ECU stun Bayswater to keep Finals alive

ECU stun Bayswater to keep Finals alive

Posted on August 14, 2016 in 'Reports'

Gordon Smith’s second half double has helped ECU Joondalup to an impressive 3-0 win against Bayswater City at the Finance 365 Stadium to move closer to the PS4NPLWA top four.

Daryl Nicol had given the visitors the lead at the break, but Smith’s 16th and 17th goal of the season, eased them to victory. The win was built on another great defensive display, and in their unbeaten streak they have kept eight clean sheets, and defender Andy Higgins said confidence is high and they have a great team spirit.

“A great win for the club today, we do usually play well here, but to dominate and win comfortably, it was a great team performance,” he said. “We’ve a strong back five, and created a strong bond, and that’s eight clean sheets in our last ten games. “A few weeks ago we were just playing for pride really and not thinking about the top four, but after today’s big win and results going our way, today we could be up for it.”

ECU assistant Coach David Tough said they knew it would a hard fought game but he said the side put in another fantastic performance. “This result is huge, a massive turning point for the club,” he said. “They (Bayswater) were 15 points ahead of us at the half way mark of the season, and now we are even, the boys have been unbelievable. “The back four again were outstanding, as they have been up our good run of from, while Lewis (Italiano) also had to make some big saves. We’ve still got two games to go and need to keep focused, as the top six sides are very close.”

Coach Dale McCulloch made just the one change from the side that beat Perth Glory last week, with Tommy Amphlett returning from suspension to replace Jayden Drummond, who was unavailable. At kick off only three points separated the sides and it was Bayswater who had the best early chance on 13 minutes. Andy Reale’s cross from the right found the unmarked Jason Mirco, who fired wide of the target from six meters.

The Jacks went close themselves four minutes later. A quick throw by keeper Lewis Italiano sent Nicol racing forward, he skipped past three Bayswater defenders, but his curling shot was saved low by Devon Spence. Bayswater were on the front foot and ECU had to rely on some desperate blocks from Rikki Smith and Cian Hirrell to keep a rampant home side at bay. But on 20 minutes the Jacks should have hit the front. A superb through ball from Shane Pickering sent Gordon Smith clear, but Spence stood tall and saved well.

The Bayswater custodian kept his side in the game with two telling saves. First he got down well to save Nicol’s close-range shot, before superbly tipping Gordon Smith’s shot on to the bar moments later. Bayswater were not without chances themselves, Kay heading inches over the top from David Heagney’s corner, but in first half stoppage time ECU hit the front. Kevin Moon sent Tommy Amphlett down the right, his low cross picked out Nicol in the penalty area, and he finished clinically past Spence, to send them into half time with the lead.

The home side were out of the blocks early in the second half, and Mirco set up Heagney ten minutes in, his shot beat Italiano, but flicked the outside of the post. But against the run of play, the Jacks doubled their advantage. Gordon Smith was brought down in the area by Kay, and referee Matthew Southern pointed straight to the spot. Smith picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty. Italiano then came to his sides’ rescue, after Reale’s cross picked out substitute Luka Ninkovic, but his header was superbly saved by the ECU custodian.

The points were made safe 14 minutes from time, when the Jacks added a third. A quick counter attack saw Nicol race clear down the left, he squared the ball to Gordon Smith, who finished with aplomb, chipping over the on-coming Spence. Bayswater pressed late and Italiano produced another stunning save to deny Brian Farrell, before Lawrence Shuruma fired wide. The win moves ECU level on points with Bayswater and Floreat Athena, as the race for the West Australian Top Four Cup heats up.

Credentia Construction Man of the Match – Ryan Lowry

Match Details

Bayswater City 0 v ECU Joondalup 3 (Nicol 45+1Mins, Smith 64’ Pen, Smith 76)

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 5 Andrew REALE, 10 Jason MIRCO (8 Paul MCCARTHY 56’), 15 Brian FARRELL, 16 Jamie COYNE, 17 Alex WILD (18 Luka NINKOVIC 67’), 21 David HEAGNEY, 23 Andrija JUKIC (14 Lawrence SHURUMA 56’), 20 Samuel MITCHINSON, 13 Trent KAY, 24 David STOKOE - Subs not used: RGK Fraser GREENWOOD, 22 Nathan COSTELLO - Yellow Cards: Reale 44’, Wild 60’, Heagney 77’, McCarthy 79’

ECU Joondalup: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Rikki SMITH, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 6 Shane PICKERING, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Cian HIRRELL, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT (11 Paddy DOYLE 74’), 17 Kevin MOON (8 Oliver ANNIS 92’) - Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 12 Ryan MCDARBY, 16 Michael MCDOUGALL - Yellow Cards: Nicol 62’

Referee: Matthew Southern