Floreat suffer under ECU onslaught
Report by Tristan Lavalette
Floreat Athena coach Chris Barbas has savaged his team’s work ethic after a humiliating 4-1 home defeat to ECU Joondalup yesterday at E&D Litis Stadium.
The game was virtually over after 25 minutes when ECU captain Jon Higgins’ wickedly curling long-range free-kick hit the back of the net.
It was Higgins’ second goal in as many minutes and gave ECU a 3-0 lead to leave Floreat supporters stunned.
It also capped off a scintillating 20-minute stretch from ECU, triggered by a superb long-range header from Ryan Townsend at the 10-minute mark.
Barbas said Floreat would endure a week of “soul searching” after the disappointing performance.
“We were second to the ball and our desire was lacking,” he said.
“There was no leadership group out there whatsoever.
“We should get a few players back, which will put some pressure on the 11. We just need to get back some passion and as a team we need to show a desire to win the ball, attack and do all the team things needed.”
Silky skilled ECU players Higgins, Tommy Amphlett and Andy Higgins scythed through the midfield, providing plenty of attacking opportunities and piling the pressure on the beleaguered Floreat defence.
The result was sealed minutes after half-time when ECU’s Jon Stynes tapped in an easy goal under minimal pressure.
With the match beyond doubt, the game opened up in the second half. But even when Floreat found space they botched opportunities to hit the scoreboard until the dying seconds, courtesy of an ECU handball.
The penalty was converted by Floreat striker David Heagney, who was frustrated with his lack of opportunities throughout.
ECU looked stronger, fitter, more skilful and hungrier than their ragged opponents, who seemed to revert to self-preservation mode after the early onslaught.
ECU coach Dale McCulloch said he was satisfied with his team’s performance but lamented the late Floreat goal.
“It was a complete performance but it was disappointing to give a penalty in the last minute and not keep a clean sheet,” he said.
“We worked hard, both defensively and offensively. We are not going to get ahead of ourselves and we just want to get better as a team.”
In next week’s Rivalry Round, ECU plays Sorrento at home, while Floreat travels to Macedonia Park to play Stirling Lions.
Floreat Athena 1 (David HEAGNEY 90’)
ECU Joondalup 4 (Ryan TOWNSEND 10’, Jon HIGGINS 23’,25’, Jon STYNES 52’)
Saturday 22 March, 2014
E&D Litis Stadium, Mount Hawthorn
Referee: Matthew Southern
Assistant referees: Mathew Cheeseman and Gabby Merlallo
Floreat Athena: 23. Tom DIXON, 2. Blair GOVAN, 3. Jack ALLEN, 6. Aryn WILLIAMS, 8. Thomas GOODING, 9. David HEAGNEY, 10. Ashley CORKER (Mark WALSH ’65), 11. Mwansa MUSONDA (16. Andrew SCALDAFERRO 45’), 15. Victor FENEHIA, 17. Callam FRANSZ (4. Marniang MATHAING 65’), 19. Bobby WILSON.
Substitutes not used: 32. Yousri GHARSALLAH, 35. Sam BARBAS
Yellow cards: Jack ALLEN 77’
Red cards: Nil
ECU Joondalup: 1. Andy BANKS (gk), 2. Ryan LOWRY, 3. Jon HIGGINS (c), 5. Ryan TOWNSEND, 6. Jon STYNES, 7. Dave CAINE, 8. Joe SMITH, 10. Andy HIGGINS, 11. Lee JONES (9. Dave FOSTER 66’), 13. Tommy AMPHLETT (Genuaco HUMAN 75’), 14. Jake BENSON-COOPER
Substitutes not used: 12. Gareth CRAWLEY, 16. Jack CAIRNS, 20. Ashley MAYNARD-BREWER
Yellow cards: Tommy AMPHLETT 13’, 8. Joe SMITH 40’, Jon HIGGINS 90’
Red cards: Nil