ECU triumphant against league leaders
Report by Aisling Lawless
ECU Joondalup secured three much needed points with a 2-0 win over league- leaders Inglewood United at ECU Football Stadium on Saturday.
Former Hearts striker Gordon Smith broke the deadlock with a goal a minute before the half time whistle, while Ollie Annis’ 77th minute header sealed the win.
Bayswater’s round 11 win against Balcatta meant Inglewood slipped to second position on the PS4 National Premier Leagues WA table.
ECU assistant coach David Tough said it was great to bounce back with a win after a couple of difficult weeks with a diminished squad.
Having veteran players Smith and former Perth Glory player Steven McGarry back from suspension was a key factor he said.
“We’ve got a very young squad and they [Smith and McGarry] bring so much to our team, especially experience.
“We knew we were in with a good chance today with our senior players back into the fold and they [Inglewood] were missing a few players, so we are really happy.
“The depth of our squad will increase even more as we’ve got about four or five new signings coming in, so hopefully we can have a strong second half to the season.”
Inglewood looked more threatening in attack in the first half but stellar defence from Cian Hirrell hampered their playmaking, regaining possession for the home side.
ECU's opening goal came after a fantastic team build up, with Tommy Amphlett and Annis combining to set up Smith, who took ECU into the lead going into half time.
Coach Dale McCulloch and Tough said to their side at the break how vital it was to keep the momentum going.
“We’ve been in that situation before where we’ve been leading the game and lost it in the second half, so we really emphasised needing to come out strong," Tough said.
Smith came close to getting a brace in the 59th minute after Amphlett created space by switching play, but keeper Alex Dunn tipped his shot over the crossbar.
The resulting corner led to a right wing shot from Andy Higgins, but Dunn parried the shot away, again keeping the visitors in the game.
Inglewood nearly won a penalty in the 75th minute when McGarry brought down John Migas, but it was just outside the box and Mark Pritchard was unable to convert the free kick.
Two minutes later ECU powered forward and Smith passed to Amphlett, who then crossed the ball across the goal to set up Annis for a beautiful header.
The visitors almost grabbed a consolation in the 89th minute but Callum O’Connell was denied by the woodwork.
Inglewood have also had squad issues and were without seven players for selection, including suspended defender Adam Tong.
But coach Taki Nicholaidis said it was no excuse and the players they had out there were good enough to come away with the results.
“I thought we played well in the first half but our decision making in the last third cost us," he said.
“From my point of view it’s just another small glitch and we just have to get back on our bike and try and put things right in the FFA cup match on Monday.”
ECU Joondalup 2 (Smith 44mins, Annis 77)
Inglewood United 0
Saturday June 4, 2016
ECU Joondalup Football Stadium
Local kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee: Stuart Muldoon
Assistant Referees: John Taran, Eamon Mcdonnell
ECU Joondalup: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2. Ryan LOWRY (c), 3. Joseph JONES, 4. Steven MCGARRY, 5. Andy HIGGINS, 6. Shane PICKERING, 8. Oliver ANNIS, 10. Gordon SMITH (19. Paddy DOYLE 88’), 13. Tommy AMPHLETT, 15. Cian HIRRELL 18. Henry DURR.
Substitutes not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 9. Josh TUCKER, 11. Keylun POLLARD,
Yellow cards: Jones 82’
Red cards: Nil
Inglewood United: GK: Alex DUNN, 3. David CYRUS (C), 6. Calum O’CONNELL, 7. Kenny KEOGH, 8. Jason BARRERA, 10. Ash ROSINDALE, 11. John MIGAS, 12. Scott WITSCHGE (17. Tim ROBERTSON 68’), 14. Mark PRITCHARD, 18. Jason COLLI (19. Ryan SARDI 88’), 21. Slobodan VULIN
Substitutes not used: 16. Shahtoosh BHAT, 20. Mitchell PAPAS, 22. Milan OGNSENOVIC.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil