Jacks draw in final pre-season game

Jacks draw in final pre-season game

Posted on February 12, 2017 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup will go into next week’s Joondalup Derby on the back of a 2-2 draw against fellow NPL side Balcatta at Irene McCormack Catholic College on Saturday afternoon.

(Photo Jack Jones in Action) In windy conditions and a narrow pitch the Jacks struggled to get a grip, but Gordon Smith gave them the lead on the hour mark, but Kurt Kouakou levelled. Smith put the Jacks back in front but a goal ten minutes from time from Nathan Scully gave both sides a share of the spoils.

Jacks Coach Dale McCulloch said it was difficult conditions but said his side got some much needed game time in their legs.  “Not a perfect game from us, but we it was good to see Ross (Millard) and Jack (Jones) get some more game time and another 90 minutes into most of the players,” he said.

“But we were a little unhappy with the way we switched off at times and you can’t do that next week in the league, because you will get punished.

“We know next week is going to be a tough physical battle and if we are not on we will be in trouble, but we’ve spoken at length after the game to the players, we’ll get back on the track on Tuesday and put things right.”

McCulloch said to let the lead slip twice was disappointing. “We set standards at this football club and we didn’t meet them today, yes the conditions were bad, but it’s the same for both sides,” he said.

“We created a number of chances but instead of playing the easy ball we made them hard for ourselves, but hey that’s what these games are for.

“We’ve got a few players coming back into the squad so we need to get down to business next week and be prepared for a massive derby next week.”

Jacks keeper Fraser Greenwood said they need to maintain the standards the coaches have set, and they didn’t today.

“It wasn’t ideal conditions, but that’s no excuse, we need to be better than that, but it’s only a pre-season game and we’re confident we can get our season going at Joondalup United next week,” he said.

“Disappointed to let the lead slip twice and Dale and the Coaching staff have made it clear we fell below the standards they have set today.

“We had our chances but didn’t make them count, but we’re all in this together. We are now focused on the Joondalup derby and since the league fixtures came out we’ve all been taking about it and we go there looking for the three points.”

The Jacks had the strong wind at their backs in the first half but struggled early to create any clear cut chances. Smith went close on the quarter hour, his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Domenic Savoldelli.

Balcatta went close themselves moments later, Connor Boland lost his marker and cut into the box but his shot flashed just wide of the target. Steven McGarry’s free kick was then saved low by Savoldelli, before Greenwood had to be alert to save Ismael Bangura’s shot on the half hour.

Just before half time McGarry’s free kick was saved by Savoldelli, and the rebound was sent over the top by Nathan Diaz, before Smith fired over after being sent in by Kevin Moon.

After the break the Jacks were facing the wind and Balcatta went close early. Patrick Sara’s corner picked out Kieron Stallard at the back post, who headed it back across goal but Kouakou fired over the top. But on the hour the Jacks hit the front. Moon’s ball sent Smith in on goal, he held off his marker and fired low past Savoldelli.

But their lead only lasted nine minutes. Feisal Zew’s cross turned home by Kouakau. The Jacks pressed and McGarry’s free kick flashed over the top and on 75 minutes they regained their lead.

Amphlett made space down the left and his dangerous cross wasn’t dealt with the rebound falling to Smith who eased past his marker and drilled the ball low past  Savoldelli.

But seven minutes from time Balcatta levelled again. The Jacks lost possession in the middle of the park and Scully was sent in on goal. His first shot was well saved by Greenwood, but the striker made no mistake from the rebound.

The Jacks should have won it late. Millard and Moon combined to find Smith, but the Scottish striker’s first time shot whistled over the top

ECU JOONDALUP SQUAD – GK Fraser Greenwood, 2 Nathan Diaz, 3 Ross Millard, 4 Shane Pickering, 5 Andy Higgins, 6 Cian Hirrell, 7 Jayden Drummond, 8 Kevin Moon, 9 Danny Milne, 10 Gordon Smith, 11 Keylun Pollard, 13 Tommy Amphlett, 14 Steven McGarry, 15 Jack Jones, 16 Sam Pollard, 20 Todd Hoyle,

BALCATTA SQUAD – GK Domenico Savoldelli, 2 J. Oneki, 3 Carmelo Guiffre, 4 Kye Douglas, 5 Kieron Stallard, 6 Jon Corness, 8 Patrick Sara, 9 Nathan Scully, 11 Ismael Bangura, 12 Lucas Mello, 13 Feisal Zew, 14 J. Ewen, 17 Danny Hepworth, 18 David Kai, 19 Kurt Kouakou, 20 Connor Boland 22 Paddy Quinn, 23 Hanafi Ghazali

Referee – John Taran