Wantee winner throws Lions a lifeline
Report by Max Hayden-Evans
Bayswater's Sean McManus closes in on Stirling's Dean Cummings. Photo by Annie Green
Stirling breathed hope into their fight for top-flight survival with a stirring 2-1 victory over Bayswater City at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon.
In front of a raucous home crowd, two first-half goals were enough to see the Lions triumph and ensure a grandstand finish to the 2019 NPL WA season.
With three matches remaining, any of the league's bottom five teams could find themselves in the sole relegation spot when the music stops.
In a lively, free-flowing affair, both teams had their fair share of chances but it was Stirling who were the more accurate side in front of goal.
Their first came courtesy of captain Dean Cummings after 35 minutes as he latched on to Dhhors Chol’s sublime cross to drive the ball beyond Bayswater goalkeeper Devon Lindemann.
Stirling doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time, Ajak Riak sending Michael Wantee through on goal with an excellent pass in behind the Bayswater defence. Wantee made no mistake with the one-on-one opportunity, holding his nerve to send Lindemann the wrong way and curl the ball into the back of the net.
Bayswater began the second half with renewed enthusiasm and their efforts were rewarded within 10 minutes, Gordon Smith driving one home from close range to halve the deficit.
The remainder of the match was full of chances but neither side was ultimately able to break down their opponents for another goal. Ajak Riak came closest to putting the icing on the cake for Stirling when his shot late in the match struck the crossbar and ensured that the home side and their loyal supporters were made to hold on through a fiery period of injury time for the sweet relief of the referee’s final whistle.
Stirling will travel to Inglewood next week sitting just a point behind Armadale and ECU Joondalup, while Bayswater will seek to rebound from defeat and keep their top-four hopes alive when they play host to Rockingham City.
Star player: Michael Wantee (Stirling Lions)
Stirling Lions 2 (Cummings 35min, Wantee 44)
Bayswater City 1 (Smith 54)
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Referee: Julian Serra
Assistant referees: Ethan Persse, Jessica Byrd
Stirling Lions: 1. Ryan MONTGOMERY (GK), 3. Darren O’Riordan (13. Andrew MARANTA 75), 4. David MOLINARI, 5. Steven McDONALD, 6. Dhhors CHOL, 8. Dean CUMMINGS (C), 9. Zdenek BEZDEK (2. Nelson TSHONGO 81), 10. Danny JONES, 11. Michael WANTEE (16. Renee KISESA 87), 12. Jackson MORGAN, 19. Ajak RIAK
Substitutes not used: 7. Josh ANASMO, 20. Daniel MARQUES
Yellow cards: Cummings 69
Red cards: Nil
Bayswater City: 1. Devon LINDEMANN (GK), 6. Todd HOWARTH, 9. Gustavo GIRON, 10. Jason MIRCO, 12. Steve HESKETH, 13. Trent KAY (C), 17. Daryl NICOL, 19. Gordon SMITH, 20. Giordano COLLI (14. Sean McMANUS 45), 27. Ross MILLARD, 30. Adam TONG (11. Ryan PEARSON 70)
Substitutes not used: 16. Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 22. Logan RANDELL, 25. Sam REILLY
Yellow cards: Tong 60, Nicol 74
Red cards: Nil