Evans inspires Floreat win
Report by Ryan Borrett
Floreat Athena claimed a vital three points in their fight for survival with a 3-1 win over fellow relegation candidates Stirling Lions at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday.
Dean Evans opened the scoring for Floreat with a brilliant free-kick early in the second half and Calvin Whitney doubled Athena’s advantage from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.
Stirling managed to claw a goal back shortly after conceding the penalty through Daniel Micevski but Floreat’s Jonathan Stynes added a third goal for Floreat late on to seal the three points for his side.
The win means it's four points from his first two games in charge new Floreat coach Garret McDuling and the result means Athena remain in eighth place in the NPL WA standings and five points clear of the relegation zone with six games remaining.
Stirling drop to second bottom having lost their last seven league matches and they are desperate for an upturn in fortune.
McDuling praised his players and commended them on how they had responded to his appointment.
“It was a really good performance from our boys today,” he said.
“They talk about the classic six-pointer and that was it.
“We’re trying to pack a pre-season into a week now since I’ve come on board with my coaching staff, so we’re trying to apply a lot of things in a short amount of time.”
Stirling Lions coach Keegan Ashley said mistakes from his side were the difference.
“It was pretty even but I just think a couple of errors cost us,” he said.
“We’ve got six games to go so we’ve got to keep going.”
After an uneventful first half Floreat captain Evans made the breakthrough in the 53rd minute when his free-kick from 25 yards curled into the top right corner past the outstretched glove of Lions keeper Lance Alavakis.
McDuling said of Evans: “If we get a sniff around the box we know and the league knows how clinical he is.”
The home side were given a great chance to double their advantage in the 70th minute when former Stirling player Robert Petkov was brought down by Alavakis in the box.
Whitney drove the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-0 and it seemed Stirling’s struggles would continue.
However Stirling managed to claw a goal back not long after when a corner wasn’t cleared by Floreat’s defenders and it dropped to Micevski who volleyed into the net.
But it was not to be for the Lions as Floreat found a third goal similar to that scored by Stirling when their corner wasn’t cleared and Stynes on the goalline netted to make it 3-1.
Floreat face a tough test next week against Inglewood United while Stirling have a massive game against Subiaco as the battle for survival intensifies.
Floreat Athena 3 (Evans 53min, Whitney 70, Stynes 83)
Stirling Lions 1 (Daniel Micevski 73)
Saturday, July 7
E&D Litis Stadium
Referee: Joshua Nixon
Assistant referees: Darren Quinlan, Sailota Phiri
Floreat Athena: 1. Jason SALDARIS, 2. Marco SANTA LUCIA, 6. Jesse FULLER, 8. Jonathan STYNES, 9. Robert PETKOV, 10. Calvin WHITNEY, 11. Dennis GALAN, 15. Chris SALDARIS 13. Andreas FAZZARI 90+4), 16. Ryan MALTON, 17. Dean EVANS, 21. Keylun POLLARD (4. Andrew SCALDAFERRO 80)
Substitutes not used: 18. Harrison GEORGE, 20. Joe TWEATS, 23. Jordan BARBAS
Yellow cards: Galan 77, C. Saldaris 83, J. Saldaris 83
Red cards: Nil
Stirling Lions: 1. Lance ALAVAKIS, 2. David MOLINARI, 3. Darren O RIORDAN, 4. Alex SULESKI (15. Nathan DE ABREU 46), 8. Jamie DOCHERTY (18. Ben CAMPBELL 64), 9. Daniel MICEVSKI, 10. David MICEVSKI, 11. Alex TANEVSKI, 12. Daniel HEPWORTH, 14. Steve SOKOL, 16. Nicholas ASHLEY
Substitutes not used: 17. Abu DULLEH, 19. Zane CASELLA, 20. Damian DAMJANOSKI
Yellow cards: Ashley 35, Alavakis 70, O Riordan 83, Suleski 85
Red cards: Nil