ECU beat Stirling to Reach Reserves Cup Final

ECU beat Stirling to Reach Reserves Cup Final

Posted on June 10, 2016 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup moved into the Cool Ridge State League Reserves Cup Final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park.

James Owen gave the young Jacks the lead from the penalty spot early in the second half, but Paul David equalised for the Lions deep into stoppage time to send it to a penalty shoot-out. Keeper Todd Hoyle was the hero saving a penalty, and ECU scored all five to win 5-3 on penalties.

Coach Howard Tweats said the players had to work hard for the win. “It was scrappy game and a battle out there, but the pitch didn’t help, but that’s cup football isn’t it,” he said. “We struggled to get going if I’m truthful, gave the ball away to many times, but all that matters is the final result and we came out on top.”

Tweats praised his players fighting spirit and was confident in the shoot-out. “I was really confident, we have a lot of big characters in our group and they proved it today,” he said. “We pushed our luck early, but Todd stood up and made some good saves for us. They pushed us all game and like I said we have some big characters in this group and they fought it out till the end today and it’s great for them to reach the Cup Final, we’ve now got to go and win it.”

Defender Mateen Alexander said the conditions made it a tough game, but he was delighted to have made the Final. “It was terrible conditions late in the game and we were shattered to let it slip so late, and it was unlucky, but we got the job done in the penalty shoot-out, and it’s fantastic to reach the Cup Final,” he said. “Stirling had plenty of pace today, and the defence held firm and I thought Todd (Hoyle) was great for us, like he has been all season.”

Striker James Owen scored the only goal in normal time and the winning penalty in the shoot-out and he said it was great team effort. “The team had a game plan today and we stuck to it and came away with the win which is great,” he said. “We made it tight in the middle of the park and hit them on the counter attack and it worked in the end. The boys have plenty of guts and we work hard for each other and you can see in both the Quarter and Semi Final we fought it out and got the rewards.”

Stirling opened the brighter and went close early Endalk Achamyeleh sent Damien Simic in on goal, but Hoyle stood tall to deny him. Simic was in again on the quarter hour, but his attempted lob was well claimed by Hoyle. ECU were struggling in the final third, but they went close three minutes before half time, Ollie Annis’ free kick deflected off a Lions defender, the ball hitting the post and away to safety.

After the break it was the Lions again who went close, Simic’s long-range shot was superbly saved by Hoyle. But on 54 minutes the Jacks hit the front. Ollie Annis was brought down in the area and referee Brendan Skinner pointed to the spot. Owen kept his nerve and sent Lions keeper Connor Campbell the wrong way to give them the lead.

ECU were hitting on the counter attack and Jonny Hulme was a constant threat down the left and the hour he raced clear, cut inside his marker but his shot whistled the wrong side of the post. Hulme was the supplier moments later, this time finding Pollard, whose shot was blocked and cleared.

The Lions pressed late and Harry Papalia fired wide, but in the second minute of stoppage time the Lions levelled. Simic’s shot crashed off the post, David follow up shot was superbly saved by Hoyle, but the Lions striker fired home the rebound to level.

So it was off to penalties and Hoyle guessed the right way to save Achamyeleh’s first spot kick, and Ryan Malton, Stefan Vranesevic, Hulme, Annis all converted. So it was left to Owen to seal the win, and he fired low past Campbell to set of wild celebrations.

Stirling Lions 1 (David 92’) v ECU Joondalup (Owen 54’ pen) – ECU won 5-3 on penalties

Stirling Lions: GK Connor Campbell, 12 Tawanda Ncube, 3 James Longinous, 2 Liam Kessel, 8 Harry Papalia, 4 Endalk Achamyeleh, 6 Lukas De Lima, 16 Jack Rout, 9 Michael De Lima (5 Callum Lack 70’), 10 Paul David, 11 Damien Simic – Subs not used: RGK Lance Alavakis, 13 Chris Papalia, 7 Todd Bensky – Yellow Cards: Achamyeleh 44’, Longinous 53’, Simic 71’,

ECU Joondalup: GK Todd Hoyle, 2 Ryan Malton, 3 Roland Rixer, 5 Stefan Vranesevic, 6 Lee Halliday, 7 Keylun Pollard (12 Jaedon Ewen 84’), 10 Ollie Annis, 11 Jonny Hulme, 13 Cameron Dalziel (8 Liam Fyfe 77’), 16 James Owen, 17 Mateen Alexander – Subs note Used: 4 James Bruce, 19 Joe Middleton, 14 Erik Lopez Hernadez – Yellow Cards: Annis 34’, Owen 37’, Hulme 56’, Dalziel 59’