Stirling roar home in season finale
Report by Paul J. Laverty
Stirling Lions ended a horror run of five losses in six games to show their experience and sweep aside a young Perth Glory side 3-1 at Ashfield Arena.
If this end of season game was a dead rubber, no one told either team as the match was played at a high intensity with tackles flying thick and fast.
It was the visitors who drew first blood on 12 minutes when some neat footwork by David Micevski presented Blamo Qua Qua with the chance to slot home from 12m and the forward made no mistake.
Glory steamed forward in search of a quick reply but got little change out of a disciplined Stirling backline.
The home side were leaving gaps at the back, which allowed Teeboy Kamara to capitalise with a surging run down the left to feed Micevski who coolly slotted home to put the Lions two up.
Glory stepped up a gear before the break and Stirling had keeper John Perkins to thank for keeping their advantage, first when he tipped a Daniel Stynes low drive onto a post, and then a minute later when he got a hand to Kosta Petratos’s 25-metre curler, putting it out for a corner.
Glory’s second-half plans for a comeback were in tatters just three minutes into the restart when Stirling captain Milorad Vujacic’s free-kick was missed by the entire defence and Shane Cassidy was on hand to bundle the ball home for goal number three.
Glory pushed for a comeback but were leaving themselves open with Stirling’s Micevski, Qua Qua and Kamara causing havoc with their pace and invention.
Glory grabbed a consolation when Cal Whitney smashed home a fine effort after good work from Stynes on the flank, but it was too little too late as Stirling’s older heads and quality proved the difference.
Stirling technical director Richard Changadzo was happy to see his side end the season on a mini-high.
“The boys played as a team and stuck to the game plan,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to be top of the league and then finish where we are now but hopefully we can retain these players for next season and work on what went wrong.”
Glory coach John Gibson was unhappy with his sides defending and finishing on the day, but this couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the season.
“It’s the most points we’ve got and we’ve given opportunities to 35 to 40 players,” he said.
“It’s been a fantastic season. We’ve shown some serious improvement.”
Perth Glory 1 (Whitney 76min )
Stirling Lions 3 (Qua Qua 12, Micevski 33, Cassidy 49)
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Referee: Matthew Southern
Assistant referees: Shane Skinner, Jatin Lodhia
Perth Glory: 1. Nicholas FEELY, 2. Jackson MORGAN, 3. Jack IREDALE (13. Gian ABANO 66), 4. Luca BODNAR, 5. Ross MILLARD, 6. Cal WHITNEY (c), 7. Daniel STYNES, 8. Dejan SPASESKI, 9. Kosta PETRATOS (14. Alex TANEVSKI 46), 10. Sam MCKEARNEN (12. Sean TROUP 70), 11. Nic TALIMDZIOSKI
Substitutes not used: 15. Yacoub MUSTAFA 20. Riley STEPHENSON
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Stirling Lions: 1. John PERKINS, 2. Michael PUGLIESE, 4. Blamo QUA QUA (12. Paul DAVID 84) 5. Graham DORAN, 6. Brodie MARTIN, 7. Milorad VUJACIC (c) (16. Mathiang MATHIANG 75), 8. David SESAY (3. Dalitso MWALE 90+4), 11. David MICEVSKI, 13. William KESSEL, 15. Shane CASSIDY, 17. Teeboy KAMARA
Substitutes not used: 13. Bleron MAMUDI, 20. Connor CAMPBELL
Yellow cards: Kamara, Martin.
Red cards: nil