Youngsters held in NPL stalemate


The PGFC Academy First Team dominated Saturday’s NPL WA clash with ECU Joondalup, but ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils after a 0-0 draw at E&D Litis Stadium.

Despite creating a number of excellent chances, the youngsters were unable to find a way past a solid Joondalup defence, with ‘keeper Johnny Perkins making a couple of crucial saves.

And Head Coach Richard Garcia was left to rue his side’s profligacy in front of goal.

“It’s been a recurring theme of late,” he said.

“We get to the final third and create the chances, but we’re not taking them.

“But that will come and today showed the resilience of the squad after most of them played against Perth SC in midweek.

“They kept going to the end and we could have won it late.

“It was a physical game and I was pleased by the way the lads stood up.

“We played some good football at times and defended really well and if there was one team going to win it, it was us.

“But unfortunately we couldn’t get that vital goal.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Glory ‘keeper Jackson Lee.

“They [ECU] sat behind the ball and set up very defensively, so it was hard to break them down, but we did well to stay composed,” he said.

“As the game went on, we controlled the tempo more as they started to break down and we had a couple of good chances, but we struggled to put them away which was disappointing.

“But a clean sheet is a positive from the match for the team.

“There were definitely some patches where we played some good football, but we need to try extend those for longer periods of time.

“Overall, we were pleased with the performance, but there are definitely things we can work on and improve on.”

Garcia made six changes to the side that were beaten at Sorrento last time out and they started brightly, forcing Joondalup onto the back foot.

Glory duly went close to an opener on 15 minutes when Ethan Brooks’ cross was headed back across goal by Alessandro Cicarti, but Daniel Walsh’s header was well saved by Perkins.

From the resulting corner, Liam Murray’s in-swinging cross almost caught Perkins out, but the ECU custodian managed to backtrack and push the ball away.

The visitors, meanwhile, were struggling to get a foothold in the game, with former Glory striker Joe Knowles’ free-kick their best effort of the opening 25 minutes.

As the hosts continued to dominate, they were convinced they had a penalty when Trent Ostler played the ball to the feet of Gabriel Popovic who seemed to be brought down by Shane Cassidy, but referee David Bruce waved away their protests.

Glory’s best chance of the first half arrived in stoppage-time when a great diagonal ball from Luke Bodnar found Ostler on the right and his first-time cross picked out Luke Salmon at the back post, only for the striker’s effort to fly off-target.

After another former Glory man, Bayley Montgomery-Brown, flashed a header wide early in the second half, the home side regained the ascendancy and twice went close through Salmon who fired over before forcing Perkins into another fine save in the 70th minute.

As the game opened up in the latter stages, Knowles and Ollie Annis both had chances to put the visitors in front, while Glory had another strong penalty appeal turned down and then also came agonisingly close to grabbing all three points right at the death when Salmon’s shot on the run flashed past the post.

In the days’s other games, meanwhile, Glory Under-18s ran out 3-0 winners and the PGFC Under 20s came out on top in their top-of-the-table clash, securing a 5-2 victory.

Match Details

Perth Glory 0 ECU Joondalup 0

Half-Time: 0-0

Referee: David Bruce

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2. Zayd FARAH, 3. Ethan BROOKS (13. Jordan ABRAHAMS 53’), 4. Daniel WALSH, 5. Alessandro CICARTI, 6. Luke BODNAR, 7. Trent OSTLER, 8. Josh SAMSON (12. Cameron MURRAY 53’), 9. Luke SALMON, 10. Liam MURRAY, 11. Gabriel POPOVIC (19. Gomo DUKULY 58’)

Substitutes not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 17 Sasa NJEGIC

Yellow cards: Samson 30’, Popovic 88′

Red cards: None

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2. Nicholas KOEFLER, 4. Henry DURR, 5. Shane CASSIDY, 6. Oliver ANNIS (11. Lukas DE LIMA 83’), 7. Joe KNOWLES, 8. Josh WHITMORE, 9. Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (13. Fraser DUNLOP 75’), 10. Andy HIGGINS, 14. Ewan FAWCETT, 15. Tom HOUGH

Substitutes not used: RGK Joseph POLLARD, 3. Kian MCGUIGAN, 12. Ryan MCDARBY

Yellow cards: Annis 18’, Whitmore 67’

Red cards: None


Picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy