Lions overpower ECU at the Den
Report by Peter Simcox
Photo courtesy Peter Simcox
Stirling Lions moved to fourth place on the PS4 National Premier Leagues WA table after a 3-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Macedonia Park on Saturday.
Robert Petkov gave the home side lead in the first half, before late goals from Teeboy Kamara and Daniel Micevski wrapped up the points for the Lions.
Lions coach Rob Milevski said after a disappointing first half they outplayed Joondalup, and thought they deserved the points.
“I thought our first half was poor and they got on top of us in the middle of the park, and we were fortunate to go into the break with the lead, but we addressed that at half time,” he said.
“I think we got what we deserved in the second half, and scored some good goals and kept a clean sheet as well, our first of the season, which is very pleasing.”
The coach said it was vital to continue their momentum after their big win at Cockburn last week as they look ahead to next week’s big clash with league leaders Inglewood United.
“It’s all about consistency and we’ve spoken about it this week at training, and today we showed that,” Milevski said.
“We worked extremely hard defensively and went forward and but the goals on the board and we will be looking to keep the momentum going next week at Inglewood.”
Lions captain Brodie Martin said they took their chances when they came and they are now looking to play more consistent football.
“We didn’t start to well today, but we came to the party in the second half and come away with the three points,” he said.
“It’s our first clean sheet since Perth in the Night Series, nine games, and we’ve been working hard at training on this but it’s only two on the spin.
“If we want to make finals we need to keep that going. It’s a big week for us and a big game next week and we will prepare well and look to get the three points again.”
The visitors made the better start and Shane Cassidy got back with a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny Steven McGarry after only three minutes, before Gordon Smith’s long-range effort flashed wide.
Lions hit back and debutant ECU keeper Scott Wallis was alert to save David Micevski’s shot moments later, but on 16 minutes it was ECU who should have hit the front.
Smith shrugged off two Lions defenders and raced clear, he rounded keeper John Perkins, but with the goal at his mercy he fired wide.
Wallis then produced a good reaction save to stop David Micevski’s deflected shot as the home side pushed forward.
The pitch wasn’t the best and large areas of sand made passing football difficult, but it didn’t stop the Lions hitting the front ten minutes from half time.
David Micevski’s in-swinging corner was flicked on by Graham Doran and Petkov finished at the back post.
Both sides had good early chances in the second half. First David Micevski’s snap shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed wide of the target, before Bayley Brown-Montgomery long-range shot was saved low by Perkins.
It should have been 2-0 on 67 minutes, Blamo Qua Qua through ball sent David Micevski clear one-on-one with Wallis, but the ECU custodian stood tall and the midfielder fired wide of the target.
But the game was put to bed by the Lions with two goals in as many minutes.
First on 81 minutes ECU defenders Ryan Lowry and Shane Pickering challenged for the same ball and the ball fell to second half substitute Jason Rubidge, who fed Kamara who made no mistake.
Then two minutes later, Kamara was the supplier for the third. His quick counter attack ended with a ball to Daniel Micevski, who finished low past Wallis to seal the points.
The Lions travel to the Inglewood Stadium next week to take on league leaders Inglewood United, while ECU Joondalup take on Floreat Athena in the twilight game at the E&D Litis Stadium.
Stirling Lions 3 (Petkov 38 min, Kamara 81, Daniel Micevski 83)
ECU Joondalup 0
Saturday 16th April 2016
Venue: Macedonia Park
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistants: Tom Dowle and Walter Ciotti
Stirling Lions: GK John PERKINS 2 Michael PUGLIESE (16 Abdul SESAY 54’), 4 Blamo QUA QUA, 5 Graham DORAN (7 Miki VUJACIC 89’), 6 Brodie MARTIN (C), 8 David SESAY 9 Robert PETKOV (12 Jason RUBIDGE 80’), 10 Daniel MICEVSKI, 11 David MICEVSKI, 15 Shane CASSIDY, 17 Teeboy KAMARA
Subs not used: RGK Lance ALAVAKIS
Yellow Cards: Doran 12’, Cassidy 29’, Pugliese 43’
ECU Joondalup: GK Scott WALLIS, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Joseph JONES, 4 Shane PICKERING, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 7 Harley ORR (13 Ollie ANNIS 64’), 8 Steven WALMSLEY, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (12 Paddy DOYLE 79’), 14 Steven MCGARRY, 18 Henry DURR
Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 15 Coire MCGUIGAN, 16 Josh TUCKER
Yellow Cards: Orr 27’, McGarry 48’, Smith 65’, Jones 70’, Higgins 79’