Smith spot on as ECU edge out a gallant Glory
Report by Peter Simcox
Photo courtesy Peter Simcox
A late penalty from Gordon Smith has given ECU Joondalup a hard fought 1-0 win against Perth Glory in Week 19 of the PS4 National Premier Leagues WA at ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Scottish striker’s 15th goal of the season gave the home side the points but the Glory had taken the honour. They dominated most of the game but couldn’t find the target, with keeper Lewis Italiano producing a couple of telling saves.
Smith said they got away with one and gave credit to the Glory.
“I thought Perth Glory were really good today, passed the ball well but credit to our boys for pulling through and getting the win,” he said.
“They had an overload in the middle of the park and we couldn’t get our game going but it was nice to score the winner and keep our top four push on track.”
Coach Dale McCulloch echoed his striker’s views but said they had the rub of the green today, which they haven’t had during the season.
“It was probably one we got away with today and we won it with a penalty. To be fair we’ve had a few things go against us this season,” he said.
“So we’ll take that bit of good fortune but we worked hard and it showed the resolve and character of the players we have. We move on to Bayswater next week.”
It was a vital game for both sides, at the top and bottom of the table, and Glory almost handed the hosts the lead on eight minutes.
Scott Robertson slip let in Gordon Smith, who raced clear, but Glory keeper Jordan Thurtell stood tall to deny him.
With that early let off, the Glory settled and went close themselves ten minutes later. Alex Tanevski was given far too much room in the middle of the park and his shot on the run was saved low by Italiano.
The visitors were controlling the game and Daniel Stynes was a constant threat. Midway through the half he skipped past two ECU defenders but just has he was ready to pull the trigger Shane Pickering got back with a last ditch tackle.
ECU ended the half the better and Rikki Smith’s shot was deflected wide before Kevin Moon shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed over the top.
Then in final minute a long ball over the top sent Gordon Smith clear, he held off his marker, but his flick was well saved by Thurtell.
The hosts began the second half as they finished the first. Steven McGarry’s close-range shot was well saved by Thurtell before the Glory custodian was out bravely to save at the feet of McGarry again moments later.
On the hour the Glory should have hit the front. Great work on the right by Stynes ended with a cut back from the bye-line to Alex Tanevski, whose first time shot was superbly saved by Italiano.
The ECU custodian was at it again 10 minutes later, this time Stynes skipped past two ECU defenders and raced into the area but Italiano was out quick to save.
The game was opening up with both sides pressing. Daryl Nicol played in Gordon Smith whose shot whistled over the top before Sam McKearnan shot on the turn flew over the top.
But on 80 minutes the home side hit the front. Gordon Smith took on Ross Millard, and the Glory defender blocked the Scotsman in the area forcing referee Michal Jasinski to point straight to the spot.
Smith picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty, despite Thurtell getting a hand to it.
It was a bitter blow for the Glory youngsters but they almost earned a point in the final minute.
Nikola Talimdzioski’s shot from the edge of the box whistled inches past a post.
Glory coach Jacob Burns said defeat was hard to take.
“Really disappointed for the lads, anyone who was watching today could see we deserved more than that, they are really hurting in the rooms,” he said.
“I thought we dominated from back to front but that’s the unfortunate thing about football, you can dominate from box-to-box and control the game but come away empty handed.”
The Glory are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Armadale for their Round 16 catch up game, before hosting Floreat Athena next weekend, while ECU Joondalup travel to Bayswater City.
ECU Joondalup 1 (G.Smith 80min pen)
Perth Glory 0
Saturday 6th August 2016
ECU Football Stadium, Joondalup
Referee: Michal Jasinski
Assistants: Sorousha Moayer, Andre Ferreira
ECU Joondalup: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Rikki SMITH, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 6 Shane PICKERING (19 Michael MCDOUGALL 58’), 7 Jayden DRUMMOND (15 Fraser GARNAUT 63’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Cian HIRRELL, 17 Kevin MOON,
Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 8 Oliver ANNIS, 16 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY,
Yellow cards: Lowry 38’
Perth Glory: GK Jordan THURTELL, 2 Gian ALBANO (13 Luke BODNAR 10’), 3 Scott ROBERTSON, 4 Jack IREDALE, 5 Ross MILLARD, 6 Cal WHITNEY, 7 Alex TANEVSKI, 8 Dejan SPASESKI (14 Jackson MORGAN 87’), 9 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI, 10 Sam MCKEARNAN (15 Sean TROUP 82’), 11 Daniel STYNES
Subs not used: RGK Riley STEPHENSON, 16 Chor DAU
Yellow card: Iredale 64’, McKearnen 85'