Missed chances hurt ECU in defeat at Lions

Missed chances hurt ECU in defeat at Lions

Posted on April 25, 2011 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup missed a host of second half chances, and went down 0-3 to Stirling Lions in week nine of the All flags Premier League clash at Macedonia Park.

Scott Muirhead, who was playing his last league game for the home before heading to Melbourne, scored a brace, the other coming from the penalty spot from former ECU striker Phil O’Callaghan. The win moves the Lions up above ECU on the table to sixth, while ECU, who have now gone four games without scoring, drop to seventh.

ECU assistant Coach Andy Petterson was left disappointed with the second half fade out. “It’s been the same story for the last month. We start off games well, have great chances but can’t put them away, like today. At the start of the season those chances were going in, but for some reason they have dried up at the moment,” said Petterson.

“We are making chances but not converting, we will continue to work hard at training and I’m sure this will turn around soon.”

ECU Coach Syd Amphlett made just the one change from the side that drew with Mandurah City last week, with Scott Blackmore returning from suspension to replace the injured John Higgins. He was still missing the influential skipper Dale McCulloch in the middle of the park, as he was serving his last match ban, while Ross Anderson returned to the club he left to join ECU two weeks ago.

There was a good Easter crowd in attendance at kick off and it was the home side with the first opportunity on seven minutes. Muirhead ball into the box found Jamie Watt; he pulled the ball back to Anthony Skorich, whose shot from 20-yards went wide of the post.

It was a tentative opening from both sides, a win vital for both, but ECU should have hit the front on 20 minutes. A great run down the left by Ian McMurray (left), ended with the Scottish striker pulling the ball back to John Thornley, his shot from eight-yards was superbly saved by Cory Hugo, and Blackmore’s follow up shot flashed wide.

This was the best period of the game for the visitors and eight minutes later Jordan Withey’s corner from the right was headed inches past the post by Charlie Comyn-Platt.

But as the half ended it was The Lions beginning to get on top. First on 33 minutes Skorich and Boi combined to set up O’Callaghan, but the midfielder’s shot drifted wide.

Then six minutes later a great run and cross from teenage defender James Davies picked out Skorich, but the former Perth Glory striker headed over from six-yards, and it was scoreless at the break.

It was a lively opening to the second half with chances at both ends. First on 49 minutes Thornley’s cross from the right was headed down by McMurray, but Withey blazed over from 10-yards. Then moments later Boi sent Muirhead racing clear down the left, his pinpoint cross was met by Skorich, his point blank header was superbly saved by Andy Banks.

But on 58 minutes the Lions hit the front, with one of the goals of the season. Muirhead received the ball on the left and there looked little danger, but the Scotsman cut inside  Anderson and curled the ball superbly into the top corner of the net giving Banks no chance.

ECU received a double blow moments later with Ryan McDarby and Blackmore limping off, and it got worse for the northern suburbs club when the Lions doubled their lead on 68 minutes.

Watt’s through ball sent Andy Brown clear and the midfielder, who was making his home debut for the Lions, fell under a challenge from Mark Tebbut and referee Michal Jasinski had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. ECU were incensed as they thought the midfielder was offside, but the flag never came, and O’Callaghan kept his nerve to fire home the spot-kick to make it 2-0.

ECU looked to hit back immediately and seven minutes later Jonathan Stynes’ through ball sent McMurray clear. The Lions defence looked for the offside flag that never came, and as the big striker was about to pull the trigger Davies made up ground to block his shot, and the chance was gone.

Lions keeper Hugo was lucky not to see red in the 78th minute, when Ben Kelly’s ball sent McMurray clear again, and the former WA state keeper brought him down on the edge of the box. But he was only given a yellow card for the offence, much to the amazement of the ECU coaching staff and players.

The visitors were ending the game the better and on 82 minutes Withey’s cross picked out Thornley, whose shot on the turn was well blocked by Bobby Wilson, and the ECU strikers follow up shot  flashed wide of the post.

Then seven minutes later a great run down the right by former Lions defender Ross Anderson, ended with a cross to the unmarked Stynes, who blazed over from six-yards. Moments later Anderson again crossed form the right and Thornley’s snap shot beat Hugo but crashed off the cross bar, and Scott Bushby’s follow up shot went wide.

With ECU pushing players forward the Lions hit on a counter attack and made it 3-0 in the fourth minute of stoppage-time. Galan’s long ball sent Muirhead clear, as the ECU defence looked for the offside flag, but the Scotsman kept his composure and lobbed the on-coming Banks to make the final score 3-0.

Lions Coach was delighted with his performance especially after last week’s heavy defeat at Inglewood. “It’s been a long week for us, there has been a lot of soul searching, but I’m really proud of the boys, they showed great character out there today,” said Lincoln.

 

“We kept our shape well today and I thought youngster James Davies was outstanding today. He had a bad day at the office last week, but he stood up today and I thought he was terrific.”

Stirling Lions 3 (Muirhead 58’, 94’, O’Callaghan (pen) 68’) ECU Joondalup 0

Stirling Lions: GK Cory HUGO, 2 Michael PUGLIESE, 3 Andy BROWN, 5 Denis GALAN, 8 Bobby WILSON (16 James STREET 87’), 9 Jamie WATT, 10 Phil O’CALLAGHAN, 11 Scott MUIRHEAD, 13 James DAVIES, 14 Ludovic BOI, 15 Anthony SKORICH (7 Jamie DE ABREU 73’) - Substitutes not used: RGK Connor CAMPBELL, 6 Shintaro ITO, 12 Mitchell CROCKER,

Yellow Cards – Hugo 81’, Wilson 82’

ECU Joondalup: GK Andy BANKS, 3 Chris WYLIE (13 Jordan DODD 81’), 4 Charlie COMYN-PLATT, 5 Ross ANDERSON, 6 Mark TEBBUT, 7 Jordan WITHEY, 8 Scott BLACKMORE (10 Jonathan STYNES 62’), 9 John THORNLEY, 12 Scott BUSHBY, 14 Ryan MCDARBY (2 Ben KELLY 59’), 16. Ian McMURRAY - Substitutes not used: RGK Brynn HINDLEY, 11 Sebastian FRANSSAN,

Yellow Cards – Wylie 36’

Referee: Michal Jasinski - Attendance: 400