Inglewood United celebrate their penalty shootout win against Armadale - Photo by Fotoenzo

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7.3.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - SEMI FINAL REVIEW

Inglewood United and Perth SC will meet in next week’s NPLWA Night Series Final, after two dramatic Semi-Finals at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday. United overcame Armadale 3-2 on penalties in the early game, while Perth beat ECU Joondalup 4-2 in the late game. It was a tight affair in the early game with both sides creating chances, but it was Andres Olivera’s side who opened the scoring nine minutes before the break, Steve Sokol taking on his marker and finishing into the bottom corner. But four minutes later Armadale were convinced they had a penalty after Chad Nilson was brought down by Alex Dunn, he was the last man, but referee Michal Jasinski waved away their protests.

But Armadale were level early in the second half, when the referee spotted a foul in the box and Friday Zico made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Both sides pressed for the winner but they couldn’t find one, and Inglewood prevailed in the shootout, with the unfortunate Manase Abandelawa hitting the bar with the last penalty. “It was tough game, we created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half, and we should have put the game to bed,” Inglewood Head Coach Andres Oliveira said. “For not doing that we created more pressure on ourselves and credit to Armadale, they were relentless and got their goal. But overall, I thought we deserve to go through at the end. Dunners (Alex Dunn) made a save and forced two misses, while excellent penalties taken by Robert (Petkov), Steve (Sokol) and Anthony (Bafobusha) secured our passage through.”

In the late game Perth SC made the best possible start, scoring after only eight minutes. Good build up play between Cameron Teece and Yacoub Mustafa, the latter crossing from the right to Michael Domfeh who made no mistake. But Kenny Lowe’s side were level six minutes later, Daryl Nicol’s cross was finished by Danny Hodgson at the back post. But Perth hit back two minutes later, Teece sending Domfeh clear and he finished clinically past Johnny Perkins. The Jacks keeper produced a number of fine saves to keep his side in the game, and Nicol almost brought ECU level, but his free kick crashed off the post. But in the shadows of half time Perth added a third, Mustafa racing clear, kept his composure, to score.

It was end-to-end football after the break, and it was ECU who went close early, Chris Harold was sent clear but Ryan Montgomery stood tall to save. Harold was denied by the Perth custodian again as the Jacks pressed forward, while Perth was a constant threat on the counter attack, and Perkins had to be on his toes making some great saves to deny them. Perth suffered a blow when winger Niccolò Sabatini was stretched off with a serious knee injury. (From everyone at Footballwa.net we wish Niccolò a speedy recovery) But two minutes from time ECU found a lifeline, Nicol’s corner picked out Hodgson who headed home.

ECU pushed men forward looking for the equaliser, but Perth wrapped up the points in stoppage time when referee Steven Gregory pointed to the spot, after Domfeh was brought down in the area by Ryan Lowry. The former Glory youth striker stepped up to seal his hat-trick and send Perth in to the final. “It was a great result, and the performance was the best that I have been involved with since being at the club,” Domfeh said. “Delight to have scored a hat-trick but I couldn’t have done it without the lead up play from team mates. “So overall a great performance, and I’m looking forward to the final.”

7.3.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE REVIEW

The Quarter-Finalists in the State League Night Series have been decided after the final round of group games over the weekend. First in Group A, Wanneroo City topped the table after a 3-1 win against Balga at Wanneroo on Saturday evening. The hosts were ahead after only nine minutes with Charlie Breen finishing well at the front post after a corner. They doubled their advantage on 21 minutes, Ashley Corker scoring a free kick from 20 meters. Balga came out after the break well and reduced the deficit on the hour, but Wanneroo wrapped up the points and top spot on 76 minutes, Breen adding his second after racing clear and finding the net from long-range. “I’m very happy with the first half of the game, and going through to the next round,” City Head Coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “Second half Balga put us under a lot of pressure and I’m happy with the way we defended as a unit and saw out the game.”

In the early game at the venue Joondalup United beat Quinns 5-1. Quinns were reduced to ten men early and United made them pay. Jamie Gibson failed to convert from the spot, but he made up for it on 22 minutes smashing home a screamer from 22 meters. They doubled their lead on the stroke of half time, with Jay Lang finding the top corner from 25 meters. Quinns pulled one back on the hour, but United added a third on 71 minutes, with youngster Joel Sollitt scoring from close-range. It was soon 4-1, Sollitt doubling his tally after good work down the right by Jonah Vozzo. Quinns were reduced to nine minute two minutes from time, and Josh Whitmore put the icing on the cake scoring Joondalup’s fifth in stoppage time. “The early sending off made things easier for us than it could have been against a young talented Quinns outfit,” Joondalup Head Coach Nick Jennings said. “Always happy as a coach when you win and score five, but the number of easy opportunities we spurned again took a bit of the gloss away from the victory. Ultimately, though we remained unbeaten in the group stages, failing to profess into the knockout rounds is deemed a failure. We will get better and are looking forward now to the FFA Cup game away to Curtin Uni.”

In Group B, Mandurah City moved through and maintained their 100% record, with a 5-0 win against Ashfield at Murdoch Uni on Friday evening. It was a tight half, with Mandurah scoring the only goal on 17 minutes, James Paylor’s cross was headed home powerfully by Craig Barker. But Mandurah hit their straps after half time, and Scottish striker John Baird doubled their lead with a cheeky chip on 55 minutes. Ashfield had the opportunity to pull one back on the hour, but Mandurah keeper Kieran Shail saved a penalty. But seven minutes later it was Baird who added a third for the Dolphins, converting from the spot. It 4-0 when Alex Grayson finished well after Ashfield failed to clear a corner and Mitch Gruin completed the scoring eight minutes from time, converting Jeff Bright’s cross. Mandurah coach, and Glasgow Rangers fan Kris Donnell, who is still celebrating their Scottish Premier League title, said it was a professional performance from the players. “Really pleased with the boys again to go out and perform as well as they did, we had a few injuries this week so changed the team a little to give some of the young lads a bit of exposure too and everyone once again played their part,” he explained. “We moved the ball about really well and won the ball back in nice areas so Pete and I are really happy moving into the next stage.”

In the other game in the group new Morley Windmills coach Antony Benetti has seen his tenure at the club start off with a win, after coming from behind to beat hosts Murdoch University Melville 2-1. “It was a fantastic finish to the game and the boys showed tremendous spirit to come back from 1-0 down to a very highly rated opposition,” Benetti said. “We are a very new group and with it being my first week in charge we are still implementing our systems and behaviours. The result shows the buy in and work rate at training from the boys and while we have a long way to go it's a good start.” The hosts were ahead on the half hour, with Charlie Watt on target, and they led by that goal at the break. But Morley levelled on the hour, with Ryan Tracey scoring, and seven minutes from time Grant Mowatt won it. “It was a huge result for us against a team that's supposed to be contenders for the title,” Morley’s Mitch Castrilli said. “We have a very young squad with a lot of quality and it showed especially in the second half where we dominated, I'm looking forward to seeing how far we can go this season.”

In Group C Fremantle City moved into the Quarter-Finals after a narrow 1-0 win against UWA Nedlands at Edinburgh Oval on Sunday evening. The only goal of the game came after only eight minutes, an intense press forced UWA into a turning the ball over to Adriano Jelenovic who finished clinically. Both sides had chances,in a tight game, but none were taken. Despite the loss UWA won the group, with Fremantle joining them as one of the two best runners-up. “It was an important positive reaction to the previous week where we were very disappointing,” Fremantle coach Cameron Lord said. “The intensity and application were very good and is something we must continue to build on in preparation for Round One.” In the late game Dianella White Eagles missed the opportunity to progress after losing 3-1 against hosts Curtin University. Curtin raced to a two-goal lead in the first half hour. It was 1-0 on 25 minutes, when a ball into the box picked out Daniel Nocciolino who headed home. They doubled their advantage on 34 minutes, a low cross found Tiago de Souza, who lost his marker to score. Dianella pulled one back on 51 minutes, with former Perth Glory midfielder Hayden Doyle scoring. But Curtin sealed the win on 74 minutes, a corner found Craig Kamocha who headed home at the back post. “We absorbed a bit of pressure just after they scored, but Craig’s header sealed it for us,” Curtin Head coach Troy Reid said. “I’m really happy with the response and the performance from the players, especially after a tough couple of weeks”

In Group D Forrestfield United finished top of the table after a 2-1 win against Subiaco at Hartfield Park on Sunday. The hosts were ahead five minutes before half time, Jamie Street’s diagonal ball sent Tarek Atta down the flank, his cross picked out Jordan Lyall who made no mistake. Graham Normanton’s side doubled their lead on the hour, when Atta was brought down and Rhys Loxley made no mistake from the spot. Subiaco pulled one back late through Vasco Da Silva, but couldn’t find an equaliser, but despite the defeat Subiaco join Forrestfield in the Quarter-Finals as one of the two best runners-up. “We are progressing well,” midfielder Mitch Crocker said. “To control possession as well as we did against a good side was great, now we just need to bury our chances we are creating.”

In the other game in the group Gosnells beat Kelmscott Roos 3-2 in a local derby. It was a frantic start to the game with Eraste Ayemung opening the scoring for City after only three minutes. But Kelmscott were level three minutes later with Robert Justo on target. Gosnells regained the lead on 22 minutes, a well-weighted through ball from Aaron Colsani sent Miguel Oliveira in on goal and he finished low past the on-coming keeper. Kelmscott restored parity 12 minutes from time with Amos Doegolia Junior scoring, and it looked like the points would be shared, but two minutes from time Colsani rose highest to send a bullet header past the keeper to win for Marc Anthony’s side. “A good performance, but we made it a bit hard for ourselves,” Anthony said, “But with a lot of personnel missing we played some great football at times, so I’m pleased with how we are tracking for round one of the season.”

In Group E Olympic Kingsway finished top of the table after a 6-2 win against Swan United at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday. Olympic raced to four goal lead in the opening half hour. First on 12 minutes Gyles Davies deflected shot opened the scoring, before Hamza Hana doubled their advantage racing through the Swan defence to score his final goal for the club, after signing for Balcatta for the NPLWA season. It was soon 3-0, before Gyles added another on the half hour to make it four. Swan pulled on back just before half time with John Monterosso scoring from the spot. Monterosso scored another penalty on the hour to make it 4-2, but late goals from Davies, to complete his hat-trick and Chris Rizidis completed a comprehensive win for Michael Janssen’s side. In the late game in the group Shamrock Rovers beat Kingsley Westside 4-2.

Finally, in Group F Western Knights topped the table after a 3-2 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Friday. The Knights opened the scoring on 20 minutes, Jake Sardelic’s cross found Cameron Yorke, whose glancing header beat Jamie Bosdet. But the Lions were level on the half hour with Sam Wynne scoring, but on the stroke of half time the Knights regained their lead. Some nice individual play from Jack Rycroft, saw him cut inside the edge of the box and he finished into the top corner. But the Lions levelled again six minutes from time, but deep into stoppage time a cross from out wide by Caleb Sheedy found Sardelic, who won it for the Knights from close-range. “It was such a tough game against a very good Stirling side,” Knights Coach Ivan Zuvela said. “They kept pushing us, and I was really pleased with our players ability to stay focused throughout the whole game.” In the other game in the group Joondalup City beat Canning City 2-0. Callum Speed gave Joondalup the lead from the spot on the hour, and they sealed the win in stoppage time with Ewan Fawcett on target. “I thought we dominated the game throughout, we all knew the goals were going to come,” Speed explained. “It sets us nicely for the league, and I believe we will be serious contenders this season with the quality in our squad this year.”

7.3.2021

PHOENIX STUN GLORYW

Perth Glory have suffered a shock 0-3 loss against Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday afternoon. Despite dominating for long periods, they found themselves two goals down at the break with Reno Piscopo and David Ball scoring. They continued to dictate terms after the break, but lacked quality in the final third and it was the Phoenix who sealed the win on the hour with Ben Waine scoring. They will be play worse than that this season and win, and they will look to bounce back when they take on league leaders Central Coast Mariners next weekend.

Head Coach Richard Garcia said they need to tighten up at the back, but was happy with their attacking threat. "I'm encouraged that we're coming away from home and dominating games and we just have to tighten up going the other way," he said. "To cop three goals on the counter is a tough one to take, the boys are not happy with that and we can only improve from there. It was one of those days when we lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third and anything that we did have didn't seem to go in. On another day they all go in and you win comfortably.

"We know where we need to improve and the main thing is that we're coming away from home and putting in these performances where we are being dominant in that front third and we just need to be able to tighten up at the back end. The guys kept plugging away, they kept probing and trying to create chances, which they did, but it just wasn't our day."

Glory made five changes to the side that were beaten by Central Coast Mariners. In came skipper Diego Castro, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Brandon Wilson, Andy Keogh and Japanese international Kosuke Ota, for his starting debut. Nick Sullivan, Nick D’Agostino and Carlo Armiento dropped to the bench, Callum Timmins and Mason Tatafu were unavailable, while good news on the bench with young defender Luke Bodnar back after injury.

Glory dominated the opening 20 minutes, and it only looked a matter of time before they would score. Daniel Stynes and Bruno Fornaroli both saw shots blocked by Louis Fenton and Tim Payne respectively before Brandon Wilson's shot from the edge of the box drew a save from Oliver Sail, before Andy Keogh fired the rebound over the bar. Glory thought they had the lead moments later, Neil Kilkenny’s through ball sent Keogh racing clear and the Irish striker finished clinically, but his celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside, and VAR agreed.

It had been backs to the wall for the Phoenix, and they hadn’t an effort on goal, but they found themselves in front on the half-hour. Young Socceroo midfielder Piscopo strode forward from the centre circle, and he wasn’t closed down and his unerring shot flew into the bottom of the net. It went from bad to worse, and five minutes later the Phoenix doubled their advantage. Daniel Stynes lost possession in the middle of the park and James McGarry made space down the left, before crossing low to an unmarked Ball who scored from close-range.

Glory continued to look the more likely to score after the break, but it wasn’t their day and in and around the penalty area they lacked the quality to crack a tight Phoenix defence, superbly lead by Tim Payne. Then on the hour Phoenix added a third, Waine bagging his third goal of the season after Velaphi couldn’t hold a shot from Ball.

Glory continued to push forward and Kosuke Ota found Fornaroli with another quality cross, but the Uruguayan’s header and follow-up effort was superbly saved by Sail. The Phoenix custodian then saved to deny Stynes, before substitute Osama Malik bicycle kick forced another acrobatic save from the outstanding Sail. But it was Wellington who should have added a fourth late when Piscopo raced clear, his shot beat Velaphi but drifted inches past the post.

Wellington Phoenix: GK Oliver SAIL, 2 Liam MCGING, 5 James MCGARRY, 6 Tim PAYNE, 7 Reno PISCOPO, 9 David BALL (12 Matthew RIDENTON 90+1'), 10 Ulises DAVILA, 14 Alex RUFER, 16 Louis FENTON, 18 Ben WAINE (17 Tomer HEMED 77'), 23 Clayton LEWIS (8 Cameron DEVLIN 67') - Subs not used: RGK Stefan MARINOVIC, 13 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 15 Mirza MURATOVIC, 21 Joshua LAWS

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 8 Kosuke OTA (22 Josh RAWLINS 65'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (18 Nick D'AGOSTINO 65'), 15 Brandon WILSON (6 Osama MALIK 57'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 23 Dane INGHAM (16 Nick SULLIVAN 57'), 24 Daniel STYNES (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 75'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 3 Luke BODNAR - Referee: Adam Kersey

6.3.2021

HALL OF FAME HAVE A NEW WEBSITE

The Football Hall of Fame Western Australia is pleased to announce the launch of their brand new website. Several months of hard work and dedication has gone into designing and developing the website, which is now live at footballhalloffamewa.com.au

The goal with the new website is to provide the football community – locally, nationally and internationally – with an engaging way to learn about the rich history of football in Western Australia, and the Hall of Fame itself.

The websites’ fresh new look and feel is complimented by several new features that include improved site navigation, enhanced presentation for mobile devices and integration with our mailing list subscription form and social media platforms.

The Hall of Fame will be constantly updating the website with news articles, photographs, announcements and other information relevant to the football community. The Hall of Fame thanks their co-lab partners at Daxies Website Design, who worked tirelessly alongside the Heritage sub-committee to make the website what it is.

The Hall of Fame invites the football community to provide feedback, submit additional information or photographs, make suggestions and/or pose questions on their new website by email to admin@footballhalloffamewa.com.au

6.3.2021

STATE FOOTBALL CENTRE A STEP CLOSER

Football West chief executive James Curtis says all levels of the round-ball game, from grassroots to professional, will be significantly boosted after their long sought-after State Football Centre was greenlit. The Western Australian Planning Commission’s Significant Development Assessment Unit has approved the transformation of the current unused space at Maniana Park in Queens Park into the state-of-the-art facility.

The $32.5m centre will serve as Football West’s administrative base and will house world-class playing and training facilities, capable of being used by Perth Glory’s A-League and W-League sides or touring overseas teams. It will open in time for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Australia, and will provide an in-tournament training base for any sides playing in Perth.

Once complete, the 16ha state football centre will contain two full-size, floodlit pitches, offices for Football West’s staff, three smaller pitches, two community pitches for public use, change rooms as well as strength and conditioning and sports medicine facilities. A grandstand with a capacity of 700 people will be constructed alongside the main pitch, although the site will have a capacity of up to 4000 spectators.

Curtis heralded the State Football Centre as a big step forward for the game in WA. “There’s never been an administration and talent development home for football, the game can really put its roots down,” he said. “A home is part of our DNA, it supports the history of the game, it’s exciting for us to think what will people will say in 50 years’ time and what memories will be created.”

Football West has been on the hunt for a permanent headquarters and centre of excellence for the better part of the past decade and previously considered sites in Subiaco, Burswood and Ashfield. Such special events include W-League games and A-League friendlies, junior and senior grand finals and cup finals, and training sessions for high-profile touring teams.

Curtis said a focus on open spaces and interconnectivity were at the heart of the centre’s grandiose and sweeping design. “We wanted to have a real sense when you enter the State Football Centre, you’re able to navigate the flow between the different aspects. We want to recreate the exciting feel of when you turn up to the MCG or any famous field,” he said.

“It’s got to be accessible when we look at it being fully utilised, parents can be watching kids on pitch one and the kids can have a run around on back pitches. During the week when the community are there, we’re able to have those people walk around, have a coffee and do some light recreational exercise.”

The development is being evenly funded by the state and federal governments, who are tipping in $16.25m each. Curtis said stage one of the build would involve construction of the two main fields and the main facility, with the community fields and supporting facilities for the high performance set-up to follow in stage two.

5.3.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - SEMI FINAL PREVIEW

The NPLWA Night Series Semi-Finals take place at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday, and in the early game Group A winners Inglewood United take on Group B runners-up Armadale. (5.00pm) Both sides go into this one on the back of heavy defeats in the final round of group games, Inglewood played a young side against Perth Glory and were beaten 6-1, while Armadale were beaten 4-0 by Bayswater City, and went into the next phase on goal difference.

Armadale skipper Brian Patterson said it was a game of two halves against Bayswater, but knows they deserve to go into the Semi-Finals. “I thought Wednesday night’s game was a strange one, as in the first half I thought we were well in control and had our chances,” he explained. “But we seem to run out of legs in the second, and fair play to Bayswater for giving it ago, and we worked hard late to keep them at bay, but I think we fully deserve or place in the semi-finals.”

Patterson said Sunday can’t come quick enough, and they are ready. “Everyone’s really looking forward to the Inglewood game, and we are one win away from the first final of the season,” he said. “They have been in great form so far, but we don’t fear anyone and we are playing with great confidence. I think it’s anyone’s game and whoever wants it more will go through, bring it on.”

Inglewood qualified for the next phase before the last game and Head Coach Andres Oliveira gave some of his younger players a game against Perth Glory, and although the result didn’t go their way, he said it was good to give them some game time. “It’s hard giving opportunities to U20 and U18 players during the year, so when the opportunity arises like the Wednesday game it was a great opportunity,” he said. “The club supported this decision and it’s a great experience for the youngster, no matter what the result is, and I was very proud of the boys, playing against an excellently coached Perth Glory team.”

Oliveira said Sunday’s opponents (Armadale) will be tough and they have had a good Night Series, so it sets up a good game. “Armadale will be a good test for us, they being getting great results and deserve to go through to the semi-final,” he said. “They have been scoring a lot of goals and same with us, so this will make an entertaining game for everyone in attendance.”

In the second Semi-Final Group B winners Perth SC take on Group A runners-up ECU Joondalup in the late game at the venue. (7.00pm) Perth were the only unbeaten side in the preseason competition, and Head Coach Ramon Falzon said Wednesday win against Balcatta was pleasing. “It was pleasant to see our players put in another solid performance and create numerous goal scoring chances against Balcatta, and it was even more fulfilling to see the boys being rewarded with the three points,” he explained. “We started the game prudently to make sure that we did not give anything away, however we were always on the alert to capitalise on the opportunities created. With the score at 2-1 at half time, we tried to pile more pressure on Balcatta and rounded up an even better second half of football with three more goals.”

Falzon said they had some tight games against ECU last season, and he’s expecting the same on Sunday. “They (ECU) had a good season last year after the lockdown, and last year's encounters against them were great games to watch because of the football quality and the intensity injected by both teams,” he said. “We expect something similar this Sunday. ECU had a good start to this season so we are expecting a tough clash on Sunday, however we are keen to keep building our momentum following the wins against Sorrento and Balcatta.”

ECU Joondalup skipper Johnny Perkins, who pulled off an important save late in their win against Cockburn to see them through, said they had to work for the late win. “It was hard fought win, but better late than never,” he said. “They (Cockburn) are a well organised side with good players, so we knew it would be a tough game and it was. We played well and kept their opportunities to a minimum, so overall it was a good performance and another stepping stone to where we want to be at leading into the season.”

Perkins said Sunday is a huge challenge, but it’s one they are looking forward to. “A club like Perth, with their history would have been disappointed not to be thereabouts last year, and you can see with the signings they have brought in that they are really pushing for it this year,” he explained. “With that said, our focus remains on us. We feel we can beat anyone when we play to our abilities. There are no ‘easy’ games in this league, anyone can beat anyone, so if you’re not up to it you’ll get rolled. Two technical teams, full of confidence and going for the win promises to be a good game.”

5.3.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE PREVIEW

It's the final round of the State League Night series group stage this weekend, with quarter-final spots up for grabs. Each group winners will progress, with the best two best runners up joining them, and in Group A on Saturday it’s all to play for. In the early game at Wanneroo Reserve, third placed Joondalup United take on fourth placed Quinns in a local derby. Quinns can’t make the next stage, but a win for Joondalup, who is sitting two points behind the joint leaders, is vital. “We’re looking forward to the game against Quinn’s, but it’s a little disappointing finding ourselves in this position going into the last game but now it’s out of our hands,” Joondalup midfielder Jay Lang said. “All we can do is win and hope the other result goes our way.”. In the late game Wanneroo City host Balga. The Roos are in pole position to progress, but a win for Balga could change all that.

In Group B Mandurah City need a point to move through to the knock out stage when they take on Ashfield in the early game at Murdoch University on Friday. Ashfield returned to winning ways against Morley last week while Mandurah made it back-to-back wins against Murdoch University. “It was a solid win for us, the first half proved to be quite a test as we put ourselves under a lot of pressure and gave too much freedom, but the second half we fixed the issues and dominated them,” Mandurah’s Joe O’Brien said. “We expect nothing less than a win against Ashfield and a win in every game after that, there’s an elite winning mentality in our squad this year and we’re taking it each game at a time.” It’s been a tough week at Morley Windmills after new coach Tim Kantor stepped down, and new Head Coach Anthony Benetti will be looking for a winning start to his tenure when they take on host Murdoch University Melville in the late game of the group.

In Group C UWA Nedlands sit top, after two wins to start the competition, and a win in the final game against Fremantle City at Edinburgh Oval in the late game will take them through. UWA were big winners against Curtin last weekend, while Fremantle were beaten by Dianella, but Fremantle need a win and other results to go their way to move in to the knock out stage. In the early game at the venue Dianella White Eagles take on hosts Curtin University, and they will also be hoping for a win and hope results elsewhere go their way.

In Group D the two unbeaten teams, Forrestfield United and Subiaco AFC meet in the late game at Hartfield Park. A win for either side will take them into the quarterfinals, but the loser could also make the next phase as one of the beat runners up, so it’s all to play for on this one. In the early game at the venue, Gosnells City and Kelmscott Roos meet in a local derby, both looking to end the competition with their first points.

In Group E Olympic Kingsway takes on Swan United in the early game at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. Olympic are well placed and a point would see them progress, while Swan will go on search of their first win of the competition. In the late game at the venue Kingsway Westside take on Carramar Shamrock Rovers. Rovers can’t qualify, but a win for Steven Dimitrovich’s side could see them move through. Winger Jayden Drummond was on target last week in the win against Swan, and he said it was good to get their first win.

“Bit of a bittersweet win, three points was the most important thing but we knew we needed goals to give us a chance going into the next game,” he explained. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t our night in front of goal we should’ve had five or six, but we just couldn’t put them away.” Drummond knows it’s still preseason but it would be nice to go further in the competition, but they will need to be at their best to beat last season’s champions. “We know the Rovers’ game will be a tough test they are a physical side,” he said. “We know we need goals to give us a chance to go through, anything can happen, we’ve been creating chances a plenty it’s just about putting them away now. We are building well for the season and that’s the most important thing.”

There was dramatic news in Group F in the week, with Stirling Lions deducted three points after playing a suspended player against Canning City last week and as per the competition rules, the result is now a 3-0 Victory to Canning rather than the actual 3-0 victory to Stirling. It means Western Knights now sit clear at the top of the group, and they now only need a point when they take on the Lions in the late game on Friday night at Macedonia Park. Canning City could still make the next stage after gaining those three points, but they need a win against Joondalup City in the early game at the venue to be on the mix for a quarter finals spot.

5.3.2021

GLORY LOOK TO REBOUND AGAINST THE PHOENIX

Perth Glory begin a three game NSW road trip on Sunday when they take on a Wellington Phoenix at Wollongong's WIN Stadium (kick-off at 1.05pm WST). They also take on the Mariners again on March 14 in Gosford, before they play Western Sydney Wanders at Bankwest Stadium on March 19. Richard Garcia’s side will be looking to bounce back from their defeat on Tuesday against Central Coast Mariners, and the coach swung the changes on Tuesday with games coming thick and fast, but it showed we still need a few more experienced players in the squad to be competitive this season, and Garcia will hope German defender Sebastian Langkamp and Chris Ikonomidis will soon be available.

Garcia said that the lessons learned by his players in Tuesday’s defeat will stand them in good stead going into these three games. “It's a learning process and we're still growing as a group," he said. "We had some good possession the other night and probably didn't create as much in the first half, but at the same time, we can't concede set-pieces which then put you on the back foot. So that's a learning process for the group and I think once the senior guys came on and got on that front foot, we had enough chances to win.

"It's about learning that lesson and making sure that we start from the off in that vein of form. We have to make sure that we are focused for the full 90-95 minutes that we're on the park. The feeling within the camp is that we should have got something out of the [Mariners] game and should have been on the front foot a bit more, so we're looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday. They [Wellington] look like they're in form and are ready to go, but our boys are very hungry to bounce back."

Garcia well knows Wellington's strengths, but he was quick to point out that, that his focus this week has been about themselves. "Wellington are a strong side, the attacking side of their game is very good, their attacking midfielders are always a threat, looking to get in behind,” he said. “They've made a huge sacrifice to settle in Sydney, but the one benefit of that is that the travel is at a minimum for them.

“They are playing a lot of games that are local and it's probably less physically demanding for them as they are not having to do the amount of travelling that they usually would. But it's about us again and what we do and how we focus on our performance." Sunday’s game begins a run of five games in 20 days for Glory, but Garcia feels that his players are well capable of dealing with yet another demanding set of fixtures. "I keep saying the schedule is tough because it is tough for us," he said. “We're going to have to again be fully focused and make sure that we're resilient not only physically, but mentally.

"The hardest challenge is that mentally it's tough for the guys. But I think the guys have had a good run at it now, they know what to expect and we want to leave that to the back of our mind. The group is mentally tough enough to deal with it. It's a different reality now... a new normal and that's something we've spoken to the guys about."

Garcia said that Diego Castro is in contention to return to the starting side having been introduced from the bench against the Mariners and that with the exception of Mason Tatafu (ankle), Glory have no fresh injury concerns to deal with. The club's most recent meeting with Phoenix came in last season's Elimination Final when a Joel Chianese goal proved the difference between the two sides at Bankwest Stadium. This term, meanwhile, Ufuk Talay's men have picked up eight points from nine games, three of which came last weekend when David Ball and Ben Waine netted in a 2-0 away victory over the Jets.

3.3.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK SIX REVIEW

The Semi-Finalists for the NPLWA Night Series were decided on Wednesday evening, in a dramatic night of Football. First in Group A at E&D Litis Stadium ECU Joondalup reached the last four after a late Danny Hodgson goal saw them beat Cockburn City 1-0. It was a tight game played in difficult conditions, like the rest of the games with rain sweeping across the metro area. The Jacks needed a win to move through and it looked like they would miss out but on 85 minutes they found the winner. Substitute Ben Hinshelwood made space down the right, he fed the overlapping Luke Davis who crossed into the penalty area, Daryl Nicol challenged the keeper, the ball falling to Hodgson who held off his marker and fired home. “We knew Cockburn would give us a good game as they always do,” Hodgson said post-match. “We had a few missing tonight and people playing in different positions so to come away with the win is positive.”

Perth Glory were five minutes away from a spot in the next round, but ECU’s late goal denied them. But they finished the group in style thrashing an undermanned Inglewood United 6-1 at Perth Plasterboard Stadium. United had already made the semi-finals and coach Andres Oliveira rested a number of players and it was Glory on the front foot early and were four goals up in the first half hour. First on 18 minutes Luke Bodnar headed home from a corner, and sixty seconds later Bryce Bafford crossed to the back post for Jacob Muir to score. It was 3-0 three minutes later skipper Giordano Colli converting from the spot.

It was soon 4-0, Riley Warland curling home a free kick, and just before half time, Chris Donnell finished at the near post to make it 5-0. They added a sixth on the hour Lucas Rossi losing his marker to score. Inglewood scored a late consolation goal nine minutes from time through Hamza Belhassan. “It was certainly a professional display, which is what we expect from our boys, albeit against a severely under strength, but honest and hardworking Inglewood side,” Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich said. “There were some positive patches of play which was pleasing to see, but also some passages and moments that show us just how much we still need to improve.”

In the final game of the group Gwelup Croatia produced a stunning late comeback to beat Inglewood United 4-3 in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve. City went ahead on the half hour, a ball over the top fell to Shane Boyle who made no mistake past Stefan King. It was 2-0 six minutes later, when Dylan Rogers wasn’t closed down and his long-range shot flew home via the post. Gwelup found a lifeline just before half time Mitchell Oxborrow’s cross was flicked on by Hasani Sinclair and Shubham Mokala scored at the back post. But Rockingham regained the two-goal lead seven minutes from time, with Feisal Zaw’s shot deflecting past King. It looked all over for Taki Nicolaidis’ side, but on 90 minutes they pulled one back, with substitute Jon Stynes on target. Amazingly they levelled three minutes into stoppage time, another substitute Rocco Pizzata scoring. But the action wasn’t over and in deep into stoppage time Gwelup won it, Stynes getting on the end of another Oxborrow’s cross to score.

It was also close on Group B, with Perth SC taking out top spot after a come from behind 5-1 win against Balcatta in the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. It was Balcatta who opened the scoring on 19 minutes, with Jawad Rezai netting. But Perth hit back on 38 minutes, a ball found Cameron Teece on the edge of the box, and his shot on the turn flew low into the corner of the net. They hit the front three minutes before half time, Teece finding Calvin Whitney who fired home from 20 meters, via the crossbar. They added a third early in the second half, with Alex Silla arriving late in the box to fire home after some good Perth approach work. Whitney added his second and Perth’s fourth, ten minutes from time, his shot from the edge of the box deflecting up and over the keeper. The icing was put on the cake in the final minute, Gustavo Catarcione racing clear to score. “I thought it was a great win especially after how poor we were for the first 30 minutes and going 1-0 down,” Perth striker Teece said. “But as soon as we got that first goal back and started playing the way we normally do was only going to be one winner.”

Bayswater City needed a big win against Armadale in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve, to edge out the Reds to make the finals, but despite winning the game 4-0 they fell just short on goal difference. Gordon Smith gave the hosts the lead after only five minutes, but it was a tight first half after that with both sides having chances. But it was City who doubled their lead on the hour, with Ndumba Makeche on target, and the former Perth Glory striker added another three minutes later. City were looking for more goals and Fraser Dunlop found a fourth on 69 minutes, but they couldn’t find anymore, and it was Armadale moving into Sunday’s semi-finals.

In the final group game Floreat Athena thrashed Sorrento 5-1 in the early game at E&D Litis Stadium. Jamie Harnwell’s side were ahead in the shadows of half with Scott Witschge scoring. They held the until 18 minutes from time. Then floreat came alive with three goals in the space of nine minutes, Liam Murray bagging a brace, with Joshua Anasmo getting the other. Substitute Elijah Hass rounded off the scoring in stoppage time to make it back-to-back wins for Vas Vujacic’s side.

2.3.2021

SAINSBURY REVEALS FFA CUP DREAM

Socceroos star Trent Sainsbury has revealed he wants to finish his career with Armadale and win the FFA Cup with help from his famous national teammates. The 29-year old has been in good form for Belgian club side KV Kortrijk in recent games, captaining the team for the first time and scoring a goal in their 2-0 win over Anderlecht last weekend.

But Sainsbury has one eye on his future post-Europe, disclosing he would love to play for his boyhood club and also win Australia's premier cup competition with the assistance of some green and gold stars. "Once I’ve retired from professional football and go back to the State League game, I'd love to go and spend a season back in Armadale," Sainsbury said.

"To try and bring in as many of my Socceroo mates as possible and win the FFA Cup, that'd be the ideal dream but I’d definitely just love to play in front of my friends and family. I grew up supporting that club and my dad and his mates have been there since day one supporting it, so that's one of the things I'd like to do when I finish my career off."

Sainsbury has played for the likes of Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven during a well-travelled career through Australia, Europe and Asia, but the former Central Coast Mariners centre-half nearly gave up the game in his younger days. The one-time Perth Glory youth defender credited ex-coach Kenny Lowe for reigniting his passion for football when it was dwindling in his teenage days

"I think it goes back to one of the simplest of things: 'if you don't enjoy doing it then it's not for you'," Sainsbury said. I've taken that on board from Kenny Lowe when back in the day I was thinking about finishing up trying to become a professional footballer. When I was 14 or 15 he brought me in and said, 'just come down and have a couple training sessions with me and the boys.'"

"He said to me, ‘you have just got to find that love of the game again. There's no pressure, just try and be the best person and the best footballer you can be.’ And that gave it back to me. I really wasn't going to, but my dad said ‘just go down, have a look, enjoy it and see what happens’, and that was sort of when I kind of fell in love with football again and wanted to become super competitive at it."

2.3.2021

GLORY SUNK BY THE MARINERS

Perth Glory’s winning run on the A-League has come to an end after a 1-2 loss against league leaders Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park on a wet and windy Tuesday evening. The visitors led 2-0 at the break with goals from Matt Simon and Marcos Urena. Bruno Fornaroli scored his sixth goal of the season to get Glory back into the contest after the break, but despite dominating late they couldn’t find the equaliser, and the small crowd of only 4,125 went home disappointed.

Head Coach felt that there were plenty of positives to come out of the defeat. "Tonight, as much as the result was against us, I thought we played some good football and were actually on the front foot for most of it," he said. "Again, we've got to tighten up the sloppiness at set-pieces and a few things defensively and just be a bit more focused on what we do without the ball.

“I made a few changes to try and rest a few bodies and we had six under-23s in the starting side, so when you're playing and relying on a lot of young guys, they're not always going to be firing on all cylinders. I still thought they played well and gave a good showing of themselves, but it definitely helps when those older guys come on and steady the ship a little bit. It's a tough schedule and we've got to be wary of how we manage the guys."

Richard Garcia made four changes to the side which started Friday's win over Brisbane Roar, and handed Mason Tatafu a starting A-League debut in place of Jonathan Aspropotamitis. Callum Timmins came if for Diego Castro, Nick Sullivan came in for Josh Rawlins, while Daniel Stynes came in for Brandon Wilson, while on the bench NPLWA striker Ciaran Bramwell was named for the first time.

The home started brightly, but it was the Mariners who opened the scoring in their first real attack. Stefan Nigro heading a half-cleared cross back into the box, with Daniel Bouman flicking it on and Simon was given far too much room, and he chested the ball down before finishing clinically past Tando Velaphi. The Mariners looked lively and went close again moments later, the lively Urena raced clear, but Glory defender Darryl Lachman got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny him. Glory hit back and two dangerous crosses from Daniel Stynes and Nick Sullivan, both flashed across the face of goal, but no Glory player to finish them off.

Glory was convinced they had a penalty on 23 minutes when the ball cannoned into the hand of Mariners defender Ruon Tongyik, the VAR had a look at the incident, but deemed Tongyik hadn't moved his arm to an abnormal position, much to the displeasure of the Shed, who let their feelings known to the officials after watching the replay on the big screen. But it was the Mariners creating the best chances, and Urena fired inches wide at the other end on the half hour. Carlo Armiento went close seven minutes later, his shot from the edge of the box whistled just over the top, before Fornaroli’s effort did likewise. Velaphi then stood tall to deny Urena as the Mariners chased a second, and it eventually came four minutes from half time. Former Glory midfielder Daniel De Silva's free-kick found Urena at the far post whose header gave Velaphi no chance, and at the break Glory had it all to do.

Garcia brought on skipper Castro at the break, replacing Nick D’Agostino, but it was the Mariners that went close to a third early, Simon’s glancing header from the impressive Oliver Bozanic’s cross flashed inches past the far post, before Velaphi then got down well to deny De Silva. Garcia made a triple change with Japanese defender Kosuke Ota, Brandon Wilson and Andy Keogh coming on to replace Sullivan, Armiento and Timmins. Ota was soon in the action, his cross picking out Dane Ingram, but the New Zealander couldn’t keep his shot down.

Glory was back in the game on 64 minutes, and it was Ota who was the supplier. His cross from the left found Fornaroli and the Uruguayan headed low past Mark Birighitti. Glory pressed for the leveller and it almost came six minutes later. Ingram’s cross from the right found the head of Keogh, but the Irish striker header was off target. Stynes was then picked out in the box, after great approach work from Castro and Fornaroli, but the youngster could make the most of it. Ota was constant threat and his cross on 75 minutes picked out Fornaroli again, but his header was high.

With Glory pressing forward the Mariners were dangerous on the break and De Silva’s shot on the run drifted inches wide of the upright, and he went close again late after good work by Simon. Glory was throwing everything at the Mariners in search of the equaliser, and their best opportunity came two minutes from time, Neil Kilkenny’s corner was headed goal wards by Keogh, but the Mariners defenders got back to clear, with Fornaroli ready to pounce.

The result was a big morale booster for Central Coast after last week's loss to Adelaide. "Coming off the back of a really difficult loss to take, it was important for the team to show good character and resilience and bounce back tonight with a win," Mariners Daniel De Silva said post-match. "I think we showed that tonight - stuck it out right to the end. We are really happy with the three points."

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 16 Nick SULLIVAN (8 Kosuke OTA 58'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (17 Diego CASTRO 46'), 19 Callum Timmins (15 Brandon WILSON 58'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (10 Andy KEOGH 58'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 82'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 6 Osama MALIK

Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 4 Joshua NISBET, 5 Stefan NIGRO, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 10 Daniel DESILVA (22 Michal JANOTA 90+1'), 11 Jack CLISBY, 12 Marcos UREÑA (29 Alou KUOL 62'), 14 Daniel BOUMAN (26 Jaden CASELLA 72'), 15 Kye ROWLES, 19 Matt SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK - Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 3 Lewis MILLER, 23 Dan HALL, 32 Max BALARD - Referee: Daniel Elder

2.3.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK SIX PREVIEW

There will be three NPLWA Night Series Semi-Finals spots up for grabs on Wednesday evening, when the final round of fixtures are played. Inglewood United are the only team to have secured their place after topping Group A, but there are still four teams in the mix to join them. First up in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve Rockingham City take on Gwelup Croatia. (6.30pm) City missed the opportunity to seal a spot after being beaten by ECU, likewise Gwelup who were edged out by Inglewood. Goran Stajic’s side need a win and hope ECU lose and they can score more goals than Perth Glory on the night.

Stajic said last week was a great game for the neutral but the result didn’t go their way, but he was happy with the performance. “It certainly was a great game to watch and coach, as for the result the team that was more clinical won it,” he said. “We looked very good and were in the game, again for the entire 90+ minutes especially at 1-0 and at 2-3, 3-4 where we had chance after chance to equalise, this is a testament to the players character and the depth that we are creating in the squad. Obviously, our defending could be scrutinised however squad rotation and a focus on keeping possession could be the catalyst in that part of the game. That’s why I am pleased with the three goals we scored, they were created and executed in free play, and this shows that we can open up teams at will.”

The coach said all they can do is get a result on Wednesday and hope results elsewhere go their way, but it’s all about preparation for the season ahead. “The game against Gwelup will give our squad another opportunity to play together against another well coached and quality opposition,” Stajic explained. “The squad we have assembled is practically brand new and have achieved so much, yet so little in the space of two months. With the season fast approaching and to be in the position we are in is not surprising, however for us to win and the other results to go our way to play finals would be interesting but at what cost.”

Gwelup need a win, and then hope ECU lose and hope Inglewood beat Glory. But Head Coach Taki Nicolaidis said if they play with the endeavour the ten men showed last week against Inglewood he will be pleased. “Friday was definitely not the result we wanted against Inglewood, but I was proud of how the team reacted after going down to 10 men and 1-0 down,” he said. “Whilst we can still mathematically make the semis our sole focus is making sure we do our part by performing well to get the three points against a well organised and fit Rockingham. They have performed very well so far in the competition and know we have to be at our best to beat Goran’s troops.”

ECU Joondalup will look to build on last week’s win against Rockingham when they take on Cockburn City in the late game at E&D Litis Stadium. (8.30pm) It’s simple for Kenny Lowe’s side, win and they will be in the semi-finals, while Cockburn will be aiming to end their disappointing Night Series on a high as they go on search of their first win of the competition. In the final game of the group Perth Glory take on Inglewood United in the late game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. (8.30pm) Ruben Zadkovich’s side need a win in this one and hope ECU and Rockingham City both lose to progress. Both sides had hard fought 1-0 wins last week so with everything on the line this one should be a great game.

In Group B Armadale only need a point to guarantee a Semi-Final spot when they take on Bayswater City in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve (8.30pm) Armadale came from behind to beat Balcatta, while Balcatta were stunned by Floreat Athena. City need to win and hope Perth SC slip up against Balcatta to go through, so this one should be the game of the night. Reds Head Coach John O’Reilly said the win against Balcatta was pleasing, especially after going behind early. “It was a good performance from the lads, they showed great character after going 1-0 down and they held their nerve to come back and go in at half time level,” he said.

“In the second half our fitness and quality of finishing saw us score three deserved goals. It was also pleasing to give three debutants the opportunity to impress late, so it was a good day all-round.” The Reds only need a point but that’s the furthest from the mind of the coach. “It would be nice to go through the group stage undefeated, and it would be a great reward for the players for all their hard work and progression the squad has made,” O’Reilly said. “But up against Bayswater we need to do a job, we need to be strong defensively and if the opportunity arises, we will be looking for three points if we can.”

Perth SC’s fate is in their own hands and a win against Balcatta in the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium will see them qualify for next stage. Ramon Falzon’s side are undefeated in the competition, but Balcatta have a good record against Perth in recent seasons, so they will be looking to end their Night Series campaign with a win in the Italian Derby. In the final game of the group Floreat Athena and Sorrento meet in the early game at E&D Litis Stadium (6.30pm). Both sides have had a disappointing Night Series, so both will be looking to end it on high.

1.3.2021

GLORY HOST MARINERS ON TUESDAY EVENING

Perth Glory are back in A-League action on Tuesday evening when they host league leaders Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park (kick-off 6.20pm) Richard Garcia’s side secured a fourth victory of the season on Friday evening, beating Brisbane Roar 3-1 and in the process, setting a new all-time A-League record of 18 goals scored in their opening six games. But Garcia is confident that his squad have plenty of improvement left in them heading into the game, and he knows they are yet to hit anywhere near their best form.

"We produced a decent performance [against Roar] and we're looking to grow from that," he said. "I feel that we have a lot more in the tank than we showed on Friday. Hopefully the cobwebs are out and Tuesday night will be a lot cleaner performance. The stats don't really make a difference to me; it's more being content with the way the guys are progressing. They are playing attractive, attacking football, which is the football I feel our fans want to see and it's the football that I want to play and see. I think the group are enjoying playing this way, but the most pleasing thing for me is not the number of goals that we're scoring, but that we're taking things on board and growing as a group."

The Mariners, meanwhile, will head west having lost just once on their travels this term and Garcia has been impressed by what he's seen from Alen Stajcic's side. "They've been together quite a while now and have added some real quality, so they have a decent squad," he said. “They had a tight game with Adelaide last time out and it was difficult for them copping three penalties. They're going to be a tough opponent as they're top of the league, full of confidence and travelling really well. But it's our home game... and another opportunity for us to improve as a group and as individuals and really grow and get another victory."

In team news, Garcia confirmed that no fresh injury concerns emerged from the Roar game and that with the exception of Sebastian Langkamp and Chris Ikonomidis, he is expecting to have a full squad at his disposal. He will have some selection headaches as well, with the performance off the bench of Japanese defender Kosuke Ota, Daniel Stynes, Andy Keogh and Osama Malik. A victory for Glory on Tuesday could lift them as high as third on the ladder, just three points behind the Mariners who sit top of the table, this before a three-game road trip in NSW.

Perth Glory squad: GK Tando VELAPHI, GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: BAFFORD (promoted) - Outs: 19 Callum TIMMINS - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)

Central Coast Mariners squad: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, GK Adam PEARCE, 3 Lewis MILLER, 4 Joshua NISBET, 5 Stefan NIGRO, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 10 Daniel DESILVA, 11 Jack CLISBY, 12 Marcos UREÑA, 14 Daniel BOUMAN, 15 Kye ROWLES, 19 Matt SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK, 22 Michal JANOTA, 23 Dan HALL, 25 Matthew HATCH, 26 Jaden CASELLA, 29 Alou KUOL, 32 Max BALARD, 33 Louis KHOURY - Ins: HATCH (Promoted), KHOURY (Promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 6.Gianni STENSNESS (Lower Leg – 1-2 weeks), 30.Jordan SMYLIE (Knee – 2 Weeks) - Referee: Daniel Elder

28.2.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE REVIEW

Inglewood United are the first team into the Semi-Finals of the NPLWA Night Series after a 1-0 win against Gwelup Croatia at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening in Group A. Andres Oliveira’s side went into the game unbeaten in the preseason competition, but Gwelup needed three points to keep them in contention of moving through to the next stage. It was a tight game with chances at both ends, but the game took a twist on 57 minutes when Gwelup skipper Blair Govan was sent off by referee Julian Serra. Inglewood took advantage of their numerical advantage and scored the winner three minutes later. A quick break out wide ended with a through ball to Steve Sokol who raced clear and finished low past Stefan King. “It was a good win and enough to move us into the Semi-Final, and we also kept a clean sheet,” striker Robert Petkov said. “We had a few chances and really should have scored more against a 10-man Gwelup, but they were still trying to sneak a goal right to the end so we had to fight to keep them out.”

Rockingham City could have also qualified on the night with a win against ECU Joondalup, but it was Kenny Lowe’s side that won and eight-goal thriller in the early game at Dalmatinac Park in Group A. Goran Static’s side started well and were ahead after only eight minutes, Luke Collins made space down the left and crossed to Shane Boyle who made no mistake from close-range. But ECU hit back five minutes later, Nicol was brought down on the edge of the box and the striker picked himself up and curled the ball home. Ryan Lowry gave ECU the lead on 20 minutes, the defender scoring at the back post, after Rockingham failed to clear a corner. It was 3-1 eight minutes later, a quick break ended with Harold, who burst into the box and finished clinically past Cyril Sharrock. Rockingham weren’t going away and pulled one back ten minutes before half time, when referee Stewart Beattie spotted a foul in the box on Boyle, Ryan Kennedy stepped up and scored from the resulting penalty.

It was a tight start to the second half with both sides having chances, but it was the Jacks who added a fourth just after the hour. Some neat link up play, from Danny Hodgson, Nicol and Harold, the latter racing in at the back post to score. Once again Rockingham hit back, and four minutes later it was 4-3. Kennedy picked out Feisal Zaw, who eased past his marker and fired home edge of the penalty area past Johnny Perkins. But it was ECU who sealed the win on 78 minutes, Nicol was brought down just outside the corner of the penalty area, and once again the Scottish striker stepped up and curled the ball home to seal the win. “An entertaining game for the neutral,” ECU striker Nicol said. “I thought we were in complete control of the game and caused our own problems through sloppiness and a lack of match sharpness which is to be expected in pre-season. But the win puts us in a position to be able to go through to the next round, should we win our final group game against Cockburn City on Wednesday evening.”

In the final game of the Group, Perth Glory made it back-to-back wins after a 1-0 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The only goal of the game came in the final minute of the first half. Glory won a free kick just outside the penalty area and Giordano Colli delivered a teasing set piece into the area which beat everyone and nestled in the back of the net. Cockburn pressed after the break looking for the equaliser but Ruben Zadkovich’s side defended well to keep them at bay. “I thought the goal was thoroughly deserved as we had numerous chances early on and lots of set pieces in attacking areas,” Glory defender Nick Walsh said. “I think we made it harder than it needed to be for ourselves by only scoring one goal, but it was good to hold on for the win in the end.”

Armadale moved clear at the top of Group B, after a 4-1 win against Balcatta in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve. It was Balcatta who started the brighter and they were ahead after only six minutes, with Adam Tong scoring. But ten minutes before half time John O’Reilly’s side levelled, with referee David Bruce pointing to the spot after Josh Cortes was brought down in the box. Ryan McEvoy stepped up but saw his penalty saved by Riley Stephenson but Cortes was quickest to react and he fired home the rebound. Armadale took control after the break and they were ahead on the hour, skipper Brian Patterson finishing low into the net from the edge of the penalty area. It was 3-1 three minutes later, Manase Abandelawa low shot went under the body of Stephenson. But the best was left to last when they added a fourth on 82 minutes. Peter Jacobsz picked the ball up 25 meters out and his powerful shot flew into the top corner of the net. “I think we have a great mix in the team at the minute of young and old, and we are playing with a lot of confidence and it’s showing,” skipper Patterson said. “We still conceded a sloppy goal from a corner, so we’ve got to work on that moving forward.”

In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena produced a stunning form reversal, thrashing Bayswater City 6-0, to leave the top of Group B wide open. City sat top of the group at kick off and unbeaten in the group, while Floreat languished at the foot, without a win. But it was Vas Vujacic’s side who opened the scoring early, with Dean Evans scoring. They doubled their lead on the half hour through Liam Murray and late goals from Murray and Ludovic Bio gave them a 4-0 lead at half time. A shell-shocked Bayswater looked to hit back after half time, but Floreat weren’t finished and Murray completed his hat trick, before Josh Anasmo’s shot was deflected into his own net by a Bayswater defender to seal a comprehensive win. “I thought it was a dominant team performance,” midfielder Dean Evans said. “We’ve had a pretty poor night series by our standards so we were hungry to put a strong showing against Bayswater. I thought we controlled the game from start to finish and we look forward to another positive display against Sorrento on Wednesday night.”

In the final game of Group B Perth SC moved closer to a Semi-Final spot after a 2-0 win against Sorrento in the late game at Percy Doyle Reserve. It was a perfect start for Ramon Falzon’s side, taking the lead after only 60 seconds, Michael Domfeh scoring. Both sides had chances in this one, but it was Perth who scored a second on 69 minutes to seal the three points. New signing Calvin Whitney finding Yagoub Mustafa, who made no mistake. “It was a hard-fought game against Sorrento, and we were pleased with our performance, especially with the quality we showed for lengthy periods in both halves,” Falzon said. “Getting an early lead, from our first goal scoring opportunity we created, put us in the driver's seat to manage the tempo of the game. The execution by the players was more clinical compared to our previous game, as we patiently controlled the game until we could double our lead midway through the second half.”

27.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO REVIEW - SUNDAY GAMES

On Sunday in the early game in Group B Ashfield have bounced back from their opening game defeat to beat Morley Windmills 3-2 at Murdoch University. They hit the front on 17 minutes, but Morley levelled six minutes later. Good build up from Flynn Nolan and Leigh Morgan ended with the ball at the feet of Dion Berman, who made no mistake. But Ashfield regained their lead four minutes before half time, but Tim Kantor’s side restored parity again on 77 minutes, Jordan Fazzari’s long-range strike gave the Ashfield keeper no chance. But three minutes into stoppage time Ashfield won it.

“We went behind again and at half time went in 2-1 down. We dominated the second half and had half a dozen good chances go begging but we deserved our equaliser late on,” Kantor said. “We continued to press forward to try and find a winner and continued to dominate creating more good chances but could get a winner, and a lapse of concentration late on saw the Ashfield win it. All in all, very happy with the two games so far and we got some very important minutes into the players legs.’

In the late game at the venue Mandurah City made it back-to-back wins with a 4-1 win against Murdoch University Melville. The visitors were ahead on the quarter hour, Joe O’Brien coolly slotting home after some tidy build up play in the middle third. But MUM levelled before half time, with Kai Jones scoring, to send the teams into the break even. But after the break Mandurah took control, first on 54 minutes O’Brien added his second, and four minutes later he completed his hat-trick with another clinical finish. The game was wrapped up with arguably the goal of the night as a Jamie Burns half volley left the MUM keeper stranded. “Kris and I are yet again delighted with the result and the nature of the victory,” Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said. “We’re finding some great combinations and the lads are playing with a smile. We head into the Ashfield game full of confidence and raring to go again.”

Finally, in Group E, Kingsley Westside have edged out Swan United 2-1 in the early game at Macedonia Park. It was a tight first half with both sides creating chances, but failing to convert them, but it was Kingsley who hit the front on 68 minutes. Jayden Drummond made a run down the left, his cross picked out Janno Sa at the back post who tapped home. They doubled their advantage seven minutes later, Joel Gillespie crossing to Drummond who headed home. Swan found a lifeline two minutes from time, when Kingsley lost possession just outside the penalty area and Loic Anga shot flew into the top corner. They pressed late looking for the equaliser but Kingsley held firm. “Very pleased with our progress so far in the night series and that’s two games in a row now where if we took our chances, we could’ve won both games comfortably,” Kingsley Westside coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “But it still early days yet and we’ve got lots to work on before our season starts so all in all quite happy for where we are at.”

In the late game at the venue Olympic Kingsway continued their winning start with a 5-1 win against Shamrock Rovers. There was a farce before kick off with both sides having the same-coloured kit, so Olympic had to wear a Stirling Lions kit. It affected them at the start but they finished the half well and were ahead on 38 minutes, with Otto van der Poel scoring. It was 2-0 in the shadows of half time with Giles Davies on target. After the break Hamza Hena bagged a quick double to but Olympic in control and although Ross Jarman pulled one back for Rovers, Hana completed his hat-trick in the final minute, to seal a comfortable win.

27.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO REVIEW - FRIDAY GAMES

It was week two of the State League night series and in Friday night’s games Balga continued their unbeaten start to the competition with a 2-0 win against Quinns in the early game at Wanneroo Reserve. Balga opened the scoring just after half time, Sai Gadi’s long-range free kick was saved, but Weldo Tesfit fired home the rebound. They sealed the points just after the hour, Samson Anaya picking out Farruh Mavlonov who made no mistake. “Our game improved in the second half and the goals which could have been scored in the first half provided stability,” Balga Head Coach Gerhard Janssen explained. “We are looking forward to play Wanneroo next week to further improve our performance.”

In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City and Joondalup United have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw. It was Joondalup who opened the scoring early in the second half, Jamie Stewart swooped onto a flick on from Nic Maplestone and smashed ball home from just inside the penalty area. But Wanneroo levelled 20 minutes from time, a long-range shot was blocked, and the ball was controlled by an on running Greg Greenwood, and he finished well past the Joondalup keeper to level. “The boys gave an improved performance from our first game against Balga,” Joondalup Head Coach Nick Jennings said. “But once again we were left to rue a number of missed opportunities which would have put the game to bed.” Wanneroo’s Scott Johnston said it was a good workout. “The team put a really good shift in from the first to the final minute against a really physical Joondalup United,” he said. “We responded really well to come back from going a goal down, with both teams having chances to win it at the end. We take a lot of confidence from taking four points from two Division One teams in the past weeks into a crucial game against Balga where either team have a good chance to progress out of the group.”

In Group C Dianella White Eagles bounced back from defeat last week to beat Fremantle City 2-0 in the early game at Edinburgh Oval. The Eagles made the perfect start, opening the scoring after only eight minutes. David Heagney turned his marker and played Nikola Zmukic in on goal and he finished clinically. They doubled their lead on 20 minutes, a ball across the box found Stephen Musonda who made no mistake from close-range. Fremantle pushed to get back into the game but couldn’t find a way past a tight Dianella defence. “It was a really good game our boys worked their socks of and got what we deserved in the end,” Heagney said. “Especially after many people didn’t think we would have a chance against a very strong Fremantle team.”

In the late game at the venue UWA Nedlands continued their good form under new coach Dom Gangemi with a comprehensive 7-1 win against hosts Curtin University. UWA were ahead after only four minutes with Egide Rashford on target, and it was 2-0 when Godfrey Asimwe scored on the half hour. It soon became 3-0 with Bryce Conway crossing to Rhys Williams to score and it was 4-0 at the break with Asimwe adding his second. UWA continued their dominance after half time and Pascal Sedgwick added a fifth, before Adam Carlino made it 6-0 on the hour. Conway found their seventh ten minutes from time, while Curtin scored a consolation goal late on.

“We’re happy to get another 90 minutes into the legs, we've not had any real match time throughout pre-season so night series is a great opportunity for everyone to get on the pitch in a game environment,” UWA’s Thomas Moroney said. “It’s good to go and deliver a measured performance against a fairly young and energetic side in Curtin, we've a few new faces/familiar faces back after a season or two away who are integrating into the set-up well - which you love to see. It's all about being ready for start of the State League though, so we'll look put in another good footballing performance next week against Fremantle, but with an eye on the first weekend in April.”

In Group D Subiaco have won back-to-back games after a 2-0 win against Kelmscott Rovers at Hartfield Park. Subiaco were ahead on 23 minutes, with Elliot Ireland finding the top corner of the net with a free kick. They added a second just before half time, some good build up play ended with Ben Campbell finishing well. “It was a disciplined game from the boys and another clean sheet to go with it which we’re very happy about,” Subiaco defender Ben Johns said. “It sets up a winner takes all game next week against Forrestfield which we’re looking forward to.”

In the late game at the Venue Forrestfield United has edged out Gosnells City 4-3 in the local derby. The visitors opened the scoring on 22 minutes, a well worked move ended with Scott Pereira heading into the bottom corner. But the home side levelled three minutes later, Jake Pen crossed in from the left to Ryan Francis who set up Jason Pottier who coolly finished from just inside the penalty area. But Gosnells regained their lead on the half hour, Wade Farmer cutting in from the right and his shot from outside the box went in off the post. But Forrestfield restored parity again three minutes later, Josh Pereira whipped in a great ball from the right to Vlad Naumovski who headed home.

Gosnells led for the third time on the hour, an inch perfect through ball from Hussein Jafari sent Farmer clear and he finished well. But Graham Normanton’s side weren’t finished and they levelled again 81 minutes. Good approach work from Jordan Hart, saw him find substitute Jordan Lyall who finished with aplomb into the bottom corner from just inside the box. It looked like the points would be shared but in the fourth minute of stoppage time the home side won it. Trent Kay crossed from the left, and it was headed back across goal by Naumovski, and Rhys Loxley fired home the winner.

“The game was a bit of a scrappy one. Both teams played a very different brand of football and we found it really difficult at times to deal with their directness,” Forrestfield skipper Loxley explained. “In the second half we were able to get control of the ball a lot more and we finished the game the stronger of the two. Credit to them though, they battled hard as you would expect in a local derby, but we will take positives in the fact that we have scored seven in two games with six individual scorers. We also understand that we have to improve in certain areas before we start the season.” Despite the loss Gosnells Coach Marc Anthony was pleased with his side’s performance. “It was a good hit out, and I thought we deserved something from the game,” he said. “But we’re happy with the performance and improvement from the squad.”

In Group F Western Knights continued their solid start to the competition with an 8-2 win against Joondalup City in the early game at Macedonia Park. They were ahead after only three minutes, Ciaran Byrne made a run out wide and pulled the ball back to Joshua Marocchi, who picked out Conor Thurston who finished well. It was 2-0 on 16 minutes, good work in the middle of the park by Johnny Charmers and Andrea Jukic, ended with the ball played outside to Jake Rycroft who found Charmers in the box who finished with aplomb. Joondalup were back in the game two minutes later when they scored from the spot, with Callum Speed scoring. But two late goals from Byrne put the Knights in control at the break. First, he scored from an in-direct free kick, firing the ball under the wall and into the corner of the net, before he was picked out by Rycroft to tap home.

It was more of the same after the break, and it was 5-1 on 53 minutes, Marocchi’s low cross found Byrne, who squared the ball to Thurston, who sent Rycroft running into the box to finish. It was 6-1 three minutes later Charmers' corner found Adam Harris free at the back post who headed home. Joondalup pulled another back on 73 minutes, with Bayley Brown-Montgomery scoring, but the Knights weren’t finished and add two more late. On 84 minutes a ball into the box was turned into his own net by a Joondalup defender before Rycroft wrapped up the scoring four minutes later. “It was great team performance on the night from us, and we took control of the game from the start and got that early goal,” Byrne said.

“We moved the ball well around the pitch all night and I think fitness levels played a part towards the end when we got the last three goals. Credit to Joondalup though, they tried to play out from the back and did well in certain times of the game. They kept themselves in it for a period of time but the two goals just at the end of the first half may have deflated them going into the second half. We now look forward to taking them goals and confidence in to the game next Friday night against Stirling.” In the late game at the venue Stirling Lions were too strong for Canning City 3-0.

26.2.2021

GLORY SILENCE THE ROAR

Perth Glory returned to HBF Park in style, beating high-flying Brisbane Roar 3-1 on Friday evening. Diego Castro netted five minutes before half time, before Jack Hingert headed in on the stroke of half-time to ensure the match was level at the interval. On his A-League debut, Glory substitute Kosuke Ota had a hand in creating the second-half goals from Bruno Fornaroli and Castro for the free-scoring hosts, who have now netted 18 times across their first six games, an A-League record. Brisbane played their part in a good game, but couldn’t keep a rampant Glory out despite racking up 20 attempts on goal.

Glory has three games in hand on most of the teams above them and are up to fifth in the table, two points behind Brisbane and six adrift of leaders Central Coast Mariners. Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia was delighted with his sides’ performance, especially after they only emerged from a fortnight of home quarantine last weekend. "It was a very good win," he said. "The guys did really well. It was a performance that showed they had been in quarantine for a few weeks and hadn't had much match practice, but to their credit, they stuck at it and kept pushing and the guys that came off the bench made the impact that was required.

"I'm proud of this team that is continuously pushing to go forward and continually challenge themselves to be on the front foot. We've always said that we wanted to play attacking football. I want us to be the kind of team that I would like to watch and the guys have really started to take that on board. They want to play that kind of football as well and at the moment they are really hitting their straps and are doing very well." Garcia made two changes to the side that beat Adelaide United last time out with Josh Rawlins and Carlo Armiento coming in for Nick Sullivan and Andy Keogh, who dropped to the bench.

The Roar arrived in the west in good form and they started the brighter and Riku Danzaki shot was saved low by Tando Velaphi, before Golgol Mebrahtu met a Jay O'Shea free-kick, his header beat Velaphi but the crossbar came to the Glory custodian’s rescue. But Glory settled and pressed and many in the crowd were convinced they had a penalty on 22 minutes when Nick D’Agostino raced clear and was brought down by Roar keeper Jamie Young, but after a VAR check the decision was no penalty, much to the disappointment of the Glory faithful.

D’Agostino was in again on the half hour, a superb pass from Castro foind Fornaroli, the ball deflected to the Young Socceroo striker, but Roar defender Corey Brown got back to block his effort. Moments later Jonathan Aspropotamitis headed Neil Kilkenny’s corner inches over the top. Roar looked impressive going forward and Jack Hingert’s shot whistled over the top on 38 minutes, but two minutes later it was Glory who opened the scoring. The pace of D’Agostino again saw him race across the top of the penalty area and he slipped the ball onto Castro, and the Spanish maestro cut in the from the left and curled his shot past Young.

Roar almost hit back immediately, a cross found the lively Dylan Wenzel-Halls, his shot cannoned off the woodwork and away to safety. Then Aspropotamitis did well to clear Golgol Mebrahtu dangerous cross as the Roar pressed for the equaliser. That finally came three minutes into stoppage time, Corey Brown’s cross from the left found Hingert, who lost his marker before heading powerfully past Velaphi to send the teams into the break level.

Roar started the second like they finished the first and Velaphi got down well to deny Rahmat Akbari. Garcia went to the bench on the hour making a quadruple substitution. Keogh, Daniel Stynes, Osama Malik and Japanese international Ota all coming on, replacing Dane Ingram, Armiento, Brandon Wilson and D’Agostino. Roar went close again moments later Mebrahtu was given far too much room, before volleying over the top, he should have done better.

Then against the run of play on 68 minutes Glory regained the lead. Kilkenny’s cross-field pass found Ota on the left, his cushioned pass found Fornaroli and the Uruguayan striker’s half volley flew past Young in front of the Shed. It was 3-1 seven minutes later, and Ota was heavily involved again. A flick from Castro started the move finding Fornaroli, who played the Japanese defender down the left, his shot was saved low by Young, the rebound falling to Castro, who controlled first time before firing home to seal the win.

Roar Head Coach Warren Moon was positive about the performances from his side despite finishing on the wrong side of the ledger. “I thought we were very much in control of the first half,” Moon said post-match. “Second half was a good contest, but we were undone by two well-taken goals which gave them the ascendency…then obviously they got the third to steal it. We couldn’t stop scoring a few weeks ago. We’re creating the same number of chances but our [good] performance is still there. As long as we keep ticking [off] those targets and producing those performances as a group then it will turn around for us.”

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 15 Brandon WILSON (6 Osama MALIK 61'), 17 Diego CASTRO (16 Nick SULLIVAN 83'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 61'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (10 Andy KEOGH 61'), 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM (8 Kosuke OTA 61'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 34 Mason TATAFU

Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, 3 Corey BROWN, 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 10 Riku DANZAKI (11 Joe CHAMPNESS 73'), 17 Golgol MEBRAHTU (33 Keegan JELACIC 73'), 19 Jack HINGERT, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 27 Kai TREWIN (15 Jesse DALEY 78') - Subs not used: RGK Macklin FREKE, 16 Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH, 29 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS - Referee: Alireza Faghani

26.2.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE PREVIEW

It’s week five of the NPLWA Night Series with all games being played Friday evening at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. In the early game at Frank Drago Reserve, Armadale meet Balcatta in Group B. Bobby Taneski’s side produced their best performance of the competition last week with a 1-0 win at Floreat Athena, while Armadale fought back to draw 1-1 against Perth SC. Reds winger Chad Nilson said it was a good point especially after the injuries, they had which left them depleted. “It was a great result for us especially considering we had players dropping like flies the longer the game went on,” he explained.

“We even had to bring on our keeper Craggsy on upfront, but it was a resilient performance and a great a result, and shout out to Manase with three goals in two games.” Nilson is expecting another tough test on Friday against a Balcatta side who are starting to hit some form. “It should be an interesting match, as we obviously beat Floreat as well, so could be a close one,” he said. “There’s a great team spirit amongst the lads this year and it’s helping us out on the pitch evidently, so can’t wait to get back out there.” In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena will go on search of their first point of the competition when they take on hosts Bayswater City, who are yet to be beaten in Group B.

The early game at Dalmatinac Park sees Rockingham City take on ECU Joondalup in Group A. Rockingham are coming off a hard fought 2-0 win against Cockburn, while ECU let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 against Inglewood. Jacks skipper Johnny Perkins said it was disappointing to concede late but they have taken some positives from the game. “Yes, we should have managed the game better and seen it out, and we conceded two sloppy goals,” the keeper explained.

“We were at fault for both so we know it’s a matter of cutting out those lapses with fitness and sharpness getting minutes in legs every week. Having said that we controlled the game for large periods and played some attractive football so we take the positives and move on to Rockingham on Friday.” In the late game at the venue Cockburn City, who were beaten by Rockingham last week, will go on search of their first win of the competition when they host Perth Glory, who are coming off a big win against Gwelup Croatia.

In the early game at Percy Doyle Reserve, Gwelup Croatia will look to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Inglewood United in Group A. Gwelup let a lead slip last week against Glory and need a win keep their semi-final hopes alive, while Inglewood fought back late to draw against ECU. United’s new striker Ajak Riak was on target last week and he said they had chances to win it late. “I thought we was very unfortunate to go 2-0 down after having a really good first half with plenty of chances,” he said.

“We dug deep in the final 15 minutes and I think the flow of fresh legs from the subs gave us a spark to comeback.” Riak, who joined Andres Oliveira’s side from Olympic Kingsway, after helping them to the Division One title last season, said he is looking forward to the challenge on Friday, in a must win game. “We take every game with the same mindset, and I’m sure all the guys will agree we want to win every game,” he said. “It will be a good test for us to prepare for the 2021 campaign.” In the late game at the venue Perth SC takes on hosts Sorrento in Group B, looking to keep the pressure on the top two in the group.

26.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO PREVIEW

It’s week two of the State League Night Series and it kicks off on Friday evening, and in Group A Balga will be looking to build on their draw against Joondalup United when they take on Quinns at Wanneroo Reserve. Quinns were well beaten by Wanneroo and new coach Glen Grostate will be looking for them to bounce back in this one. In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City meet Joondalup United, with both sides looking to keep their unbeaten start to the group.

The game will take on extra significance, as it has been three years since the WA Football Community was saddened by the passing of Garin Collins. Garin was part of Joondalup United’s 2014 State League Division Two side who won the title without losing a game. He also played for a number of other Perth clubs including Wanneroo City Soccer Club, Floreat Athena, ECU Joondalup Soccer Club, Quinns FC and Cockburn City Soccer Club.

Friday’s game will be dedicated to him as he once donned the colours of both teams. A minute of silence will be observed before the game and all players from both sides will be wearing a green armband to honour Garin who was Hibernian FC supporter. Past and present JUFC and Wanneroo members and players are invited to head down to celebrate his life. Please remember - RUOK? A conversation could change a life. If you need to talk for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Men’s Line 1300 78 99 78.

In Group C Fremantle City take on Dianella White Eagles in the early game at Edinburgh Oval. Cameron Lord’s side started well with a big win against Curtin, while Bobby Despotovski and Stewart Moses will be looking for their side to bounce back after defeat against UWA Nedlands. Both sides have recruited well in the off season so this one will be a great game. In the late game at the venue, it’s the ‘University Challenge’ when Curtin University host UWA Nedlands, who impressed in their win against Dianella

In Group D Subiaco will look to build on their win against Gosnells, when they take on Kelmscott Roos at Hartfield Park. The Roos were beaten by Forrestfield last week but coach Warren Smith was pleased with his sides first hit out of the season. “The game against Forrestfield was good, we learnt a lot about our group, and we were just wanting to be competitive,” he said. “I feel we achieved what we set out to achieve in the game, against a State league Division One side. I feel we could have got a point out of the game but unfortunately, we could not take our chances in front of goal, something to work on.” Smith will be looking to continue their progress against Subiaco on Friday. “We’re looking forward to another test against another Division One side in Subiaco,” he said. “They are a well-structured side and will be a great test for us, it should be a good game of football and we’re looking forward to It.” In the late game at the venue Forrestfield United host Gosnells City in a local derby.

Finally on Friday in Group F, Night Series holders Western Knights will be looking for back-to-back wins when they take on Joondalup City in the early game at Macedonia Park. Ivan Zuvela’s side held off a fast-finishing Canning last week, while Joondalup were beaten by Stirling. In the late game new Lions coach Ian Ferguson will look for back-to-back wins when they host Canning City.

On Sunday, Group B games will be at Murdoch University and in the early game Morley Windmills meet Ashfield. (5.00pm) Both sides were beaten in the opening round, Ashfield by MUM and Morley by Mandurah. New Windmills coach Tim Kantor said there were positives to take from the game. “We fielded a very young squad and it was extremely pleasing to see how well a couple of our U18s acquitted themselves,” he said. “We knew we were going to be up against a very physical and experienced outfit and we were very pleased with how the youngsters acquired themselves.”

Kantor said Sunday will be another tough test but they are looking forward to it as they prepare for the season ahead. “This week is a new game and a new challenge. Ashfield are also a young side so we are very keen to see how we match up,” he explained. “It’s February and we have some real exciting talent that will get some minutes on Sunday and hopefully we can use the night series to build towards round one.” In the late game at the venue last week’s winners Mandurah City take on hosts Murdoch University Melville at 7.00pm

Finally on Sunday in Group E Swan United take on Kingsley Westside in the early game at Macedonia Park. Swan opened the competition with a draw against Shamrock, while Kingsley were beaten by Olympic, so both sides will be doing all they can to get in the winner’s circle. In the late game at the venue last season’s Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway take on last season’s Division Two champions Shamrock Rovers, which should be one of the games of the round.

26.2.2021

GLORY BACK ON HOME SOIL

Perth Glory are back on home soil after a month away, when they host Brisbane Roar at HBF Park on Friday evening. (6.05pm). After playing three games in the east and completing 14-days quarantine, Richard Garcia is backing his squad as they battle their disjointed A-League campaign, and it won’t be long to wait for the next home game, Tuesday against league leaders Central Coast Mariners.

Garcia believes his players have what it takes to continue their encouraging start to the season which has seen them win three of five games. "It is tough on the group, but it’s what we've got to expect this year and the boys are up for that," he said. "For us, it was possibly a good break just to sit back and look at other teams and see how we'd fare against them tactically. But the boys are dying now to get back out there and play some football.

"The group has responded really well when it's come up against tough challenges. This season is going to continually put these challenges up and I think they [the players] are doing very, very well with it. With the mentality that we have in the squad, it's good to know that you can rely on them to keep themselves in a good state mentally and physically."

Brisbane will head into the game searching for a fifth win of the season which would move them to within one point of the leaders, but go into the game without talisman Scott McDonald, the former Socceroo striker is out with a hamstring injury. But the focus for Garcia this week has been very much inwards. "They have made a great start to the season and are doing really well, but we have nothing to fear," he said. "We know the quality we possess and that we can be very competitive in this league and do well and that starts with these next couple of games. "For us, it's about what we do and how we want to play and fulfilling our potential as a group and as a team and I think everything else will then take its place."

In terms of team news Osama Malik returns to the squad for the first time since dislocating his shoulder during pre-season, while Luke Bodnar returned to action in the clubs NPLWA Night Series win against Gwelup Croatia. Meanwhile Garcia confirmed that Andy Keogh is expected to feature in the upcoming two home games after recovering from a groin strain and he also provided an update on the status of new recruits Kouske Ota and Sebastian Langkamp. "Andy is struggling a little bit, but he's mended quite well over quarantine and now it's about making sure we give him the right load to be able to come back into full fitness," he said. "He spent quite a bit of time out of the game coming into this season and we saw the qualities he possesses in the [first] Adelaide game.

"Unfortunately, I then asked him to back that up three days later, so it always becomes an uphill battle for him then. It’s about maybe taking the foot off the pedal with him and making sure we manage him right and that he builds up the football element of his game. He's an integral part of the team and the squad and he'll be available.

"Ota and Langkamp are out of hotel quarantine now and it's a good opportunity for them to get with the group and find their feet as far as some physical work is concerned. It's hard coming out of international quarantine because you can't do a lot, if anything, so we need to give them some time to settle and make sure they're in the best possible shape before they start full training. They need to acclimatise and we need to make sure that their bodies are ready and that they don't come in, pick up an injury and then we've lost them for the season. "We've got to be as mindful as we can be of getting them into a good physical state.”

Perth Glory squad: GK Tando VELAPHI, GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *1-3 to be omitted* - Ins: MALIK (returns from injury), KEOGH (returns from injury) - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)

Brisbane Roar squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, GK Macklin FREKE, 3 Corey BROWN, 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 8 Danny KIM, 9 Masato KUDO, 10 Riku DANZAKI, 11 Joe CHAMPNESS, 15 Jesse DALEY, 16 Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH, 17 Golgol MEBRAHTU, 19 Jack HINGERT, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 27 Kai TREWIN, 29 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 33 Keegan JELACIC, 34 Alex PARSONS - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: KIM (promoted), KUDO (promoted), COURTNEY-PERKINS (promoted), JELACIC (promoted), PARSONS (promoted) - Outs: 77 Scott MCDONALD (hamstring) - Referee: Alireza Faghani

25.2.2021

SKY BLUES TOO STRONG FOR GLORY

Perth Glory’s search for a Westfield W-League win will continue after a 2-6 loss against Sydney FC at Dorrien Gardens on Thursday evening. Alex Epakis side found themselves 0-4 down on the hour with a double from Remy Siemsen and others to Princess Ibini-Isei and Clare Wheeler, but Glory hit back with Hana Lowry scoring a brace, but late goals to Ibini-Isei and Wheeler sealed a comprehensive win for the Sky Blues.

Head Coach Alex Epakis pulled no punches in his post-match comments. "I'm devastated and they [the players] are devastated," he said. "The effort and attitude in our preparation wasn't reflected in the game against Brisbane and it certainly wasn't reflected in the game we just had here. There are disappointed players in there because it's not what we want to be about. Unfortunately, conceding another late goal in the first half and an early one in the second half destroyed any momentum we were looking to build.

"Hana Lowry then scores two goals, but instead of it being 2-2, it's 2-4 because of the goals we conceded just before and just after the break. This is another steep learning curve for this young group and all we can do is face up, front it, look in the mirror and see where we can be better as individuals. There are so many disappointments right now in terms of the feeling, but there is a good character in the group and we'll respond as best as we possibly can going into the run of games that we now have coming up."

Glory went into the game unchanged from the side that were beaten by Brisbane Roar last time out, and they went close early, Caitlin Doeglas’ shot was well saved by Jada Whyman. Moments later Ibini-Isei pounced on a loose ball, but her shot was soberly saved by Lily Alfeld. Glory had started well and Taneesha Baker, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, went close on 21 minutes, after she was found by Lowry, but she could only find the side-netting, before Marianna Tabain’s long-range shot flashed over the top. But on the stroke of half time, it was Sydney who opened the scoring. There seemed little danger when a loose ball fell kindly for Siemsen some 25 metres out, but the Young Matildas representative unleash a stunning left-foot strike which arrowed its way into the bottom corner.

It was a cruel blow after a promising 45 minutes from Glory and they suffered another just after the restart when Ibini-Isei found a pocket of space in the box and lashed a fierce shot past Alfeld. The Sky Blues were now well on top and Siemsen grabbed her second and Sydney's third, finishing well after being teed up by Rachel Lowe and seven minutes later, Wheeler made it 4-0 by forcing home Ally Green's low cross from the left. Glory were now on the ropes, but teenager Lowry gave the fans some hope with a quick-fire double.

First an angled drive past Whyman, before Jamie Lee-Gale’s cross from the right was side-footed home by the youngster. But Wheeler almost immediately restored the visitors' three-goal advantage with a close-range effort, dispelling any notion of the ladder leaders slipping up. Alfeld then produced a superb save to block Wheeler's penalty after Liz Anton had brought Ibini-Isei down in the box, but the latter became the fourth player to claim a brace on the night when she squeezed home a low shot right at the death.

Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (6 Tijan MCKENNA 46'), 10 Alexia MORENO (23 Katarina JUKIC 59'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 58'), 17 Marianna TABAIN (16 Isabella WALLHEAD 69'), 18 Taneesha BAKER - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT

Sydney FC: GK Jada WHYMAN, 3 Charlotte MCLEAN, 5 Ally GREEN (17 Angelique HRISTODOULOU 79'), 6 Clare WHEELER, 7 Ellie BRUSH, 8 Rachel LOWE (9 Allira TOBY 68'), 10 Remy SIEMSEN (15 Mackenzie HAWKESBY 68'), 11 Cortnee VINE (19 Charlie RULE 84'), 12 Natalie TOBIN, 18 Taylor RAY, 20 Princess IBINI-ISEI - Subs not used: RGK Eliza CAMPBELL - Referee: Isabella Libri

25.2.2021

SAINSBURY OPENS UP ABOUT FOOTBALL AND HIS BELOVED ARMADALE

It’s been a long journey in football for Perth born Trent Sainsbury, from junior football at Morgan Park in Armadale to the San Siro in Milan and he now plying his trade at Belgian First Division club KV Koryrijk. But his journey could have ended early, after he was going to walk away from football, but a chat to then NTC Football West coach Kenny Lowe changed the direction for the talented defender.

Speaking on ‘The Socceroos Podcast’, the Australian defender shared how his footballing journey has helped put life into perspective and with a second child on the way, how he has managed to balance family with his commitments as a professional footballer. When asked about the best piece of advice he has received, Sainsbury opened up on an exchange with the current ECU Joondalup Head Coach Lowe that resonates to this day. "I think it goes back to one of the simplest of things: 'if you don't enjoy doing it then it's not for you," he said.

"I've taken that on board from Kenny when back in the day I was thinking about finishing up trying to become a professional footballer. When I was 14 or 15, he brought me in and said, 'just come down and have a couple training sessions with me and the boys.' He said to me,' you have just got to find that love of the game again. There's no pressure, just try and be the best person and the best footballer you can be.' And that gave it back to me. I really wasn't going to, but my dad said just go down, have a look, enjoy it and see what happens’, and that was sort of when I kind of fell in love with football again and wanted to become super competitive at it."

As the old cliche goes, for Sainsbury, the rest is history. A meteoric rise with the Central Coast Mariners saw him win an A-League Championship before heading abroad in 2014 - the same year he made his Socceroos debut. The Thornlie-born defender has faced questions regarding his naturally laid-back attitude over the years, but in response, Lowe's advice continues to ring true.

"When I did get that that contract at Central Coast Mariners, I think a few people kind of looked at me and said, 'you're a bit nonchalant'- but that's just me," Sainsbury explained. "It's worked against me quite a few times in my early parts of my career and later in my career as well, but at the same time I love the game, I just want to enjoy the game and when I get on the pitch, I'm as serious as anyone else. I think I don't do it as a job, now I do it as a hobby."

With that motivation in mind, Sainsbury explained the on and off-field reasons for his recent move to Belgian club Kortrijk. “Kortrijk was more of a move to just try and get match minutes, but also as for my family," he said. "My wife and I are expecting a second child now in early April, so it was more of a get the family into an environment where they can be most settled and thrive. My family's happy so for me that's enough at the moment."

When it comes to setting goals moving forward, Sainsbury is no longer a starry-eyed young player with his sights fixated on the top. Rather, he is focused on enjoying the moment, approaching each game in isolation with an immediate focus on building up fitness and form to ensure he is in top condition when the Socceroos finally return to action. "I'm not looking too far ahead," he admits. "I've done that in the past and I thought I'd remain at one club one or two clubs pretty much my whole career and look how that turned out. I know with football you just cannot predict the future so I'm looking now just in the short term and that's getting back with the national team and playing games here my club."

Despite this emphasis on short term goals, Sainsbury does have one special dream in mind for the twilight years of his career - involving a homecoming to his grassroots club. "Honestly I've spoken to the wife about this," he reveals. “I said, once I’ve retired from professional football and go back to the State League game, I'd love to go and spend a season back in Armadale. To try and bring in as many of my Socceroo mates as possible and win the FFA Cup, that'd be the ideal dream but I’d definitely just love to play in front of my friends and family. I grew up supporting that club and my dad and his mates have been there since day one supporting it, so that's one of the things I'd like to do when I finish my career off."

21.2.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FOUR REVIEW

It was week four of the NPLWA Night Series and all game were on Sunday, and Inglewood United continued their unbeaten start, but had to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with ECU Joondalup in the late game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. It was a tight first half with Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn producing a stunning save to deny Danny Hodgson’s free kick before Robert Petkov hit the base of the post at the other end. But five minutes from half time it was ECU who hit the front when referee Josh Mannella spotted a foul in the box and Hodgson converted a Panenka from the spot. Kenny Lowe’s side doubled their lead in stoppage time, Inglewood failed to clear their lines and Chris Harold punished them. ECU were on the front foot early on the second half with Harold and Daryl Nicol a constant threat, but they couldn’t find a third.

Inglewood coach Andres Oliveira went to his bench bringing on Adam Falcone and he had an immediate impact crossing to Ajak Riak to score on 78 minutes. They had the ball in the net again four minutes later, Mark Barnett heading home, but the referee had spotted a foul on the box. But they did level six minutes from time, a mistake at the back was punished by the alert Falcone, who was mobbed by his teammates. Inglewood was now well on top and pressed for the winner and in the final minute they were convinced they had a penalty when a shot struck the arm of an ECU defender but the referee was well positioned to wave away their strong protests. “It was a good hit out against good opposition,” Inglewood assistant coach Jason Colli said. “It could have gone either way and I’m sure the crowd were entertained.”

In the earlier game at the venue Rockingham City beat Cockburn City 2-0. Goran Stajic’s side were ahead on 19 minutes, good lead up play ended with Dylan Rogers who found the bottom corner of the night from the edge of the box. Rockingham then had to defend stoutly to keep Cockburn at bay, but missed chances cost them, the best coming from substitute Euen Grant who headed inches wide after bringing picked out at the back post. But their profligacy in front of goal came back to haunt them when Rockingham add a second deep into stoppage time. A long clearance from Cyril Sharrock found Christos Vaenas on the left, and he cut inside his marker and finished low past the keeper. “I thought it was very assuring to see our squad see out the game in that fashion,” new recruit Feisal Zaw explained. “We defended well and created plenty of chances which is also very encouraging, and I’m definitely excited for the season ahead.”

Perth Glory have bounced back for their first win of the competition, coming from behind to beat Gwelup Croatia at Dorrien Gardens. Taki Nicolaidis’ side we’re ahead just before half time, with Shubham Mokala sending Sam Mitchinson clear and he finished well past Cameron Cook. But Ruben Zadkovich’s side hit back and levelled seven minutes into the second half with skipper Giordano Colli shot taking a slight deflection to beat Gwelup custodian Stefan King. But 10 minutes later Glory found the winner, Adam Zimarino firing past King from a tight angle. Colli was delighted with the win and the performance. “Overall a great performance from the lads,” he said. “I thought we played a good first half, and we were unlucky with the goal right at the end of the half. But we came out strong in the second half building lots of pressure and it eventually paid off with two quick goals, and he held firm to win the game with some great defensive efforts at the end of the game.”

In the early game at the venue Armadale and Perth SC have fought out a 1-1 draw to maintain their unbeaten starts. Armadale were forced into a late change with Callum Mellowship injured in the warm up. They then went behind on 24 minutes with Cameron Teece scoring, and it went from bad to worse for John O’Reilly’s side, the coach losing three more players to injury, and having to bring their reserve keeper Michael Craggs on the park. They were kept in the game by new keeper Yousri Gharsallah, who made a number of fine saves and four minutes from time they equalised and Craggs had a hand in the goal. He picked the pocket of a Perth defender before finding Manase Abandelawa who made no mistake. “Perth definitely dominated us first half and probably lucky to go just 1-0 down,” skipper Brian Patterson said. “But in the second half we reset and I thought we finished the stronger of the teams and got our reward late.”

In the early game at E&D Litis Stadium Bayswater City maintained their unbeaten start to the preseason competition with a 3-1 win against Sorrento. Gareth Naven’s side opened the scoring in first half stoppage time, a quick counter attack ended with new signing Ndumba Makeche who finished neatly. It was 2-0 just after the hour, Albert Fullard played a one-two with Fraser Dunlop on the edge of the box, his cross into the box was headed home by Jason Mirco. Sorrento pressed and were rewarded in the last minute, with Alex Morgan pulling one back, but in stoppage time Bayswater sealed the win. Kosta Sparta’s diagonal ball found Mirco on the right, he played a neat give and go with Dunlop, and Mirco held off his marker and finished well.

“It was a very important win for us, we’re all still holding towards what the new manager wants,” Mirco explained. “We’ve used our full squad throughout the night series so far so it’s important to see everyone chipping in and helping in each respective match. Playing Sorrento, we knew what a tough opponent they would, there always a tricky game. We started very bright and took the game to them early and I think Ndumba’s goal was crucial. We’ve got another huge game at the weekend against Athena so we’ll get into training this week and begin preparing for another tough opponent.”

In the late game at the venue, hosts Floreat Athena’s poor start continued losing 1-0 to Balcatta. The only goal of the game came on 52 minutes. Floreat were hitting on a quick counter attack and Jack Leech won the ball and fed David Cyrus, who played the ball over the top and Amir Ajan won a header with the last defender and raced into the box and finished into the bottom corner of the net. Defender Adam Tong said it was nice to get a win at a ground they have had trouble at over the years. “Obviously the boys are pleased with the win against last year’s winners of the night series on their home ground, where we haven’t won since 2013,” he said. “I thought we deserved the points and victory we defended well as a team, and played some great one touch football during the 90 minutes which is pleasing to see.”

21.2.2021

ROAR TO STRONG FOR GLORY

Perth Glory are still searching for their first Westfield W-League win after being well beaten 4-0 by second placed Brisbane Roar at the Lions Stadium on Sunday. Matildas Emily Gielnik and Olivia Chance both scored first-half goals, before Gielnik added a second after the break before substitute Larissa Crummer scored the fourth late. It was tough for Alex Epakis’ side, who were backing up from Thursday's narrow defeat against Western Sydney, and they did create a number of chances but once again the young side failed to take them

Despite the loss Epakis was still quick to praise the character shown by his young squad. "Full credit to Brisbane, they were a class above today and I think you could see what experienced players can bring to a squad,” he said. “But in terms of my girls, I'm so proud. Up until the 93rd minute they were still going for it. It's been a quick turnaround; two games in four days after only playing three in three months has been a bit of a shock to the system, but we're building some resilience. I'm excited to see what we can do and what we can learn from this and hopefully we can continue to grow as a squad."

It was a warm and humid evening in Queensland, and Glory keeper Lily Alfeld was the first to be called into action as she kept out two angled strikes from Gielnik in the space of a minute. Glory's response was a teasing cross-shot from Taneesha Baker which flashed just wide of the far post and with Lexie Moreno and Hana Lowry combining to good effect in the final third, the signs for the visitors looked promising at that stage. But it was the home side who opened the scoring on 23 minutes, and what a goal it was.

The Glory defence looked to have seen off a Roar attack, but when the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, Chance unleashed an unstoppable strike which arrowed its way into the top corner giving Alfeld no chance. They added a second four minutes later, Gielnik long-range effort was misjudged by Alfeld and the ball ended in the net. Roar came close to extending their lead late in the second half, Winonah Heatley's deep cross crashing off the woodwork and Alfeld then producing a reflex save to deny Gielnik at point-blank range.

The experienced Matildas forward was not to be denied five minutes after the restart, however, capping a surging down the left channel by rifling a fierce shot into the far corner. Malia Steinmetz did her best to force Glory back into the contest on the hour-mark, her header from a Deborah-Anne De La Harpe corner flashing just over the bar, before Caitlin Doeglas followed suit, twice going close as the game moved into its final quarter.

Head Coach Alex Epakis emptied his bench in the latter stages, but his charges were unable to claim the consolation goal that their endeavours arguably deserved and instead it was Roar who had the final word as Crummer came off the bench to side foot home a fine cross from fellow-substitute Kaitlyn Torpey. The loss leaves Glory at the foot of the table, three points adrift of Melbourne City, but do have two games in hand.

Roar Coach Jake Goodship conceded he wanted more out of his squad before the break, he says they were comfortable in control of the game in the second stanza. “I thought the first half was disappointing,” he said post-match. “They made it difficult for us. They man-marked our midfield three, we found it difficult to get space on the ball, but second half we dominated.”

Brisbane Roar: GK Morgan AQUINO, 4 Clare POLKINGHORNE, 6 Winonah HEATLEY, 7 Kim CARROLL, 8 Mariel HECHER, 13 Tameka YALLOP, 14 Leticia MCKENNA (12 Larissa CRUMMER 71'), 15 Emily GIELNIK (2 Kaitlyn TORPEY 80'), 16 Jamilla RANKIN (11 Sharn FREIER 77'), 23 Isobel DALTON, 25 Olivia CHANCE (19 Rebekah HORSEY 71') - Subs not used: RGK Georgina WORTH

Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE (16 Isabella WALLHEAD 66'), 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY (12 Sarah MORGAN 73'), 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 10 Alexia MORENO (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 73'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 17 Marianna TABAIN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 66'), 18 Taneesha BAKER - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT - Referee: Kelly Jones

21.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE REVIEW - SUNDAY GAMES

The first round of the State League Night Series concluded on Sunday, and in Group E Swan United and Carramar Shamrock Rovers fought out a 1-1 draw in the early game at Macedonia Park. It was Rovers who took the lead after only 14 minutes, a short corner from Jack Bardsley was played to Yang Zhang who put a great ball into the box and Dylan McCann headed home. But Swan hit back seven minutes later, Deng Mawien headed home powerfully from a corner. “I think a draw was a fair result,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “We had some good chances to score but didn’t take them and I think both teams were a bit rusty but it’s good to get 90 minutes for the team and give players a good run to get miles in the legs. There is a lot of positives to take from last night’s game but we also know what we need to work. Big game next week which we will look forward to.” Swan new coach Dan Evans was pleased with the game. “The game was competitive as we expected,” he said. “We were unable to convert chances and unable to convert possession into goals. Some cheap giveaways gave Shamrock some opportunities, but overall, I was pleased with the performance but we have much work to be done.”

In the late game at the venue Stirling Lions new coach Ian Ferguson won his first game in charge after a 2-0 win against Joondalup City. It didn’t start that well with defender Jordan Rowe being shown two quick yellow cards by referee Sailota Phiri and sent off. But four minutes into the second half the ten men hit the front. Josh Booysen sent Richard Howles in on goal, he raced clear of his marker and finished well from a tight angle. They wrapped up the points six minutes from time a great individual run by Ryan Malton, easing past a number of Joondalup defenders before finding the corner of the net. “It was a tough game after going down to 10 men so early,” Lions' keeper James Bosdet said. “We had to work hard and were under the pump for 15-20 minutes immediately after the red. They had a few chances which is understandable having the man advantage but we still looked comfortable and were causing them trouble upfront. I thought the second half we dominated possession and deserved the three points.”

In Group D at Hartfield Park, Subiaco ran out 2-0 winners in the early game against Gosnells City. They opened the scoring on 51 minutes, Cian Guest’s lob flew into the top corner of the net, and eight minutes later they doubled their lead. Elliot Ireland was given far too much room and he curled into the top corner of the net. “A couple of good goals, although I thought Cian’s was a cross,” Subiaco defender Ben Johns joked. “It was a very positive start to our night series campaign, especially to get the clean sheet with many new players in our squad this year, and were looking to build on this for the next two games.”

In the late game at the venue hosts Forrestfield United beat Kelmscott Roos 3-1. Graham Normanton’s side were ahead after 14 minutes, Josh Pereira and Rhys Loxley combined to find Mitch Crocker who slipped the ball into Jordan Hart, who chipped the on-coming keeper. It was soon 2-0, some good build up play ended with Pereira, who was given far too much room and he finished clinically from 20 meters. Kelmscott reduced the margin ten minutes before half time with Brodie Macrea on target, and both sides had chances after the break. But it was Forrestfield who wrapped up all three points deep into stoppage time. Loxley raced down the left and whipped in a deep cross to the back post and Tarek Atta made no mistake. “It’s just minutes in the legs and it highlighted things we still need to work on,” Crocker explained. “We need to play for longer and not get complacent. We were good for about 25 minutes so we'll improve on that next week.”

21.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE REVIEW - FRIDAY GAMES

Western Knights begun their defence of the State League Night Series title on Friday evening with a hard fought 3-2 win against Canning City in Group F at Edinburgh Oval. The Knights were ahead after only 13 minutes, Alex Kretowicz raced down the line and cut the ball back to Paul Lloyd who finished in the bottom corner. It was 2-0 on the half hour with Ciaran Byrne on target after a goalmouth scramble. The game looked over on 55 minutes when the Knights added a third, Johnny Chalmers curling home superbly. But Canning had other ideas and they pulled one back two minutes later with new signing Jordan Rana scoring. Chris Finlayson’s side pulled another one back ten minutes from time, with another new signing Michael Lawson scoring, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.

Both coaches were happy with the workout. “We were satisfied to get the win in what was our first competitive game,” Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said. “I thought Canning were a very well structured, disciplined and well coached side and they gave us a very good hit out.” Canning coach Finlayson added. “First half was very good made enough chances to score just didn’t put them away and conceded to soft goals but I was impressed on the way we played to how we wanted. In the second half we conceded a third soft goals then we decided to lift the intensity and got two good goals back both pressed for goals We definitely made it hard for ourselves we didn’t hold on to the ball for longer periods and when we had it, we couldn’t clear our lines and it became wave after wave, but overall, definitely a pass mark in certain areas and others need rapid change.”

Also, on Friday in Group A at Wanneroo Reserve Joondalup United and Balga fought out a 2-2 draw. It was Balga who hit the front, converting from the spot on 13 minutes. But four minutes later Joondalup levelled, a pinpoint cross from new recruit Lydon Hodgkiss picked out the unmarked Jamie Stewart to head home from close range. It looked like Joondalup had won it three minutes from time, with Jay Lang’s free kick giving the keeper no chance. But deep into stoppage time Balga found the equaliser. Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said missed chances cost them. “For us it was a case of missed opportunities, particularly in the first half when we should have put the game to bed,” he said. “All credit to Balga though who never stopped working and made it difficult for us to play, and we’re rewarded for their efforts with an injury time equaliser.” New Balga coach Gerhard Janssen was pleased with the performance of his side. “It was a close game against a Division One team with huge potential,” he explained. “But in the second half we should have won the game, it’s early in the preseason, therefore our cohesion is not working yet.”

In Group A Wanneroo City started the competition on a high with a 6-1 win in the late game against Quinns at Wanneroo Reserve. It was a perfect start for the hosts with Charlie Breen opening the scoring early, but Quinns were soon level. But In first half stoppage time Breen restored City’s lead from the spot after he was brought down. After half time Wanneroo dominated and Scott Johnston curled home a long range shot home, before Luke Serra fired home a free kick from the edge of the box. It was 5-1 on 68 minutes, Shakeel Alexander racing clear to score. They added a sixth late, Joe Allsopp was sent clear and he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball home. “To win 6-1 was great credit to the boys attitude and work over the last few months,” Wanneroo coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “The attitude from the first minute to the last was excellent, the work rate was high and the boys worked for each other. I’m very pleased for the group and we are looking forward to next weeks clash with another tough opponent in Joondalup United.”

In Group B Mandurah City begun with a 4-1 win against Morley Windmills at Murdoch University. It was Morley who were in front after only 27 minutes, with Leigh Morgan scoring for Tim Kantor’s side. But that’s as good as it got for them and four minutes later the Dolphins levelled, Alex Grayson finding the net after a great cutback from Joe O’Brien. They were ahead on 36 minutes, Scottish striker John Baird chipping the keeper from long-range. Andy Brown made it 3-0 on the hour, before O’Brien headed the fourth 15 minutes from time. “Pete and I are really happy with the performance and goals in the game, I thought we controlled the game for most of the match and played some really nice football,” Mandurah coach Kris Donnell said. “Our fitness levels were again superb which is great to see, the lads are working very hard and it’s starting to show in games.”

In Group E Olympic Kingsway started life with new coach Michael Janssen with a hard fought 2-0 win against Kingsley Westside at Macedonia Park. It was a perfect start for Olympic and they were ahead after only two minutes. A cross was only cleared as far as Otto Van der Poel and his shot from the edge of the box found the corner of the net. Both sides had chances in an entertaining game, but it was Olympic who sealed the win late in the game. A quick counter attack by Tyler Garner and he sent Hamza Hina clear, he held off off his marker and chipped the on coming keeper. “We produced some good chances in a dominant first half and the team performed to a good level at this stage,” Janssen said. “In the second half Kingsley threw everything out to score and we needed to deal with some pressure but the boys were strong and Dave Keenan produced a number of saves. Kingsley was the expected tough start into the Night Series and they will be strong in the league. We will now continue our build up for the league and prepare to play Shamrock next weekend.”

In the other game in the group hosts Murdoch University Melville’s new coach Matt Wardle began life well with a 5-0 win against his former club Ashfield. Ben Pellizzari was the hero, bagging a hat-trick, with others to Mark Lucas and Charlie Watt. “After eight weeks of preseason training and a few friendlies it was great to play some competitive football,” Wardle said. “Keeping a clean sheet and scoring five was very pleasing for myself and the playing group. It’s very early and still lots of football to be played between now and the season starting proper but results like Friday’s one is a positive start and something we can build and learn from.”

In Group C UWA Nedlands came from two goals down to beat Dianella White Eagles 3-2 at Macedonia Park. The Eagles were two up inside the first half hour, with Stephen Musonda and Asa Sippits on target. But UWA reduced the margin on the hour with Sam Kent scoring, and Egide Nzoyikorera equalised ten minutes from time. It looked like the points would be shared but in the final minute Adam Carlino popped up with the winner. “It was a good game, because Dianella are a team, that could play Division One easily,” UWA Head Coach Dom Gangeni said. “In the first half we approached the game not with the right intensity and our building was slow, but we still created three clear chances to score. In the second half the boys played well and we raised the tempo of the game and we scored three amazing goals. It was a good result for the confidence of my boys that’s all, and there is still a lot of work ahead.”

The other game in the Group took place at Edinburgh Oval where Fremantle City beat hosts Curtin University 5-1. It didn’t start well for Fremantle, with Matthew Sparrow being sent off after only four minutes, but the 10 men took control and two minutes later Mitch Firth headed home from a corner. It was soon 2-0 with Noah Shamaki scoring, but Curtin did pull one back six minutes before half time through Allister Gommes. Fremantle increased their lead in first half stoppage time with James Harmer on target from the spot. It was 4-1 on 72 with Shamaki adding his second, before Charlie Parry’s powerful shot crashed off the cross bar and if was not over the line already Hamer was first there to make sure. “Under the circumstances it was a great test for us to basically play a full game with 10 men,” Fremantle coach Cameron Lord said. “The manner in which everyone worked for each other and helped each other out was really pleasing.”

19.2.2021

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FOUR PREVIEW

It’s Week four of the NPLWA Night Series and all games this weekend are on Sunday. First up at Dorrien Gardens Gwelup Croatia will look to build on their big win against ECU Joondalup when they take on Perth Glory. (5.00pm) Glory are coming off a 2-1 loss to ECU and defender Nick Walsh said they deserved something from the game. “It was definitely a tough loss to take,” he said. “But we can look at the positives in terms of the number of chances we created and, on another day, maybe a few more would have gone in, but that’s football.” Walsh knows the importance of three points on Sunday, if they are to keep their chances of moving into the knockout stage alive. “It is important for us to get a result on the weekend if we are to progress and we are going into the game with confidence knowing that we have the capability to get a result,” he said. “We are just taking each game as it comes and focusing on giving ourselves the best chance possible of progressing whilst also getting valuable minutes under our belts for the season ahead.” In the late game at the venue Armadale will be looking to keep their winning streak going when they take on hosts Perth SC (7.00pm)

There is also a double header at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday, and first up Bayswater City take on Sorrento (5.00pm) Sorrento gained their first point on Wednesday against Balcatta, while Bayswater also drew in midweek against Perth SC. City striker Luke Salmon was on target for Gareth Naven’s side and he said it was a good game a well-earned point. “It was a really good game up and down the pitch,” he said. “I thought both teams fought really hard and a draw was a fair reflection on the game.” Salmon said they head into the Sorrento game looking to continue their improvement. “It will be a tough game against Sorrento, but we need to take our positivity and energy into it which I think will make it easier for us,” he explained. “We know a win will put us in a good position with two games left.” In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena will go in search of their first point of the competition when they host Balcatta (7.00pm)

The final games of the round are at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, and first up Rockingham City take on Cockburn City (5.00pm) Cockburn picked up their first point against Gwelup last weekend, while Rockingham won their opening game against Perth Glory, but a loss against Inglewood last time out took the gloss of that win, but new signing Shane Boyle said that what preseason competitions are all about. “As you know preseason is about game time/fitness, in preparation for round one of the new season, and the games played so far has seen Goran (Stajic) introduce a number of young/talented players from the club,” he explained. “This has given them valuable game time which is great for not only their development and the club but also the NPL.”

Boyle has been impressed with the new Head Coach and he said it’s rubbing off on the players. “Goran’s professional approach has been well received by the boys. His positive approach and knowledge of the game has seen the player group embrace his approach which I’m sure will see continues improvement to the group and work towards a successful season,” he explained. “We’re all looking forward to testing ourselves against a well organised and talented Cockburn side on Sunday night.” In the late game at the venue Inglewood United will look to continue their scoring blitz, having scored nine goals in their two games so far, when they host ECU Joondalup. (7.00pm) The Jacks will be at full strength after Head Coach Kenny Lowe rested his senior players in the loss to Gwelup in midweek.

19.2.2021

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE PREVIEW

The 2021 State League Night Series begins this weekend, as Western Knights look to defend the crown, they won last season. The preseason competition starts on Friday and in Group A the games will be played at Wanneroo Reserve and the early games sees new Balga coach Gerhard Janssen take charge of his first game when they take on Joondalup United (6.30) United Head Coach Nick Jennings knows Janssen well and is expecting a tough first up game.

“We’ve followed a six-week training programme leading into night series, and the boys have reacted well to the challenges that have been thrown at them, including the COVID lockdown. They have worked hard and are ready for the challenges ahead of us,” he said. “The night series games are always a step into the unknown with clubs have so many new players, and in the case of Balga a new coach. I’ve known Gerhard for a few years and wish him every success in his new role except on Friday night, we know the game will be a big test against a side keen to impress but we mean business and are looking forward to the game.” In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City host Quinns in a Northern Derby

In Group B the games will be played at Murdoch University on Friday and first up Mandurah City meet Morley Windmills (6.30pm) Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said it’s been a tough preseason but they are ready for the game. “Preseason has been going really well, although the interruption with Covid was unfortunate but if anything, it’s made the players that little bit hungrier. Luckily it wasn’t anywhere near as extreme as last season so we still feel well prepared,” he explained. “Like everyone else were really excited to get things going. The Night series gives us the perfect opportunity to get players up to speed in preparation for the league. We’re expecting a tough, competitive first game against Morley as we are with all our night series opponents.” In the late game at the venue Murdoch University Melville host Ashfield (8.30pm)

In Group C the games will be played on Friday at Macedonia Park and Edinburgh Oval. The first game sees UWA Nedlands take on Dianella White Eagles at Macedonia Park 6.30pm) The Eagles have recruited well and new midfielder Kris Gate said things are ticking along nicely at the club, and they had a good workout last weekend in the ‘Banjac Cup’ against Forrestfield. “The new squad is looking good, there are good bunch of lads, and Sunday night’s game was a great game, but more important on the night, both clubs looked to put in a good performance and honour Rod Banjac,” he said.

“I personally didn’t know Rod, but after playing in the game I knew he was a very well-liked man, so it wasn’t about the result, both clubs went out and played the game in the right manor and I was honoured to play in the game. Friday’s game will be a different kind of game it’s all about winning I know Stewy and Bobby are concentrating on the lads getting fit, but as players the night series are games you go out and win no matter what. Yes, it’s still preseason but getting that winning feeling and momentum is also important, and to be fair I don’t know much about UWA but hopefully we can turn up and perform and get the win for the club.” The other game is at Edinburgh Oval where Curtin University host Fremantle City (8.30pm)

In Group D the games will played at Hartfield Park on Sunday, and in the early game Subiaco meet Gosnells City 5.00pm, while in the late game Forrestfield United host Kelmscott Roos (7.00pm) United midfielder Mitch Crocker said they are looking forward to get back playing competitive games. “We had a good hit out against Dianella last week and we were trying to bed some things in, but it wasn’t a fantastic performance, but it got us some minutes and showed us where we're at,” he said. “We're under no illusions. As soon as there is a trophy to fight for, games become more intense and it will be a tough game, but we'll be up for it though.”

In Group E on Friday, Olympic Kingsway take on Kingsway Westside at Macedonia Park (8.30pm). The other game on the group is at the same venue on Sunday when Swan United meet Shamrock Rovers (5.00pm) New Swan coach Dan Evans takes charge of his first game at the club, and he said things are progressing nicely in the Valley. “I’m pleased with the lads progress throughout pre-season. We have worked hard and from a conditioning perspective we are on track. Of course, there is still a long way to go but I’m happy with the group as a whole,” he explained. “Shamrock will be a tough opponent. They will be organized and very competitive, so we certainly aren’t taking them lightly and we are looking forward to the contest.

Finally, in Group F the first game is on Friday night at Edinburgh Oval where Western Knights start their title defence against Canning City (6.30pm) It will be a huge challenge for Chris Finlayson’s side, but the Canning coach is looking forward to the challenge. “Like the rest of the competition the preseason has been a little disruptive and we are definitely not where I’d like to be however, we have had a few good hit outs and we are progressing in the right direction, new signings are working hard existing lads are looking sharp and the new systems are taking time, so signs look good for the season ahead, all be it behind schedule,” he explained.

“Friday night, well is there a bigger club to play against especially first up, it’s not too different to last year we faced Kingsway Olympic. We seem to get the group of death again, so tomorrow night we need to concentrate on our game plan and what we are trying to introduce this season. We are expecting a very tough game against a very good side we need to be competitive first, stick to the plans and use these three games to get ready for the season ahead.” - The other game on the group takes place on Sunday where Stirling Lions entertain Joondalup City at Macedonia Park (7.00pm)




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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