Top Four Cup: Perth SC clean up on finals day
Report by Peter Simcox
Photo by Peter Simcox
Perth Soccer Club are the 2019 NPL WA Top Four Cup winners after a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Inglewood United at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The victory ensured they repeated their feat of the league and Top Four Cup Double from 12 months ago.
And it capped an all-conquering day for the Azzurri, who earlier lifted the Under 18 and Under 20 Top Four Cups.
In front of a packed grandstand it was the hosts who dominated the first half and deservedly led through skipper David Cyrus' header.
Perth levelled early in the second half with Golden Boot winner Michael Domfeh on target.
It looked like going to extra time but in the final minute Perth right-back Alex Silla, who missed Tuesday’s qualifying final due to the passing of his grandmother, fired home the winner to seal back-to-back Top Four Cup victories for Ramon Falzon and his team.
It was a great start to the game for the hosts, who beat Perth 3-1 in last week's Major Semi-Final, and Harry Evans soon had Perth keeper Dejan Aleksic scrambling to his right.
Inglewood were well on top and Chok Dau blazed over when well placed, before the lively striker forced a good save from the alert Aleksic after he was sent clear by Brian Woodall.
Perth were struggling to get a foothold in the game and Cyrus should have put Inglewood in front on the half hour. A corner from Evans wasn’t dealt with, the ball finding an unmarked Cyrus at the back post, but his effort from close range failed to find the target.
The home supporters thought they had the lead on 42 minutes, Jason Barrera picked out Woodall in the penalty area but his first-time shot was stopped by Aleksic with a stunning, one-handed reaction save.
But from the corner Inglewood did take the lead. Aleksic flapped at Evans’ set-piece and Cyrus headed home at the back post, much to the delight of the home faithful.
Just like in last year's final when they trailed Perth Glory at half-time, Perth were having to come from behind.
And they were out of the blocks in the second half and level on 54 minutes. Kristian Santich sent Niccolò Sabatini down the left and he whipped in a brilliant cross which Domfeh rose highest to head past Alex Dunn at his near post.
Inglewood lifted and Barrera’s audacious lob from long range landed on top of the net for the hosts, while second half substitute Brian Farrell’s first-time shot was saved low by Aleksic
All the while Perth playmaker Santich was coming into his own, dominating the middle of the park, and his superb range of passes was there for the big crowd to see.
On 82 minutes his raking pass sent Sabatini clear and the Italian's first-time volley was saved low by the alert Dunn.
Both sides were going for the winner and Inglewood’s Jamie Murphy’s mazy run ended with a shot that flashed just wide of the upright, before Perth substitute Frank Furfaro cross-shot was pushed away by Dunn.
It looked like the game was heading to extra time but, as they so ften do, Perth won it. Silla played a neat one-two with Aleks Jovic on the edge of the box, and raced into the box and finished low past Dunn to seal the win.
It was a good day all round for Santich, who was awarded the Gary Marocchi Medal by the Azzurri President as the best player in the final.
Star player: Kristian Santich (Perth SC)
NPL WA Top Four Cup Final
Inglewood United 1 (Cyrus 42)
Perth SC 2 (Domfeh 54, Silla 90)
Saturday 14 September, 2019
Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium
Referee: Matthew Southern
Assistants: Simon Hicks, Harry Bolan
Fourth Official: Josh Mannella
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 David CYRUS, 8 Jason BARRERA (5 Samuel RIAK 72), 9 Chok DAU (4 Scott BLACKMORE 86), 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 11 Harry EVANS (15 Brian FARRELL 62), 14 Steve SOKOL, 15 Brian FARRELL, 16 Jamie MURPHY, 17 Mark BARNETT, 23 Brian WOODALL
Substitutes not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 6 Miki VUJACIC, 7 Hamza HINA
Yellow cards: Evans 40
Red cards: Nil
Perth SC: GK: Dejan ALEKSIC, 2 Alex SILLA, 3 Andreas THEODOSIADES (17 Frank FURFARO 84), 5 Niccolò SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 18 Michael DOMFEH, 19. Bojan RADINOVIC, 20 Paul ZIMARINO (7 Aleks JOVIC 54)
Substitutes not used: RGK: Adrian SINAGRA, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 13 Rocco PIZZATA
Yellow cards: De Leo 38
Red cards: Nil