Sorrento claim northern derby
Report by Bianca Niederberger
Rivalry Round saw a characteristic clash between local rivals ECU Joondalup and Sorrento on Saturday afternoon, with the Gulls prevailing 3-1 at ECU Football Stadium.
Sorrento were slow to start but overpowered their hosts with three goals coming from Reece Vittiglia, Brodie Martin and Todd Harnwell while ECU Joondalup managed just one goal via Jon Stynes.
Sorrento co-coach Jamie Harnwell said it was always a big three points against ECU and declared it his team’s best performance so far this season.
“The second half was superb from us,” he said.
“We created a lot of opportunities, they looked really dangerous and defensively we kept them at arms length, so I was really happy with that.”
Going a goal down early in the match following a Stynes header from a Jon Higgins corner wasn’t part of the plan for the visitors as their usually dependable defence faltered and they struggled to contain their opponents for the majority of the first half.
ECU Joondalup kept their shape and kept the pressure on with Lee Jones and Jake Benson-Cooper creating plenty of play but unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
Andy Higgins was also eager in his persistent attack on the ball and advancing, often without much support, but he and Jones couldn’t break through the dependable defence of Steve McDonald and Shaun Kilkelly.
Sorrento hit out hard looking for the equalizer and they squandered their early chances.
It finally came in the form of a free kick conversion released by Vittiglia from 25 yards just minutes before the break. The ball carried over the wall and straight into the right top corner of the net, as flat-footed keeper Andy Banks looked on.
Tensions boiled over in the 44th minute with a dubious tackle sparking a short-lived but enthusiastic melee between the rivals.
It was all Sorrento in the second half as they asserted themselves in all areas of the pitch.
Brodie Martin set the tone for the remainder of the match as he capitalised on both an accurate delivery from Daryl Platten and a lack of concentration and communication from ECU to bundle the ball home.
The hosts remained optimistic of their trademark second half revival and it was almost a chance, with a shot from Benson-Cooper looking good for the top right of the net but its excellence was matched by a diving save by Aspden.
The bulk of the second half was an arm wrestle, as both sides continued to execute ineffective goal scoring attempts, and spectators huddled under the grandstand as the weather set in.
The last minute of the game sealed the deal for Sorrento as Harnwell took on Banks at close range and chipped it over him and home.
Coach Jamie Harnwell admitted that the rivalry was certainly alive and well in the context of today’s match.
“ECU, as a club, are like our younger brothers,” he said.
“The rivalry is certainly real, it’s always a big game every time we play them and form doesn’t always matter, so it was good to get the win. It’s a big three points for us today against ECU.”
ECU Joondalup 1 (Stynes 11’)
Sorrento 3 (Vittiglia 42’, Martin 49’, Harnwell 89’)
Saturday 29th March, 2014
ECU Sports Centre
Attendance: approx. 250
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Referee: David Costello
Assistant Referees: Tom Dowell, Rory Young
ECU Joondalup: 1. Andy BANKS (gk), 2. Ryan LOWRY, 3. Jon HIGGINS (c), 4. Charlie COMYN-PLATT, 6. Jon STYNES (9. David FOSTER 70’), 7. Dave CAINE, 8. Joe SMITH, 10. Andy HIGGINS, 11. Lee JONES, 13. Tommy AMPHLETT (16. Genaveo HUMAN 56’), 14. Jake BENSON-COOPER
Substitutes not used: 12. Gareth CRAWLEY, 15. Jack CAIRNS, 20. Ramiro LESCANO (gk)
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Sorrento: 1. Curtis ASPDEN (gk), 2. Danny CAIN, 4. Shaun KILKELLY, 6. Daryl PLATTEN (5. Adam LUCA 79’), 7. James. A. MORGAN (c), 8. Brodie MARTIN, 9. Todd HARNWELL, 13. Steve MCDONALD, 14. Scott BULLOCH (21. Mike MCGINLEY 75’), 17. Reece VITTIGLIA, 18. Sean CANHAM
Substitutes not used: 60. James MORGAN (gk), 3. Alex BRAIN, 15. Razack GELOO
Yellow cards: James A. MORGAN 20’
Red cards: nil