Jacks back in the winner’s circle

Jacks back in the winner’s circle

Posted on July 14, 2017 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have rekindled their top four hopes after a 3-0 win against Cockburn City in Week 20 of the PS4 National Premier League WA at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Big defender Shane Pickering gave the hosts the lead on the hour half, before Daryl Nicol added the second before the break. Nicol added his second and his 11th of the season after the break to secure the three points, and ECU keeper Fraser Greenwood secured a clean sheet saving a penalty from Julian Teles late in the game.

Click here to listen to Coach Dale McCulloch, and players Declan Hughes and Jack Jones’ post-match interviews.

McCulloch made three changes to the side that were beaten by Floreat Athena last time out with Jack Jones replacing Cian Hirrell, Sam Pollard came in for Fraser Garnaut while Declan Hughes came in for his starting debut for the club to replace Ben Johns. The sides were separated by only two points on the table at kick off, and the opening was a tight affair with clear cut chances few and far between, but it was Cockburn looking the more threatening, but both sides struggled in the final third.

That all changed on 27 minutes, with the home side taking the lead in their first real attack. A corner from the right was only cleared to Steven McGarry on the right, his cross picked out Pickering, who lost his marker to head past Luke Radonich. Radonich then had to be alert to push Jon Higgin’s in-swinging corner around the post on the half hour, but six minutes later the home side doubled their advantage. Pollard found Jack Jones on the right and his cross into the box found Nicol, who beat the on-coming Radonich to the ball to head home from six meters.

Cockburn had the perfect opportunity to pull one back on the stroke of half time. Calvin Whitney’s free kick found Reuben Tristao, who headed over the top with the goal at his mercy. Both sides had early chances after the break, Higgin’s dangerous corner had to tipped over the top by Radonich at full stretch, before half time substitute Julian Teles’ shot on the turn was saved low by Greenwood.

But the points were made safe on 58 minutes, McGarry’s through-ball sent Nicol racing clear, and he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball home, despite Euen Grant’s attempted goal line clearance. Nicol went close to a hat-trick moments later, after he got on the end of Jones’ low cross, but it flicked the crossbar on the way over.

Cockburn had a lifeline, ten minutes from time, when referee Josh Mannella pointed to the spot after Teles was brought down in the penalty area. The big striker picked himself up to take the resulting penalty, but Greenwood picked the right way to make a stunning one-handed save down to his right. The home side continued to look dangerous going forward, and Whitney produced a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Nicol again three minutes later, but the damage had been done early, with ECU running out convincing winners.

ECU Joondalup 3 (Pickering 26′, Nicol 36’, 58) v Cockburn City 0

ECU Joondalup: GK Fraser GREENWOOD, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Graham DORAN, 6 Shane PICKERING, 7 Kevin MOON, 8 Declan HUGHES, 9 Daryl NICOL 10 Jon HIGGINS (C), 11 Sam POLLARD (15 James OWEN 83’), 17 Jack JONES (19 Cian HIRRELL 86’) – Subs not used: RGK Jordan YOUNG, 14 Roland RIXER, 16 Rikki SMITH - Yellow Cards: Nicol 36’
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 4 Euen GRANT (C), 5 Keiron STALLARD, 6 Reuben TRISTAO, 7 Calvin WHITNEY, 10 David ARAYA, 11 Harry O’BRIEN (18 Riley VAN DICKEN 83’), 13 Blake ADAMS, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Daniel ROBINSON (14 Julian TELES 46’), 17 Jesse LAZZARO (2 Joshua KUSER 69’) – Subs not used: RGK Ryan BARKER, 3 Daniel DOLS – Yellow Cards: Nil –  Referee: Josh Mannella