Win over Balcatta has youngsters eyeing Night Series semi-final


Glory chalked up a second successive NPL Night Series win on Friday as goals from Charlie Leech, Josh Rawlins and recent-signing Carlo Armiento helped down Balcatta 3-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve.

Leech and Rawlins struck in the first-half to put Richard Garcia’s side in control at the break and although Adam Zimarino halved the arrears shortly after the restart, Armiento found the top corner of the net nine minutes from time to make the points safe for Glory.

The win means that three points from their final pool game against Armadale at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening will be enough to send the youngsters into the semi-finals of the pre-season competition. 

So it was little wonder that Garcia was full of praise for his charges’ display.

“I’m really pleased with the performance tonight against Balcatta,” he said.

“We spoke at half-time about being focused from the start of the half, so to concede so early was disappointing, but the way the players fought back and found the third [goal] was pleasing.

“To see out the game shows the improvement the guys are making.

“We move on to Armadale next week when we know a win will see us qualify for the semis, but we need to maintain the same focus and determination to get the rewards.”

It was a perfect start for Glory who hit the front on 15 minutes, Leech receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area and cutting inside his marker before firing low past Balcatta ‘keeper Riccardo Mazzoleni. 

And 1-0 became 2-0 in the shadows of half time, Rawlins reacting quickest in a packed box to latch onto a loose ball and rifle it into the net.

Zimarino’s effort early in the second half did give the visitors hope, but Glory regrouped and duly scored the decisive third goal on 81 minutes.

Armiento received the ball on the left of the penalty area, eased past his marker and fired superbly into the top corner.

And it was Glory’s reaction to seeing their lead halved that particularly impressed goalscorer Leech.

“It was a great win and performance from the boys,” he said, “and the result showed our maturity and growth over the last few months.

“It was a pleasing result and it will give us great confidence to push on to next week, continue our good run of form and carry that out through to the start of the NPL season on March 14.”