Nicol hat-trick sinks Balcatta

Report by Peter Simcox

Photo by Peter Simcox

ECU Joondalup returned to the winners circle after a Daryl Nicol inspired 5-2 win against Balcatta at the ECU Joondalup Football Stadium on Saturday.
The speedy winger bagged two penalties and rounded off his triple with a quality finish, the result sending Balcatta closer to the relegation zone.
Nicol said it was a good result after a few poor performances recently.
“It was a good performance today, but to be fair it could have been double figures with the chances we missed, but we played well both halves which is important going forward,” he said.
“It was a good morale boost as well, after a bad run of results, so to get a good win under our belt is important as we look to finish the season off well.”
ECU coach Dale McCulloch said it’s good to get back in the winner’s circle, and it was good to give a few of the younger players at the club a taste of first team football.
“I thought we dominated from start to finish, but we have to start putting our chances away which would have made it easier for ourselves,” he said.
“We managed to bring on 17-year-old Tom Hough and 15-year-old Ben Hinshelwood who both did aright and they both combined late and Ben went close to scoring.
“But it’s just good for them to get a little taste of what it’s like being around the first team, not just coming on today, but to part of the build up at training and match days, and both these kids are coming on nicely.”
The home side dominated early and were ahead on six minutes, after Nicol was brought down by Justin Onek with referee Matthew Southern pointed straight to the spot.
Nicol picked himself up to send Domenico Savoldelli the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
On 13 minutes the score was doubled, a corner from Sam Pollard was headed onto the crossbar by Gordon Smith with the ball falling to Steven McGarry who slotted it home.
Balcatta then came to life forcing a stunning low save from ECU keeper Jordan Young to deny Tom Pellizzari on 22 minutes.
Onek rose from the resulting corner to head powerfully home from close-range and peg one back for Balcatta.
Savoldelli was keeping his side in the game, the Balcatta custodian producing a stunning save to thwart Ross Millard on the half hour.
Both sides had chances early in the second half but it was the home side who added a third on 55 minutes. Smith raced into the box and was brought down by Savoldelli giving away a penalty that Nicol converted calmly.
It looked like ECU would run away with it, but on 70 minutes Balcatta were back in the game when Luccas Mello’s corner was headed home by skipper Calum O’Connell.
The comeback as short lived as the home side restored control with a fourth goal on 77 minutes. Jack Jones’ corner wasn’t dealt with by the Balcatta defence and Pollard pounced to fire home.
It soon became 5-2 to ECU when Smith sent Nicol racing clear and he finished clinically.
ECU Joondalup 5 (Nicol 6min, 55, 81, McGarry 13, Pollard 77)
Balcatta 2 (Onek 23, O’Connell 70)
Saturday August 5, 2017
ECU Joondalup Football Stadium
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Matthew Southern
Assistants: Antony Walsh, Jeet Patel

ECU Joondalup: GK Jordan YOUNG, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Graham DORAN, 6 Shane PICKERING, 7 Kevin MOON, 8 Declan HUGHES (16 Tom HOUGH 86’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH (c) (15 Ben HINSHELWOOD 88’), 11 Sam POLLARD, 17 Jack JONES
Substitutes not used: RGK Will PARKES, 11 Keylun POLLARD, 18 Ryan MCDARBY
Yellow Cards: Smith 76
Red Cards: nil

Balcatta: GK Domenico SAVOLDELLI, 2 Daniel HEPWORTH, 3 Justin ONEK, 4 Calum O’CONNELL (c), 5 Tom PELLIZZARI, 7 Marco CHADINHA, 8 Brody KENNEDY,  9 Luccas MELLO, 10 Jon CORNESS, 12 Brennan BORZECKI (21 Ben MEREDITH 52’), 13 Dejan ANDRIC (18 Ismael BANGURA 68’)
Substitutes not used: RGK Luke HUTCHINSON, 14 Rudnei NOGUEIRA
Yellow Cards: Andric 50
Red Cards: nil


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