Jacks let it slip in the wet at Sorrento

Jacks let it slip in the wet at Sorrento

Posted on July 16, 2017 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup’s top four aspirations are hanging by a thread after they were beaten 2-0 by Sorrento in a wet and windy local derby at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday.

Sorrento winger Scott Witschge bagged brace to seal the victory, on a bad day at the office for the Jacks. A positive to come out of the disappointing result, was the return from long-term injuries of Rikki and Gordon Smith.

Click here to listen to a disappointing Head Coach Dale McCulloch’s post-match interview.

McCulloch made two changes to the side that beat Cockburn City last week with James Owen replacing Sam Pollard, who has headed overseas for trials, while Kevin Moon missed out due to injury, he was replaced by Rikki Smith, with Shane Pickering pushing into the midfielder.

It was a wet and windy day in the northern suburbs, with Windy Hill living up to its reputation and it was stuttering start from both teams with a number of players losing their footings early, but it was the home side who went close first on 12 minutes.

Tim Hill lost his marker on the edge of the penalty area, his shot was well saved by Fraser Greenwood, the rebound fell to Witschge, whose shot was blocked by Rikki Smith, and the home faithful were convinced it was handball, but referee Michal Jasinski waved away the players’ strong penalty claims. ECU went close two minutes later, but Jon Higgins’ free kick was straight at Sorrento keeper James Morgan.

Moments later Ross Millard raced down the left and his low cross shot was spilled by the Sorrento keeper, but he reacted quickest to collect the rebound. It was the best period of the game for the Jacks and they went close again on 24 minutes, Millard’s cross headed just wide by Steven McGarry. But Sorrento were dangerous going forward and they were rewarded on 37 minutes with the lead.

Witschge was sent down the right, and cut inside his marker, and finished superbly across Greenwood and into the corner of the net. Sorrento were in again three minutes before half time, a defence splitting pass from Hill sent Recce Vittiglia clear, but a superb last ditch tackle from Rikki Smith denied him. The Jacks replied late, and Owen found space on the edge of the penalty area, his shot on the turn was saved by James Morgan.

Sorrento continued to dictate terms after half time, Witschge shot on the run flashed wide early, before Alex Morgan’s flick was saved low by Greenwood. But the home side’s early pressure was rewarded with a second on the hour. Witschge eased past Higgins on the right, and his curling shot took a slight deflection off a defender before nestling in the back of the net.

ECU brought on Scottish striker Gordon Smith as they looked for a goal to get back into the game, and he looked lively in his first game for a month, but with Sorrento skipper Daryl Platten and Shaun Kilkelly solid at the back, they couldn’t find one.

Sorrento almost added a third late, Alex Morgan’s shot well saved by Greenwood, before Vittiglia pulled his shot wide of the target. But at the final whistle it was the Gulls celebrating victory. The Jacks will need a massive response next week, if they are to keep their slim finals hopes alive, when they host Stirling Lions in their Week 3 catch-up game on Sunday afternoon at the ECU Football Stadium.

Sorrento 2 (Witschge 37′, 60’) v ECU Joondalup 0

Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 6 Darryl PLATTEN (C), 7 Alex MORGAN (2 Jacob SHORE 74’), 11 Tim HILL, 12 Josh TUCKER, 14 Scott WITSCHGE, 15 Brodie MARTIN, 17 Reece VITTIGLIA (3 Daniel PEARCE 91’), 20 Brad MCDONALD, 21 Sam BYLES – Subs not used: RGK: Connor CAMPBELL, 13 Steve MCDONALD, 18 Jordan BROWN – Yellow Cards: Tucker 65’

ECU Joondalup: GK Fraser GREENWOOD, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Shane PICKERING (11 Keylun POLLARD 72’), 5 Graham DORAN, 6 Rikki SMITH, 7 Jon HIGGINS (C), 8 Declan HUGHES, 9 Daryl NICOL, 12 James OWEN (10 Gordon SMITH 59’), 14 Steven MCGARRY, 17 Jack JONES – Subs not used: RGK Jordan YOUNG, 15 Ryan MCDARBY, 19 Cian HIRRELL – Yellow Cards: Nil – Referee: Michal Jasinski