Mandurah hold off Athena to earn vital point
Report by Aidan Shaw
Mandurah City held off a determined Floreat Athena to earn a valuable point in a scoreless draw at E&D Litis Stadium.
The result has moved the PS4 NPLWA newcomers off the bottom of the table and gain momentum in their battle to avoid relegation.
Mandurah coach Doug Hesketh praised the efforts of his younger players who stepped up in the absence of several key senior players.
“We had a 17 year old up front, we had a 17 year old in the back four, we brought two 18 year olds on and honestly I’m delighted,” he said.
“If we can come to an outfit like this with players like they had on the field today and keep a clean sheet with some of our youngsters, I think we are in good shape.”
Hesketh showed appreciation for the Dolphins’ travelling support who got behind their side all afternoon.
“It’s all done in good spirits and they are desperate for us to stay up too,” he said.
“This will be my last season as head coach, so we are really determined to keep the club in the NPL.”
Both sides had everything to play for going into the match with Floreat needing a win to keep their title hopes alive.
Floreat came out attacking and shuffled their pack in the 25th minute when Phil Arnold replaced Kris Gate.
Two minutes later, Mandurah won a free kick on the edge of the area, but Jason Saldaris saved Jack Eades’ curling effort with ease.
Both sides were lacking in the final third and resorted to long-range efforts before going to the change rooms scoreless.
The second half consisted of an attacking onslaught from Floreat while Mandurah defended deep and looked to hit on the counter.
Floreat had chance after chance to score with Bobby Wilson seeing his header hit the upright two minutes from time.
“It’s frustrating because I’ve been out for 12 or 13 weeks, so coming on it would have been nice to score a goal and obviously win it for the boys,” the defender said.
“Our quality wasn’t good enough and I think it showed on the pitch, we just couldn’t get it in the back of the net.”
The result sees Floreat fall five points behind league leaders Inglewood with three games remaining and Wilson acknowledged his side would probably need to adjust their season target.
“I think we’ve probably let the league go now,” he said.
“I think today was probably the difference for us going and nicking the league, so now it is just a matter of battling every week to try and get into the top four.”
Floreat Athena 0
Mandurah City 0
Saturday, August 5, 2017
E&D Litis Stadium
Referee: Steven Gregory
Assistant Referees: Alex Best, Mitch Barrington
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 3. Clayton ARNEZ (16. Juma AWAKA 90), 4. Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 6. Jesse FULLER, 8. Jonathan STYNES, 11. Kris GATE (18. Phillip ARNOLD 25), 13. Zelfy NAZARY (5. Bobby WILSON 61), 14. Ludovic BOI, 15. Chris SALDARIS, 17. Dean EVANS (c), 33. Mark PRITCHARD
Substitutes not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 2. Brayden FRANKER
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Mandurah City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 2. Oliver MCGEE, 3. Jeffrey BRIGHT (c), 4. Matthew STARES, 5. Mitchell FIRTH, 6. Lance LOUVIE, 7. Jack EADES, 10. Mitchell MORRIN (17. Mark MCLAUGHLIN 65), 11. Ryan FRANCIS (16. Joshua WARREN 90), 12. Joseph O’BRIEN (15. Kevin CASTLE 73), 14. Slade RULE
Substitutes not used: 9. Zach BRYNE, 21. Kieran SHAIL
Yellow cards: Sharrock 47, McGee 93
Red cards: nil