ECU, Stirling share spoils at bottom
Report by Louis Granich
ECU Joondalup snatched a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Stirling Lions at ECU Joondalup Football Stadium on Saturday in their crucial Round 14 NPL WA clash.
In a game between the two bottom sides in the league at kick off, basement club Stirling looked set to secure the three points after Micheal Wantee (above) opened the scoring midway through the second half.
But Charlie Kenna’s injury-time equaliser gave 10-man ECU a vital share of the spoils and lifted them a place to third bottom and above Kenna's former side Armadale.
Stirling showed their attacking intent early. New signing’s Yacoub Mustafa and Jackson Morgan both found space in behind the ECU defence, but neither could find a way past Jacks goalkeeper Johnny Perkins.
The cagey contest began to intensify in the second half as both the tackles and bookings began to increase.
It was Trevor Morgan’s introduction of Ajak Riak that would eventually break the deadlock in the 67th minute. The substitute immediately raced down the right wing and delivered a telling cross to Zdenek Bezdek, who flicked the ball back for Micheal Wantee to finish clinically into the bottom left corner.
The drama continued when ECU Joondalup’s mid-season signing Billy Quincroft was shown a straight red card for a wild hack on Riak.
But, stunningly, ECU found an equaliser. An Andy Higgins header found Joe Knowles who showed great courage and composure to squeeze a pass through to fellow substitute Charlie Kenna. Kenna then calmly tucked the ball past Ryan Montgomery to the absolute delight of the home supporters.
The result takes ECU Joondalup above Armadale on goal difference and they are both four points clear of Stirling, who are showing signs of improvement but will view this as two points dropped.
Star player: Michael Wantee (Stirling)
ECU Joondalup 1 (Kenna 90 +1 min)
Stirling Lions 1 (Wantee 67)
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS (c) 2. Ronald RIXER, 12 Billy QUINNCROFT, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 3 Nicholas KOEFLER, 4 Henry DURR, 6 Ollie ANNIS, 8 Josh WHITMORE, 9 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY, 11 Jamal REINERS, 10 Andy HIGGINS (Joe KNOWLES 60) (13 Lukas De Lima 83) (16 Charlie KENNA 83)
Unused substitutes: 20 George JACKSON, 15 Tom HOUGH
Yellow cards: Whitmore 52, Knowles 62
Red cards: Quinncroft 75
Stirling Lions: 1. Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2. Mile PETKOVSKI, 3. Darren O’RIORDAN, 5. Steven McDONALD, 4. David MOLINARI, 17. Andrew MARANTA, 8. Dean CUMMINGS (c), 9. Zdenek BEZDEK, 10. Yacoub MUSTAFA, 11. Michael WANTEE, 12. Jackson MORGAN (19 Ajak RIAK 66) (18. Dhhors CHOL 73)
Unused substitutes: 20. Daniel MARQUES, 7 Nelson TSHONGO
Yellow cards: O’Riordan, Petkovski 57
Red cards: Nil