Jacks back in the winners-circle at Balcatta

Jacks back in the winners-circle at Balcatta

Posted on July 31, 2016 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup won for the first time in three weeks after a comfortable 3-0 win against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve, in Week 18 of the PS4 NPLWA on Saturday.

After two draws it was vital the Jacks picked up the three points at Balcatta to keep in touch of the top four, and in doing so put to bed the poor performance against them in the reverse fixture in round seven.(Photo – Jacks Defender Rikki Smith gets a tackle in ahead of Balcatta’s Scott Newland – by Tom Gordon)

“It was a comfortable win without being at our best,” striker Gordon Smith said.

“But we are playing well as a team and confidence is high going into the last four games, and we’re pushing for a finals spot.”

ECU Coach Dale McCulloch said they are growing with each game, but said they had to be patient. “Today showed how far we’ve come as a team,” he explained.

“Last season we would have got frustrated after squandering a number of chances in the first half, and would have been hit by a sucker punch, but that was never going to happen today,” he explained.”

“We have a group of players playing with confidence at the moment, and have confidence in each other, which is really important.

“We have leaders in every part of the field, and we have a great camaraderie within the group too.

“We have four games left, and they are like Cup Finals for us. The club have invested on and off the park this season looking for success, and it’s mine and the coaches’ job to bring that.

“We’ve been on a good run of form, unbeaten in eight, but we know we have some tough games coming up, so it will be the same message to the players, starting next week against a very talented Perth Glory side.”

Smith opened the scoring and was involved in the buildup just before the hour. Smith played Daryl Nicol in down the left, and Smith kept on running, and Nicol cut the ball back to him to fire low past Clint Davies, for his 14th goal of the season.

It was what the Jacks had deserved after bossing the first half, but they couldn’t find the final ball to punish Balcatta, with Smith, Tommy Amphlett and Nicol all having chances.

The goal from Smith lifted the intensity of the Jacks and they doubled their lead eight minutes later. Nicol was the provider again, this time skipping clear of his marker and cutting the ball back from the bye-line for Shane Pickering to bundle the ball over the line from close-range.

ECU were now in control and closing the gap on the top four to three points. The icing was put on the cake two minutes from time, Amphlett’s cross found its way to Kevin Moon, who’s shot from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection off a Balcatta defender and beat Davies to wrap up a comprehensive victory.

Credentia Construction Man of the Match – Ryan Lowry

Balcatta 0 v ECU Joondalup 3 (Smith 57’, Pickering 68’, Moon 88’)

Balcatta – GK Clint DAVIES, 2 Hanafi GHAZALI, 3 Keiron STALLARD, 5 Conor KAVANAGH, 6 Jon CORNESS, (7 James SAMMUT), (9 Gomo DUKULY), 10 Zelfy NAZARY, 12 Eamon MCNELIS, (13 Cameron TEECE), 17 Kieran COLWELL, 18 Daniel MOSS, 19 Alan CARROLL, 22 Scott NEWLAND – Subs not used: 4 Alexsander SULESKI, 21 Kyle MCDONALD – Yellow cards: Corness 77’

ECU Joondalup – GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Rikki SMITH, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 6 Shane PICKERING, (8. Oliver ANNIS), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH (11 Cian HIRRELL), 13 Tommy AMPHLETT, 17 Kevin MOON, 18 Henry DURR – Subs not used – RGK Todd HOYLE, 7 Keylun POLLARD, 19 Paddy DOYLE – Yellow cards: Nil

Referee: Steve Gregory