Bayswater City clinch champions title
Report by Blayne Treadgold
Bayswater City claimed the PS4 NPLWA title on a dramatic final day with a convincing 3-1 victory over Stirling Lions at Finance 365 Stadium on Saturday.
Bayswater hit the top of the table following the win but were left nervously awaiting news of other results before they could celebrate.
A roar erupted as news filtered through that Floreat Athena and Inglewood United had finished in a draw, ensuring Bayswater won the title.
Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was ecstatic.
“The heart rate is up and I don’t think it ever went that high when I was playing,” said the former Perth Glory, Socceroos and West Ham United defender.
“I’m immensely proud of the players and their workrate.
“Everything they’ve done in the second half of the season has been magnificent.
“I’m so pleased for them. They’ve done so much hard work to get themselves in that position, they deserve all the plaudits.”
Coyne said the team will now look ahead to the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup.
“We’ll be back on the track on Tuesday to get ready for a big game on Saturday,” he said.
Luca Ninkovic got Bayswater off to a bright start within six minutes with a deflected shot that left Stirling keeper John Perkins stranded, before Gustavo Giron Marulanda doubled the advantage on 36 minutes.
Cameron Teece kept Stirling in the match scoring just before the break, but Marulanda sealed the win with a cool header in the 69th minute.
In his final match in charge, Stirling coach Rob Milevski congratulated Bayswater.
“It’s mixed emotions,” he said. “It would have been nice to finish on a high and win the game today but full credit to Bayswater.
“They worked hard, got the win and congratulations to them on winning the premiership.”
Inglewood United, who led the competition leading into the last round, would have taken home the title had they defeated Floreat, but a late equaliser by Chris Saldaris saw United’s title hopes shattered.
A Hamza Hina goal had Inglewood leading in the first half, but Saldaris’ headed effort in the 86th minute effectively handed the league title to his former side Bayswater.
Despite being the decisive goal of the league it wasn’t enough to earn Floreat a place in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup.
Inglewood coach Andy Keogh remained pragmatic amongst a devastated Inglewood camp.
“A league is a league for a reason, it’s 26 games and it doesn’t get defined by one result on the last day, it gets defined by every game you’ve played that year,” he said.
“Looking back, we’re not defined by a set piece, we’re defined by the silly points we dropped throughout the season.”
Inglewood will participate in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup, with Perth SC and Sorrento also qualifying.
Perth produced a stunning performance to thrash ECU Joondalup 6-1 at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday, while Sorrento just made it through despite their 1-0 loss to Subiaco at Percy Doyle Reserve.
Balcatta narrowly secured safety for another season with a 2-0 victory over Mandurah City, however the loss ensured Mandurah finished in last place.
The stakes were high heading into Saturday’s encounter at Grindleford Reserve, with hosts Balcatta needing just a point, while Mandurah needed nothing but a win to avoid last place.
Goals from Calum O’Connell and Lucas Mello had the crowd celebrating as Balcatta secured their position in the PS4 NPLWA.
In other round 26 matches, Perth Glory defeated Cockburn City 2-0 at Ashfield Reserve, while Armadale snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Joondalup United at Alfred Skeet Reserve.