Smith at the double for Jacks

Smith at the double for Jacks

Posted on January 23, 2017 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have started their 2017 QBE PS4NPLWA Night Series with a comprehensive 4-0 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park on Sunday evening.

The Jacks had new keeper Fraser Greenwood and a solid defensive display to thank in the first half, the custodian made a number of fine saves to keep it level. But after the break Tommy Amphlett opened the scoring, before Scottish striker Gordon Smith bagged a brace of penalties after coming off the bench at the break, and Daryl Nicol added a fourth in the final minute.

“A good hit out for us and we took control after the break,” Jacks Head Coach Dale McCulloch said. “It’s our first real game of the season, and we played some good football in patches, but we had Fraser and the back four to thank in the first half.”

The Coach was delighted to see Gordon Smith back and firing after his knee injury, but was also pleased the way the back five played, as well as some of the young players performed on the night.

“Goggsie has worked really hard to get his knee right and its credit to our physio and conditioning staff for that,” he said.

“Our back five were outstanding in the first half and we had our backs to the wall with the strong wind, but they won every battle and when they were beaten Fraser pulled off a couple of good saves.

“Another positive tonight was the performances of the younger players. James Owen, Sam Pollard, Logan McIsaac and Ben Johns all played their part in the win and they know if they keep performing well, they will be given an opportunity that’s why we brought them to our club and it bodes well for the season ahead.

“It’s a knockout competition so we’re delighted to have gone through and now look forward to the next challenge, and improving our game.”

Cockburn had the strong wind behind them in the first half and their pace was causing the Jacks problems, but the back four of Nathan Diaz, Ben Johns, Logan McIsaac and Cian Hirrell held firm.

ECU also looked dangerous going forward with Steven McGarry and Kevin Moon pulling the strings in the middle of the park, and Nicol had a half chance, but on the stroke of half time both sides had good chances to hit the front.

First Greenwood had to be alert to deny the Cockburn striker, who found room in the box, before Amphlett raced clear moments later, but his effort flashed over the top.

McCulloch brought Smith off the bench at the break replacing Sam Pollard, who had impressed on his debut for the first team. It was still a tight affair and Hirrell threaded a great through ball to Amphlett early, but his shot was well saved by Luke Radonich

But on the hour ECU hit the front. Nathan Diaz found Smith, who controlled the ball well and laid the ball off to Amphlett, who made mistake across the keeper.

Then six minutes later it was 2-0. Nicol, whose pace caused problems all night, raced into the area and was brought down and referee Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot, and Smith stepped up and scored to double their advantage.

It was 3-0 on 70 minutes, and it was a carbon copy of the second, Nicol was brought down again and Smith buried his second penalty past Radonich.

It was one-way traffic and James Owen went within inches of his first senior goal, after he was picked out by Amphlett, but his shot crashed off the crossbar, before Nicol also saw a shot whistle inches over the top

But the icing was put on the cake in the final minute, with Nicol wrapping up a man of the match performance with the fourth. Cockburn had a corner at one end, but a quick counter-attack Nicol racing almost the full length of the pitch, he outpaced the last defender and finished clinically past Radonich. A dominant second half performance from the side and they go into the hat for today’s second round draw.

ECU Joondalup side for the game – GK Fraser Greenwood, Nathan Diaz, Logan McIsaac, Ben Johns, Cian Hirrell, Sam Pollard, Steven McGarry, Kevin Moon (C), Tommy Amphlett, Paddy Doyle, Daryl Nicol – Subs: RGK David Keenan, Ethan Kerridge, James Owen, Gordon Smith, Jayden Drummond