Perth ease past Stirling to reach summit
Report by Tommy Doleman
Goals from Nicholas Ambrogio and Gustavo Catarcione in the opening 20 minutes got them off to a flying start and they never looked back in a fixture dedicated to the late Dylan Tombides.
Stirling threatened briefly before the break but the visitors remained resolute throughout and were comfortable in recording a third win in as many matches this season.
Perth midfielder Dean Evans said it was important that his side came out of the blocks quickly.
“We spoke about starting quickly at training and we did that today, which put us in the box seat,” he said.
“It was a good start and it put us in good stead. We defended really well as a team and made it difficult for them to create many chances.”
Evans, a former player at Macedonia Park, assisted the first goal, as his free kick on six minutes was guided into the far corner by the slightest of touches from Ambrogio.
Stirling then mustered a response straight from the restart as Perth scrambled well at the back to block efforts from Teeboy Kamara and Robert Petkov.
But Perth scored the crucial second goal of the game and it came from a Stirling mistake, as possession was lost and Catarcione was fouled inside the area just as he was about to shoot.
The off-season signing from Balcatta stepped up to the spot himself and squeezed the penalty into the bottom left corner for his fourth goal of the season.
Stirling surged towards the end of the half and would have pulled one back but for two great saves from Francis Soale.
First, he was out smartly to block David Sesay from an acute angle, before spectacularly tipping from Graham Doran’s header from David Murphy’s corner.
The second half didn’t provide as much excitement with Perth looking more likely to add a third as Catarcione twice got in behind the defence.
Hosts Stirling came close to pulling one back towards the end when Brodie Martin headed a deflected cross straight at Soale.
Perth were far too strong on the day, though, and Evans was pleased that the hard work under new coach Gareth Naven was starting to show on the pitch.
“Collectively we all know our roles, we’re very structured and I think we’re going to be hard to beat,” he said.
“The work we’ve done in the off-season and training is getting put into practice on game day. It’s good signs but it’s still early days.”
Evans also admits that the encouraging start to the season gives the players plenty of self-belief that they can challenge for honours in 2016.
“It’s good for the players to know we’re in a good position but we’ve got maintain it now. We know there’s a long way to go,” he said.
Stirling Lions 0
Perth SC 2 (Ambrogio 6mins, Catarcione 20’)
Saturday April 2, 2016
Local kick-off: 3:00pm
Stirling Lions: GK: John PERKINS, 2. Michael PUGLIESE, 3. Jovo PAVLOVIC (15. Shane CASSIDY 77’), 5. Graham DORAN, 6. Brodie MARTIN, 8. David SESAY, 9. Robert PETKOV (7. Milorad VUJACIC 60’), 10. Daniel MICEVSKI, 11. David MICEVSKI, 14. David MURPHY, 17. Teeboy KAMARA.
Substitutes not used: RGK: Lance ALAVAKIS, 12. Jason RUBIDGE, 16. Abdul SESAY
Yellow Cards: Pavlovic 77’
Red Cards: Nil
Perth SC: GK: Francis SOALE, 2. David FILLIPOU (21. Ayden DRAGUN 88’), 3. Marco SANTALUCIA, 4. Adrian MADASCHI, 5. Dean EVANS, 6. Clark KELTIE, 7. Matthew MILENKOVIC, 9. Gustavo CATARCIONE, 11. Nick AMBROGIO (14. Dino TOPCAGIC 75’), 12. Jordan DE LEO, 13. Rocco PIZZATA
Substitutes not used: RGK: Daniel PASSARELLI, 16. Thomas JEBB
Yellow Cards: Fillipou 65’
Red Cards: Nil