Western Knights celebrate winning the State League championship

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BALGA INTRODUCES FEE FREE JUNIOR FOOTBALL

Balga have introduced a first for the sport in Australia, which the club believes will put it at the forefront of junior development but will revolutionise Junior football in Western Australia

The program aims to provide a fully organised fun environment for juniors. More than that, the club understands that kids look up to their parents, guardians and families and look to them to lead the way. As such, for kids to become eligible the club requires families to be involved and participate in club activities.

Balga will be providing two pathways for all Junior players. These are known as Academy and Community pathways. For more information, please click here.

19.9.2017

DE VANNA CHASING CAHILL'S SCORING RECORD

Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna is determined to end her career as Australia's all-time leading international goal scorer and has set her sights on surpassing Tim Cahill's record for the Socceroos. The 32-year old brought her tally to 43 goals in emphatic fashion on Saturday afternoon, unleashing a stunning volley to help Australia to a 2-1 win over Brazil.

That goal put her two ahead of Kate Gill as the Matildas' all-time leading scorer and within five of Cahill's record of 48 as Australia's overall leader. When asked after the win over Brazil, De Vanna made no secret of her desire to eclipse Cahill's goal haul to become the undisputed top marksman in the country.

"I'm chasing that, that's my next thing," De Vanna told smh.com.au "But if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I feel like that's probably why I'm having a pretty consistent game because I'm just having fun. I think about it (the record), but it's not my main goal. I just want to have fun."

The veteran forward struck a spectacular left-foot volley at the end of the first half in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 15,000 at Penrith's Pepper Stadium. She described the occasion as "a fairytale" for women's football and hopes to further state the credentials of the female footballers by outscoring her male counterparts on the international stage.

Time is on De Vanna's side according to Matildas coach Alen Stajcic who believes she has a number of years left at international football before contemplating retirement, and the striker is not taking any game for granted at her age. She's battled injuries throughout her career and knows how delicate careers are for senior players.

"I'm 32, I don't know when it's my last game. I've played at major tournaments where I've been sick and stressed. It's time for me to actually enjoy the twilight of my career," said De vanna, who has represented her country on 125 occasions since debuting in February 2004 against New Zealand.

De Vanna was coy whether she'd be able to continue her scoring feat on Tuesday night in Newcastle in the second match against Brazil. "Physically I don't think I can play 90 minutes. Whether (Stajcic) starts me, I don't know. But I know in my body to back it up next Tuesday would be very tough to play 90 minutes," she said.

18.9.2017

STYNES COMPLETES GLORY SQUAD

Perth Glory have finalised their squad for the coming A-League season with the recruitment of teenage midfielder Daniel Stynes. The 19-year old attacking midfielder is a product of Glory’s youth academy and is now in his fifth year with the club having come through their age group sides.

Stynes, a former ECU Joondalup junior, has featured heavily in Glory’s pre-season games and captained the club’s National Premier League side this season. “I’m really excited to sign my first pro contract and my family were delighted when they heard the news,” Stynes said. “Having come to Australia from England as a 7-year old, I grew up watching Glory, so to now sign professionally with what is effectively my hometown club, is a dream come true.”

“My family are really proud. Now I want to make sure that I really push the other lads at training, improve every aspect of my game and make sure that as and when opportunities do come up, I’m ready to take them ... I know that the hard work really starts now and I’m determined to learn as much as I can from the other lads here and be the best player I can be.”

18.9.2017

KERR ON THE MATILDA'S DESIRE TO BE NUMBER ONE

Star forward Sam Kerr says the Matildas want to be “the powerhouse” of women’s football. The Matildas are currently ranked sixth in the world but are edging closer and closer to top spot after an incredible 2017 in which they have beaten the United States (ranked 1 in the world), the Netherlands (7), Japan (8) and Brazil (9). That comes after defeating Canada (5) and drawing with Germany (2) at last year’s Olympic Games.

Speaking after Australia’s 2-1 win over Brazil on Saturday, Kerr said the Matildas had bigger things in their sights. “That’s what we want - we want to win consistently against top five, top six nations and Brazil’s a great team no matter where they’re ranked,” Kerr said. “They’re one of the best in the world. So we’ve got a lot of respect for them but now we’re wanting to be the powerhouse of women’s football.”

Kerr said the Matildas had taken confidence from recent victories at the Tournament of Nations and now had the confidence to focus on their game, rather than having to be reactionary. “We feel confident every time we go into a game of football but I think moreso now after the last couple of results we’ve had,” 24-year old Kerr said.

“I think that gives us confidence - it’s a little bit more pressure but we love going in knowing that Marta’s worrying about Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley rather than us just worrying about her. And even our team talks from the World Cup where we played them, it’s completely different - it’s about us and what we can do, so that’s really cool for the girls.”

The Matildas were helped to victory by a sell-out home crowd in Penrith with 15,089 fans cramming into Pepper Stadium. “It was great for the girls, I think everyone - Steph (Catley) got a big cheer and there was heaps of the girls out there that did great things that the crowd went crazy for,” Kerr said.

“But it’s just great for women’s football honestly - the girls were saying that some of them were holding back tears in that national anthem. To have the whole crowd behind you, it’s such a different game. Last time when we played them in front of a big crowd it was 60,000 Brazilians and it’s intimidating so I think it helped and I think it got us over the line in the end.”

Lisa De Vanna’s stunning volley from outside the penalty area had Australia in front at half-time. Kerr doubled their lead with a delightful flicked header from Alanna Kennedy’s delivery midway through the second period. And although Brazil pulled a goal back the damage had already been done.

“I was happy with that one,” Kerr said of her goal. “I actually said ‘Lans’ so she put up (the ball), so it wasn’t a fluke and she deserves the assist. We’d been talking about (that) second balls are the most dangerous balls and the ball came up and it was just kind of that loopy header and I’m just glad to help the team and get the win.”

Kerr, De Vanna and Caitlin Foord have formed a ruthless trio in recent months - one coach Alen Stajcic described as the ‘most threatening’ in the world. But due to Kerr’s injuries and Foord’s secondments in defence, the combination was rarely seen before the Rio Olympics but has since become the mainstay of Australia’s attack.

“It’s been not very long but it’s been coming for a while and Caitlin’s had to play defence for a bit and I was injured for a bit, so it kind of hasn’t worked out,” Kerr said. “But I love playing with those two - if someone’s worrying about me, Caitlin and Lisa can run riot and if someone’s worrying about Lisa, then me and Caitlin can run riot.”

18.9.2017

NPL-WA REVIEW REPORT TO GUIDE COMPETITION FUTURE (courtesy Football West)

Football West has welcomed the recommendations in an independent assessment and report into the current state and future of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues WA. The 61-page NPLWA Review Report, which contains 46 recommendations, will assist in shaping the structure of the top-tier competitions over the next five years, providing improved player development opportunities and a vibrant senior competition.

Changes to the structure of the senior and junior NPLWA competitions, increased transparency around player fees and the salary cap, and the establishment of a Junior NPLWA Standing Committee were among the key recommendations. The NPL Review Report was prepared after extensive consultation with stakeholders across the sport and included input from national governing body Football Federation Australia.

Football West Chair Liam Twigger said the NPL Review Report provided a comprehensive health check of the PS4 NPLWA competitions and recommendations for improvement that resulted from significant participant input. “The PS4 NPLWA competition is still very much a fledgling competition but after three completed seasons it was appropriate to conduct a review to assess how it was progressing and where improvements could be made,” Twigger said.

“The Review Report sets out a number of recommendations that will be phased in over coming seasons starting in 2018 with the aim of ensuring that the development of players continues to be a critical factor in shaping the competition. Throughout the review process there was strong emphasis from players, coaches, parents and club officials that the NPL should focus on player development and raising elite standards.”

“This is clear in the report with a number of recommendations that are designed to benefit players in both the Junior and Senior NPL competitions. Football is the most played team sport in the world, across Australia and here in WA and it is important that our state continues to produce players capable of playing on the world stage. Players such as Matildas striker Sam Kerr and Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury are examples of WA’s talent pool and of the great possibilities for our game.”

The review was commissioned by Football West to determine future modelling that would guide significant improvements. During the comprehensive process, members of the National Premier Leagues WA, State League, Amateur and Women’s Standing Committees were involved in a Project Reference Group that met regularly with consultants.

A separate sub-committee of Football West Board and Management was updated regularly on the progress of the review, while FFA competition and technical departments provided guidance and input. Other areas of the football community were consulted via eight workshops and an online survey, while discussions were also held with local government officials, the Department of Sport and Recreation and other State Sports Associations.

18.9.2017

I'LL BE READY IF SOCCEROOS COME CALLING SAYS WILLIAMS

Defender Rhys Williams isn't expecting a Socceroos SOS next month - but insists he will be ready should Ange Postecoglou opt to take a gamble. In fact, the 29-year old stopper claims he's in better shape now than during his most recent brush with the national team, a call up for March's World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates.

It's all on the line for Australia in next month's Russia 2018 two-legged play-off with Syria. And if Postecoglou is looking for a 'left field' selection - quite literally - Williams might be it. Operating as a left-sided centre-back at club level, the ball-playing ex-Middlesbrough captain could provide a beacon of calm and serenity in a three-at-the-back Socceroos system under relentless scrutiny in recent months.

While Williams would rather focus on being in peak condition for his club as the A-League season approaches, the desire to resurface again for Australia after several seasons of injury heartbreak still lingers. "I feel like if selected, I am a lot stronger and fitter than in March (when he was a Perth Glory player)," declared Williams.

"It is the off-season and it's hard to say. Ange has his thoughts on picking players out of season, but you never know. Really, though, I need to be fighting fit for Victory before anything else happens. Of course you always want to be in the national team. It's a strong group and you can never take for granted playing for the Socceroos."

Williams was shocked and elated by March's call-up, viewing it as an act of recognition from Postecoglou that he had not been forgotten after his toils to recover from career-threatening setbacks. "I was very surprised, and I would be the first to say that I wasn't really ready," he conceded. "I think the boss also knew I wasn't ready, but wanted to get me back in the fold and show me that I still had a future with the Socceroos."

With his expansive passing range and ability to transition effortlessly into more advanced positions due to his versatility, one-time midfielder Williams can dare to dream. "If the chance did come I feel I could take it with hands on this occasion," he added. "Although we haven't played much competitive football, I feel like I'm in a really good position both mentally and physically."

Williams has slotted in seamlessly under coach Kevin Muscat's ministrations at Victory, buying straight into the club's rich culture. "I love it. It's a club that is well driven ... everyone has to win, there's no two ways about it," he said. "It's a great place to be. I have missed only one training session and have played every minute that's been asked of me.

"I think I've featured in eight or nine of our pre-season game so far. I feel like I'm getting used to the way they want to play here and I'm adapting very well. I've played the second most minutes of anybody here in pre-season, and don't think I've missed a beat yet."

17.9.2017

KERR CLAIMS TOP PFA PRIZE

Matilda's attacker Samantaha Kerr has been recognised as Australia's best female footballer at the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Players' Awards. Voted by the PFA's female membership, Kerr's scintillating form for club and country saw her win the PFA Women's Footballer of the Year award.

"I have been fortunate to enjoy so many great experiences with the Matildas and with my clubs over the past 12 months and this just tops it off," said Kerr, who has also been shortlisted for the 2017 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. "The respect of your peers means so much and I’m very thankful to my teammates and everyone that voted for me."

"There could have been five, six, seven or even eight girls that could’ve won that award. Obviously to be mentioned in the same sentence as Carli Llyod, Jodi Taylor in the FIFA Player of the Year award is a massive honour as well and something I’m still pinching myself about."

Aaron Mooy was named PFA Men’s Footballer of the Year while former Matilda Cheryl Salisbury claimed the Alex Tobin OAM Medal. Alex Gersbach took out the PFA Harry Kewell Medal as best Under-23 footballer, and Alex Chidiac collected the PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year.

17.9.2017

BAYSWATER BOW OUT OF NPL FINALS SERIES

Heidelberg United have moved into the Semi-Final of the Play Station 4 NPL Final Series, after beating NPLWA Champions Bayswater City 3-1 at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Victorian Champions were ahead midway through the first half with Ken Athiu scoring from the penalty spot, but Bayswater hit back in first half stoppage time with a penalty of their own, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda on target. There were no more goals in normal time, but Athiu’s second in the first period of extra time to put them in the box seat, and ‘Man of the Match’ Sean Ellis made sure of the win.

Heidelberg Coach George Katsakis said they deserved the win, but praised Bayswater for a tight game. “We have a great group of players and the ‘Never say die’ attitude was in full show today, and when the going gets tough we just roll up our sleeves and get the job done,” he said. “We showed great character after half time, especially after conceding a goal late in the first half, and we been at that all season, but credit to the boys. They (Bayswater) are a decent outfit, and with the addition of a couple of players they could hold their own in the NPL in Victoria, so credit to them but a lot of credit must go to my boys. It’s been a massive week for us, and we’ve had three tough games in seven days, and as you can see they were still going at the end of extra time.”

Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne said he was proud of his players, but silly mistakes had cost them on the day. “I’m proud of the effort they put in today, but I told the boys before the game when you play better players you can’t make the sort of error that we made during the season,” he said. “Unfortunately today we made those errors, and made poor decisions, and it cost us. They are a good team and have performed well to win the NPLVIC, but I don’t think there is much difference between the teams, but on the day they made the right decisions in the right areas, and the quality showed in the final result.”

It was the visitors on top early and Reuben Way tested Devon Spence, before Athiu’s long-range shot whistled over the top. Spence was in the action again on 21 minutes, this time pushing Ellis’ free kick around the post at full stretch, and moments later saved low from Athiu’s snap shot. Bayswater started to get in the game as it wore on and their first chance fell to Jason Mirco, his shot from the angle was pushed away by Christopher Theodoridis-Petropoulos. Then it was the turn of Marulanda to test the Heidelberg keeper, this time Theodoridis-Petropoulos got down well to save the Colombian striker’s low drive.

But on 35 minutes it was the visitors who made the break through. Todd Howarth brought down former Sorrento midfielder Lewis Hall and referee David Bruce pointed straight to the spot. Athiu took the resulting penalty and beat Spence to his right. Bayswater almost hit back five minutes later, Howarth’s curling free kick crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. But in first half stoppage time they found the equaliser. Mirco was brought down in the penalty area by Way, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Marulanda converted, despite the keeper getting a hand to it, and it sent the sides into half time on level terms.

Heidelberg went close to regaining their lead early in the second half, Ellis’ snap shot flew over the top, and moments later the same players shot from the angle was saved low by Spence at his near post. Paul McCarthy tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area but it was straight at the keeper, before Marulanda shot on the run drifted wide. The travelling supporters thought they had the lead on 80 minutes, but Ellis’ shot crashed off the crossbar, before second half substitute Michael Trigger shot whistled wide of the target, but it off to extra time.

Heidelberg made a great start to the first period and were ahead seven minutes in. Trigger picked out Adrian Zahra on the left of the box, and the former Glory midfielder crossed to Athiu who made no mistake from five meters. They added a third five minutes later, Ellis capping off a fantastic performance, curling past Spence and into the bottom corner of the net to seal the win. It was almost 4-1 but Athiu shot rattling the crossbar, but at the end of the game it was Heidelberg moving into the Semi-Finals and a game against NSW NPL Champions AIPA Leichhardt next week.

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY (12 David STOKOE 85’), 9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA, 10 Jason MIRCO (19 Luka NINKOVIC 89’), 11 Devon GIBSON, 13 Trent KAY (C), 17 Borbor SAM (21 David HEAGNEY 55’), 18 Brent GRIFFITHS, 20 Sam MITCHINSON, 23 Andrija JUKIC - Subs not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC, 3 Tristian COLLI

Heidelberg United: GK Christopher THEODORIDIS-PETROPOULOS, 2 Josh WILKINS, 4 Jordan WILKES, 6 Lewis HALL (5 Michael TRIGGER 76’), 7 Reuben WAY, 9 Adrian ZAHRA (3 Leslie DOUMBALIS 105’), 10 Jack PETRIE, 11 Kostas KANAKARIS (14 Harry NOON 71’), 12 Ken ATHIU, 13 Luke BYLES (C), 19 Sean ELLIS - Subs not used: RGK Christian PAVIIDIS, 22 Alexander SCHIAVO - Referee: David Bruce

17.9.2017

AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

Wembley Downs are the 2017 Sunday Amateur Premier League Champions after a 3-1 win against Kwinana United at Butlers Reserve. “Today we started really slow, it wasn’t one of our best performances, but fair play to Kwinana, and they made us work hard for it. You always get a tough game against them,” Wembley Coach Colm Costello said. “Hard work can get you the reward. Every player worked hard in the squad so I’m just delighted for them more than anything. It’s a good feeling.”

The home side were on top early and Dean Wall headed against the woodwork on five minutes, and it looked like it was going to be one of them days, as Wembley missed numerous chances, but on 34 minutes they found the opener. Gavin Walsh raced into the box and finished well past Joe Page. It was more of the same after the break and Walsh fired inches over the top, but on the hour they doubled their lead. Banin Hashem was bought down in the box, and substitute Mark King stepped and scored from the resulting penalty. With news filtering through of the Kingsley game, there was a party mood brewing amongst the Wembley supporters, and they added a third on 75 minutes. King was given far too much room and his long-range volley flew past Page to wrap up the points and the title. Kwinana pulled one back moments later, Lee Bates scoring, but it was too little too late and at the final whistle the Wembley players and Coach celebrated on the pitch.

“We wanted to go out and enjoy the game, but we couldn't get going in the 1st half, but Gav Walsh's neat finish set us up well and then I think our quality showed in the 2nd half,” Wembley skipper Jay McDonald said. “It’s a fantastic achievement for the squad and everyone at the club. Still hasn't quite sunk in yet, but it will definitely be a great memory to look back on as you don't get these opportunities very often. I think we deserved it and we were not outplayed once in the league this season. Kwinana never backed down and were up for it, good luck to them in the cup final.”

Kingsley chances of the title disappeared after they were well-beaten 5-1 by North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. The home side opened the scoring early when skipper Oscar Kelly headed home at the back post. The home supporters were on their feet again when Kelly headed home another bullet to give North Perth a 2-0 lead at half time. Former Kingsley player, Kelly, completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot early in the second half, before Jayden Drummond pulled one back for Kingsley. But North Perth continued to press and they added a fourth from BJ Andrews, who cut on to his left foot and gave Paul Rainford no chance. The icing was but on the cake late when Sean Lahert’s delicate chip made it 5-1. “I reckon it is a good way to nearly end the season on high. We have a huge cup final and we need to keep going in the same form and need to approach final In the right mindset and this win has done exactly that<’ striker Mehdi Rabei said. “Kingsley are a great side, and we showed our quality once again and the best team won, and Sean’s last goal the chip would’ve made Lionel Messi's mother proud. Good luck to them for next year and good luck to us in the final.”

In other games Leeming Strikers beat Belmont Villa 5-2 at John Connell Reserve. Leeming took the lead on ten minutes when Yohann Crampon scored. They added a second soon after, Lucas Pickering was played in and forced a good save from the Belmont keeper, but the rebound was then put onto the crossbar, before Pickering’s third effort, a volley from six meters, hit the back of the net. Pickering made in 3-0 after 35 minutes after rounding the keeper he slotted home from a right angle. Matt Blackmore made it 4-0 in the last minute of the half with a diving header at the back post. Belmont came out strong in second half and pulled two goals back, but Declan O'Leary rounded off proceedings curled into the bottom corner to make it 5-2. Hamersley Rovers beat Ellenbrook United 3-1 at Carine Open Space, Subiaco beat BB United at the Cage, while Perth Royals and Southern Spirit drew 1-1 at JA Lee Reserve.

16.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW

Western Knights have celebrated winning the All Flags State League Division One title with a stunning 5-0 win against Rockingham City at Nash Field. They made a great start and were ahead on 10 minutes. A poor back pass put keeper Phil Herschell under pressure and his attempt clearance was charged down by Josh Cortes, the keeper did well to save Cortes’ shot, but Jelenovic was on hand to fire home the rebound. Rockingham went close to the equaliser nine minutes later, the lively Hilario Nunes was sent down the left by Ryan Kennedy, his cross found Brian Gwataringa, whose shot flashed wide of the target. But sixty seconds later the Knights added a second, when Cortes was brought down by Josh Metzinger and referee Simon Hicks pointed straight to the spot, and Lloyd stepped up and buried the resulting penalty. It was 3-0 three minutes later, Pellow losing his marker in the six-yard box to head home powerfully from Lloyd’s corner. It was one-way traffic as the Knights pressed, and Herschell produced a great double save to deny Jelenovic, but they was nothing the Rockingham custodian could do when the Knights added a fourth on 42 minutes. Again Pellow found space at the back post to head home David Murphy’s corner, to send the home side in with a commanding 4-0 lead.

It was more of the same after half time and it wasn’t a surprise when the Knights added a fifth, Jelenovic skipped clear, his first effort was saved low by Herschell, but the striker made no mistake from the rebound. The Knights were presented their winning medals and received the All Flags State League Division One trophy from Football West’s Head of Members Services Alex Novatsis. “I said to the boys before the game they had to go out and deliver a good performance in our last game and they have done that today, and continued our unbeaten home record.” Knights Coach Trim Morgan said. “Our defence has been outstanding all season, only conceding 16 goals in the league, and it was good on the final day to also finish with a clean sheet. But it’s not happened overnight, the boys have trained hard since November, and we’ve had big numbers at training throughout the season, so as a coach it’s been great and it’s been a fantastic season for the club.”

Forrestfield United have qualified for the NPL Play-off against Mandurah City after a 3-0 win against Canning City, in the final game of the season at Hartfield Park. Needing a win to make sure of a spot Rod Banjac’s side were on the front foot early and hit the front on seven minutes. A good run down the right wing from Jordan Hart, ended with a pin point cross into the box which was met by Rhys Loxley at the far post, and he volleyed home, much to the delighted of the Forrie Army. It was 2-0 on the half hour, Sani Sinclair burst into the box, and was brought down by Luke Stonebridge, and referee Stephen Knight pointed straight to the spot. Sinclair picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty. Forrestfield dominated after the break and created a number of chances, but they secured the points, and their play-off spot, fifteen minutes from time. Loxley sent Ben Rogers in on goal and the striker made no mistake from 10 meters.

“The game was a frustrating one where we created countless opportunities, but it was our finishing that let us down on the day,” Loxley said. “However, the aim was to get the three points to finish in the playoff position and we achieved that. The game against Mandurah is one that I’m really looking forward to as I'm sure the rest of the squad are also eager to test themselves against NPL opposition. We are under no illusions coming into the game and know that we will have to be at our best if we are to come out on top. Mandurah are a well drilled side that finished the season off really strongly so we will need a really big effort from the boys over the course of the 180 minutes. In saying that, we know that this represents a fantastic opportunity to play at WA's highest level and we as a club will be doing all that we can to make that happen.”

South West Phoenix were hoping Forrestfield would slip up to make the play off’s, but that didn’t transpire, but the Bunbury based side did finish the season with a 1-0 win against Gosnells City at WML Stadium. The only goal of the game came midway through the second half, with Patrick Quinn on target, scoring from a free kick. UWA Nedlands finished the season in fifth spot after a 3-1 win against Joondalup City at the UWA Sports Park. It was Joondalup who opened the scoring on 27 minutes, UWA didn’t clear their line from a corner, and Jamie Gardiner reacted quickest to fire home the loose ball. But in a blink of an eye UWA levelled the ledger through Alex Kretowicz. Mordecai Junior's cross from the left found the striker at the back post and the number 10 was able to nod home. The home side then hit the front on the half hour, an attempted pass back was intercepted by Kretowicz who rounded the keeper and buried into an empty net to give the hosts the lead. Kretowicz scored again but his celebrations were caught short, with the offside flag up. But on the hour he did complete his hat-trick, racing clear one-on-one and finishing clinically and in doing so wrapped up the points for UWA.

In other games Fremantle City ended the season in sixth place after come out on top against Ashfield in a seven goal thriller at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors dominated the first half and were ahead on 23 minutes, Rory Kiely was brought down in the box, and Alec Robinson scored from the spot. It was 2-0 on the half hour, Ben West heading home. They added a third two minutes from half Lawrence Lewis lobbed the keeper after Tom Allen had sent him clear, so it was 3-0 at half time. The home side pulled one back six minutes into the second half, Jamie Stewart headed home. But Fremantle added a fourth four minutes later, Antony Lomma ball picked out Robinson, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the penalty area. Ashfield reduced the errors on the hour, with Stewart heading home again after losing his marker in the box. It was 4-3 eight minutes later, Dan Colbert converting from the penalty spot. Ashfield pressed late for the equaliser but Joondalup held out for well-deserved three points. “It was a mixed day for us on reflection, played some of our best football first half but soft goals which typified our season left a bitter taste in the mouth,” Robinson said. “But the positives also are that we managed to finish the season eight unbeaten and in 6th after flirting with relegation earlier in the season. Gives us good momentum building into next season after what will no doubt be a busy summer for the managers trying to get the team they want together.” – Dianella White Eagles had the bye this week.

16.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW

Swan United will play in the end of season play-off in the All Flags State League Division Two, after a hard fought 2-1 win against Kingsway Olympic at Francis Street on Saturday afternoon. It was winner takes all in the Swan Valley, and it was the home side who hit the front mid-way through the first half, Kingsway failed to deal with a corner and Aaron Colli’s half volley from the edge of the box flew into the net. But Kingsway levelled ten minutes later, a stunning long-range shot from Nathan Thorpe gave Alex Radonich no chance. Both sides had chances in a tight second half, but two minutes from time a free kick was driven deep into the box and headed across the box to Colli to head the winner.

“It was an awesome edge of your seat game, Kingsway were brilliant and unlucky too hitting the bar twice but we kept our nerve and kept fighting and did what we needed to do,” Swan Coach Matt Debarro said. “I'm happy for the boys it has been a massive three weeks for us. Shamrock had to win to stay alive and we beat them. Gwelup had a home record to protect and we got up there, and then Kingsway was a cup final with high stakes and we again prevailed. No one can say we don't deserve to be in the four after all of that. Now we have to focus on Gosnells and prepare for the semis where we will again need to be our best if we are to be successful.”

With Swan winning Kelmscott Roos missed out on play-off spot, but they ended the season on a high beating second placed Morley Windmills 2-1 at Frye Park. The home side were behind at half time with Boas Mtwale scoring. But the home side hit back and levelled when Simon Williams raced down the right, got to the bye line and whipped in a perfect cross to Asa Sippits who volleyed home. Kelmscott won it when Sippits raced clear, and finished past the keeper at his near post. “- We won a very hard fought match and showed great character to come from behind to nick the win,” Tait Comley said. “We did what we had to do but unfortunately the other result didn't go our way. It was nice to finish with a good win and we will be pushing for more success next season.”

Quinns finished their season unbeaten in their last three games and in their final game beat relegated Shamrock Rovers at Gumblossom Park. It was a tight opened, but on 35 minutes the home side hit the front, Gareth Hamilton's half volley finish in the top corner. They doubled their lead on the hour, Craig Tooley finishing well. Then late on Tooley sent John McNeil through with a defence splitting pass, and he slotted home. In the other games Melville City beat Wanneroo City 2-0 at Wanneroo Reserve on Thursday evening, while Balga and Curtin University drew 1-1 at Edinburgh Oval. Mark Donnelly was on target for the home side while Matthew Kerridge scored for Balga – Champions Gwelup Croatia had the bye this week.

16.9.2017

FINAL-GAME HEARTBREAK MAKES A BITTERSWEET EXPERIENCE FOR DAVIES

It is always hard for any footballers to reach the final game of any competition, only to fall at the final hurdle and finish as runner-up. To go through the same experience not just once, but twice in the same year must then be heartbreaking. Unfortunately, that is wat Pahang defender Matthew Davies has gone through in 2017.

Davies finished runner-up in the FA Cup after Pahang lost 3-2 to Kedah in the final back in May, while just last month he collected a silver medal with the Malaysia Under-22 team whuch ended their South-East Asia Games campaign to a 1-0loss to Thailand. Coincidentally, both matches were held at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Kumpar.

However, Davies says he has taken both disappointments in his stride and vows to learn from each. "It's very bittersweet as it's a big achievement to reach the final matches in the first place," Davies said. "But to have gone through reaching two finals, getting hyped up, having a lot of fans behind you and a lot of build up to the games, and then falling short is quite disappointing and takes a lot out of you mentally."

"I guess the consolation for me is that I'm still young, I'm just 22 and to have these big games under my belt is a great experience for me going forward. I'm patient and I'm sure the titles will come in the future. I'm looking forward to playing in more big games. It's what being a footballer is all about."

Malaysia's South-East Asian Games run have reportedly brought its players to the attention of Thai League scouts, with clubs in the competition set to offer an ASEAN foreign player slot beginning next season. Davies agrees that playing abroad may benefit Malaysian players, but maintains that he remains committed to seeing out his contract with the Elephants.

"Malaysian players have a lot to learn and there's a lot to be gained from venturing abroad," said Davies, who contracted through to the end of next year. "It could only stand to benefit players if they look abroad. It's an option (playing overseas). I'm very happy here because I've been treated very well."

"It's something that in the future, when I look back at my own career, and to be satisfied with that, I'd like to have a few different stints abroad whether it's back in Australia or Malaysia. If I managed to have a few stints abroad, I'd consider that a part of a successful career. I do want that, but not for a little bit."

15.9.2017

MATILDAS SELL-OUT A SIGN OF THE TIMES SAYS WILLIAMS

Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams says a record W-League pay deal has been a long time coming as the Matildas prepare to face Brazil in front of a sell-out crowd tomorrow in Sydney. More than 17,000 fans are expected to pour through the gates which could surpass the Wallabies crowd at Canberra Stadium when they host Argentina a few hours later.

It would mark the first time across Australia's four football codes that an international women's crowd eclipsed a men's fixture played the same day. Williams admits she never thought she'd see that day in her career, but said the Matildas turnout is a sign of the times as women's sport in Australia goes from strength to strength.

"With the boost in all women's sporting codes and how well we've done on the world stage I think it's been a long time coming," Williams said. "A lot of our results over the last couple of years have drawn interest from the Australian public and part of that comes from the AFLW getting involved and new pay conditions for cricket and netball."

Williams was part of the Matildas team which boycotted a tour of America in 2015 and said the financial support for the women's game didn't happen overnight. "At the time of the strike it could have been taken two ways but the most important thing was we all stuck together and we're pretty happy now with our conditions."

"We still have a little while to go but this is the beginning of it and we have to take responsibility ourselves and get the results we need to help drive that support ... We want to get up to the USA team are in terms of support where they have sell-out crowds all the time, but we made good progress striking a new pay deal in the W-League."

15.9.2017

BAYSWATER TAKES ON HEIDELBERG IN NPL NATIONAL FINAL SERIES

It’s been a great season for Bayswater City, winning the Night Series early in 2017, and taking out the PS4 NPLWA league title and the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup. This weekend they will be looking to advance in the PS4 NPL National Final Series when they host NPLVIC league winners Heidelberg United at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday (12.00pm)

Last week’s win against Perth capped of a fantastic season for Chris Coyne’s side and he said they celebrated after the game, but were back in for recovery on Sunday. “I felt the boys showed a really great resilient streak on Saturday, that hunger and desire to keep clean sheets and as always the quality we possess at the other end gave us the 3-0 win,” he said. “I thought Perth really got at us on Saturday and they deserve a lot of credit for their performance but a lot of the efforts were from distance and our back four and keeper were really up to everything that was thrown at them.”

The club have brought on some talented youngster this season, and Coyne said they have all performed well and haven’t let him or the club down. “Absolutely, it has taken 3-4 years to start producing / developing kids that are good enough to push our first 11 and they are really starting to come good,” he explained. “We are going to work them in the off season to develop them technically, physically and mentally so that they are pushing hard for selection. They have all really excelled this year and am looking forward to them pushing into the team next year as David Stokoe did last year.”

Coyne is well aware the talent Heidelberg have at their disposal, but like City they have had a busy couple of weeks, and were in FFA Cup action on Wednesday night, but he said they have done their homework on them and he is looking forward to the challenge. “They are going to be very tough opponents and we are really looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “As teams go they have tremendous history and are a proud club with many former WA players having represented them in the past. That being said we fear no one, and with the tough week ahead we really need to challenge them to get to the next round.”

The only disappointment for Coyne is they can’t play the game at their home ground, something the coach isn’t happy about. “Yes we are not happy with the decision as Finance 365 Stadium is one of the best sporting facilities in the local game. The pitch is in immaculate condition and the fans would have come in their droves to see the old NSL team against Bayswater,” he explained. “The kick off time is very poor and the fact that it clashes with local juniors final is not good, but we will get on with it even if it takes the gloss off the game slightly being at Inglewood.”

There will be a couple of familiar faces in the Heidelberg line up on Sunday, with former Sorrento defender Lewis Hall and Perth SC defender Josh Wilkins plying their trade in Melbourne, and Wilkins said it’s been a massive season for the club. “We're very happy with how the season went, and our goal was to take home silverware with an ultimate goal of finishing top of the league,” he explained. “We achieved that but unfortunately fell short on the final hurdle in the Top Four Finals. It's painful looking back at it but we're still proud of what we've accomplished.”

Heidelberg stunned Perth Glory in the FFA Cup, and Wilkins said it was a great day for the club. “We knew going into the game that we had a chance. We had some fresh bodies and had just started hitting some fantastic form in the league. It also helped us that they were relatively underdone due to just starting their pre-season and we took advantage of it,” he said. “We set the tempo and just built off the momentum, nobody at the game was really overly surprised at the result, and we deserved it.”

It’s been a hectic schedule for George Katsakis’ side with them playing three games in six days, and now they travel to Perth to take on Bayswater. But Wilkins said they will be ready for it. “Yes unfortunately our schedule isn't very comfortable and we're playing three grand finals within 6 days but we've got arguably the best squad in Victoria so there are boys who can step in and do more than just hold their own,” he said. “George has got us prepared and knows a few sources over in WA. I am obviously also very invested in the WA NPL with friends over there and I’m always keeping up with their progress. We will have done our homework and be ready for the game no doubt. Bayswater have always been a strong team and it'll be good to play against a team that has also been my rivals since my Perth SC days.’

15.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW

Last week’s Western Knights won the All Flags State League Division One title, but due to them not reaching the criteria to enter the NPL, two sides have the opportunity to gain promotion and it all goes down to the final game of the season. Forrestfield United are in pole position, and a win against Canning City at Hartfield Park will see them take on Mandurah City in a two-leg play off next week. Forrestfield lost any chance of the title after they were held to a 3-3 draw at Fremantle City last week, and Rod Banjac said it was disappointing result, but praised his opponents. “Yes it was disappointing result but not a big surprise,” he said. “Although we are a good footballing side with ability to punish anyone, we are far from having the ability to control the game at key moments due to our inexperience. Credit to Fremantle City as they took their chances and battled to the very end with passion and commitment to be admired.”

Banjac said the turnaround at the club has been fantastic, both on and off the park, and going into the final game a spot in play-off is in their own hands. “We have had a great year on the park where we exceeded all expectations with a young side which is getting better by the day,” he explained. “Although NPL is in our sites it is not that important for us at the moment as we focus on continuous improvement. We invest heavily into development of our own players and if we are not mature enough for promotion this year, it will be next or the year after. This year we have six junior/youth teams in the grand finals, and all this with 100% focus on development. The quality of our players coming through the ranks is nothing short of mouthwatering, but we must be patient.”

“A few years back we set ourselves some challenging/objectives and we are pleased that we almost achieved all of them as we are now a reflection of what happens when a community is united and pushes in the same direction. It is very important to understand that we never set our sights to become the best football club in the state, but rather to enrich our broader football community and contribute to the profile of our game while influencing the quality on the park, and there is no doubt that we are achieving that. I have always said that it takes an army of people to ensure the health of a major sporting organisation, and what an army we have become. The Eastern Corridor is united, buzzing and hungry for quality football.”

Forrestfield know they must reach Canning to finish second behind the Knights, and Banjac said it will be another tight affair, but he said all clubs they play lift on the day. “In last three games we conceded nine goals and there is a logical explanation behind that. Our style of football is very attractive, on most occasions extremely effective, and we are the best supported club in the state with enviable facilities, and for all those reasons we have become "the side to beat", although it's justified as on our day we can beat anyone, but there is a massive BUT,” he explained.

“For the last six weeks they have all been massive games with so much riding on them, and although we have the ability, it is clearly evident that we don't have the experience as some of the costly mistakes we make are childish at times. We are not quite ready to perform in high pressure environments but that is changing as our boys are fast learners and getting more intelligent by the minute. We are already better for the experience and look forward to challenges ahead with confidence, starting on Saturday against Canning.”

If Forrestfield slip up, South West Phoenix have the opportunity to take on Mandurah, with a win against Gosnells City at WML Stadium in Bunbury. They improved their chances with a big win against Canning last week, a game Coach Mauro Marchione was happy with, but said they lost their chance at Nash Field the week before. “The game against WK was the one. Our tactics worked well up to five minutes to go and then they scored two goals on our mistakes. We had two clear chances to score the second goal and win the game but we missed and WK don't forgive you. I think a few NPL sides know this well,” he explained.

“Truth is that most of the boys have never played games of this importance before so I can only be proud of my team to have faced WK on their turf and be ahead with five to go. That was a game that we play with personality and tactically well except for the last 10 minutes. But we will learn from that game and be stronger next year and certainly more experienced. In saying that, allow me to say that Trim did an exceptional job this year. They proved to be the best team in our Division and also won the cup against the top teams. At the end of the day, a coach is good only when he wins and he won well the two main competitions. The rest doesn't count.”

The Italian coach has been happy the way his side have performed this season and he said they will see what happens on Saturday, but he’s not expecting Forrestfield to lose. “No hopes for us for the play offs. After WK, Forrestfield has proven to be the other best team in this league. They play a very entertaining football and Ratko is one of the best coaches I have met since I started fifteen years ago,” Marchione said. “With not great quality material in his hands Ratko and his coaching staff have been able to build an organised squad where everyone plays simple and where all help each other. A solid team that if it will improve the defensive phase will be one of the top teams in NPL in the future. In any case, I hope for Ratko, his boys and the all Forrestfield club to win the play offs and go up: they all deserve it.

“We will play against Gosnells to win, like always, and apart of WK we never lost in the last 12 fixtures and we want to continue with the last game. Then we will prepare next year.” In other games this weekend, the Knights will be presented their trophy when they host Rockingham City at Nash Field, while UWA Nedlands will be pushing for a top five finish when they host Joondalup City at the UWA Sport Park, while in the final game Ashfield entertains Fremantle City at Ashfield Reserve – Dianella White Eagle have the bye this week, but if Forrestfield fail to beat Canning they will take the runners up spot with even playing.

15.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW

If you thought Division One was the only league going down to the wire, think again. In the All Flags State League Division Two it’s winner takes all in the Footballwa – ‘Match of the Week’ when Swan United host Kingsway Olympic at Francis Street, with the winner progressing into the end of season play-off’s. Three teams are chasing the last spot in the play off, with Kelmscott also still in the mix, who will be hoping for a draw in the Swan Valley, but if there is a winner at Francis Street, they will make it.

Kingsway have been one of the form teams in the league and are coming off a vital win last week against Kelmscott, and Coach Graham Normanton said it was a tough encounter. “We had a hard fought win last week..... Yes.... But fully deserved in my opinion,” he said. “They shaded the first half, but we then came out in the second half and more than made up for a lackluster first half. It was probably our best 45 minutes of the season. Once again it showed the improvements that we've made. Anybody who watched that game can't have gone away disappointed as it show cased a good quality game which had everything.”

It’s been a huge turn around for the club, who won the State Premier League in 1978 and 1980, but since relegation in 1999, it’s been a downwards spiral, but Normanton must be praised for the turnaround, but he said they haven’t done anything yet. “Thank you for the congratulations but honestly we've done nothing to be congratulated for.......... Yet,” he explained. “We started off back in early December with no players at all. It's been a difficult challenge but one in which we've all relished. It's been a tough road but we've seen an improvement every week. We've managed to drag ourselves into contention by grinding out results in the second half of the season. I'm delighted with the progress of the team and the development of many of the players. We only really deserved to lose on one occasion against Morley but other than that I think we have been up there with the best of them.”

Normanton, who coached Perth SC and Inglewood United in the NPL, said Saturday’s game against Swan is huge but one they are looking forward too. The game this week is just another final for us, as we've been playing finals for the last nine weeks, so, nothing different from our perspective,” he said. “It'll be a very difficult game against a tough team....... They are rightly favourites and we are under no illusions about how difficult the task will be. However, we have managed to get here and we are not going to die wondering. There's one thing for sure if we happen to get in to the finals we will be hard to stop.”

Swan produced a huge shock last week to keep their play-off hopes alive, beating Champions Gwelup Croatia 3-2 and in doing so inflict their first loss at home this season. Swan Coach Matt Debarro said it was their best performance of the season, and a timely one. “It was a huge win, probably the best game of state league football I've seen in years, both sides through everything they had into every moment,” he said. “They had an unbeaten home record to protect, and we had a top four spot to take, thankfully the boys brought home the chocolates and have put themselves in a good position.”

Like Kingsway, Swan have been on a downward spiral since relegation from the Premier League in 2010, but Debarro said they are aiming to bring back the glory years to the club. “The goal has always been to try and get Swan back to former glories, and we are well aware we are a long way from that still, but our focus remains on the present and that is to play our best this Saturday and win,” he explained. “If we are successful then we look to do our best to get promoted, but until it's certain we look to the next game and trying to emulate our performance from last week.”

Debarro knows they need three points to make sure of a top four finish and he said they will be doing all they can to get it on Saturday. “We will be going in to win, that's what we can control and that's why we play, to win. We are certain Kelmscott will win against a Morley team guaranteed second place as they will want to reach playoffs just as much as we do,” he said. “We will need to be at our best if we are to beat Normo and his inform Kingsway side though, they are no pushovers and on their day are capable of playing the best brand of football in this league. But whatever the outcome is, it is potentially the last game of the season and we'd like to finish off with a good performance and a win in front of our supporters.”

Kelmscott will be hoping for a draw at Francis Street, and three points when they host Morley Windmills at Frye Park. They had the opportunity to put a playoff spot in their own hands last week, but came home from Kingsway empty handed and Tait Comley said despite playing well went down 2-1. “Yes last weekend was so disappointing for us, as we knew what we had to do and unfortunately it didn't go our way on the day,” he explained. “I thought we played really well in the first half but dropped off in the second which didn't help us. There are still a lot of positives to take out of what was a really exciting game.”

It’s been a tough season for the club, with a coaching change half way through the season but Comley said it was a good transition under new coach Aaron Beatty. “It's been a tough season for us but we've just stuck together as a unit and worked hard to grind out results. There's a lot more to come from us I feel and I'm excited for next season,” he said. “Aaron is really good to have as a coach, he gets us fired up and is bringing in a lot of new ideas to the club. He's getting us to play a certain way and I think next season we'll start to see a huge difference.”

Comley said all they can do is get a win on Saturday, and whatever happens in the other game is out of their hands. “Unfortunately for us, it is out of our hands but we still need to win and that's what we intend to do against a good side,” he said. “Morley are a really good side with quality players, and they have finished runners-up in the league, so we know how tough it will be. But I’m really excited for the challenge and so are the lads.”

The round starts on Thursday evening when Wanneroo City host Melville City at Wanneroo Reserve, with a 7.30pm kick off. Wanneroo are in the play-offs but Melville will be wanting to end the season with three points. In other games this weekend Curtin University entertain Balga at Edinburgh Oval, while Quinns host Shamrock Rovers at Gumblossom Park – The Champions Gwelup Croatia have the bye this weekend.

15.9.2017

AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – PREVIEW

It’s a huge weekend for Sunday Amateur Premier League leaders Wembley Downs, a win in their final home game of the season against Kwinana United at Butlers Reserve will seal the title, and the clash is the Footballwa – ‘Match of the Week’. Wembley came home from Ellenbrook with a big win last week and skipper Jay McDonald said it was a good performance against a side who led them 2-0 at home earlier in the season. “Yes last week was great win away from home, and one we deserved on the day,” he said. “Last time we struggled to break them down and were impatient, which led to them causing us trouble on the break so it was nice to have a solid performance for the whole 90 minutes.”

McDonald said a lot of the credit goes down to the coaching staff and he said Colm Costello has done a great job. “All credit to Cos so far, it's pretty much a new squad for both the first team and reserves, bar a handful of us,” he said. “He and Martin Sullivan have done well to get the group to gel, with players coming in and out all year. Pre-season was difficult as we weren't getting the performances we wanted. But you can see it started coming together as we went on to win the night series. It made us more eager for success with both teams still in the mix for trophies at the business end of the season.”

The big defender is expecting a tough game against Kwinana on Sunday, and he said they have been impressive since promotion last season. “It’s a huge game for us no doubt and against a tough opponent,” McDonald explained. “Kwinana have pushed the teams at the top end of the table all year, and I’m sure their attitude will be the same on Sunday. We have to be up for it if we want the rewards. I think we'll have a good crowd down to watch what will be an exciting game.”

Kwinana are sitting sixth on the table, and will play North Perth United in the Amateur Cup Final on October 1, and Coach Kris Donnell said it’s been a great season for the club. “If someone had said to me at the start of the season we would be top six, and be playing in the cup final then I would have took that,” he explained. “So yes it’s been a great year, with just being promoted, but we know but that there are two games left so still points to play for.”

Kwinana thrashed BB United last week to boost their goal difference, but Donnell knows what they are up for taking on the league leaders, but he said they will give it a go. “It was a good result especially with a few players missing with injuries, but to be honest BB never really threatened us at all,” he said. “But after taking on the bottom team we take on the leaders on Sunday. They (Wembley) have had a fantastic season and Colm always gets the best out of his players, we will be going there with a game plan, and to try and spoil the early party for them.”

Kingsley will be hoping Wembley slip up, and they will hoping for three points when they take on third placed North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. It’s been a great season for Kingsley, and Coach Steven Dimitrovich said they continued to put the pressure on Wembley with a well-deserved win against Leeming last week. “I thought it was a very good performance last week against Leeming, and we were very comfortable for the whole 90 minutes with no real threat from the opposition,” he said. “The season has been a real cracker with so many teams able to take points off each other and to be in the hunt with two games to go goes to show that the amateur premier league is really competitive, with some great talent and coaches in the league.”

Dimitrovich said Sunday’s game will be a cracker, with both sides playing good football. “I’m really looking forward to our game against North Perth this week, and if our first encounter is anything to go by I'd urge anybody with nothing to do on Sunday afternoon to get down to Woodville Reserve to watch a great game of football,” he said. Hopefully we can get the three points and keep the pressure on Wembley who are in pole position for the title and I believe it's there's to lose.”

In other games this week BB United host Subiaco at the Bosnian Recreation Centre, Hamersley Rovers entertain Ellenbrook United at Carine Open Space, Southern Spirit make the trip to JA Lee Reserve to take on Perth Royals, while Leeming Strikers host Belmont Villa at John Connell Reserve. The Strikers will finish in the top five with only two games to go, but Coach David Palin said last week’s loss against Kingsley was disappointing, but they were missing a few players. “We had six players out that started the last game against them, so we knew it would be an uphill battle but credit to the players they gave it a good go, and I think 3-0 was a little harsh, but the result was the right one,” he said. “But credit must go to Dima and his players, they didn’t drop their levels from the first minute to the last minute.”

Palin said they will be looking to end the season with two wins, starting against Belmont, and a top five finish, which will be a good return in their first season in the league. “Obviously a lot of change in the off season with the team merging to Leeming, a semifinal appearance which probably hurt our league performances a little but overall I think we can say it’s been another good season and we look forward to next season with our new lights and that will give us a better foundation to work from in 2018,” he explained. “I think Belmont’s results is a reflection of maybe not a lot to play for, and we've felt the same strains since losing the semifinal. Player interest dwindles and it can be hard to get players up for it, in saying that over the past three seasons we've always had competitive games and I expect nothing different on Sunday.”

14.9.2017

DE VANNA: IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE DOLLARS

Matilda’s star Lisa De Vanna is happy to take the extra money from the new W-League pay deal but says playing in-front of 17,000 people against Brazil this Saturday night in Penrith means more. This week a new two-year agreement brokered by Football Federation Australia and Professional Footballers Australia is expected to see the average contract for W-League players rise from $6,909 to $15,500.

While De Vanna has lauded the W-League pay deal, the striker is even more ecstatic about playing in-front of a sold-out crowd against Brazil. “Besides the money side of things and the agreement with the W League, it’s the sell-out crowd that hits home and makes me a bit more emotional,” De Vanna told fourfourtwo.com.au “It makes me a bit more humble and appreciative because I had a different pathway.”

“It’s exciting for the girls now because they don’t have to do what I had to do. They’ve got an opportunity to concentrate just on football. But for me I had to work at a petrol station and deal with unpleasant people. But that built character and I don’t have any regrets because I’m sort of the pioneer of women’s football when it comes to that. The fact that fans and people want to come and see the Matildas shows how far and how long it has taken.”

Last month the Matildas made history when they beat the United States for the first time and after defeating Japan and Brazil took out the Tournament of Nations Trophy. And De Vanna believes that playing the two-game series against Brazil soon after that result is perfect timing for both fans and players. “I always had a feeling that after each successful tournament we had that we needed a game straight after because we were so hot,” she said.

“It just shows how much interest we have for the women’s game. It’s exciting for the future as well. The more successful we are, the more interest Australia has for women’s football ... What we did against the US was all about belief. Because they are a team that mentally is probably one of the best in the world and for us to keep challenging them to the last minute just shows how much character and growth we’ve had since 2015.”

De Vanna – a veteran of 124 caps for the Matildas - feels that Australia’s intention to bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup has given the squad even more of a boost. “There’s no bigger tournament than a World Cup,” said De vanna, who represented her nation at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups along with the 2004 and 2016 Olympic Games.

“To have it at home and sing your national anthem with 30,000 Australian fans behind you, it doesn’t get any better than that and you’re also doing something that you love. It’s just so exciting. It’s something that gives you this extra confidence, because you just want to go out there and try your heart out because you know you have the support of the nation behind you.”

13.9.2017

EDWARDS CHEERING ON ‘MY BOY’ AGAINST RANGERS

Ryan Edwards is desperate to help Partick Thistle to their first win of the season when they face Rangers at Firhill on Friday night. Some 10,500 miles away the midfielder will be cheered on by his dad and former Rangers player Alistair, whose only game for the Scottish giants was against the Jags.

Edwards senior spent 18 months at Ibrox as a teenager, rubbing shoulders with England World Cup stars Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Ray Wilkins plus Gers heroes like Ally McCoist, Ian Durrant, Richard Gough and Davie Cooper. He went on to play successfully in Australia and Malaysia as well as the Socceroos.

Edwards senior is now working for one of the football world’s richest men, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail at Malaysian club Johor as technical director. “I went to Ibrox straight after the World Youth Cup in Chile in 1987 when I was asked to come for a trial and I was there for about 18 months.”

“Having grown up in Australia to Scottish parents I knew about Rangers and Scottish football, but I had no idea how big it was. I came at a very exciting time because Graeme Souness and Walter Smith had just won the Championship and I was training with the first team.”

“It was surreal actually, because I was rubbing shoulders with players I had only seen on TV like Graham Roberts, Richard Gough, Ray Wilkins, Chris Woods and Terry Butcher. That was fantastic but the problem for me and the other young players like John Spencer and Gary McSwegan – who I became very friendly with and still am – was we couldn’t get in the team in front of all of these senior professionals.”

“But I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world. Working in that environment was unbelievable. I used to love listening to Ally McCoist, he was the funniest guy I have ever met and always had a smile on his face. But when he trained and played he was so determined ... all these strikers arrived at Rangers but he saw them all off. He was a huge inspiration to me.

“It’s amazing that my only first team appearance with Rangers was against Partick Thistle at Firhill and Ryan is playing there now. It was a Glasgow Cup semi-final in April 1988 and we won 2-1 and we had guys like Davie Cooper and Jimmy Nicholl in the team so it was a strong side. It would have been great to get more opportunities but it set me up for a great career as I went on to play for the national team.”

“It gave me an excellent grounding to be a professional and I will be forever grateful. In fact, playing for the reserves was like playing for another club’s first team. I remember we played Celtic at Parkhead and there were nearly 25,000 there. You can go to counties all over the world and clubs don’t get that kind of crowd so it hit me just how massive the rivalry was. I scored in that game and John Spencer got a hat-trick.”

Fatefully, four years ago Edwards crossed paths with one of his former squad mates – but not in the best circumstances. Ian Ferguson was fired by A-League side Perth Glory and Edwards was brought in to replace him. “It’s strange what can happen in football. I remember Ian Ferguson coming to Rangers from St Mirren for nearly £1million when I was there.”

“Then 25 years later, I replaced him as head coach of Perth Glory. I was national assistant technical director at the time and it was an interim position but we got to the Finals so I was given a contract and worked the next season too. Dave Mitchell was also coach at Glory so they have a number of Ibrox connections.”

Edwards is back in Australia for a few days and will get up in the middle of the night to catch the action from Firhill. “Every time I speak to Ryan he sounds so happy. He’s found a club that is a good fit and he’s getting regular football. I’ll try to catch the match online. I believe it’s 25 years since Partick last beat Rangers, but you never know.”

13.9.2017

WILLIAMS’ HORROR TRIP TO RETURN FOR BRAZIL SERIES

It should have been a straight forward trip home for Lydia Williams, Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy. The Matildas trio had planned to fly from Orlando to Dallas at the conclusion of their National Women’s Soccer League game between Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign, before catching a direct flight to Sydney for the upcoming friendlies with Brazil.

With Williams playing for Seattle and Catley and Kennedy lining up for Orlando, it simply made sense for them to all fly home together. But then Hurrican Irma intervened and the trio’s plans were thrown into disarray. But not as badly as the Brazil’s Orlando stars, including Marta, who still haven’t touched down in Australia.

The Matildas face Brazil this Saturday, 16 September, in Penrith before a re-match in Newcastle on Tuesday, 19 September. “The first thing is they brought the game forward so we had two less days to organise everything,” Williams told foxsports.com.au

“And when it got time to organise flights out the next day, we had one set booked but it was a tight connection time. So when we went to re-book for a different flight, everything was pretty much sold out except if we went to four other cities to get to Dallas before flying to Sydney.”

But if there’s one thing professional footballers can do, it’s make plans on the fly. “We look at our alternatives and we find that the best way is to just hire a car and drive as far as we can, stay the night and get some rest and then go the next day,” Williams added.

“So we got a car after the game and we drove two, two-and-a-half hours to Jacksonville and stayed there the night. Then the next morning at around 9am, we left and our aim was to get to the airport before 4 o’clock and we ended up getting to Atlanta at 4.15pm.”

“Our flight wasn’t until about 5.50pm so we got there in plenty of time. But we didn’t realise it was going to take us seven hours - which is normally like a three or four hour drive from Jacksonville - with all the traffic and people fleeing from the hurricane. And then we flew from there to Dallas and then Dallas to Sydney.”

Orlando to Jacksonville to Atlanta to Dallas to Sydney isn’t the most common route you’ll see between the United States and Australia. But ultimately it was the one that saw Williams, Catley and Kennedy home safely, with the trio arriving back in Sydney on the weekend.

Bizarrely for Williams, it was the second time in three weeks the Matildas goalkeeper had her plans interrupted by a hurricane. Less than a month earlier, Williams was plying her trade for Houston Dash in the NWSL when Hurricane Harvey struck.

Without a pressing need to evacuate, the Matildas goalkeeper planned to stick out the time - literally riding out the storm in Houston. But this time, her footballing future would intervene. “It’s been busy the last three weeks,” Williams said.

“Obviously I went through Hurricane Harvey. We didn’t evacuate, we stayed in. So we were in our house for about four or five days with no roaming in the outside world. And then day four, both me and my housemate both got traded.”

Previously Houston’s undisputed first choice goalkeeper, Williams had been benched in favour of up-and-coming American Jane Campbell. To maintain her position as Australia’s number one, the 29-year old needed to be playing at club level on a consistent basis, which was where the Seattle Reign came in.

“Obviously it was looking to the future. I want to be at a club that I’m going to be playing at so for me it was (logical),” Williams said. “Seattle play the kind of football that I like and it’s very similar to how we play with the national team. My priority was to go there but if not I would have been looking over to Europe.”

Now safely back in Australia, Williams’ attention has turned to Saturday’s blockbuster against with Brazil. With more than 17,000 fans set to pack Pepper Stadium - making it the biggest home crowd the Matildas have ever played in front of - the goalkeeper said she was looking forward to what shapes as a tantalising clash.

“I don’t think I’ve ever played in front of a packed crowd in Australia, so that’s really exciting,” Williams said. “It’s kind of different, obviously (normally) there’s probably 20,000 watching us on TV playing internationally rather than filling the stadium. So to play on home soil with that kind of crowd, it’s exciting.”

And after a massive month of driving, flying and dodging hurricanes, there’s no doubt she’ll be happy to be staying put in one area, albeit temporarily. “It’s always really nice to hear some Aussie accents and be familiar with where I’m at,” Williams said. “So it’s a nice feeling to be home for a little while.”

13.9.2017

IREDALE MAKES SCOTTISH TEAM OF THE WEEK

West Australian Jack Iredale was awarded a spot in the Scottish Professional Football League team of the week following a stellar debut for Queen's Park on the weekend. The 21-year old centre back is on loan to League One side Queen's Park from Scottish Championship outfit Greenock Morton.

Iredale, who played the last three seasons for Perth Glory Youth, impressed so much on debut in Queen's Park 1-0 win over East Fife that he was given a spot in the SPFL team of the week, which picks players from the top four tiers of Scottish football.

Iredale joins the likes of Celtic's Scott Sinclair and Aberdeen's Joe Lewis in the team of the week - a massive honour for the former ECU Joondalup junior. The win was Queen's Parks' first after five games and moves the club off the bottom of the league table.

10.9.2017

AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY – REVIEW

Wembley Downs are one win away from the Sunday Amateur Premier League title after a comfortable 6-0 win against Ellenbrook Rovers at the Ellenbrook Sports Hub. A hat trick from young striker Dean Wall and others to skipper Jay McDonald, Stephen Geoghegan and Felipe Simeos gave Wembley the points and moved them closer to the title. “I thought we dominated all day, and we were well aware of their quality, as they led us 0-2 in the first meeting this season,” Colm Costello said. “It was probably our best performance of the season, the lads were quality today, we stepped up, there were no nerves and we did the job. We have a huge game next week at home against Kwinana and we have it in our own hands, a win will seal the title. We were missing a few players on Sunday but they should be back this week, so it should be a cracker.” Wembley dominated early but couldn’t find the break through, the closest came from a thunderbolt from Juri Galba, which crashed off the crossbar. But that all changed on the half hour, when Wall headed home. Ten minutes later they doubled their lead, McDonald rising highest to head home Geoghegan’s corner. Wall added his second before the break, before Geoghegan made it 4-0 with a stunning free kick. Wembley went on with it after the break and substitute Simeos made it 5-0 before Wall completed his hat-trick four minutes from time. The striker racing clear from Banin Hashem through ball, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball home.

Kingsley kept the pressure on Wembley with 3-0 win against Leeming Strikers at Chichester Park. The home side hit the front on 20 minutes, a long throw by Lee Thomas found Stuart Montgomery, who finished into the roof of the net to give them the lead at the break. It should have been 2-0 early in the second half, when David Morris was brought down by the keeper, but Morris missed the resulting penalty. But they eventually added a second when another long throw by Thomas was only cleared to the edge of the box and Jayden Drummond volley home. The points were secured late when Drummond intercepted a poor pass and he raced down the flanks and cut the ball back to David Ashworth to finish into the bottom corner. Leeming ended with 10 men after David Palin was given a straight card for violent conduct. “We knew it wasn't going to be an easy game as we were 2-0 down within 20 minutes at their place,” Drummond said. “We started quite strong and looked to be in control, it's always good to get an early goal which we did and absolutely dominated the rest of the match, frustrating Leeming for most of the day, the 5-6 yellow cards from them proved that.”

In other games four goals from Jamie Nugent and another from Lee Bates gave Kwinana United a 5-1 win against BB United at Kelly Park to move them up to sixth, while Hamersley Rovers beat Perth Royals 2-1 at Carine Open Space, and in the final game Southern Spirit came home from Gerry Archer Sports Complex with a 4-0 win against Belmont Villa. North Perth United maintained third place with a 2-0 win against Subiaco at Rosalie Park. The visitors opened the scoring early in the game, from a through ball for Mehdi Rabei to run onto and slot into the bottom corner. The second goal again came from a long-range ping over their defence for Rabei to collect and score from a tight angle. “Subiaco are a good side and keeping them scoreless was tough but our midfield did well to manage the counter attacks and track back,” United’s Sam Nicol said. “Our captain had to come off at half time due to a knock he picked up in the first half and we went a man down in the second half from a second yellow card so we had to dig deep to keep our momentum going. Our defence did very well to disrupt their play and our keeper made some great saves. It’s a great result for the boys especially since they beat us at our pitch last time so we wanted to come out with the win.”

9.9.2017

THE COYNE DROPS FOR BAYSWATER AS THEY WIN THE TOP FOUR CUP FINAL

Bayswater City have added to their PS4 NPLWA title after a 3-0 win against Perth SC in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Final at Finance 365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was a tight first half, with Perth having the better of it, but after the break Jason Mirco scored early, before second half substitute David Heagney added the second before Gustavo Giron-Marulanda wrapped up the game four minutes from time.

Despite the win Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne said he couldn’t wait to get his players in the sheds at the break, after an indifferent first half. “I couldn’t wait to get the boys in the dressing room at half time, and you would have thought it was us who played during the week, but credit to Ramon and his team, the way he got his boys up after a tough 90 minutes on Wednesday was fantastic,” he said. “But after the break we found our feet and with the service like we get week in and week out from Todd (Howarth) and the goals we scored were outstanding, so I was really pleased with the boys today.”

Coyne said the performance of the old guard, Trent Kay, Todd Howarth and Devon Spence was outstanding. “I was really pleased for Devon today, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, and some games he doesn’t have much to do, but he was great for us today,” he said. “Likewise the two old farts in the center, Todd and Trent, along with Sam (Mitchinson) and young David Stokoe, who but in a good shift today, they all blocked shots and put their bodies on the line for the team today.”

Spence produced three great saves to keep Perth at bay, but the modest keeper said he was just doing his job. “That’s what I’m there for, but the boys put in a fantastic shift today, we were behind the eight ball at half time but we re-grouped and got the win,” he said. “I thought we deserved it, but all credit to Perth, they took it to us in the first half, but it looked like their game on Wednesday took it out of them late.”

The stands and terraces were packed at kick off and it was tight opening, and Marulanda low shot was saved by Francis Soale early, before Lewis Milne sent Gustavo Catarcione in on goal but Spence stood tall to save. Perth hit the woodwork on the half hour, Frank Furfaro cross shot beat Spence, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Bayswater custodian.

Perth ended the half the better and Spence was called into action again late. Rocco Pizzata and Milne combined to set up Andreas Theodosiades, who shot was pushed around the post by the alert Spence. From the resulting corner Mirco cleared the ball off the line, and moments later Adrian Madaschi headed just over the top, but at the break it was all to play for.

But with Coyne’s half time address still ringing in their ears, Bayswater made the perfect start and hit the front five minutes in. Howarth’s free kick picked out Mirco, who lost his marker at the back post to score. Perth hit back and substitute Niccolo Sabatini had the perfect opportunity to level sixty seconds after coming on the pitch. Catarcione broke the line and picked out Sabatini, who brought the ball down well, but his shot was superbly saved by Spence.

That save became more important, as five minutes later Bayswater doubled their advantage. Perth had a free kick in the middle of the park, but a misunderstanding saw the ball played straight to Mirco, who played in Marulanda, who found Heagney, the striker finishing clinically past Soale. Still Perth pressed and Kay had to be alert to clear Theodosiades’ shot off the line, and moments later Sam Mitchinson cleared Catarcione’s header off the line.

Spence was at it again five minutes from time, Sabatini’s cross picked out Milne at the back post, but his headed was superbly tipped on to the crossbar by the Perth custodian. But with Perth pushing men forward, Bayswater sealed the game on 86 minutes. It was Howarth’s corner again that undid Perth, with Marulanda flicking home the third at the front post. Spence was determined not to be beaten and late on Catarcione’s powerful header was well saved by Bayswater keeper. At the whistle it was Bayswater celebrating and Todd Howarth was the winner of the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as the best player on the day.

Perth assistant Coach Marc Wingell said it had been a good season for the club, but after dominating the first half they gave Bayswater a helping hand after half time. “If you don’t take your chances in football you won’t win many game, but at half time we were pleased the way the lads were going, but if we had taken our chances the game could have been over,” he said.

“After half time we conceded early, but they have been dangerous with their set-pieces all season, but we didn’t pick up any runners for the first goal, and a lack of communication led to their second, and that probably killed the game for us. We didn’t lay down and Devon produced some great saves in the second half as we pressed to get back in to the game, but it wasn’t to be. “We’ve come up empty this season, but the progression of the players has been good and we’ve had the best defence in the league, but we have to keep improving.”

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY, 9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA, 10 Jason MIRCO (16 Shaydon PASSALACQUA, 12 David STOKOE, 13 Trent KAY (c), 17 Borbor SAM (19 Luka NINKOVIC 82’), 18 Brent GRIFFITHS (21 David HEAGNEY 57’) (84), 20 Sam MITCHINSON, 23 Andrija JUKIC (81) - Subs not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC

Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE (c), 3 Andreas THEODOSIADES, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO (7 Aleks JOVIC 68’), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 15 Harley ORR, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 17 Frank FURFARO (5 Niccolo SABATINI 60’) 18 Lewis MILNE - Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 2 Alex SILLA, 21 Paul ZIMARINO - Referee: Adam Fielding - Assistant Referees: Josh Mannella, Daniel Cole - Fourth official: David Bruce

Bayswater City hold up the NPL-WA Top Four Cup

9.9.2017

NAZARI GIVES PERTH THE DOUBLE

Perth SC have come from two goals down at half time to beat Cockburn City 4-3 on penalties to win the under 20’s McInerney Ford Top Four Cup at Finance 365 Stadium, after the game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes. The Cockerels were well on their way to revenging their Semi-Final defeat, with Losene Dulleh and James Oldfield giving them the lead at half time, but and early goal from Ali Nazari put Perth Back in it, and Luke Garas levelled on the hour, and both sides had late chances but it was off to penalties, were Perth held their nerve to run out winners to seal the league and top four double.

Perth Coach Garrett McDuling said it was a great game, and he was proud of his players the way they fought back in the second half. “We did it the hard way, but we had the belief at half time and we did the first time we played them at their place, and we knew they played in midweek and would have tired legs, and I was convinced we would come over the top of them and it turned out that way,” McDuling said. “Credit to Cockburn, they pushed us all the way, they have been good all season, but to our lads a great effort and one I’m really proud of.”

It was great cup tie early with both sides creating good chances, but it was Cockburn who opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Ryan Pratt found space down the left, eased past his marker and crossed invitingly from the bye-line to Dulleh, to finish from close-range. Perth looked to hit back but couldn’t find a way past Ryan Barker, the best chance falling to Matthew Cherrie’s curling shot from the edge of the box, which flashed inches wide of the post.

But on the half hour Cockburn showed them how to do it and doubled their advantage, Oldfield losing his marker to head home from a corner. It was almost 3-0 on the stroke of half time when Pratt raced clear of the Perth defence, but Perth keeper Malek Kuc stood tall to deny him, but at the break Perth had it all to do.

Whatever Coach McDuling said at the break worked, as four minutes into the second half Perth pulled one back. Nazari was sent clear with a well-weighted pass down the left, and he cut inside the box and finished with aplomb past Barker. Perth were on top and it wasn’t a surprise when they levelled on the hour. Garas racing clear, and chipping cleverly over the top of the oncoming Barker.

Cockburn ended normal time the better and Kuc denied them on two occasions, the best a great one-handed save to deny Pratt in stoppage time. So it was off to penalties, and Kuc saved Adam Anfuso’s second penalty, before Barker saved Michael De Bellis penalty to level things up. But when Ryan Sardi, penalty hit the crossbar, it put Perth in pole position and it was left to Nazari to seal the tie sending Barker the wrong way to win it.

Nazari said he was nervous stepping up to take the winning penalty. “I had fear, I had everything going through my mind but I knew what I was doing,” he said. “I chose a spot and I went for it. “It feels great to win after coming back from 2-0. It was such a great second half for us, and I’m just so proud of the boys.” Cockburn coach Joe Pereira said it was a disappointing second half from his side. “We knew they were going to come out firing, we had a game plan to combat it but we didn’t follow it through,” he said. “But when it goes to penalties there is a little bit of luck involved. The boys are a little bit upset, but that is the way it goes.”

Perth SC: GK Malek KUC, 4 Andreas FAZARI (10 Cameron PIQUE 90+3’), 5 Ali NAZARI, 6 Michael ZIMARINO (16 Thomas JEBBS 29’), 7 Luke GARAS, 8 Marco SANTA LUCIA (c), 9 Adam CARLINO, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 14 Anthony TOPINI (17 Khaynan MACCARTHY 78), 15 Matthew CHERRIE, 19 Brodie WALKER - Subs not used: RGK Sebastian BELL

Cockburn City: GK Ryan BARKER, 2 Ryan SARDI, 3 Chris THACKRAY (c), 4 Hudson BLISS, 5 James OLDFIELD, 7 Adam ANFUSO, 8 Losene DULLEH, 9 Ryan PRATT, 10 Sam GARCES (6 David DOS SANTOS 60), 11 Andrew EMSAVANA, 12 Kenel MOUYTHIS (15 Michael DE BELLIS 71) - Subs not used: RGK Jordan COMBE, 14 Thomas BOURNE - Referee: Julian Serra - Assistant Referees: Simon Hicks, Alex Best - Fourth official: Brendan Skinner

Perth celebrate with the NPL-WA Under 20's Top Four Cup

9.9.2017

BAYSWATER EDGE OUT INGLEWOOD TO WIN TOP FOUR FINAL

Bayswater City have won the 2017 McInerney Ford Under 18’s Top Four Cup Final after a narrow 1-0 win against Inglewood United at Finance 365 Stadium on Saturday morning. Keiran Coyne’s first half header proved to be the difference, as City made emends for their loss in the Semi-Final last week to win the Final. Coyne, son of Bayswater Senior Coach Chris said it was a great team performance.

“It was nice to get a reward for all of our hard work throughout season. All the boys knew what we had to do and I thought we executed very well on the day,” Coyne said. “Everyone stood up and played their individual role and we all worked hard for our mates until the final whistle blew and we were champions. We were all grateful for all the work Gaz and Dan have done for us from the start of the season, and it was nice to reward them with the result.”

Bayswater Coach Gary Williams was delighted with how his side bounced back. “We kept it fairly consistent, after conceding five against (Inglewood) last week,” he said. “They finished on top of us by a point in the league. In terms of games we played, we both won one, we drew one and then we got them today, but Inglewood are a very good side, well coached and deserved to win the league.”

The home side were out of the blocks early and on ten minutes Adrian Manno played the ball over the top for Ezekiel McPherson, but Inglewood keeper Mitchell Haywood was out quickly to save. Inglewood hit back and City keeper Owen Fisher came off his line to deny Renee Kisea a shot at goal moments later. Coyne went close to giving City the lead on 28 minutes, meeting Gabi Riquelme’s corner, but he missed the target. But he made emends four minutes later heading City ahead, after a carbon copy corner from Riquelme, Coyne headed past Haywood. It was almost two late in the half, Connor McKee found space on the edge of the box, but his volley flashed over the top, but City deservedly went into the break with the lead.

Bayswater went close to a second early after the break, Ajak Riak’s header superbly saved by the alert Haywood. Inglewood were struggling in the final third, while Bayswater were creating the better chances and Riak went close to adding a second, his shot on the run flashing inches past the post. Inglewood ended the game the better and it looked like Bayswater’s profligacy would come back to haunt them, with Inglewood skipper Ben Docherty heading just wide from a Jack Lavis’ corner, before Fisher produced a great save to deny Ben Pellizzari, but at the final whistle it was Bayswater celebrating.

Inglewood coach Richard Abrams said the better team won on the day. “I just think they were better than us today, we didn’t win any of the second balls which we asked the boys to do, but all credit to Bayswater, they were the better side,” he said. “From third bottom last year to league winners is a massive turn around, so full credit to the players and the staff for that.”

Inglewood United: GK Mitchell HAYWOOD, 2 Adam FIELDS (17 Connor McCANN 45’), 3 Brandon CLARKE, 4 Ben DOCHERTY, 6 Nelson TOSHONGO, 7 Ben PELLIZZARI, 9 Curtis JORGENSEN (12 Alley MANYOL 61’), 10 Kieran PATTERSON, 11 Jack LAVIS, 14 Harley CURRAN, 16 Renee KIESA (8 Tyler GARNER 59’) - Subs not used: 5 Matthew SUTCLIFFE

Bayswater City: GK Owen FISHER, 2 Bojan NINKOVIC, 3 Jake MELIA, 6 Adrian Manno, 7 Gab RIQUELME (14 John LAHAI 71’), 8 Tom WARBURTON, 11 Ajak RIAK, 12 Logan RINDEL, 16 Keiran COYNE, 17 Connor MCKEE, 21 Ezekiel MCPHERSON – Subs not used: 13 Dean KEZURER, 15 Tristan BARBAS, 19 Kawad REZAI, 25 Jak MOLONY - Referee: Mitchell Barrington

Bayswater City Under 18's come from second place to win Grand Final

9.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

Western Knights are the 2017 All Flags State League Division One Champions after a 3-1 win against Gosnells City at Nash Field. A second half brace from Jack Rycroft and another from skipper Paul Lloyd won it for the Knights, this despite Wade Farmer pulling one back for the visitors, and with other results elsewhere going their way, Trim Morgan’s side celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle. “I’m ecstatic we’ve won the league, a sensational season from the lads,” Morgan said. “We panicked a bit early in the game but settled down in the second half and saw it out. I’d like to thank all the players who’ve worked their socks off this season to win the league, all the committee members and our President who have put in so much work behind the scenes. We wouldn’t be in this spot without them.” Skipper Paul Lloyd said it’s a great reward for all their hard work. “Our target at the beginning of the season was the league, we've been in since pre-season in November working hard for it,” he said. “The whole squad has played its part and to win the league and cup is a massive season for the lads and the whole club.”

The last time the Knights took on Gosnells they were held to a scoreless draw and it looked like Déjà vu with both sides missing good chances in an open first half, but five minutes into the second half the Knights took the lead. Rycroft losing his marker and heading David Murphy’s corner past Adriano D’Alo. It was 2-0 on 54 minutes, D’Alo’s clearance went straight to Rycroft, whose long-range lob dropped into the net. Gosnells weren’t going down without a fight and on 70 minutes they pulled one back. A quick counter attack ended with Farmer, who controlled the ball on the edge of the penalty area and finished clinically past Sam Stone. But nine minutes from time the points were made safe, when the Knights added a third. Adriano Jelenovic was brought down in the box by Salvador Chavez, and the defender was sent off, and Lloyd made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Forrestfield United handed the Knights the title after they were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw against Fremantle City at Hilton Reserve. Forrestfield dominated early and it wasn’t a surprise when they took the lead, Mitch Crocker switched the ball Will Tshubangu who played in Sani Sinclair down the right, and the winger rolled the ball across the box to Liam Merigan, who made no mistake. But Fremantle hit back and Anthony Lomma won possession on the edge of the box and squared the ball to Ben Reynolds who fired home. It was 1-1 at the break, but straight from the kick off after half time Forrestfield regained the lead. They won it in the middle of the park and Scott Barker found Merigan, who played a perfect through ball to Sinclair, and he was never going to miss. But ten minutes later Fremantle levelled, Luke Findlater crossed and Alec Robinson got their before Luke Martino to head home. Then on the hour Fremantle hit the front, Reynold’s cross was flicked on by Ben West, Robinson and Lawrence Lewis combined to find Sean Browne, who headed home.

But the home side were then reduced to nine men after Findlater and Tom Spezialli were both sent off, and Forrestfield levelled with fifteen minutes remaining. Mark Barnett hit a diagonal ball into Sinclair’s feet and he laid it off first time to Crocker, who sent Tshubangu down the line, he squared it to the near post for Jordan Hart. Forrestfield pressed for the winner but Fremantle reshuffled at the back and held on. “It was one of those days again where we are great going forward and a bit suspect at the back, and silly mistakes cost us another few points and that’s the difference it makes in the grand scheme of things,” Crocker said. “Our forward play was great, but when you score three and then gift them three, then you're always going to be up against it. But credit to Fremantle though, the only chances they had were the ones we gifted them and they punished us for it. Our focus now is on Canning and we'll have to put a shift in because whoever we face this year has lifted a gear to try and knock us off but we have a good record at home and the home fans deserve a good performance for the support they've given us all year.”

Dianella White Eagles finished their season with a hard fought 2-1 win against Ashfield at Dianella Reserve. The home side dominated the first half and had Ashfield on the back foot, and the home side had many chances but they failed to convert. That all changed when Jason Stepanovski squared the ball to Angel Andres outside the box who finished clinically into the bottom right hand corner of the net. It was 2-1 five minutes later Stepanovski again was the provider when he robbed his opponent on the half way line and slid a great ball through Francis Wanruji who controlled the pass well before sliding the ball under the advancing keeper. Ashfield were told a few hard truths at the break by the coaching staff and they came out, and gave as good as they got, in the second half.

Both sides had chances, but it was Ashfield who pulled one back ten minutes from time, after a poor clearance and a defensive error allowed Harry Clisby in and his volley from the edge of the box flew into the top corner of the net, a stunning goal. Ashfield pressed for the equaliser and Dianella searched for their third but after a great save from Joel Driscoll late in the game it ended 2-1. “It was definitely a game of two halves today, we probably should have buried them in the first half. Two nil is always a precarious score line and when they got their goal I knew it would be a nervous final ten minutes till the end of the game,” Dianella Coach Robbie Dunn said. “Fair play to Ashfield as they pushed us all the way till the final whistle but thankfully we hung in for the win. It wasn’t pretty in the second half from us as Ashfield came back at us but I am very happy that the lads got a win to end their season.”

In other games South West Phoenix are still in the mix for the runner-up spot after a solid 4-0 win against bottom of the table Canning City at WML Stadium. The home side opened the scoring when Carlo Chiellini converted a penalty, after Jayden Prosser was fouled by the keeper. Michael Farmer added the second before half time, finishing well from Prosser’s cross. After the break Farmer headed the third from a Prosser corner, before a long-range strike from Corey Barclay made it 4-0. In the final game Rockingham City and UWA Nedlands fought out a 2-2 draw at the Lark Hill Sportsplex. The home side opened the scoring five minutes before half time, Fernandez Oriol was adjudged to have been brought down by Josh Marocchi and Ryan Kennedy converted from the spot. UWA were level early in the second half with a penalty of their own, after Mordecai Junior was brought down and Conor Devlin made no mistake from the spot. Then with 20 minutes remaining UWA hit the front, some great lead up play from Devlin allowed Junior to cross the ball to Alex Kretowicz who made no mistake from six meters. But Rockingham earned a point after a quickly taken free kick caught UWA napping and Christian Hogge fired past Ranjeet Singh. – Joondalup City had the bye this week.

9.9.2017

ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW

Gwelup Croatia were presented the 2017 All Flags State League Division Two trophy, but Swan United spoilt the day beating the home side 3-2, their first defeat at home all season. It was a tightly fought first half, with Swan pressing for the points to help their play-off hopes, but at the break it was scoreless. The home side made the perfect start to the second half and two minutes in they hit the front. James Sammut's in-swinging corner picked out youngster Lucas Munoz, who headed home off the underside of the bar. But the Black and Whites levelled when James Shamim fired home, but Gwelup regained the lead on 74 minutes, Sammut emphatically converting from the penalty spot after Noah Shamaki was brought down in the box. But with Swans season on the line they restored parity moments later, substitute Chris Marshall heading home a corner.

Then six minutes from time Swans won it, a corner to the back post was headed back across goal by Steve Shore and Marshall poked it home. Gwelup pressed late looking for the equaliser but Mat Debarro’s side hung on for three valuable points. “It was the most intense game of football I've seen or been involved in,” Debarro said. “Every player from both teams threw everything into every challenge, and its clear why they are champions they are exceptional and It took our very best performance and everything we had to go toe to toe for 90 minutes with them. We are thrilled with the result. I would like to congratulate Paul (Dundo) and Gwelup on their success this year and thank them for the amazing hospitality after the game and allowing us to share their special day. I wish them all the very best next season.”

Wanneroo City made sure of their play-off spot after a 1-1 draw against Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. The visitors were unlucky early when Young Nolan Flynn was sent clear after a great through ball from Godfrey Asimwe, but the Morley keeper made a great save to deny him. But Wanneroo’s good start was rewarded with the lead, when a quick break ended with Nolan racing clear of the offside trap again, and he finished clinically. Moments later Jack Hailstones cut in from the right beating the left back only to shoot just wide. But the home side had the perfect opportunity to level just before halftime, when Igor Novakovic was brought down in the box, but Dion Berman’s penalty crashed off the crossbar and away to safety for the Roos.

Morley levelled after the break, Yves Mwilla picked out Ryan Treacey who laid the ball off to Berman, who made emends for his penalty miss by scoring to level things up. Both sides had chances to win it the closest came in stoppage time when Novakovic’s free kick crashed off the post. “We knew they would come out firing in the second half and we knew we only needed a point to secure play offs,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. “We now meet Melville in our final game before our two leg play off against Windmills and we go into the play offs quietly confident having taken four out of six points against Morley this season. A fantastic achievement by our young squad to reach the play offs and we look forward to the challenge.”

Melville City’s good end to the season continued with a 2-1 win against Balga at John Connell Reserve. In an even first half, it was the visitors who went into the break with the lead. A cross into the box found Curtis Wreglesworth, who beat the keeper to the ball and headed into an empty net. Gavin Brown’s side came out strong after half time and levelled through Mark Lucas, and they won all three points with Christian Long scoring the winner. “I’m delighted to get our first come from behind win of the season,” Brown said. “It was a good day all-round for the club with all three teams winning on the day.”

In other games Kingsway Olympic kept their play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 win against Kelmscott Roos at Kingsway Reserve. Quinns FC have come home from Edinburgh Oval with a 3-1 win against Curtin University, the win lifting Quinns above them on the table. It was a dominating first half performance from the visitors, Alex Sallery gave them the lead with a low driven finish, before Craig Tooley doubled it, volleying home from the edge of the box. Curtin out strong after the break and Daniel Lucey pulled one back, only for Liam McGurk to ease the pressure with a delightful finish with 10 minutes left on the clock to make it 3-1. – Shamrock Rovers had the bye this week.




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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