Status: Stratco Cup
Date: 7 March 2009
Venue: Members Equity Stadium (Perth Oval), Perth, Western Australia
Western Australia: Neil Young (Phil Straker 81), John Migas, Danny Cain (Michael Pugliese 84), Ryan Townsend, Andy Brown (Jason Colli 74), Antonio Naglieri, Marc Anthony, David Micevski, Todd Howarth (Adam Bachiller 73), David Onoforo, Todd Harnwell (Phil O’Callaghan 60)
South Australia: Daniel Godley (Ben Moore 71), David Menechella, Paul Pezos, Michael D’Aloisio, Michael Pirone (Chad Bugrja 45), Adam van Dommele, Louis Brain (Ricardo da Silva 65), Simon Catanzaro (Jim Starvides 72), Scott Tunbridge (Steven Grelli 74), Michael Matricianni, Mimi Saric
Bookings: Micevski (40), Tunbridge (73)
Referee: Steven Gregory
Western Australia has won the 2009 Stratco Cup by out-classing arch-rival South Australia 4-2 on a warm evening at Members Equity Stadium. The central midfield trio of Antonio Naglieri, Andy Brown and Marc Anthony controlled the flow of play as WA extracted revenge for last year’s three-nil loss in Adelaide. Coach Robbie Dunn was delighted with the way his team’s attacking approach that clearly stunned the South Australian. “I was really happy with the boys today; they really wanted to win this one considering what happened last time,” said the former Socceroo. “We had a little bit of a shaky start and Neil Young’s save early was vital for us, but in the end we really deserved the win.” The only disappointment was the paltry crowd of just 1,048 that turned out to watch WA’s first competitive game on home soil in five years.
A defensive error presented David Onoforo an early chance to post the hosts first but the striker hesitated a moment too long to be robbed of a shot. Scott Tunbridge looked like opened SA’s account on 10 minutes before Ryan Townsend intervened with a strong tackle. The visitors were again denied four minutes later, this time by goalkeeper Neil Young whose razor sharp reflexes were all that prevented an unmarked Michael Matricianni from bagging the games first goal. Urged on by the small but appreciative crowd, Naglieri combined to terrific effect with Todd Harnwell, whose vicious shot stung the gloves of goalkeeper Daniel Godley. Harnwell followed this with a shot from distance that just cleared the crossbar, then Todd Howarth curled the ball around the post as WA stepped up the pace.
A soft foul just outside the area gave SA a rare chance but Simon Catanzaro’s free-kick sailed wide. WA’s persistence was rewarded in the 34th minute when Onoforo opened up the defence with a fine cross that found Naglieri, who had the time and space to confidently beat Godley. Within minutes Harnwell sent a spectacular scissor-kick over the junction of crossbar and upright as the hosts sought to increase their lead. Half-time was within sight when Onoforo nearly created his side’s second, the strikers intelligent cross-field ball picking out Micevski whose low stinging shot was tipped around the post by a full-stretch Godley.
The second half has been in motion less than a minute when an unmarked Tunbridge flashed the ball past the post with ‘keeper Young asking questions of the WA defence. Then on 48 minutes the home side doubled their lead, Brown’s driving run out of midfield taking him past a couple of opponents before the WA captain finishing clinically past Godley. The result was put beyond doubt three minutes later when a clever one-two between Micevski and Naglieri sent the latter clear to fire in a low centre that Onoforo converted from 5-metres. WA were by now stringing together some classy moves and could have posted a few more goal as chances came and went for Brown and Micevski. But their best opening was via a dead ball that Naglieri crashed goalward only to be expertly thwarted by Godley.
SA’s determination to reduce the arrears was rewarded in the 68th minute when Matricianni, who had been by far their most dangerous striker, took advantage of the home team committing too many players forward by rounding Young and slotting into an empty net. But any thoughts the visitors had of clawing their way back into the game were soon extinguished as Onoforo turned his marked and placed the ball in front of Naglieri whose bullet-like shot that gave Godley no chance. A shot on the run by substitute Phil O’Callaghan cleared the bar as WA went looking for goal number five. With the game in the bag, WA eased off during the closing stages and in the final minute Chad Bugeja stole in at the far post to head in SA a late consolation.
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This page was last updated on the 8th March, 2009