Saldaris the hero as Floreat beat Perth
Report by Peter Simcox
Image by Fotoenzo
Floreat Athena keeper Jason Saldaris was the hero for his side as they beat Perth SC 3-1 on penalties in the second NPLWA Night Series semi-final at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening.
The game ended 1-1 after Richard Howles gave Perth the lead and Carlo Coelho levelled. Saldaris then saved three penalties in the shoot-out to send his side to their 11th Night Series Final.
Saldaris blocked Adrian Madaschi, Nick Ambrogio and Andreas Theodosiades penalties, while Floreat scored all three of theirs to take their spot in the Final against Subiaco next weekend at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday evening.
The keeper was confident ahead of each penalty.
“I felt really good and guessed the right side with every penalty tonight," he said.
"It’s never easy in a shoot-out but I’m happy to play my part in a hard-fought win.
“It was a tough game but we showed a great deal of character in the second half and we’re developing as a squad.
“We move on to the final and Subiaco will be no pushovers. They are in the final for a reason and we need to be ready for the challenge.”
Floreat coach Howard Tweats was impressed with his side's defensive performance.
“We had a game plan but we lost a number of players in the week, so the preparation wasn’t the best," he said.
"But I thought we defended well and absorbed a great deal of pressure.
“Our last two games have been run away wins, so it was good to see us be so resilient tonight and earn our place in the final.
“Subiaco have also earned their place. It may be a pre-season competition but there is a reward at the end of it and I’m sure Ian (McMurray, Subiaco player-coach) will have his side ready for us.”
It was Perth on top early with Gustavo Catarcione's shot on the run flashing over the top, before Howles’ shot on the turn was straight at Saldaris.
Floreat settled and ended the half well. Keylun Pollard was causing Perth problems down the flank as he raced past his marker on the left and tied up Calvin Whitney, whose shot flew just wide of the target.
Moments later Ludovic Boi was in on goal, but Francis Soale saved well to deny him. In the shadows of half time it was Perth who hit the front.
A free kick from the right by Kristian Santich picked out Howles, who lost his marker and headed powerfully home.
Floreat hit back after the break as Dean Evans’ shot from the edge of the penalty area whistled past the post, and on 64 minutes they restored parity.
Again it was Pollard’s pace that started the move, the winger racing down the left as his deep cross picked out Coelho at the back post, who made no mistake.
Perth looked for the winner and Saldaris saved well to deny more shots in the final minutes but they weren't in luck.
The teams went to shoot-out, with Saldaris' outstanding performance leading Floreat to the final.
Perth SC 1 (Howles 45min)
Floreat Athena 1 (Coelho 64min)
Floreat Athena won 3-1 on penalties
Saturday February 10 2018
Dalmatinac Park, Spearwood
Referee: Tom Glavovic
Perth SC: GK Frank SOALE (C), 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 7 Aleks JOVIC (19 Andreas THEODOSIADES 65’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH (10 Nick AMBROGIO 85’), 15 Harley ORR, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 17 Frank FURFARO, 18 Richard HOWLES
Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 20 Adam CARLINO, 21 Paul ZIMARINO
Yellow Cards: Santich 17’, Furfaro 69’, Madaschi 69’
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 5 Marco SANTA LUCIA, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Keylun POLLARD, 9 Carlo COELHO (20 Joshua TUMEO 75’), 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 14 Ludovic BOI, 17 Dean EVANS (C), 18 Phil ARNOLD (19 Mehdi RABEI GHOLAMI 65’)
Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Ethan KERRIDGE, 16 Liam HUDSON
Yellow Cards: Boi 69’