Lions claim point with sterling second half
Report by Kelechi Osunwa
Stirling Lions came back from a 2-0 deficit to claim a well-earned draw in an enthralling National Premier Leagues WA encounter against Sorrento on Friday night at Percy Doyle Reserve.
Trevor Morgan’s side had stretched out to a two-goal lead in part to two instinctive finishes, either side of half time, from the ever-present former Perth Glory player Todd Harnwell.
The two goals were Harnwell’s second and third in five matches and his hard work has not gone unnoticed by Morgan.
“Toddy’s (Harnwell) been absolutely fantastic,” Morgan said.
“I came here when Toddy was 16 and he’s still doing what he was doing at 16 now and he’s 33.
“He’s scored two goals tonight and we played him in sort of 3 different positions and he never complains.”
Sorrento’s two-goal advantage last only four minutes as Howard Neighbour unerring finish following incisive play on the left wing was just rewards for Stirling’s dominance of possession.
The goal seemed to give Stirling a bit more purpose. Up to that point Stirling had dominated possession but a well-drilled Sorrento back four had left Curtis Aspden untested.
With the match moving into the final stages, Neighbour was quickest to react after a partially cleared corner to bundle in the equaliser.
The goal was the seventh Sorrento had conceded from a set piece and it had coach Morgan remarking that improved defending at set plays was a priority.
With the scores level moving into the final 10 minutes both sides went in search of the win but a series of last-ditch tackles and saves meant both sides would have to be content with the draw.
Lions midfielder Hayden Doyle felt Stirling could have left with more.
“We deserved a draw and could have won it in the end so we’re a little disappointed,” he said.
“We dug deep...we just didn’t give in. That’s what Gary’s been telling us; to just keep playing and stick with the game plan. He told us to keep plugging away and keep playing the way we were playing.”
The draw keeps Sorrento in second place behind Bayswater City and Trevor Morgan felt the draw was a credible result.
“Credit to Stirling, they got a goal back very quickly after we just scored our second one and they pushed forward and got the equaliser.
“There was a mad 10 minutes in the end where both teams could have won it but it’s probably a fair result reflecting the play I think.”
Sorrento 2 (Todd HARNWELL 17’ 51’)
Stirling Lions 2 (Howard NEIGHBOUR 55’ 77’)
Friday 11th April 2014
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referees: Jarrad Kennington, Rory Jackson
Sorrento – GK. Curtis ASPDEN, 6. Daryl PLATTEN, 4. Shaun KILKELLY, 2. Danny CAIN, 8. Brodie MARTIN (10. Jason MIRCO 71’), 7. James MORGAN (11. Scott BULLOCH 71’), 17. Reece VITTIGLIA (22. Ryan PEARSON 80’) , 9. Todd HARNWELL, 21. Mike MCGINLEY 18. Sean CANHAM, 13. Steve MCDONALD
Substitutes not used: 60. James MORGAN, 5. Adam LUCA
Yellow Cards: Mike MCGINLEY 23’, James MORGAN 42’, Scott BULLOCH 84’
Red Cards: Nil
Stirling Lions – GK Aleks VRTESKI, 2. Ricky SMITH, 8. Andy BROWN, 11. Dennis GALAN 15. Clayton ARNEZ, 13. Jack SALTER, 14. Phil ARNOLD, 4. Ali GHOULAMI, 9. Daniel MICEVSKI, 6. Hayden DOYLE, 7. Tim HILL,10. Howard NEIGHBOUR
Substitutes not used: 5. David FILLIPOU, 24. Connor CAMPBELL, 3. Michael DE LIMA
Yellow Cards: Daniel MICEVSKI 16’, Clayton ARNEZ 81’
Red Cards: Nil