ECU Joondalup defender Cian Hirrell and Bayswater City striker Daryl Nicol in action last week, both teams will be looking to kick start their season this weekend.

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19.4.2019

NPL-WA ROUND SIX PREVIEW

It's week six of the NPL WA, and the Footballwa.net 'Match of the Round' takes us to E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday evening, where Perth Glory entertain Perth SC in the top of the table clash. (5.00pm) Only one-point separates the two sides on the table, and both are coming off big wins last week. Glory beat Stirling Lions 2-0 with Luke Salmon and Gabriel Popovic on target, while a late Gustavo Catarcione penalty gave Perth a 2-1 win against Floreat Athena. The last time the two sides met in a regular league game was in round 14 last season with Glory running out 2-0 winners. Daniel Stynes’ thunderbolt gave the Glory lead on 76 minutes and Yacoub Mustafa made sure of the win four minutes later.

Perth SC have started 2019 like they finished 2018, and are the only unbeaten team in the league this season and Head Coach Ramon Falzon said he's been delighted the way his side have performed to date and showed great character to earn the win last week. "We were delighted to come away with the three points and to extend our run of positive results. It was a tough encounter against Floreat because the defensive line of both clubs performed exceptionally well and this led to few chances created by both teams,” he said.

“In the first half we were superior in possession but we could not find our way through again after the two early goals. In the second half it was practically the other way around, Floreat held possession for longer periods however they could not penetrate our back line. In such tight encounters, it usually comes down to one individual doing something exceptional and that’s what Gustavo did in stoppage time. Credit goes to our players who persevered till the last minute of the game and were rewarded with a late goal.”

The club have a number of injuries to start the season, but Falzon said the depth of the squad has been tested but the players coming in have all performed well. " Marc Wingell, Simon Madaschi & myself are very demanding, and we always target specific areas of improvement and we expect an immediate response from the playing group because we work very hard at training to continuously improve,” he explained. “Injuries are unfortunately a constant in football so we continually push our players to rise up to the occasion when they are required to play. Harley Orr has been outstanding over the last couple of years and we will miss him for the next few weeks. However, our expectation is that whoever comes in, does the job. It sounds simple but behind the scenes the players work very hard during the week at training and for some, it sometimes requires a dose of patience until the opportunity to play again comes.”

Falzon said they have had some great games against Glory in the past, and he is sure Saturday evening will be the same. "Perth Glory had an exceptionally good season last year and although it is still early days, they look to be on track to repeat last year’s performances,” he said. “Last year’s Top 4 Semi and Grand Final were great games to watch because of the football quality and the intensity injected by both teams, and we expect something similar this Saturday. Glory tends to be dangerous going forward and they are aggressive in their attempts to regain possession, they have had a strong start to the season so we are expecting a tough clash on Saturday, however we are keen to keep building our momentum following the win against Floreat.”

Like Saturday's opponents Glory have also started the season well, and under new coach Richard Garcia they are looking to go one better in 2019, after losing the title last season to Perth on the final day, and also losing in the Top Four Finals to them. Striker Luke Salmon has been in fine form this season and he said the win at Stirling was a good result, but knows they can play better. “Yes, it was a very good win for the boys, and I thought we played well and took our chances when they came,” he said. “We felt like it was our game for most of it, and felt like 2-0 was a good result, but maybe we could’ve scored a few more.”

Salmon, who joined the club from Bayswater this season, said the squad are looking to go one-step further than last season, when they were pipped by Perth SC. “I feel like we could go very far this season the way we are playing, and the team are bonding well and the way the season is going it could be any clubs to take home, but we’re working hard to go one step further than last season. “he said. “Saturday will be a hard game for us and Perth are playing well, but if we play like we have been playing and follow our game plan I don’t see why we can’t beat them.”

Floreat Athena and Cockburn City will both be looking to bounce back from defeats last week when they meet at E&D Litis Stadium. This will be the first part of a double header at the venue on Saturday and Garrett McDuling's side will be hoping to end a two-game run at home without a win. The last-minute defeat against Perth last week was disappointing, but they also lost defender Adrian Madaschi with injury. Dennis Galan will be in line to take the big defenders spot in this one, while former Glory winger Jamal Reiners came off the bench last week and will be pushing for a spot. Cockburn slipped to ninth with their loss against Rockingham last week, and Scott Miller will be looking for an improvement in this one. Luccas Melo returned to the side last week and had a number of chances, and his partnership with Anthony Skorich and Daniel Robinson will be vital in this one.

Balcatta scored late to beat Armadale in round five, and this week they travel to Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium to take on Inglewood United. Shubham Mokala's late strike earned Balcatta a point, the striker has been a rich vein of form along with Gavin Knight, but they should have taken all three points with Armadale playing an hour with ony ten men. Dutch midfielder Niels Willems made his debut for the club last week and will be better for the run, while John Kearney returned to pin the back four along with Alex Castiello. Inglewood lost at Sorrento last week, two late goals stopped Andres Oliveira’s side good run of form, but they had their chances. Steve Sokol continues to impress since his move from Stirling, while David Cyrus and Scott Blackmore will be vital.

Bayswater City have added some quality to their squad this season, and many have been surprised by their poor start, but they will be looking to put them behind them when they host Armadale at Frank Drago Reserve. Last week at ECU the Black and Blues had a number of chances but failed to score, and slipped to ninth on the table after the scoreless draw. Jason Mirco and Daryl Nicol were constant threats down the flanks, but the final ball was missing on the day, but with the big squad they have I'm sure they will turn it around. Armadale were three minutes away from a win last week against Balcatta, and it would have been a great result as they played with ten men for most of the game. They will be without Michael Lawson this week due to his red card but coach John O'Reilly will look to strike partners Friday Zico and Adriano Jelenovic for goals as they look to maintain their unbeaten run on the road this season.

The bottom two sides meet at Macedonia Park on Saturday, with Stirling Lions hosting ECU Joondalup. The Lions were beaten by Glory last week, but the score line doesn't reflect the chances the Lions created, but unfortunately on the day wasted. They need to tighten up at the back after conceded 13 goals in the first five games, but they also need to hit the target, after only scoring one goal this season. Coach Keegan Ashley stepped down last week and a new coach will be announced next week, but the interim coach will be hoping skipper Dean Cummings has recovered from an ankle injury that saw him replaced early last week. ECU have only lost once this season, but four draws sees them second bottom on the table. They had to defend stoutly to earn a point last week against Bayswater, with Shane Cassidy and Cian Hirrell outstanding. They do need to more clinical in front of goal and Coach Dale McCulloch will be hoping Joe Knowles can shake off his injury from last week.

The final games take us to SafeRad Stadium where Rockingham City host Sorrento. The Gulls have won back-to-back games, a stunning win at Bayswater and two late goals last week earned them the points against Inglewood, and they are yet to be beaten on the road. The form of Jordan Roberts and Cameron Teece must be pleasing for coach Jamie Harnwell, but the former defender must also be pleased with defender Shaun Kilkelly, who has been outstanding. A brace from Riley Van Dieken last week saw Rockingham come home from Cockburn with all three points. A performance Coach Cameron Lord was pleased with. " Last week was an excellent result for us, as we backed up a dominating win against Stirling in Round Four,” he said. “It was a massive team effort that won us the game, the resilience, and the willingness to play and fight for each other, will go a long way in us doing well this season.”

Lord knows they will face another huge test against the in-form Sorrento, but he said it will be another packed house at SafeRad and he said they need to start finding consistency. “The last two weeks have revitalised our season, and we have gone back to playing the way we want to play with the quality we have, while being resilient when we need to be,” he explained. “The results are testament to the hard work on the training pitch, but we face a tough challenge against Sorrento, who have made an excellent start to the season. It is important that we continue to build on our previous two weeks and continue to perform at the high levels we know we can perform too, and also the high expectations we have set ourselves this season. Consistency is key in this league, and we must continue to be consistent in how we train during the week and perform on match days.”

19.4.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND FOUR – PREVIEW

It's week four of the State League Division One and this week’s Footballwa.net 'Match of the Week' sees league leaders Ashfield travel to Securitas Protect Stadium to take on Mandurah City. Both sides are coming off big wins last week, Ashfield beating Forrestfield United in the local derby, while Mandurah ended the unbeaten start for UWA Nedlands. The last time these two sides met was in round nine last season when Mandurah ran out 3-2 winners. The home side were ahead with Max Snelson on target, but Ashfield hit back with Kevin Ashwood scoring. But Mandurah took the lead into the break when Andy Brown’s headed home. But after half time Ashfield restored parity with Ashwood adding his second. But ten minutes from time the home side won it, Joey O’Brien finishing clinically, lobbing the keeper from the edge of the box.

It was the first home game of the season for Mandurah last week, and coach Alex Grayson was delighted how they played and the big crowd who turned up to watch. "After a fairly lacklustre start to the season, getting ourselves moving forward against UWA was exactly what we needed,” he said. “This weekend showed just how competitive the league is going to be with everyone around us winning as well so it made the result on Saturday even more important. Our home support will be a phenomenal boost for us and make it difficult for teams to travel to Securitas Stadium.”

Grayson said after the club’s dice with relegation last season, they are now looking up and promotion would be a great reward for all the hard-working people around the club, but knows there is still a great deal of hard work to be done. "At a club like Mandurah, it is important to keep looking upwards, however, we are fully aware of the challenges we face every Saturday,” he explained. “It is imperative to cement ourselves at home and find the consistency that we lacked last season. If we keep working hard and get a bit of luck here and there, I think we can be competitive all season.”

It was the first win of the season for the Dolphins, and Grayson said Saturday's opponents have started the season very well, and he's expecting another entertaining game. "Ashfield have had a fantastic start to the year and rightly so, they are always tough to play so early in the season as they always hit the ground running,” he said. “A positive result can put us right back in the mixer so we will be looking to capitalise on last week's win, and I think it has the makings to be a cracker of a game.”

Ashfield's win against Forrestfield moved Matt Wardle's side to the top of the table and the coach was pleased with the whole team on the day. "Last week was a good win for our players and club. Gavin Tait and I were pleased with the way we played the game and tactically we got it right. The lads went out and played the game in a strong, fair, and passionate way and they executed what was asked perfectly,” he said. “Forrestfield are a strong team and at the beginning of the season we looked at them as the bench mark so getting a win against them gave us a good indication of where we are as a squad. It’s still very early into the season and we although a good result we are not getting carried away with things.”

Wardle has been in charge at the club for three years with Gavin Tait, but he said the inclusion of Paul Vallerios and Gary Colliver to the coaching staff has helped him and the club are now reaping the rewards. "The off season was a busy one for me. The first thing I had to do was secure Gavin Tait to stay and continue the great work he done the season prior,” he explained. “I also had to find a reserves manager and an 18’s manager. I was lucky enough to meet Paul and Gary and instantly knew they were the right guys for the jobs. After securing the pair they introduced me to Steve Standard a goal keeper coach and “Stan” has come on board and been exceptional with all goal keepers at the club and helping Gav and I on match days. It’s really important to work with people you can trust and get along with but just as important also challenge each other and all guys bring something different to my coaching staff and it’s been great learning of each other to date.”

The Coach is looking forward to Saturday's trip to Mandurah, but knows their confidence will be sky high after their win last week against UWA. "Mandurah are a really tough side and have dramatically improved since last year. I’ve been lucky enough to see them play a couple of times this year and from what I’ve seen and heard they have been very competitive all pre-season and in their first three games,” Wardle said. “We are under no illusions of how difficult this away trip is going to be and all we can do is prepare the same way we have all year and hopefully let the football do the talking. There are no easy games this year and the league is most competitive I’ve seen it for years, so no doubt Saturday will be cracking game.”

In other games this week Joondalup United won for the first time in the league this season against Fremantle City, and this week they host Gwelup Croatia at Forrest Park. The 4-1 win surprised many last week, but not coach Nick Jennings, and I'm sure he will have his players ready for another big game on Saturday. Gwelup also won for the first time this season with a 3-2 win in the Croatian derby against Western Knights, and coach Taki Nicolaidis will be looking for more of the same in this one. Forrestfield United and Fremantle City are coming off losses last week, and the pair meet at Game Guardian Stadium on Saturday evening, while UWA Nedlands host Olympic Kingsway at the UWA Sports Complex. UWA lost for the first time at Mandurah last week, while Olympic had the bye.

Olympic coach Gary Williams said the bye is annoying, but they are ready for a big game at UWA. “Yes, it is a shame South West Phoenix dropped out as it disrupts the continuity and habits you get into week after week, but on the positive side it gave us an extra week to get things right on the training pitch and allowed extra recovery time for a couple of our injured players,” he said. “I think this week will be a great game between two attacking teams who want to score goals. UWA have a good group of players and had two great results previously against Joondalup Utd and Forrestfield. I am looking forward to the match and will use it as a benchmark for our team going forward.”

In the final game Western Knights will look to bounce back from last week’s defeat, when they entertain Subiaco at Nash Field, the visitors will be buoyed by their first win of the season against Morley. Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said despite the loss in the derby he was happy the way his players fought out the game and he’s confident they can bounce back against Subiaco on Saturday. “Last week we were really disappointed with the result, and we actually thought we played really well but it was just one of those games where we couldn’t convert our chances, and the Gwelup keeper seemed to have the game of his life, so we thought we were very unlucky not to win the game,” he said. “We go into this weekend against Subiaco extremely confident. Our brand of football this year has been improving every week and I am delighted with how our players have been applying themselves.” - Morley Windmills have the bye this week.

19.4.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND THREE – PREVIEW

It’s week three of the State League Division Two and the Footballwa.net ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Edinburgh Oval tonight when Curtin University host Wanneroo City. (8.30pm) Both sides drew away from home last week, Curtin coming away from Balga with a 2-2 draw, while Wanneroo drew 0-0 at Swan United. The last time these two sides met at the venue was in round 13 last season when Wanneroo left with a 4-2 win. Curtin were ahead early through Eddie Tikoft, but Jamie Stewart levelled. Matt Franken scored a hat-trick after the break to seal the win for the visitors, while Tikoft added his second for a late consolation for the Curtin.

The draw at Swan last week maintained the unbeaten start to the season for Wanneroo, and coach Tim Kantor said it wasn’t a classic but it was a valuable point. “At Swan was one of those ugly games with both teams struggling to play football on a tough, tight pitch,” he said. “Good chances were few and far between but in a game when you don’t play well, I guess a point is a good outcome especially against quality opposition.”

It may still be early in the season but Kantor has been happy the way his side have performed, especially playing Dianella and Swan, but knows there is still room for improvement. “Yes, it’s been a good start to the season with four away points against two of the title contenders,” he said. “We have a number of new lads in the squad this season and it will take a bit of time to gel but so far we are tracking ok.”

The coach said Edinburgh Oval is never an easy place to go, especially with the them starting the season with two draws. “Curtin is always a tough place to get a result, and add to that they too have started well and have recruited a couple of real quality lads,” Kantor said. “We are certainly under no illusions tonight is going to be a tough game but one we are looking forward to.”

Curtin skipper Antony Russo said leading 2-1 with fifteen minutes to go they should have come home with all three points from last week’s trip to Balga, but said in the end it was a fair result. “Yes, we were all disappointed not to win, especially away from home and 2-1 up,” he said. “But Balga are a good side who created a lot of chances and could have won it at the end, so 2-2 was a fair result.”

Like tonight’s opponents Curtin are unbeaten this season, but Russo said they need to turn the draws into victories. “Yes, we’re unbeaten, but yet to win, we want to start winning these close games,” the skipper said. “The squad is really strong and it's building chemistry week by week. It's been really enjoyable so far with good people joining the club. Like all teams, we want to work hard but also enjoy each other’s company, but getting the balance right will hopefully result in us winning.”

It will be a sombre night on Thursday with coach Mick Philp losing a family member over the week, but Russo said they will be doing all they can to help the family and get the three points for Mick. “Being at home on a Thursday night is great for the club, and this week we will have a special focus on helping out Mick’s family, and a person who is critical to our club and influenced almost all players. They are unfortunately dealing with a difficult time at the moment, but we will do what we can, players fine money, sales from raffle tickets and the like will all be donated, and any support tonight would be great,” he explained. “On the game, Wanneroo are always a strong team. They are well structured and have a game plan that stands up at home or away, so it should be a good game and we’re looking forward to it."

In other games Gosnells City are also in action tonight, when they host Shamrock Rovers at Walter Padbury Reserve (7.30pm). Marc Anthony’s side have won both games this season, but Shamrock are still searching for their first point. Meanwhile on Saturday Canning City host Joondalup City at Burrendah Reserve, with both sides looking for their first points of the season, Dianella White Eagles entertain Quinns FC at Dianella Reserve, and Balga travel to Frye Park to take on Kelmscott Roos.

In the final game Swan United make the trip to Murdoch University on Saturday evening to take on Murdoch University Melville. (7.30pm) MUM sit top of the league after two impressive wins, while Swan are yet to taste victory this season. They drew last week against Wanneroo and keeper Joey Smith said they deserved more from the game, and had plenty of chances. “We should have won the game, we created enough chances to win the game by two or three but never really tested their keeper,” he said. “Luckily enough my back four were great and we limited them to very few opportunities to score.”

Smith knows a Saturday night game on the artificial pitch is going to be tough, but he said they are ready for the challenge. “No doubt it will be a tough game,” he said. “They are always a very organised team and hard to break down, but hopefully we can just get the ball down and play some good football on the Astroturf pitch and have a bit of magic from the strikers to get a result.”

19.4.2019

PREMIERS HEAD EAST TO TAKE ON SKY BLUES

Perth Glory are in action tonight when they travel to Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah to take on Sydney FC in Round 26 of the Hyundai A-League (5.50pm WA Time). With the Premiers' Plate having been secured last weekend, Tony Popovic has the option to juggle his side for the fixture should he choose to do so, but a win or a draw on the east coast will see his side unbeaten away from home for the season.

But Popovic said if he did it would be no problem, because all his squad are chopping at the bit to play, especially the ones who have not featured on a regular basis in recent weeks. "We are on top because of the strength of the squad and that makes us proud as a club, having a strong squad of players that can step in," he said. "We had Jake Brimmer, a young talent, come on very early for Juande in a very important game for our football club on Sunday and the boy was outstanding. Now, if he wasn't training as well as he can and not at the level required, he couldn't do that.

“There are many like Jake here at the club that are waiting for their opportunity and we just want to have them prepared and ready so that if the chance comes, they can showcase their talent. We are playing a big club [on Thursday], a big opponent and we want to put in a good performance. We are just concentrating on that. Some players that haven't had a lot of minutes will possibly get a chance to travel. Everyone wants to be a part of it and the whole squad has participated so far, some with more minutes than others, obviously. But they've all contributed to our success and I'm sure they will continue to do so moving forward."

In team news for the game Jason Davidson (knee) and Juande (groin) will miss the trip, while Chris Ikonomidis will miss another week after his shoulder injury. Popovic has added Alex Grant, Chris Harold, Brandon Wilson, Tomislav Mrcela, Jacob Italiano and his son Kristian, who has been in good form for the clubs NPL WA side. Sydney FC, meanwhile, will head into the game eight points behind Glory in second spot and requiring a win to keep third-placed Melbourne Victory at arm's length. The Sky Blues have won eight of their 12 home games thus far this term and lost just one of their last seven games.

Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, RGK Alex CISAK, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 5 Jop van der LINDEN, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Danny DE SILVA, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 16 Reza GHOOCHANNEJHAD, 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Jacob TRATT, 21 Mitch AUSTIN, 22 Siem DE JONG, 23 Rhyan GRANT - *two to be omitted* - Ins: 5 Der LINDEN (promoted), AUSTIN (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 3 Ben WARLAND (ACL - indefinite), 7 Michael ZULLO (hamstring – 1 week), 12 Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19 Chris ZUVELA (ACL – indefinite)

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 21 Jacob ITALIANO, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 29 Kristian POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted*- Ins: GRANT (promoted), HAROLD (promoted), WILSON (promoted), MRCELA (promoted), ITALIANO (promoted), POPOVIC (promoted) - Outs: 3 Jason DAVIDSON (knee injury – 1 week), 6 Dino DJULBIC (not selected), 9 Andy KEOGH (not selected), 27 JUANDE (groin injury – 1 week) - Unavailable: 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (shoulder injury – 1 week)

17.4.2019

GLORY FINALS MOMENTUM AT STAKE

Perth Glory's players are physically weary but mentally up for the fight against Sydney FC in a game they believe holds serious A-League finals bragging rights. With the Premiers Plate tucked away, Glory want to lift for Thursday's table-topping fixture against the Sky Blues.

Striker Joel Chianese concedes the four-day turnaround is a hurdle, particularly given the celebrations that followed Sunday's home win over Newcastle Jets, a result that clinched Glory's first piece of A-League silverware.

"We enjoyed the celebrations and it does take its toll. We put a lot of effort into that game the other day to make sure the fans got what they wanted," he said. "But at the same time you want to keep that momentum going and keep performing well."

Chianese said if the Glory ease off against Sydney it may not be easy to "flick the switch" for bigger games ahead. One more regular season game at home to Wellington Phoenix would follow and then a week off awaits before their knockout home semi-final.

"We know we've been the best team all year but, at the same time, if they (Sydney) beat us now then we lose a bit of momentum and they get the upper hand," Chianese said. "You don't know what happens from there."

16.4.2019

WILLIAMS: I WANT TO STAY IN ENGLAND

Rotherham United winger Ryan Williams is nearing the end of his contract with the Championship club but has signalled his desire to keep playing in England next season. The 25-year old has been based in the UK since he left Perth as a teenager to join Portsmouth in 2010.

Williams has spent the past two years with Rotherham, helping the Millers achieve promotion out of League One last season. But now the club is battling hard to avoid relegation straight back to the third tier with just five games of the season left.

Williams is off-contract at Rotherham and has yet to re-sign with the South Yorkshire outfit, despite being offered a new deal. "I want to stay in England," he said. "Being a free agent, it just depends on what happens with the club. The club has offered me a couple of contracts, but we haven't really negotiated anything yet."

"Whether we can negotiate something or we can't, whether we stay in this league or go down will probably be a big factor in what I decide to do. With all due respect I want to play in the Championship so well just have to wait and see."

Williams has made 36 appearances for the Millers in all competitions in 2018/2019, scoring one goal and recording three assists. "I think I'm in a strong position now because I've done well this season, I've done well last season, I'm at a good age, I've got no real injury issues anymore," Williams said.

"But look I'd love to stay at Rotherham. Whether we can negotiate that, or whether we stay in this league or not remains to be seen." Williams, an Australia youth international, is settled in England and last month he and his partner had their first child.

16.4.2019

SAGE SAYS PREMIERS’ PLATE SUCCESS CAME EARLIER THAN EXPECTED

Perth Glory’s Premiers’ Plate success did not happen overnight. Plans were already quietly being hatched midway through last season at a series of lunches and meetings between owner Tony Sage, former chief executive Peter Filopoulos, football manager Jacob Burns and a couple of hand-picked players including Neil Kilkenny.

With the A-League finals drifting away there was a need for change, a different strategy, a new coach, retention of players and Sage loosening the recruitment purse strings. It all came together when a 15-year silverware drought was broken on Sunday night as captain Diego Castro lifted the Premiers’ Plate after the 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets.

“The vision has been fulfilled a year earlier than we expected,” Sage said. “We had to make a decision on which direction we were going to go. “There were several coaching candidates available and Jacob pushed and pushed for Popa (Tony Popovic).”

Sage - who admitted dropping the Premiers’ Plate on the pitch - said the job was not finished with the finals series ahead and then planning for the Asian Champions League. “Nobody’s counting their chickens,” he said. “We’re up for the challenge. It’s only going to be a feather in everyone’s cap if we can do it. Asia has been a dream of mine from day one. It’s going to be huge.”

Sage has poured nearly $30 million into Glory in more than a decade and is seeking an investor to ensure further success. “For us to succeed we need to find a partner,” he said. “We have to be realistic. In this day and age one individual can’t support an A-League franchise.”

The club has come a long way since the 2015 salary cap scandal that saw them booted from the finals and handed a $269,000 fine. “I copped a lot of criticism. I took it personally but I didn’t give up,” Sage said. “It was a relief to be able to do this for the fans that we disappointed. To actually win something means a lot to me. I shed a few tears.”

15.4.2019

POPOVIC HAS UNFINISHED BUSINESS AT GLORY

Perth Glory's 15-year silverware drought is over, but coach Tony Popovic says his team still has unfinished business as they attempt to cap a fairytale season. Glory's 1-0 win over Newcastle last night saw them claim the A-League Premiers Plate with two rounds to spare.

The win secured Glory's first piece of silverware since their 2004 National Soccer League title triumph, as well as a spot in next year's Asian Champions League. Popovic allowed himself and his players to enjoy the moment on Sunday night but with an A-League Championship still up for grabs, it'll be business as usual when Glory front for training on Monday.

"They're the best team in the league, that's a fact. The club goes into Asia, that's also a fact," Popovic said. "Now we need to get ourselves right for that major semi-final here." Glory will take on second-placed Sydney FC on Thursday night, before rounding out the regular season ten days later at home to Wellington Phoenix.

Popovic won the Premiers Plate in his first season at Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012/13, but said he would allow himself to enjoy his one at Glory even more. "I probably didn't know how to enjoy that at that time," Popovic said.

"It happened so quickly and unexpectedly (when I was at the Wanderers). Now I think you get more experience and you want to savour and enjoy the moment. That's probably me evolving and improving as a coach. I've tried to enjoy it with the players along the way, I think that's something I've improved."

14.4.2019

GLORY ARE PREMIERS

Perth Glory are the 2018-19 Hyundai A-League Premiers after a 1-0 win against Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. With Sydney only drawing in the Sydney Derby against the Wanderers on Saturday a win in this one would seal the title, and Ivan Franjic’s goal on 65 minutes was the sealer, to set off wild celebrations on and off the park. “They’ve won a special trophy, the job has been done, they are the best team in the league. That’s a fact. We are in a wonderful position,” Glory coach Tony Popovic said. “The hunger was there prior to the game. Now we need to get ourselves right for the major semi-final. That’s our clear focus. We’ll give it our best, that’s for sure.”

Popovic said he was proud of the title, but particularly happy for the club staff, owner and fans. “Just proud, really proud, to see the joy on the players’ faces, the staff, the owner, the fans, he said. “They’ve been wanting success for a long time. The club has had some fantastic times, some tough times and this is actually a special time. A fantastic night and I appreciate and understand how special it is for them. It’s special for me and I’ve only been here a short time. I’m a proud coach, proud to lead this group of players. I saw Tony Sage shed a tear tonight — he’s put a lot of money into the club and it’s for a lot of people who have supported the club over a number of years. It’s well deserved for this club, the most pleasing part is they’ve performed week after week, you can’t fault their performances. We’ve played very well and thoroughly deserved this.”

It was a nervous start for the Glory, but urged on by a vocal home support, they started to create some good chances. Dino Djulbic headed a Neil Kilkenny corner narrowly over the bar after only four minutes. But the Jets responded, and stunned the crowd when Roy O'Donovan fired a long-range volley against the crossbar and the Irishman was then denied by the VAR after straying fractionally offside before firing home Ivan Vujica's low cross.

The VAR was again in the action moments later after Joel Chianese was brought down in the box by John Koutroumbis, but referee Kurt Ams' waved away the decision after looking at the screen on the sidelines. Kilkenny then stung Glen Moss' palms with a fierce drive from outside the box as Glory continued to threaten and only a timely intervention from Nikolai Topor-Stanley prevented Andy Keogh from latching on to a neat cut-back from Diego Castro. Five minutes before the break, Keogh's close-range effort cannoned against the bar and there was still time for Chianese to be foiled by a fine, sprawling save from Moss before the half-time whistle sounded.

There was no respite for the Newcastle defence at the start of the second half, Jason Davidson drawing a fingertip save from Moss with a fierce, angled shot, before two efforts from Chianese and Castro that were both ruled out for offside, before the latter forced Moss into yet another save with a left-foot shot from just inside the box. But finally, on 65 minutes, Glory found the goal. A superb through ball by Castro sent Franjic in on goal and finished clinically under Moss.

The Jets, to their credit, responded immediately through two O'Donovan headers, the first of which was tipped over by Liam Reddy, while the second landed on the top of the net. Ernie Merrick's side continued to press in the latter stages, with five minutes of additional time stretching the nerves of the home supporters who were baying for the final whistle. But when it eventually sounded, the celebrations started.

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON (22 Fabio FERREIRA 89'), 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (23 Scott NEVILLE, 73'), 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17 Diego CASTRO, 27 JUANDE (20 Jake BRIMMER 31'), 88 Neil KILKENNY – Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 11 Brendon SANTALAB

Newcastle Jets: GK Glen MOSS, 4 Nigel BOOGAARD, 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 7 Dimi PETRATOS, 9 Roy O¹DONOVAN, 13 Ivan VUJICA (22 Lachlan JACKSON 70'), 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 23 Matt RIDENTON (10 Ronald VARGAS 57'), 24 Joe CHAMPNESS (14 Kaine SHEPPARD 65'), 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - Subs not used: RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 32 Angus THURGATE - Referee: Kurt Ams

14.4.2019

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWO REVIEW

Jaguar FC produced a great attack performance to thrash Ellenbrook United 11-0 at Herb Graham Recreation Centre in week two of the Belt-up Sunday Premier League. The home side were ahead on three minutes, with Ibrahim Hamid volleying home from the edge of the penalty area. It was 2-0 mid-way through the first half when Akuei Guot pounced on a keeper error. Skipper Juma Wade then played in Hamad to score his second, before Paul Sopp cut the ball back to Gojam Nyuon to score. Nyuon scored his second to make it 5-1, before further goals to Sopp and Nyuon, to complete his hat-trick to make it 7-1 at half time. It was more of the same after the break and further goals to Guot, a penalty to Nyuon, Laurence Gama and another to Hamad completed the rout.

North Perth travelled to Gerry Archer Sports Complex and beat Belmont Villa 3-0 to earn their first win of the season. The visitors opened the scoring when Ago Mujic curled a great free kick around the wall from long-range. It was 2-0 when some good lead up play ended with Edin Nalic, who fired home with aplomb. It was 3-0 when a cross from Daniel Conway was met by Raido Rensalu, his glancing header flew into the net. “We were in complete control for probably 89 minutes of the game, and we could probably have been a bit more creative and efficient around the edge of the box especially in the first half,” North Perth Coach Alex Carter said. “But the lads kept chipping away and eventually the game was out of reach for Belmont.”

Kingsley also won for the first time for the season after 4-2 win against Hamersley Rovers at Chichester Park. The home side were ahead on six minutes, when Aaron Lickiss fired home after a scramble in the box from a corner. Rovers levelled five minutes before half time, when a cross from Callum Wells Murphy slipped under the keepers’ body. But two minutes later Kingsley regained the lead when Lewis Flatt played in Josh Waldock and he finished well. Rovers restored parity three minutes after the break, with Jesse Kosseh on target. Kingsley weren’t finished and, on the hour, Sean Johnson made it 3-2, beating the keeper at his near post. Johnson added his second to wrap up the points on 75 minutes, with a shot which flew into the top corner of the net. “I was very happy with our response to Wednesday nights draw and to get all three points in the manner in which we played the game was very pleasing,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “And I thought we controlled the game for the majority of the 90 minutes.”

Leeming bounced back from last week’s defeat at Jaguars to beat Joondalup United 2-1 at John Connell Reserve. It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the opening minute, when Kyall Osborne pounced on a mistake from the home keeper. But the Strikers levelled before the break, Scott McDowell played a ball into David Palin who flicked onto Lucas Pickering who controlled and hit into the top corner from 16 meters. The second half was a tight affair, but it was the home side that won it, when Michael Maratea received ball on the right side and whipped a cross into the box that was met by Pickering who headed home. “We basically started the game 1-0 down our keeper has made a mistake after a minute and that really put us back in our game plan for the first 20minutes,” Palin said. “After we found our feet again, we started to create some good chances and deserved to be on level terms by Half time. Second half was a bit of a midfield battle but eventually we found that little bit of quality needed to get the second so to fight back and win is very pleasing. There wasn't a lot in the game if I’m honest and the difference was 2 bits of real quality especially the second goal that won it for us. It wasn’t pretty at times but were happy to get the three points on the board and get the season going especially after last week’s result.”

Quinns opened their account for the season with a 4-0 win against Kwinana United at Kelly Park. They were ahead when Liam McManus pinched the ball off the defender and raced into goal and finished well. It was 2-0 moments later, David Long’s acrobatic bicycle kick was well saved by the keeper, and McManus fired home the rebound from close-range. After the break Wayne Carter scored the third, with a stunning 20-meter curling shot, and Carter added his second and Quinns fourth from the penalty spot to seal a comprehensive win. “I was over the moon with the reaction from the lads following a poor performance the week before and everything we discussed was implemented,” Quinns coach Darren Kay said. “The first half was littered with late tackles from Kwinana, but we stuck to our game and were reward with two goals in each half.” In the final game Wembley Downs and UWA Nedlands fought out a 2-2 draw at Butlers Reserve. Juraj Galba scored a brace for the home side, while for UWA Mitch Barrington scored penalty and an own goal.

13.4.2019

VAN DIEKEN BRACE DOWNS THE COCKERELS

Rockingham City good form continued after they travelled to Dalmatinac Park and came home with all three points after a 2-0 win against Cockburn City. It was the clubs first ever NPL WA win on the road, and former Cockburn player Riley van Dieken was the hero, scoring both goals to move them to sixth on the table. "It was very good to get the win, especially to back up the performance against Stirling,” Van Dieken said. “It was a good feeling to get the two goals for the game, and it was a must win game for us and I was happy to contribute for the win, and hopefully we can continue this winning streak against Sorrento in next week’s game

Fresh off a big win last weekend Stirling Lions last week Rockingham were out of the blocks early and opened the scoring on 18 minutes. Good approach work from James Harmer and James Millard ended with Van Dieken on the edge of the box, he dropped his shoulder to ease past his marker before finishing clinically into the corner of the net giving keeper Luke Radonich no chance. They doubled their lead on the half hour when Millard raced clear and was brought down in the penalty area by keeper Radonich and referee Steven Gregory pointed straight to the spot. Van Dieken stepped and sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty to put the visitors in total control.

Cockburn pressed to get back into the game but found Rockingham keeper and his defence determined to keep them at bay, and at the final whistle it was the green and gold supporters celebrating the victory, while Cockburn have some soul searching to do, as they prepare to take on Floreat Athena next week at E&D Litis Stadium, while Rockingham entertain Sorrento at SafeRad Stadium

Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 4 Euen GRANT, 6 Ruben TRISTAO (18 Adam ANFUSO 66’), 7 Luccas MELLO, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 9 Anthony SKORICH (12 Ryan PRATT 66’), 14 Hayden STEVENS, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Daniel ROBINSON, 17 Devon GIBSON, 21 Jesse LAZZARO (10 David ARAYA 71’) - Subs not used: RGK Ben RADONICH, 2 Christopher THACKRAY

Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 2 Jason CONSTABLE, 3 Justis BRADLEY, 6 Blake SOKOLOWSKI (15 Shaz RAMLEE 68’), 7 James MILLAD (5 Harry COLLINS 81’), 8 Jason POTTIER (14 Ryan KENNEDY 76’), 9 Sam MCKEARNAN, 11 Riley van DIEKEN, 12 Lydon HODGKISS, 13 Jarrad MORT, 23 Victor BRAUNER – Subs not used: RGK James GREAHAN - Referee: Steven Gregory

13.4.2019

CATARCIONE EARNS PERTH THE POINTS

Perth Soccer Club have maintained their lead at the top of the NPL WA on Saturday after a stoppage time goal from striker Gustavo Catarcione gave them a 2-1 win against Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens. They had to come from behind to seal the win, after Robert Petkov gave Floreat the lead after only six minutes. Matthew Milenkovic levelled for Ramon Falzon’s side seven minutes later, and it looked like the points would be shared but five minutes into stoppage time Catarcione popped up with the winner. “The win against Floreat was a really important win for us, and going into the game we knew that the three points would start to make a gap between us and some of the other teams that were competing for a spot in the top four last year,” Milenkovic said.

“We knew it was always going to be a hard game because of the historic rivalry between the two clubs so in these types of games you have to forget about form. We conceded early but a huge credit to the boys for bouncing back and controlling the majority of the rest of the game. We pushed hard to the end and got our reward through an incredible individual effort from Gus. It capped off a strong performance and I think everyone was happy with the mental strength we showed having gone down so early.”

It was the hosts who hit the front early, Calvin Whitney’s effort hit the crossbar, but Petkov was on hand to fire home the rebound from close-range. But Perth hit back on 13 minutes, when Milenkovic, who has only just returned from injury in the opening game against ECU Joondalup, profited on a poor clearance and finished clinically past Jason Saldaris. Both sides were struggling in the final third with Petkov missing a number of chances but at the break it was 1-1.

The second half was like the first with both sides finding openings, but failing to score. The best chance fell to Floreat on 84 minutes, Dean Evans’ long-range free kick looked destined for the bottom corner, but new Perth keeper Dejan Aleksic produced a great save to touch the ball onto the post and away to safety. It looked like the points would be shared but on 95 minutes Perth found the winner.

A long clearance from Aleksic was well controlled by Michael Domfeh, and he played the ball in the path of Catarcione who held off three Floreat defenders and fired home to seal victory and set off wild celebrations on and off the pitch. “Obviously beating Floreat was very important to us specially because how well they play and they are probably one of the strongest team in the league,” Catarcione said. “But we kept our discipline even going 1-0 down we kept playing our football to the end and really happy that the hard work paid off.” Next weekend Perth travel to E&D Litis Stadium in a top of the table clash with Perth Glory at 5.00pm, while Floreat Athena are also in action at the same venue when they host Cockburn City at 3.00pm

Perth SC: GK Dejan ALEKSIC, 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Tom SOUTHGATE,5 Niccolò SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR (20 Paul ZIMARINO 60’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH, 18 Michael DOMFEH, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC - Subs not used: 10 Luke GARAS, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 23 Benjamin RATAJCZAK

Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI (11 Dennis GALAN 90+1’) , 6 Jesse FULLER, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 13 Nick AMBROGIO, 15 Chris SALDARIS 16Ryan MALTON (20 Jamal REINERS 70’), 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phillip ARNOLD (5 Thomas JEBB 90+6’) - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 3Tristan COLLI - Referee: Shane Skinner

13.4.2019

GULLS FLY HOME WITH THE POINTS

Sorrento moved into third place after a 2-0 win against Inglewood United at Percy Doyle Reserve. Alex Morgan gave the Gulls the lead on 77 minutes, before Jordan Roberts sealed the points five minutes from time as the Gulls secured their first win at home for the season. “I thought we played very well and deserved the three points,” Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said. “We started well and they couldn't really handle us going forward, but they're always good on the break with their boys up front but we managed to defend well and we were glad the goal came when it did and, in the end, it should have been three or four.”

It was a slow start to the game, but it was the home side who looked the stronger side in the early exchanges but they failed to create any clear-cut chances. But it was Inglewood who thought they had the lead against the run of play, with Steve Sokol bundling the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble, but referee Michal Jasinski spotted a foul and disallowed the goal.

The home side were convinced they had a penalty when a shot hit the arm of Inglewood defender, but the referee waved away their protests. But it was the home side who hit the front on 77 minutes, with Alex Morgan’s shot beating Alex Dunn and going in via the crossbar. They made sure of the win five minutes from time, Cameron Teece sent second half substitute Jack Salter in on goal, but the New Zealand striker unselfishly finding Roberts to score. Next week the Gulls make the trip to SafeRad Stadium to take on Rockingham City, while Inglewood United host Balcatta at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium

Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 2 David STOKOE, 3 Jakub PRAJZA, 4 Shaun KILKENNY, 5 Scott ROBERTSON, 7 Alex MORGAN, 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 10 Jordan ROBERTS, 11 Tim HILL (13 Steven MCDONALD 54’), 18 Jordan BROWN (19 Jack SALTER 73’), 23 Cameron TEECE (21 Elliot TATTERSALL 81’) - Subs not used: 60 Matt GIUDICATTI, 12 Jaxon TEMATA,

Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 3 David CYRUS, 4 Scott BLACKMORE, 5 Sam RIAK, 8 Jason BARRERA, 9 Chok DAU, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 14 Steve SOKOL (2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS 84’), 15 Brian FARRELL, 16 Jamie MURPHY (6 Miki VUJAJCIC 78’), 23 Zdenek BEZDEK (17 Mark BARNETT 53’) - Subs not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 13 Nelson TSHONGO - Referee: Michal Jasinski

13.4.2019

REDS AND BALCATTA SHARE THE SPOLIS

Balcatta scored late to draw 1-1 with Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Josh Kuser had given Armadale the lead, this after they were reduced to ten men when Mike Lawson was sent off. But five minutes from time Shubham Mokala levelled things up. “After being down to 10 men so early I thought we played well against a strong Balcatta team,” Kuser said. “We were all disappointed to concede late, but I thought we were unfortunate not to take the three points.”

It was a tight opening to the game with Armadale looking good early, but that came to a halt on 34 minutes when defender Lawson was shown two quick yellow cards by Peter Kaiser and was sent off. Balcatta, who were without head coach Goran Stajic, who was on international duty with the Pararoos, lifted the tempo and Mokala was a constant threat, but the Reds defended well and it was scoreless at the break.

But it was the ten men who broke the deadlock on 76 minutes. Ali Nazary’s deep corner picked out Kuser at the back post and he volleyed home, much to the delight of the Armadale supporters. It looked like Armadale would hold out to take the points, but three minutes from time Balcatta equaliser. Adam Zimarino crossed to Mokala at the far post, whose volley flew past Sam Hutchings to set up a grandstand finish. The best late chance fell to Armadale, with John Kearney and Calum O’Connell both making goal line clearance. Next week Armadale travel to Frank Drago Reserve to take on Bayswater City, while Balcatta take on Inglewood United at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium.

Armadale SC: GK Sam HUTCHINGS, 2 Josh KUSER, 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 5 Ali NAZARY, 8 Michael LAWSON, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT, 10 Sam GARCES, 11 Adriano JELENOVIC (21 Ismael BANGURA 90+1’), 12 Dannie RICHMAN, 13 Blake ADAMS, 23 Friday ZICO (7 Joshua CORTES 67’) – Subs not used: RGK Blake HANSHELL, 14 Connor ATKINSON, 19 Harry EVANS - Red cards: Lawson 32’

Balcatta: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 John KEARNEY, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Shubham MOKALA, 8. Niels WILLEMS (20 Anthony TOPINI 64’), 9 Gavin KNIGHT, 10 Jonathan CORNESS, 23. Adam ZIMARINO (11 Callum STOCKS 60’), 13 Carmelo GIUFFRE (7 Alex WILD 76’), 16 Alex CASTIELLO - Subs not used: RGK David KEENAN, 12 Roberto DEL BORELLO - Referee: Peter Kaiser

13.4.2019

ALL SQUARE AT THE CAMPUS

ECU Joondalup and Bayswater City have fought out a scoreless draw in week five of the NPL WA at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The visitors had the better chances on the day but ECU held firm to secure the point, with defender Shane Cassidy outstanding at the heart of their back four. This was a big game for both sides and it was the visitors on the front foot early. Jason Mirco made space down the right and he found Gordon Smith in the box, but his shot was well blocked by the alert Ewan Fawcett. It was a tight contest with both sides pressing, but it was Bayswater who went close again on 22 minutes. Daryl Nicol was found on the left of the penalty area his shot was saved low by Scott Wallis. The Jacks went close themselves five minutes later, Andy Higgins’ free kick was helped on by Knowles, and Jakub Sklenar’s flick dropped just over the top. Bayswater ended the half the better and the Jacks had Wallis to thank three minutes before the break. Millard’s cross found Smith at the back post, but his shot was superbly saved low by the Jacks custodian, to send the sides in at the break all-square.

Bayswater were out of the blocks early after the break and they thought they had a penalty when Smith raced into the box and fell under a challenge from Ronald Rixer, but referee Julian Serra was well-paced and waved away their protests, much to the frustration of the Bayswater bench and players. The visitors were on top, and the Jacks were working overtime to keep them at bay. A long ball over the top sent Giordano Colli in on goal, he held off his marker but his shot well saved by Wallis. Moments later Smith shot on the run flashed inches over the top, before good work from Ross Millard and Smith set up Nicol, but the former Jacks skipper shot was saved by Wallis.

It was still anyone’s game and both sides went close as the game opened up. First on 70 minutes Higgins’ corner picked out Rixer but the big defender’s header was just over the top, before Mirco headed over the top at the other end. We entered stoppage time, and after the last two weeks the Jacks bench looked nervous, but they almost grabbed a late goal this week. Tom Hough sent Howles down the right, and his low cross was cleared by Tong, inches past his own goal. From the resulting corner from Higgins, Sklenar lost his marker his header was cleared off the line by Paul Lloyd. But at the final whistle the points were shared. Next weekend ECU travel to Macedonia Park in a bottom of the table clash against Stirling Lions, while Bayswater host Armadale at Frank Drago Reserve.

ECU Joondalup: GK Scott WALLIS, 2 Cian HIRRELL, 3 Ronald RIXER, 4 Henry DURR, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 7 Joe KNOWLES (9 Richard HOWLES 46’), 8 Josh WHITMORE, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Jakub SKLENAR, 15 Tom HOUGH, 16 Ewen FAWCETT (6 Paddy DOYLE 85’) - Subs not used: RGK George JACKSON, 12 Ryan MCDARBY, 14 Cian MCGUIGAN

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 3 Jack ALLEN, 5 Adam HARRIS, 10 Jason MIRCO, 12 Steve HESKETH, 17 Daryl NICOL, 19 Gordon SMITH, 20 Giordano COLLI (26 Paul LLOYD 68’), 21 Kenny KEOGH (23 Brian WOODALL 65’), 27 Ross MILLARD (24 Jake SARDELIC 82’), 30 Adam TONG - Subs not used: RGK Nemanja JANKOVIC, 13 Trent KAY - Referee: Julian Serra

13.4.2019

GLORY TAME THE LIONS

Perth Glory have maintained second spot on the NPL WA table after a 2-0 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon. Luke Salmon opening the scoring mid-way through the first half and Gabriel Popovic secured the points just after the hour. The day was spoilt late when Daniel Walsh was shown a second yellow card and sent off. “We weren’t at our best today but we took our chances and they didn’t,” Head Coach Richard Garcia said. “Things didn’t go the way we wanted at times, but credit to the lads they stuck to the game plan, and although we didn’t play the way we know we can, we leave with the three points.

The Glory opened brightly and went close after only five minutes, some patient build-up ended with Walter Scott down the left, but his shot on the run was off target. Stirling, who were bottom of the league at start of play, went close themselves five minutes later, Noah Shamaki’s shot on the turn was straight at Jackson Lee. he Lions striker was in again on the quarter hour, but he failed to find the target, and moments later a ball over the top sent Sean McManus clear, but he failed to trouble Lee.

Glory lifted the tempo and Ethan Brooks found Salmon in the penalty area, his shot was blocked but the rebound fell to Daniel Stynes, whose shot was well saved by Ryan Montgomery. But on 32 minutes the Glory hit the front. Kristian Popovic slid the ball to Salmon on the right of the penalty area his shot beat Montgomery and crashed off the crossbar and down on the line, and the referee’s assistant awarded the goal, much to the displeasure of the home faithful.

Glory made a change at the break bring on Daniel Walsh for Jacob Muir, but it was the Lions who had the first opportunity, Dhhor Chol’s free kick was saved by Lee at the second attempt. The Lions were in again on the hour, Shamaki racing clear, but Daniel Walsh got back with a superb last-ditch tackle. The game was opening up and there were chances at both ends. First Daniel Walsh’s header was well saved by Montgomery, before Lee stood tall to deny second half substitute Ben Wantee after the striker was sent clear.

But on 67 minutes it was Glory who doubled their advantage. Scott’s ball down the line sent Salmon racing clear down the left, he cut inside the box and crossed to Gabriel Popovic who made no mistake from close-range. Glory went close to a third late on, but Salmon’s shot whistled over the top. The day was spoilt somewhat on 85 minutes when Daniel Walsh was shown a second yellow card by referee Tom Glavovic and was sent off. The Lions pressed late but Glory held firm to take the points. The Glory host Perth SC at E&D Litis Stadium next week, while Stirling host ECU Joondalup at Macedonia Park

Stirling Lions: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Darren O’RIORDAN, 4 Alex SULESKI, 5 Chris MCLAUGHLIN, 6 Dhhor CHOL, 7 Finn GRAHAM, 8 Dean CUMMINGS, 9 Noah SHAMAKI, 10 Sean MCMANUS, 11 Kristian DESPOTOVSKI, 14 Michael GAMA - Substitutes not used: RGK Daniel MARQUES, 2 Filip MILIC, 12 Andrew MARANTA, 15 Ben WANTEE, 16 Joseph PERKINS

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Zayd FARAH, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Jacob MUIR, 5 Nick WALSH, 6 Kristian POPOVIC, 7 Ethan BROOKS, 8 Henry HORE, 9 Luke SALMON, 10 Daniel STYNES, 11 Gabriel POPOVIC Substitutes not used: RGK Nicolas SPECA, 12 Daniel WALSH, 14 Ciran BRAMWELL, 16 Gomo DUKULY, 17 Jack LEECH - Referee: Tom Glavovic

13.4.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND THREE – REVIEW

Ashfield moved to the top of the State League Division One table after a 2-1 win against Forrestfield United at Ashfield Arena. The hosts went ahead when Forrestfield were caught in possession in the middle of the park, and Pat Sara made them pay firing home from long-range. Forrestfield were caught out again for the second after the break, again over possessing and this time the ball was played into Albert Amankwaa, who got a toe to the ball before the keeper, who took him out to win a penalty. Dan Tait stepped up and he scored the penalty to doubled their lead. The home was then reduced to ten men when Albert Amankwaa was sent off, and Forrestfield rallied and pulled one back when Michael Fletcher converted from the spot. It set up a grandstand finish but Ashfield held on for the points. “It was a fantastic result for our group, we showed tremendous character after going down to ten men with 15 minutes to go,” Ashfield Coach Matt Wardle said. “They (Forrestfield) really pressuring us, we held on to get all three points which on the day were well deserved.”

UWA Nedlands lost top spot after they were beaten 2-0 by Mandurah City at Securitas Protect Stadium. The hosts were ahead ten minutes into the second half, Alex Grayson's through ball sent Joe O'Brien in on goal and he finished clinically past Luke Stonebridge. They sealed the points ten minutes from time, Jeff Bright's long diagonal ball picked out the run of O'Brien, who slide the ball home. "We were eager to finally kick off at home for the season and the anticipation from the fans meant the support was going to be massive," Mandurah player/coach Grayson said. "It wasn't pretty at times but we are slowly chipping away at how effective we can be. The lads worked hard, were disciplined and got what they deserved out of the game. We welcome Ashfield, another side at the top of the table next week but it is important to consolidate the effort and quality we put in against UWA. Huge credit to Joe Obrien for his quality in front of goal as well as Jamie Oakey and the back four for battling it out for the clean sheet."

Gwelup Croatia won for the first time this season after a hard fought 3-2 in the Croatian Derby against Western Knights at Nash Field. The visitors were ahead after 16 minutes, when Ellis Healing curled home a wonderful free-kick into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area. It was a tight affair with both sides having chances, but it was Gwelup who doubled their lead on the hour. James Sammut is in the right place at the right time to tap home following some good build-up play on the right. But the Knights pulled one back two minutes later, with Dean Hurley poking home after Gwelup failed to clear their lines. Gwelup were then reduced to ten men when Isaac Koomson was shown a straight red card for an incident with Knights defender Andy Cartwright, right in front of the home team substitutes bench.

The home side then levelled, former Bayswater City midfielder Andrija Jukic finding room in the box to head home powerfully. It looked like the Knights would go on and win it but Taki Nicolaidis' side had other ideas and on 70 minutes they regained the lead. A quick Gwelup counter attack involving Healing and David Heagney ended with midfielder Sam Wynne in space who dinked over the outrushing Sam Stone in the Knights goal to regain the lead for Gwelup. The Knights pushed late but Gwelup held firm for the eight minutes of stoppage time to record a thrilling win. "Obviously very happy to come away with all three points," Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. "The boys showed some great character to find a winner after going 10 men and conceding two goals in five minutes, and it was an important win for us after our disappointing loss to Morley in our opening game."

Joondalup United have also won for the first time this season after a 4-1 win at Hilton Reserve against Fremantle City. James Oldroyd opened the scoring for Joondalup, with a header at the back post. They doubled their lead after good work down the right ended with Jackson Christie, who shot from 10 meters gave the Fremantle keeper no chance. But on the stroke of half time Fremantle pulled one back with central defender Luca scoring. But it was business as usual after the break when the visitors added a third. Tony Taylor and Joshua Tumoe combined to set up Lee Jones, and the big striker finished well from a tight angle. The icing was put on the cake late when Jones pounced to add his second and complete a comprehensive win. "Every one of the boys were superb today and from the first whistle we bossed the game and were always in control," Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings said. "The hard work we are putting in on the training ground is finally starting to pay off and to see the boys today to start believe in their own ability and play good football was the highlight for me."

Subiaco also won for the first time this season after a hard fought 1-0 win against Morley Windmills at Rosalie Park. The only goal of the game came on 20 minutes, when a great through ball from left back by Oli Cheveralls found Shay Donovan and he calmly slotted it past Morley’s keeper. "I am really happy for the young players who really put in a massive shift," Subiaco Coach Basil Lenzo said. "We had an average age of 20 years old, and the young boys stood up and played with a lot of heart and belief. In the second half, Morley constantly applied the pressure and we rode our luck and should have been a few up at half time however it’s a great win for the young boys." Olympic Kingsway had the bye this week.

13.4.2019

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWO – REVIEW

Quinns FC continued their perfect start to the State League Division Two season with a 2-0 win against Shamrock Rovers at Gumblossom Park in Week two. The home side were ahead Jamie Stewart found space in the penalty area and his first time shot from a tight angle beat the keeper. They doubled their lead before the break, Rovers didn't clear their lines from a corner and Stewart pounced with a first time shot, that took a slight deflection and into the net. "The score line should have been more but the three points is the most important thing," Quinns keeper James Bosdet said. "The boys dominated for 90% of the match and were rarely troubled at the back, but a few wasteful chances and poor decisions in the final third in the second half prevented the score from being more, but it's on to next week now which is another big game at Dianella."

Dianella White Eagles bounced back from their first up defeat with a 3-1 win against Kelmscott Roos at Dianella Reserve on Saturday afternoon. They had to come from behind to do it as Deng Dut gave the Roos the lead early. But the home side hit back and levelled five minutes before half time, with Milan Vulin scoring from the penalty spot. The home side took the lead after the break with Vulin adding a second penalty, and they wrapped up the points with a third. A great switch of play released midfielder Joe Tweats who drove into the box to finish emphatically in the top corner. "After two good performances, dominating and missing hosts of chances in our first two fixtures and ending up with nothing to show, today we seemed a little flat and lacked intensity, despite creating numerous chances and not finishing allowed Kelmscott to stay in the game," Dianella Coach Howard Tweats said. "The important thing for the game was to put some points to our name and we achieved that and learned a dogged way to come through. This is only our third competitive fixture as a group, the potential is there to see and I’m sure momentum and results are to follow."

Gosnells City also made to two-from two with a 3-0 win against Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Complex. The visitors were ahead early when Feisal Zaw whipped in a teasing cross and Wade Farmer was on hand to score. With the win behind them Joondalup presses, but they couldn’t beat Tom Allen, who made some good saves to keep them at bay. After the break Gosnells pressed a high line to not let them play out from the back, and against the wind the home side struggled to get a foot hold in the game, but Gosnells created a number of chances, with Zaw wrapping up a good game by bagging a second half brace to seal the points. “Travelling up there and getting 3 points and a clean sheet is a great result. We didn’t play to the standard we know we are capable of but still had to grind out a result against a physical and well organised Joondalup team,” Gosnells keeper Tom Allen said. “It was the perfect match and result to have going into Shamrock on Thursday and Bayswater on Monday. I believe we will do well this season. We have a strong squad of lads which will be important further into the season, and we’ve strengthened the squad with Ben Howe signing from Western Knights, which adds even more power and speed.”

Balga and Curtin University have fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Princess Road Reserve. The home side were ahead early when a cross was headed home by Tyron Totte from close-range. Curtin players were incensed, they thought the ball had gone out, but the goal stood. Curtin equalised midway through the half, Oscar Billington’s shot beat the Balga keeper, even though he got a hand to it. The visitors went ahead early in the second half, when Jon Krawec found space in a packed penalty area to coolly finish. But with 15 minutes to go Balga restored parity. Kris Spaseski got the ball near the corner flag, skilfully got past a defender and played in Hermon Michael who found Dejan Andric, his shot flew into the bottom corner of the net.

Murdoch University Melville maintained their lead at the top of the State League Division Two table with a comfortable 5-0 win against Canning City at Burrendah Reserve on Sunday afternoon. The visitors were ahead at the break with Anthony Lomma on target, after good work from Scott Campbell and Sasa Slavujevic. They doubled their lead on the hour though Ryan Tucker, before Lomma grabbed his second. Scott Campbell made it 4-0 cutting in from the right before Mark Lucas added the fifth to seal a convincing win for Gavin Brown’s side. “We are really pleased to get another win to keep up with the others who had won again on Saturday,” Brown said. “It was a difficult first half on a tight pitch and in swirling conditions, but we were in control of the game and in the second half we made the score line comfortable.” In the final game Swan United and Wanneroo City fought out a 0-0 draw at Francis Street. The Swans had plenty of chances that thy failed to convert with John Monterosso going close on a number of occasions. The home faithful thought they had scored when Brennan Borzecki’s bicycle kick flew into the net, but the flag was up for offside. Wanneroo’s best chance fell to Nathan Scully midway through the first half. A well taken free kick from Kyle Murray was saved by Swan keeper Joey Smith, but he parried the ball straight to Scully who ballooned the volley over the bar from close range.

13.4.2019

POPOVIC NOT FEELING PREMIER’S PLATE PRESSURE

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic is certainly not feeling it with his ladder leaders on the verge of collecting the Premiers’ Plate, the club’s first piece of A-League silverware. Glory could be crowned minor premiers if they beat Newcastle Jets tomorrow, and if Sydney FC to lose or draw tonight against Western Sydney Wanderers.

However, Popovic is not overly perturbed at that result, rather he intends on watching the game at home, enjoying a relaxing glass of wine with his father, who is visiting from Sydney. “I really don’t care,” Popovic said. “We have been at the top since round four. We deserve to be where we are, very close to achieving something special.”

“The result doesn’t really matter. We don’t have to worry about what someone else is doing. We don’t need to rely on anyone or any results. We’ve just got to take care of business ourselves. Perform well and that gives us a better chance of getting three points and if we do that we don’t need to look over our shoulder.”

“If we keep getting the three points it won’t matter what anyone does below us. If we get the job done that will take care of itself. When you see the players respond ... there’s nothing to fear. We respect the opponent, we trust ourselves, we believe in our football.”

Popovic said Chris Ikonomidis, who dislocated his right shoulder against Central Coast Mariners, could be available for the penultimate round against Sydney FC on Thursday night. “When a player goes off in that manner, when there is no contact on the player, you always fear the worst,” he said. “Thankfully it’s nothing serious.”

Popovic would not reveal who was likely to replace Ikonomidis, but did not rule out Scott Neville, who could make his 100th Glory appearance. “There are a lot of players who have not featured much at all,” Popovic said. “Fabio (Ferreira) has always done a great job for us ... Chris Harold has not had an opportunity yet ... young Jacob Italiano ... we have some good options.”




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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