Jacks unbeaten run ended by League Champions

Jacks unbeaten run ended by League Champions

Posted on May 14, 2017 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup’s six game unbeaten run in the PS4 National Premier League WA has come to an end after a 2-3 loss against last season’s Champions Perth SC at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Niccolo Sabatini gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, but the Jacks hit back after the break with Tommy Amphlett and Daryl Nicol scoring. Gustavo Catarcione levelled with 20 minutes remaining, and Sabatini won it for Perth with four minutes remaining.

Click here to listen to Head Coach Dale McCulloch and skipper Gordon Smith post-match interviews

McCulloch was forced into two changes to the side that played Perth Glory last week, with Shane Pickering out injured, while Steven McGarry was suspended. In came James Owen for his starting first team debut for the club, while Ben Johns came into the back four. There was also good news on the bench with Ryan McDarby returning from his long term injury.

The Jacks were out of the blocks early and from Nicol’s free kick on three minutes, Owen’s shot on the turn was saved by Daniel Passarelli. Moments later a great ball by skipper Gordon Smith sent Nicol down the left, his low cross was only inches away from Owen at the back post. It was one-way traffic and on ten minutes, a superb diagonal cross ball from Ross Millard picked out Amphlett on the right, he eased past his marker and squared the ball to Smith on the edge of the penalty area, but his first time shot was well saved low by Passarelli.

Perth began to get into the game Catarcione went close on 20 minutes, he was sent clear by Sabatini, but Fraser Greenwood was alert to save well. But two minutes later Perth hit the front. Catarcione won the ball on the right and raced across the edge of the penalty area, and he wasn’t stopped and he slipped the ball into Sabatini who finished low past Greenwood.

It was a huge blow for the Jacks, who had dominated till then, and they almost found themselves two down five minutes later. Sabatini’s corner wasn’t cleared, and Frank Furfaro’s shot flashed wide of the target. Both sides had late chances, Nicol’s long-range shot whistled over the top, before Furfaro’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was straight at Greenwood.

Whatever Coach Dale McCulloch said at half time had an immediate effect and the Jacks were level in the first minute. There looked little danger when Amphlett received the ball 20 meters from goal, but the winger’s vicious long-range shot took a slight deflection and flew into the corner of the net giving Passarelli no chance. Greenwood then had to be alert to save Catarcione’s shot on the turn, but on 56 minutes the Jacks hit the front. Smith picked out Amphlett on the right, who got to the bye-line and crossed to Nicol who made no mistake from close-range.

The Jacks went close to a third on 66 minutes, Kevin Moon played Keylun Pollard down the right, his cross picked out Smith, who brought the ball down superbly, and saw him in on goal, he lobbed the on-coming keeper, but the ball dipped inches over the bar. It was still anyone’s game, with half chances at both ends, but on 70 minutes the visitors levelled. Furfaro raced down the right and squared the ball to Sabatini, who dinked the ball over the defence to Catarcione, who finished low past Greenwood.

The Jacks almost regained the lead four minutes later, Nicol wasn’t closed down in the middle of the park, his long-range shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Passarelli. Then Nicol sent Keylun Pollard in on the right of the penalty area, but Passarelli was out bravely to save at the youngster’s feet.

It looked like the points would be shared but Perth nicked all three points late. A ball into the box by Jovic evaded Millard, who fell awkwardly, leaving Sabatini to fire home to win it for the visitors. The Jacks rallied late and forced three late corners and from the last one, Cian Hirrell snap shot flashed over the top, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.

Match Details – ECU Joondalup 2 (Amphlett 47mins, Nicol 56) v Perth SC 3 (Sabatini 22mins, 86, Catarcione 70)

ECU Joondalup: GK Fraser GREENWOOD, 3 Ross MILLARD (4 Ryan MCDARBY 85’), 5 Logan MCISAAC, 6 Ben JOHNS, 7 Kevin MOON, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Sam POLLARD, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT (15 Keylun POLLARD 62’), 14 James OWEN (8 Declan HUGHES 77’), 18 Cian HIRRELL – Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 12 Fraser GARNAUT – Yellow Cards: Johns 9, Amphlett 35

Perth SC: GK Daniel PASSARELLI, 4 Adrian MADASCHI (C), 5 Niccolo SABATINI, 8 Tom KING, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO (7 Aleks JOVIC 68’), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 15 Harley ORR, 17 Frank FURFARO, 21 Paul ZIMARINO – Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 2 Alex SILLA, 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC 19 Roberto DEL BORRELLO – Yellow Cards: Orr 1, De Leo 35, Madaschi 57, Furfaro 76, Sabatini 90 – Referee: Josh Mannella