Forrestfield and Joondalup in 4-4 thriller
Report by Alex Vlahos
Forrestfield United pulled off an astonishing late comeback to earn a draw in a drama-packed NPLWA encounter at Wildlife Safari Stadium in which visitors Joondalup United finished the night with three players sent off.
Striker Hasani Sinclair sent home fans into ecstasy when he headed home Tom Southgate’s free-kick in the eighth minute of stoppage time to secure a 4-4 draw for Forrestfield.
Jamie Gibson netted a masterful hat-trick for Joondalup, and when Johnny Chalmers coolly slotted past Forrie goalkeeper Luke Martino on 73 minutes, the visitors had established a formidable 4-1 lead.
A tenacious Forrestfield kept coming and after substitute Josh Kotio got a goal back for the hosts, Joondalup’s Matthew Sparrow was dismissed for an errant elbow in the 75th minute.
Then Forrestfield centre-back Jamie Street headed a Mitchell Crocker cross into the top right-hand corner after 84 minutes, setting the stage for an exhilarating conclusion.
The hosts catapulted forward over the final stages and as tension started to build, emotions reached breaking point with Joondalup urging for the final whistle to be blown.
After Sinclair found the net to complete the fightback from the home side, Joondalup were reduced to eight men when James Bosdet and Liam Mooney received red cards for remonstrating about the amount of added time played.
Gibson opened the scoring for Joondalup on 14 minutes, before Forrie drew level through Rhys Loxley on the stroke of half-time.
The hosts came out the stronger immediately after the break, yet Joondalup - just four points all season before the match - netted three times in six minutes to storm into a 4-1 lead.
Forrestfield coach Rod Banjac, whose side moved out of the bottom three, was delighted with the resilience his young side displayed.
“In a match like this, there is added psychological pressure because we are expected to win,” Banjac said.
“It was a mental and physical (battle) today and it seemed like for every three shots we had that missed, they had one that went in.
“But we never gave up and that’s something we’ve advanced in, we’ve matured and for the boys to comeback like they did, I am very proud.”
Banjac also paid tribute to releagtion-bound Joondalup.
“It’s always exciting when these two teams meet,” Banjac said.
“We invited trouble by not taking our chances, but credit to Joondalup and their striker (Gibson).
“The goals he scored were not flimsy goals, they were high quality.”
Joondalup coach Nick Jennings lamented the amount of stoppage-time allowed.
“We should have finished the job off but I have no idea why there was so much additional time played,” Jennings said.
“I’ve been involved in football for 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Jennings, however, was thrilled with the spirit and determination his side played with.
“We understand our limitations and it’d be easy for the boys not to turn up, but they turn up every Tuesday and Thursday and work on a game plan and work effectively.
“I just feel so sorry for the boys tonight.”
He also sung the praises of hat-trick hero Gibson.
“He was superb, I thought he was man of the match,” Jennings said.
Forrestfield rise to 11th in the table after Saturday's draw while Joondalup's relegation could be confirmed in two weeks' time when the NPL resumes following the Belt Up Cup Final.
Forrestfield United 4 (Loxley 45min, Kotio 74, Street 84, Sinclair 90+8)
Joondalup United 4 (Gibson 14, 67, 69, Chalmers 74)
Saturday July 7
Wildlife Safari Stadium
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistant referees: John Taran, Jamie West
Forrestfield United: 1. Luke MARTINO, 2. Tom SOUTHGATE, 3. Wilbert TSHABANGU, 4. Jamie DUNCAN, 5. Scott BARKER, 8. Mitchell CROCKER (Callum DOBBS 87), 9. Hasani SINCLAIR, 10. Jordan HART (Josh KOTIO 61), 11. Liam MERIGAN, 15. Jamie STREET, 23. Rhys LOXLEY
Substitutes not used: 6. Sedad YAGLI, 14. Leslie MARI, 18. Benjamin PARRY
Yellow cards: Crocker 87
Red cards: Nil
Joondalup United: 1. James BOSDET, 2. Johnny CHALMERS, 7. Matthew SPARROW, 10. Elliot Tattersall (23. Ellis HESLOP 90+8), 11. Anthony TAYLOR, 12. William KESSEL (Morgan COOPER 76, Johann SILVER 90+8), 14. Liam MOONEY, 17. Matthew CHERRIE, 19. Adam BUCKLEY, 22. Jamie GIBSON, 24. Ayden DRAGAN.
Substitutes not used: Nil
Yellow cards: Taylor 52, Chalmers 83, Dragan 90+7
Red cards: Sparrow 75, Bosdet 90+8, Mooney 90+8