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23.2.2018

INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON-WA PREVIEW

The NPL-WA season kicks off this weekend, with fourteen teams once again in the competition. Reigning State champions Bayswater City are looking to make it back to back titles, however they will be strongly challenged by Perth and recent Night Series winners Floreat Athena. A host of clubs will be waiting in the wings if Bayswater, Perth or Athena slip up, with Inglewood United, ECU Joondalup and Sorrento looking good to challenge for the title.

The battle at the other end of the table is likely to be hard fought, with three clubs being relegated. It is expected that newcomers Forrestfield United, Perth Glory, Armadale and Balcatta will be fighting it out to avoid the bottom three.

The team which finishes top of the regular season table will once again be champions and represent Western Australia in the national NPL play-off series. This week the footballwa.net team takes a look at the fourteen clubs, and are joined by Blayne Treadgold from the "The Far Post Perth" and Eamon Duffy, host of "Let's talk Football", in offering their thoughts on how season 2018 will pan out...

23.2.2018

NPL-WA ROUND ONE PREVIEW

The 2018 NPLWA season kicks off this weekend, with split over the weekend. It all starts on Friday night, and the Footballwa.net ‘Match of the Round takes us to the Wildlife Safari Stadium at Hartfield Park where newly-promoted Forrestfield United entertain Floreat Athena. (8pm) It’s a huge day for Rod Banjac’s side, with them playing their first game in the top flight of WA football since 1986. Defender Mark Barnett said everyone at the club are buzzing, and although they go into Friday’s clash as underdogs, he knows the players are relishing the opportunity to get their season off on a high in front of their passionate supports.

“The club is in a fantastic position at the moment, and all the hard work in the off season by all the guys behind the scenes and on the committee to make this happen and run as professional as it has been it takes big characters to do so here in WA football so a massive hats off to them, led by our super motivated president Andy Osbourne,” he said. “It’s really down to us players now to make the difference. It will be a massive year on the pitch and a challenge everyone’s looking forward to. We are very lucky to have our first game of the season at home. It’s always a massive turn out at the Wildlife Safari Stadium and it’s just going to be turned up a notch when the well-respected Floreat Athena turn up to rustle a few feathers. Attacking football is our brand and we will do everything to bring that to the table on Friday night.” Barnett knows the quality Floreat have in their side, but he said it’s who wants it more on the night. “There’s no doubt Floreat are the favourite this season, with a very impressive squad,” he said. “For us every game will be a new challenge and everyone is very excited to take part in what will be a fantastic journey for Forrestfield United.

Floreat defender Dennis Galan said the Night Series Final win was a perfect start to their season, but the hard work starts on Friday with a trip to Forrestfield. “It was a good result for the boys, but Subiaco made it very difficult for us from the start and pressed us which caught us a little by surprise, so took us a while to adjust and start playing our type of football,” he said. “But credit to the boys, we held on, Jason pulled some great saves for us to keep us in the game and when we created chances, we took them. It was a very hard battle but proud of the boys’ efforts and glad we got the result at the end.” Galan said the players are looking forward to the new season, but is well aware any team in the NPL can beat each other, and if you don’t turn up on the night you will get rolled, but he said new Coach Howard Tweats has hammered that home all week. “It's always nice to start the season with a bit of silverware, it gives us good momentum and confidence going into the season,” he said. “However, that's done and gone now, we have to be fully focused every game as we know it's a long season and there is no easy teams in this league. Howard has drilled this into us, so now we are just looking forward to the season and hopefully we can get some more success along the way.” The former Stirling Lions defender is expecting a tough game on Friday, and he knows the home side will be up for it in their first game in the NPL, but he said they are ready for the challenge. “Forrestfield are the new boys on the block, so I'm sure they will be up for it and want to prove to everyone that they deserve to be in the NPL, especially for the first game to be at their home ground they will want to make it their fortress,” Galan said. “We played them in the night series and they're a very attacking minded team, so should be a good entertaining game of football, but we look forward to the game and hopefully we can continue our winning streak into the season.” Referee - Stuart Muldoon

Also on Friday evening Inglewood United host Stirling Lions at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium (7pm) The Lions have a new coach at the helm with Keegan Ashley taking over from Rob Milevski who stood down at the end of last season. He has added some steel to the side signing Scottish duo, former Hearts and Falkirk defender Liam Henderson and former Livingstone midfielder Dean Cummings, and they have had the wood on the home side in recent seasons and they will be hoping it continues on Friday. Inglewood were pipped for the title last season on the final day and new Captain Kenny Keogh said it’s in the past they move on and are ready for another big season. ‘I’m very much looking forward to the challenge, it is exciting to be leading a great bunch of lads and we are definitely looking forward to starting the year with a good performance,” he said. “Friday night games are usually the best and playing at home makes it a lot more enjoyable, but we know Stirling are a good side so we have to be aware of their direct approach.” Keogh said it’s an important game as they have struggled in recent games against the Lions, but it’s important to start the season with a win and a good performance. “It’s the season opener and no matter who we play we want to win,” he explained. “We have a lot prove to ourselves as it's been very disappointing the last few results against Stirling, but we hope to change that on Friday.” Referee - Tom Glavovic

On Saturday afternoon there is the Northern Derby when ECU Joondalup host Sorrento at the ECU Football Stadium (3pm) Sorrento had a good Night Series and Jamie Harnwell goes into his fifth season as head coach at the Gulls, and he will be looking for a repeat of last season, when they did the double against their neighbours. Joondalup winger Daryl Nicol said it’s been a tough pre-season, but has been happy the way the new players have settled in at the Campus. “It’s been the longest pre-season known to man, but the team is looking very fit and the boys are just desperate to get going,” he said. “I think this is the strongest squad we’ve had since I’ve been at the club, and the new lads have settled in really well and we seem to have everybody fit and available for the start of the season.” Nicol, who headed to India for a trial in the off-season, said it’s always a tough game against Sorrento and it’s great to get them in the season opener. “I’m delighted with the way the fixtures have been drawn, it means we will have no issues getting fired up for what will be one of the toughest games of the season against our neighbours,” he said. “We know we have to get off to a good start this year and to win a local derby in the first game would give everyone a huge lift.” Referee - Michal Jasinski

Armadale have home ground advantage on Saturday evening when they entertain Joondalup United at Alfred Skeet Reserve. (7pm) The Reds didn’t have a good home record last season, and John O’Reilly will want to change that, and a repeat of the final game of last season (a 2-1 win) would be nice. Joondalup slipped away last season to miss the Finals and there has been a number of players leave the club, but Coach Nick Jennings said they will be up for the challenge. “We have had a big turnover in a playing personnel during the off season, but I believe the blend of youth and experience we have assembled will help us avoid a second season syndrome,” he said. “We are aiming to cause a few shocks along the way and finish where I believe we should of last year in the top half of the table. I’m also aware everybody is tipping Joondalup United to go down, but this small club loves proving our doubters wrong. We may still not have our own ground and not have the budget of many clubs but myself, my coaching staff and this talented bunch of players are determined to have our best ever season.” Jennings said it’s a tough trip to Armadale, but he is just happy to be playing league football again. “It’s fantastic to finally get the league campaign underway after three months of pre- season training and numerous practice games, so everybody at the club is chopping at the bit and can’t wait for 7pm on Saturday night,” he said. “I’m sure like ourselves Armadale are looking at the game as one they need to take three points so it will be a fiercely fought contest with neither team taking a backward step and hopefully we make the long journey home with all the points in the bag.” – Referee Steven Gregory

In the final game on Saturday Subiaco make the trip to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City. (7pm) Cockburn Coach Scott Miller will be looking for a more consistent season from his side, after falling away late to miss the Finals. They had a good run in the Night Series, until Subiaco ended that in the Semi-Final, and Miller will be looking to reverse that on Saturday. Subiaco were the big improvers last season, and their form in the Night Series bodes well for 2018. Midfielder David Perich was outstanding in the Night Series Final and he said they just couldn’t get the job done. “Making it to Subiaco's first final is a great sign for the season and a great reward for all the work the club has put in over the past two years,” he said. “We had a lot of young players who played in the night series, and I think playing four competitive games over the past four weeks, instead of having to play friendlies, will make a difference to how we start the season as well.” Perich said they rode their luck against City in the Night Series, but he said they will be looking for a different result from last season at the same venue. “We definitely had a lot of luck against Cockburn in the semis, but we had a very young team in the semi so I think it will be a different game on Saturday,” he said. We lost to them 3-0 in the first game of last year, so it will be a good game to set a different tone for this year and come home with the points.” – Referee Julian Serra

On Sunday afternoon league Champions Bayswater City open their title defence with the Italian derby against Balcatta at Frank Drago Reserve. (5pm) The home side will be looking to start were they left off last season, as they won their last nine games of the season to take out the title, but an early exit from the Night Series wasn’t what Chris Coyne had hoped for. Balcatta only survived relegation last season, after a final game win against Mandurah City, and new Coach Goran Static is hoping they don’t find themselves in that position again this time around. His views was echoed by skipper Calum O’Connell. “What happened last year wasn't were a club like Balcatta deserved to be, and in 2018 we are hoping to change that,” he explained. “Goran has come in with a refreshing philosophy on how the game should be played and recruited players that will execute that perfectly. I think you'll see a quick paced brand of football from us this year.” O’Connell said it’s a perfect start to the season for the Grindleford Reserve club, playing the Champions, but they will be up for it. “There is no better way to start the season than to play last year’s champions away,” he said. “No one expects us to go there and win, so the pressure is on them. But as a group we are very confident that we will turn a few heads on Sunday and who knows, and maybe cause the first upset of the season.” – Referee Arvin Shanmuganathan

The final game of the round takes place at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday evening, where Perth SC entertain Perth Glory (7pm) Perth lost the top four Finals last season and will be wanting to start the season with a win, against a talented Glory side. They had a good Night Series run, losing on penalties to eventual winners Floreat Athena in the Semi-Final, so I’m sure Ramon Falzon’s side will be searching for a positive start. The Glory ended the Foxtel Y-League with four good performances and defender Ollie Annis said they hope to take that form into the new NPL season. “We showed some great character in the second half of the Y-league season and picked up four great results and stayed unbeaten,” he said. “It brought great confidence within the squad and we hope to start the NPL off on a good result. We have been working hard the last couple of weeks to keep up the positive play.” It’s a huge opening game away to Perth SC, and Annis said the boys will be up for a big game. “The boys are buzzing and we feel as if we are ready for Perth,” he said. “They are always a tough team to beat and well organised, so it will be a tough game, but hopefully we get off the mark with a strong performance and a big win.” – Referee Nico Hoyle

23.2.2018

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK THREE - PREVIEW

It’s week three of the State League Night Series and Group A kicks off on Friday evening, when Rockingham City take on South West Phoenix at the Securitas Protect Stadium (6.30pm) Phoenix have lost both of their opening games, while Rockingham are undefeated and coming off a big win last week against Kelmscott. Rockingham coach Cameron Lord said last week was a good performance, but he is well aware the quality Phoenix have in their side. “It is really pleasing that what we are working on at training is coming to fruition in the Night Series. We had also talked about the Mandurah game from the week before, and in particular the need to be able to dominate games for 90 minutes instead of just 30 minutes,” he said. “We haven’t read too much into South West Phoenix’s start. We are preparing for a difficult game against a strong opponent. We need to continue to build on all of the positives, and make a few adjustments, from the Kelmscott game.” In the late game on Friday Mandurah City and Kelmscott Roos will be looking for their first wins of the competition when they meet at 8.30pm. The final game of the Group is on Sunday when unbeaten sides Gosnells City and Murdoch University-Melville meet at Walter Padbury Reserve (5pm)

In Group B all the games this weekend are at Wanneroo Reserve. It starts on Friday when Quinns FC and Joondalup City meet in a local derby (6.30pm) Quinns opened their account in the group with a big win against Balga, with striker Craig Tooley bagging a hat-trick. He said it was a good performance from the side and they will need to do better against a good Joondalup side. “It’s always nice to get that first win of the competition, the manager likes to change things up a lot and experiment with his teams in preparation for the new season so to get the three points is a good feeling,” he said. “Who doesn’t love a good local derby, I think it will be a very good match with both teams sitting on three points and both desperate for the win for any hope of pushing for a qualification spot, so I expect goals at both ends so defiantly a match to watch” The other games are on Sunday, also at Wanneroo Reserve. First up Gwelup Croatia take on Balga at 5pm, while the late game sees the top two sides Wanneroo City and Morley Windmills meeting at 7pm.

In Group C Shamrock Rovers and Fremantle City meet at Walter Padbury Reserve on Friday (6.30pm), while Curtin University host Canning City at Edinburgh Oval on Sunday (7pm) Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne said he was disappointed not to get anything from the game against Fremantle last week, but said it’s a balancing act in the pre-season “I think last week we had phases where are were definitely on top and was disappointed to get nothing from the game. Night series is a tough one, we need to balance managing the game time of your best players to build into the season,” he said. “We only played one friendly leading in. That was a deliberate decision, the league is only 20 games and if you do three friendlies night series and a cup game before if even starts pre-season can be half the season again. We did however look at our fixtures and have the two Division One teams first then have Shamrock and Canning, a tough start for us and yes of course we want to win.” Western Knights have the bye this week.

In Group D joint leaders Dianella White Eagles and UWA Nedlands meet at Walter Padbury Reserve on Friday evening (8.30pm) The Eagles had the bye last week but they took on NPL side Armadale and Coach Robbie Dunn said it was a good work out “We had a good competitive run out against Armadale where I got to see 20 players in action,” he said. “It allowed me to see where we are at and as it was only our third game in pre-season I was really happy with the way we are coming along.” Dunn is expecting a tough game against a good UWA side “UWA are always very competitive and have one of the best forwards in the league in Alex Kretowicz. They are a tight knit group that work hard for each other and I am expecting nothing less than a very tough game,” he said. “Our lads are up for the challenge from UWA and the way that this group is gelling with the addition of a few new players I think that potentially we could be a better side than last year. I have told them to start being more ruthless and to start finishing sides off when the opportunity arises so this week will be a good test to see how they are tracking.” In the other game in the group Swan United meet Ashfield at Wanneroo Reserve also on Friday (8.30pm) – Olympic Kingsway have the bye this week.

23.2.2018

VUJACIC WARY OF THE LIONS (courtesy of inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)

New signing Miki Vujacic believes his knowledge of Stirling Lions inner workings will give Inglewood United the upper hand when the club's meet this evening at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. The 34-year old midfielder recently ended a five-year association with Stirling by agreeing terms with Inglewood for 2018.

Vujacic will draw upon that deep knowledge he has of his former club when the new National Premier Leagues season kick-offs this evening. "Stirling have a strong, youthful looking team and (coach) Keegan Ashley has them playing a pretty high-tempo brand of football which will take a lot teams by surprise," Vujacic said.

"They lost a lot of experience and quality over the summer but they've been replaced by some really good players who are going to make them a tough team to beat. Against Stirling you can't relax until the final whistle, even when they're down a goal or two they are capable of coming back to get a result."

Vujacic joins Inglewood with a wealth of experience gained through spells at Perth SC, Future Glory, Adelaide City Force, Swan IC, Floreat Athena, Swan United and Stirling. His transition to becoming an Inglewood player has been smooth thanks in no small part to a warm welcome from across the club.

"It's been a great few weeks at Inglewood, the set-up is fantastic and the support from the committee, coaching staff and players has been really professional," he commented. "The players have been great. They're a close knit group who are all hungry for success, which shows in training and on match day."

"I know most of the boys from previous seasons and since the day I came to the club they've made me feel like part of the family. Andy (Keogh) has the team playing a good style of football which really suits my attributes, and hopefully I can repay the faith they've shown in me by helping Inglewood lift a trophy or two this year."

22.2.2018

VAN MARWIJK REVEALS JONES IS BACK IN THE SOCCEROOS FRAME

Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk has expressed his surprise that Brad Jones hasn't been included in Australia's recent squads. Speaking on Dutch television, van Marwijk said he had spoken to the Feyenoord goalkeeper - who has been one of the Eredivisie's standout players over the past two years - about an Australia recall.

"When I speak to someone, he also feels that he has a chance, and I was surprised that he (Jones) had not been with the national team in recent years," van Marwijk said. "I talked to him about that. It was a very pleasant conversation, he was very positive about the national team, I am glad about that."

35-year old Jones has excelled in the twilight of his career since moving to Feyenoord, who he helped win a drought-breaking league title last season. He kept 17 clean sheets last season and a recent shut-out against Heracles took his tally to 11 for the current campaign.

19.2.2018

GARCIA URGES AILING GLORY TO HANG TOUGH

Perth Glory need to be mentally tough in their almost impossible mission to make the A-League finals, according to assistant coach Richard Garcia. Saturday’s loss to bottom-of-the-ladder Wellington Phoenix leaves Glory seven points outside the top six with seven rounds remaining. It was Glory’s seventh in their past eight matches.

And their problems were compounded by Diego Castro’s appalling penalty miss that summed up Glory’s season. “He didn’t need to say anything. His demeanour after the game probably painted the best picture,” Garcia said. “He was very disappointed. It will sit with him for the next couple of days, but he’s a great professional and he’ll know how to bounce back from it.”

“It’s about self-pride and how much you care about the side. If you give up now and have the mentality that ‘it’s too hard’ then what does that say about the group? It becomes a mental challenge. We’ve got to keep plugging away. It’s about guys digging deep, looking at themselves and making sure they are doing everything to be the best they can be.”

Castro’s feeble 83rd minute effort from the spot, a gentle chip into the arms of stationary goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, gave the Kiwis a huge boost in a game they had looked unlikely to win after coming under siege in the second half. But an own goal from Shane Lowry from a Roy Krishna cross gifted them victory.

Castro had pulled his side level with a stunning-free kick in the first half to cancel out Sarpeet Singh’s 20m screamer. “That was a game that we should have won and we had plenty of chances,” Garcia said. “They caught us on the sucker punch. They grew an extra leg when the penalty was saved. It’s do or die now, but there is no reason why we can’t start a little run. We have to get rid of the lapses in concentration.”

17.2.2018

LAST-CHANCE SALOON FOR GLORY’S FINALS HOPES

Goalkeeper Liam Reddy has five reasons to seek revenge as Perth Glory’s A-League season goes on the line away to Wellington Phoenix tonight. Five times he found himself picking the ball out of the net when Glory were embarrassed 5-2 by the cellar dwellers in their last visit to Westpac Stadium in November.

Glory’s finals aspirations could evaporate if they suffer a similar fate against a side that has won only three games this season. A win for eighth-placed Glory is non-negotiable against a Wellington side thumped 4-0 in each of their previous two games, against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Only Wellington, with 40 goals, have conceded more than Glory’s 39 and Reddy said the side was well aware of its rocky position. “Everyone knows what’s on the line,” said Reddy, who helped Glory make last seasons’ A-League semi-finals. “It’s in our hands, well and truly in our hands, we’ve got to start winning games.”

“This is a must-win for us if we want to feature in the semi-finals. We need three points. Wellington can be dangerous as we saw when they put five on us when we had an off day. That game was a bit of an anomaly and we don’t want to go through something like that again. We know where their strengths are and we’ve been working on our shape in defence and our transition.”

Coach Kenny Lowe has an almost injury-free squad with only striker Adam Taggart and winger Chris Harold unavailable. “We’ve got 90 per cent of the squad available which has given Kenny a headache in terms of selection which he hasn’t had this year,” said Reddy. “Kenny is finally able to make a decision on what players to play and what players to leave out.”

“There are couple of decisions for him to make but it’s good from a player’s point of view. This season has been one of the worst I have seen in terms of injury. It’s just good knowing that I’ve got a back four in front of me that are fit. There have been times this year when we didn’t know who was going to play pretty much up until match day.”

17.2.2018

ATHENA WIN SEVENTH NIGHT SERIES FINAL

Floreat Athena have won their seventh Night Series title, after an entertaining 3-1 win against Subiaco in Saturday’s NPLWA Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. A first half striker from Carlo Coelho gave Floreat the lead at the break, before a stunning strike from youngster Keylun Pollard doubled their advantage. David Perich pulled one back for Subiaco, but Ludovic Boi made sure of the win scoring the third in stoppage time.

New Floreat Coach said they were slow out of the blocks but they got the job done in the end. “We had to defend doggedly early, they came with a different game plan and but us under q lot of pressure,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Jason (Saldaris) in the first half, who made two top draw saves, we could have been battling up hill. Questions were asked tonight, answers we need to find if we are going to have a good run in the NPLWA.”

Floreat skipper Dean Evans won the ‘Robbie Dunn Medal’ as best on ground, said it was a tough battle, but they took their chances when they came. “I thought Subiaco had the better of the first half, but in finals you need one chance to score, and we did that, and it put us in a good position,” he said. “We’re always capable of creating chances, and they got their goal back, which they probably deserved, but we stuck to our game and at the end of the day we got the goals and that’s important in games like this.”

It was Subiaco’s first appearance in the Night Series Final and they opened the brighter, with Perich’s volley on 10 minutes flashing wide of the target, before Albert Iweu fired straight at Jason Saldaris. The Floreat custodian was Man of the Match in the semi-final win and he was in the thick of the action again moments later. Alex Randell’s cross from the right was flicked goalwards by Alex Castiello, but Saldaris produced a great reflex save to deny him.

Floreat began to take control of the game and went close themselves on 21 minutes, Evans sent Pollard racing down the left, he cut inside his marker but his low shot was well saved by Ryan Montgomery. But four minutes later Floreat hit the front. Phil Arnold held the ball up well on the left, and fed Boi, who picked out Coelho who fired into the corner of the net, giving Montgomery no chance. Subiaco almost hit back immediately, Randell’s cross was met sweetly on the volley by Perich, but Saldaris produced another great save to deny him, and at the break Floreat held a narrow lead.

Floreat went close to a second two minutes after the restart, Evans’ free kick crashing off the base of the post, and the former Perth Glory midfielder fired wide moments later. But their early pressure was reward with a second on 58 minutes. Subiaco failed to clear their lines, and Pollard finished superbly from long-range. Despite being two down Subiaco still pushed forward and Randell’s free kick flashed over the top, before Ross Jarman headed over when well placed.

It was a good spell of pressure for Subiaco, and they reduced the margin on 75 minutes. A long ball was flicked on by Ian McMurray and Asher Nelson picked out Perich who finished clinically from the edge of the box. Both sides pressed in a frantic last 15 minutes, Calvin Whitney fired wide for Floreat, before Saldaris saved bravely at the feet of Perich in a goalmouth scramble.

But in stoppage time Floreat made sure of the win, by adding a third. Second half substitute Mehdi Rabei Gholami slipping in Boi, who finished low past Montgomery to seal the win.

Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 4 Alex RANDELL, 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 10 Asher NELSON, 12 Nathan SMITH, 14 Ross JARMAN, 15 Albert IUWI (11 Robert HARDING 72’), 16 Steven PURTON, 17 Alex CASTIELLO, 18 David PERICH (13 Fannuel DAWIT 86’), 19 Ian MCMURRAY - Subs not used: RGK Theo BROWN, 2 Nathan HARDIE, 3 Cherro KABA BAH

Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Juma AWAKA, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 6 Jess FULLER, 8 Keylun POLLARD, 9 Carlo COEHLO (13 Jamie STREET 86’), 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 14 Ludovic BOI (20 Joseph TWEATS 95’), 17 Dean EVANS (C), 18 Phil ARNOLD (33 Mehdi Rabei GHOLAMI 79’) - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Ethan KERRIDGE - Referee: Michal Jasinski

17.2.2018

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK TWO - REVIEW

It was week two of the State League Night Series and in Group ‘A’ Murdoch University Melville continued their good start to the competition after a 3-2 win against South West Phoenix in the early game at Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening. They were ahead when Christian Long raced clear from a Dean Thurston through ball, and rounded the keeper to score. But Phoenix levelled just before half time Jayden Prosser on target. But within a minute of the restart Murdoch-Melville regained the lead. Long was clean through and was brought down by Michael Farmer just outside the area, and he was sent off. Mark Lucas hit the resulting free kick low into the bottom corner. With 20 minutes remaining they added a third, Grant Mowatt scoring clinically. The Phoenix through men forward and pulled one back 12 minutes from time Jack Eades on target. But with Phoenix pressing late Eades was sent off four minutes from time. “We were solid first half and although they had a lot of possession, I thought we looked more dangerous,” Murdoch-Melville coach Gavin Brown said. “There were special performances from a lot of the boys, Ryan Tucker, Dean Thurston, Mark Lucas and Grant Mowatt all showed great leadership and it was really rewarding to see two 16 year olds start for the second week - Nemanja Jankovic (Goalkeeper) and Daniel Davey.”

In the late game Rockingham City thrashed Kelmscott Roos 8-0, with Mitch Morrin scoring a hat-trick, Thomas Walsh bagging a brace, with other goals to James Harmer, Ross Staley and Matt Brooks. The final group game was on Saturday evening, with Gosnells City beating Mandurah City 1-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The only goal of the game came just before half time, with another superb finish by our new signing Charlie White. He received the ball just outside the box after some great pressure in our final third, he eased past his marker before executing a terrific strike into the top corner. “It was a pleasing team performance after we were forced to make a couple of changes from the South West Phoenix win last week,” assistant Coach Dion Selby said. “Our team was led well by captain Scott Pereira who kept our defence solid and was brilliant at the back, and I thought we controlled long periods of the game and created some great chances. We have a long way to go but it is promising that we are getting the right players in that fit our positive team atmosphere and want to play for Gosnells. We look forward to next Sunday when we take on Murdoch University Melville and we hope to build on our early momentum and continue to improve as a team.”

In Group ‘B’ Morley Windmills and Gwelup Croatia fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday night. Morley were ahead on 19 minutes, with Ismael Bangura scoring, but Gwelup restored parity, James Sammut on target. Just before half time Gwelup’s David Heagney and Morley’s Mawien Deng were both sent off. Both sides pressed in the second half but they had to settle for a point a piece. On Saturday Quinns and Balga fought out a 10 goal thriller, with Quinns running out 6-4 winners. Quinns went 1-0 up through a great free-kick by Gareth Hamilton, which gave the Balga keeper no chance. Balga equalised within a minute, a through ball found Vlad Naumovski, who shot between the legs of Quinns keeper Joey Smith.

Balga were ahead after with a great shot from Alec Femia, but Quinns hit back and were level on the quarter hour Brandon Buchanan scoring. It was raining goals and Quinns went 3-2 up, a rare defensive mistake from Mile Petkovski let in Craig Tooley to finish. It was 4-2 on the stroke of half time, with an own goal. Balga pulled one back early in the second half, Aaron Farrier finding space in the box to score. However, not long after Quinns scored again, with Tooley making it 5-3. Naumovski gave Balga another life line, making it 5-4, but once again Quinns stayed in control and Tooley added a sixth to complete his hat-trick. Balga ended the game with nine players after Danny Moss and Alen Patarov were both sent off.

In the final game of the group Wanneroo City beat Joondalup City 2-1 at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday evening. Joondalup went ahead before half time, Jason Rubidge finding the target.

Wanneroo were on the front foot after the break and were level when a mix up between keeper and defender left Dom Brearo Elliot with a simple finish. Wanneroo won it after some clever work from Godfrey Asimwe and young Flynn Nolan from a set piece corner, which saw Flynn brought down in the box by Rubidge, and from the resultant penalty Brearo Elliot made no mistake to seal the win. “It was always going to be difficult to replicate the intensity of the previous week against Gwelup and that was my main concern going in. We also had key players Kye Douglas and Scott Johnston out with minor injuries,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. “We started a bit sluggish and conceded a soft goal quite early. Joondalup are a quality physical side and we knew we were in another battle. Jack Hailstones received an accidental head knock and was taken to hospital but thankfully he’s ok. So all in all very pleased for the lads, they are working hard and starting to gel well. But it doesn’t get any easier with another Division One opponent in Windmills next week.”

In Group ‘C’ Western Knights continued their unbeaten start to the competition after a 2-0 win against Canning City at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday evening, with goals from Paul Lloyd and Ryan Sardi. In the other game in the group Fremantle City overcame Curtin University 2-1 at Edinburgh Oval. Wade Farmer and Josh Wade were on target for City, while Simone Sichel scored for Curtin. Dilip Masrangi missed a penalty for Curtin. Shamrock Rovers had the bye in Group ‘C’ this week.

In Group ‘D’ Olympic Kingsway opened their account after a 2-0 win against Ashfield at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. It was scoreless at the break, but Kingsway hit the front when a deep cross was turned home by Mella Loding at the back post. They made sure of the points when a quick counter attack from Ryan Francis, sent Jake Cherrie in one-on-one with the keeper to score. In the late game UWA Nedlands first game in the competition ended with a comprehensive 8-2 win against Swan United. UWA took the lead early through new signing Ben Meredith, his header found the top corner from Joe Hayden's set-piece on the left-wing. Swan responded about five minutes later with a near-post header from a corner by James Shamim.

After that it was all UWA, young striker Zeke McPherson netted four in the first-half with some individual brilliance. He capped off a sterling display with a quality first-time volley from 8-yards following a cross from Bryce Conway to make it 5-1 at the break. It was much of the same in the second-half with UWA enjoying all the play and possession. About 10 minutes into the second half Luke Randazzo hit the scoresheet from Ben Meredith's perfectly placed cross from the right-hand-side. Randazzo's shot struck the inside of the near post and nestled into the net. A cheap turnover in the defensive-half saw John Monterosso capitalise and make it 6-2 on the hour. But UWA hit back and Mordecai Junior was played in on goal by Conway with a through-ball into the box, but the winger was brought down by the Swan defender, with Randazzo scoring from the resulting penalty, at the second attempt. Mordecai Junior then made it 8-2 as the substitute curled a fantastic effort from the right-hand-side of the edge of the box with his left foot. Dianella White Eagles had the bye this week.

17.2.2018

GLORY PAY THE PANENKA PENALTY

Perth Glory’s poor form continued after a 2-1 defeat against bottom of the table Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium, made it only one win in seven games for Kenny Lowe’s side. Nix youngster Sarpreet Singh opened the scoring early, but the Glory were level at the break with curling Diego Castro free kick. But the Spanish midfielder went from hero to villain, after his attempted Panenka penalty was saved by Tando Velaphi. But second half substitute Roy Krishna late shot was turned into his own net by Shane Lowry, to seal the three points.

Glory dominated the second half and got their just reward after Castro was fouled in the box, but the Spaniard's Panenka penalty was saved by Tando Velaphi as the WA side spurned a golden chance to win the game. “That was a game that we should have won and we had plenty of chances,” Glory assistant Coach Richard Garcia said. “They caught us on the sucker punch. They grew an extra leg when the penalty was saved. “It’s do or die now, but there is no reason why we can’t start a little run. We have to get rid of the lapses in concentration.”

Both were desperate for a good start in the bottom of the table clash, but it was the visitors who were ahead after only three minutes. The teenager was given far too much space and he eased his way to the edge of the box and rifled home and unstoppable shot.

On ten minutes the whole ground stood as one to applaud in tribute to former Glory midfielder Liam Miller who tragically passed away last week, a lovely touch from the Phoenix faithful. Glory custodian Liam Reddy then dealt well with Matthew Ridenton’s free kick, before Shane Lowry's fine block foiled Anrdija Kaludjerovic as the Serbian striker prepared to pull the trigger from close range on the half-hour mark.

Glory were looking dangerous themselves going forward and they were rewarded on 35 minutes with the equaliser. Castro’s free kick from the edge of the box, went in via the post, giving Velaphi no chance and Mitch Nichols let everyone know what he thought. After the break the Glory were well on top and Xavi Torres header from Neil Kilkenny corner flashed narrowly wide.

Moments later, substitute Joel Chianese looked to be in on goal after beating Thomas Doyle, but Velaphi was out quickly to save bravely at his feet. There were chances at both ends as the game opened up, Kaludjerovic was inches away from Krishna’s cross, before Castro sent Chianese in on goal, but his shot was pushed around the post by the Phoenix custodian.

It looked as though Glory's second-half pressure would finally be rewarded with nine minutes left when Galloway was adjudged to have blocked Castro illegally in the box. It looked a harsh decision, but having dusted himself down, the Spaniard stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his dink (Panenka) was easily saved by Velaphi. But things went from bad to worse for the Glory as Phoenix struck at the death to snatch all three points. Michael McGlinchey’s through ball sent Krishna down the left and his shot was diverted into the net by Lowry to give the home side all three points.




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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