Athiu double wins it for Heidelburg

Report by Peter Simcox

Photo by Fotoenzo

Heidelberg United have moved into the Semi-Final of the Playstation 4 NPL Finals Series, after beating NPLWA Champions Bayswater City 3-1 at 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 through Gustavo Giron-Marulanda.
There were no more goals in normal time, but Athiu’s second in the first period of extra time put them in the box seat with Sean Ellis doubling their advantage to ensure the win.
Heidelberg coach George Katsakis said they deserved the win, but praised Bayswater.
“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.
“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.”  
Katsakis said they will rest up and get ready for AIPA Leichhardt next week.  “If I’m not mistaken we’re at home, so they will have to travel, but they are a tough outfit,” he said.

“But we’re one win away from a National Premiership Final now, so if that’s not enough incentive for the boys I don’t know what will be.”    
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 errors 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 bar.
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 find their grove with Jason Mirco and Marulanda both testing the Heidelburg goalkeeper.
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 stepped up and beat Spence to his right.
Bayswater continued to push with Howarth’s effort rattling the crossbar before equalising right before half time when Mirco was brought down in the penalty area that Marulanda converted from the spot.
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.
Heidelberg made a great start to the first period of extra time 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 finished calmly 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.

Athiu hit the crossbar again late on but Heidelburg had already done enough to secure their place in the Semi-Finals of the PS4 NPL Finals Series.

Bayswater City 1 (Marulanda 45+2min)
Heidelberg United 3 (Athiu 36min, 96, Ellis 112)
Sunday September 17, 2017
Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, Inglewood
Referee: David Bruce
Assistants: Josh Mannella, Matthew Southern
Fourth Official: Tom Dowle

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
Substitutes not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC, 3 Tristian COLLI
Yellow Cards: Griffiths 20’, Howarth 35’, Marulanda 69’
Red Cards: nil

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
Substitutes not used: RGK Christian PAVIIDIS, 22 Alexander SCHIAVO
Yellow Cards: Zahra 45’, Way 45+1’, Ellis 95’
Red Cards: nil


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