5-0 win against Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. It was a tight first half, but it was Gosnells who opened the scoring three minutes into the second half. Scott Pereira sent Eddie Wynne-Willson down the right, his cross found Miguel De Oliveira, who headed powerfully home. It was 2-0 on the hour, De Oliveira dinked the ball over his marker to the overlapping Wynne-Willson who pulled the ball back to Darren Francis who fired into an empty net. The score line blew out late, with Gosnells adding three goals. First on 85 minutes, Wade Farmer made space down the left and crossed to Conor Kavanagh who scored from close-range. It was 4-0 two minutes later, young substitute Blake Pritchard, passing into Wade Farmer, whose powerful shot gave Kelmscott keeper Jack Adams no chance.

They added the fifth in the final minute, referee Stewart Beattie spotted a handball by Sasco Tamba and pointed straight to the spot. James Sharp stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty, his first goal of the season. “Today was a great way to finish off our season and a great boost of confidence to take us into the playoff games,” Gosnells’ defender Sharp said. “To finish second this year just shows how good of a squad we actually have. All of us have worked hard to get ourself as high up the table as we can and finishing second proves that. We now need to rest up and focus on gaining promotion back into Division One. We will face MUM in the first leg and look for pay back after they beat us two years ago at the same stage. I personally think with the squad we have we will give it a red-hot crack at gaining promotion.”

Joondalup City ended their season on a high after a 2-1 win against Morley Windmills at the Iluka Sports Complex. It was the visitors who took the lead on the hour, with skipper Leigh Morgan scoring. But the hosts levelled five minutes later, they forced a turnover on half way, Harry Clisby playing a beautiful through ball in behind the Morley defence for Jonny Hulme, whose low cross was finished well by skipper Liam McGurk. They sealed the points 13 minutes from time, with McGurk bagging his second with a neat finish. “It was a great day for the club especially Liam McGurk who we had made captain for the day,” Joondalup coach Brad Haywood explained. “Last year Liam lost his father, Kevin McGurk, to an aggressive form of brain cancer and throughout the day Liam’s Family and the club had been raising awareness and funds for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. I was thrilled to see him get a double, his dad would be so proud.”

Carramar Shamrock Rovers and Balga ended their season with a hard fought 1-1 draw at Grandis Park. “A bit disappointed with the draw, we gave away a sloppy goal near the end and should have seen the game out when we were 1-0 up,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “It’s been a disappointing season really, but just have to work harder and hopefully injuries stay away for next season.” The hosts found the opened on 68 minutes, Owen Coates finding the net with a shot from outside the box. But Balga levelled five minutes from time, a quick counter attack saw Dominic Manno score his first goal of the season. “The game was hard fought, evenly matched,” Balga’s Liam Kessel said. “Both sides had an opportunity to take all the points, but splitting the points felt like a fair outcome.”

In the final game Curtin University have beaten Canning Cit 2-0 at Burrendah Reserve, to end the coaching stint of Canning coach Chris Finlayson. It was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play, Liam Goerke won the ball back on top of the penalty area and found Daniel Davey, who put the ball over the keeper to score. They sealed the points on the hour, Goerke again provided the assist for Davey to double his tally. “I thought we were lucky to score an early goal, and were then on the back foot for most of the half, but limited Canning to speculative chances,” Curtin coach Troy Reid said. “We adjusted well and controlled the second half, and it could have easily been three or four if we hadn’t taken some clear-cut chances. Happy with the response after half time and good to finish the season on a high.”




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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