Gritty Armadale inflict ECU's first loss
Report By Jesse Foletta
ECU Joondalup suffered a surprise first loss of the NPL WA season on Saturday as they went down 2-1 at home to Armadale.
Goals from Chris Jackson and Ali Gholami either side of the interval put Armadale in a commanding position.
And though Gordon Smith pulled one back for the Jacks, it was the visitors who ultimately held the aces at ECU Joondalup Football Stadium.
It was Armadale’s second win in successive seasons away to ECU, who went into the Round Eight clash in third place on the back of a three-match winning streak.
“We did the right things at the right times,” Armadale forward Jackson said.
“The work rate of the midfield was great; all three of them were absolutely energetic.”
Jackson’s opener came in the 25th minute when he finished a left-wing cross from Charlie Kenna.
After going in at half-time with the lead, Armadale showed they meant business as Gholami buried a long shot in the bottom corner just after the hour to double the advantage.
Three minutes later ECU got themselves back in the game when Smith met an exceptional cross from skipper Daryl Nicol with his head to finally crack Armadale’s solid defence.
In a tense final quarter, with the tackles and the card count beginning to mount, ECU Joondalup sent players up in search of an equaliser and they created multiple chances.
Steven McGarry and Smith saw shots fly narrowly over. But the Armadale defence, superbly marshalled by Billy Quinncroft, refused to buckle further.
“Armadale are always a tough, gritty opponent, who unfortunately got the better of us today,” Nicol said.
“The second half we absolutely dominated and we were definitely worthy of at least a point.
“We went the first seven games undefeated, so we just need to train hard this upcoming week and get back to the form of recent weeks.”
ECU Joondalup 1 (Smith 64min)
Armadale 2 (Jackson 25, Gholami 61)
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Referee: Nico Hoyle
Assistant referees: Thomas Robinson, Dylan Luke Watson
ECU Joondalup: 1. Johnny PERKINS, 2. Cian HIRRELL, (4. Steven McGARRY 29), 3 Ross Millard, 5. Adam TONG, 6. Lukas DE LIMA, 7. Cameron MURRAY, 8. Josh WHITMORE, 9. Daryl NICOL, 10. Gordon SMITH, (11. Liam MURRAY 71), 15. Shane CASSIDY, 18. Declan HUGHES (13. Tommy AMPHLETT 60)
Substitutes not used: 12. Ryan McDARBY, 20. Jack NUNN
Yellow cards: 2. Cian HIRRELL 65, 4. Steven McGARRY 76, 15. Shane CASSIDY 90+3
Red cards: Nil
Armadale: 1. Sam HUTCHINGS, 2. Joshua KUSER, (3. Charlie SIMPSON 79), 4. Nathan COSTELLO, 7. Charlie KENNA, 8. Michael LAWSON, 9. Billy QUINNCROFT, 10. Chris JACKSON, 11. Michael RIZIDIS, (14. Jonathan BOGONI 87), 15. Ali GHOLAMI, 17. James ATKINS, 21. Beau RAHIM
Substitutes not used: 5. Daniel STONE, 12. Dannie RICHMAN, 99. Duncan LENNON BLACK
Yellow cards: 7. Charlie KENNA 37, 9. Billy QUINNCROFT 81, 14. Jonathan BOGONI 90+3
Red cards: Nil