Knowles stunner earns Jacks a point

Knowles stunner earns Jacks a point

Posted on August 24, 2019 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup and Balcatta have fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result wasn’t what Balcatta was looking for, and they have dropped out of the top four, while the point the point was enough to secure NPLWA safety for Jacks. Calum O’Connell gave the visitors the lead early.

But a brace from Joe Knowles, including a candidate for goal of the season, gave the hosts the lead at the break, but striker Nicholas Challot earned Balcatta a draw.


Click here to listen to post match interviews with Head Coach Dale McCulloch and midfielder Josh Whitmore

It was Balcatta who opened the brighter and they were ahead on seven minutes. A long ball from John Kearney found O’Connell, who controlled the ball well before superbly firing over keeper Johnny Perkins from the edge of the penalty area. The visitors were bossing the game and Perkins had to be alert to save from Jonathan Corness, but against the run of play, and in controversial circumstances ECU levelled on 33 minutes.

Ollie Annis’ corner picked our Knowles at the back post, and his header was cleared off the line by Corness, but the assistants’ flag was up to say the ball had crossed the line, and the goal was given, much to the frustration of the Balcatta players. Then in the final minute of the half the hosts hit the front, and what goal it was. A long clearance to the half way line from Nick Koefler found Bayley Brown-Montgomery, who flicked the ball on to Knowles whose first time shot from 30 meters flew into the net, with Balcatta keeper David Keenan standard.

Balcatta needed to hit back and they started the second half well, with skipper O’Connell, Corness and the lively Shubham Mokala all impressing, and it was a surprise when they levelled on 68 minutes. A Mokala corner was only cleared to Joseph Marino, who sent the ball back into the box and Alex Castiello headed down to Challot, who finished neatly past Perkins from five meters. With results elsewhere not going their way, Balcatta knew they needed another goal, and after good approach work from substitute Gavin Knight and Mokala, Adam Zimarino thought he had found it, but Perkins produced a great save to deny him.

The ECU custodian then tipped over O’Connell’s shot as Balcatta pressed late, but it was the hosts who should have won it late. A corner from substitute Andy Higgins was flicked on to an unmarked Knowles at the back post, but his shot from the angle flashed over the top. The result meant ECU Joondalup will play NPL football next season, while Balcatta must win against relegation threatened Stirling Lions and hope results elsewhere go their way to make the Top Four Finals.

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 3 Nicholas KOEFLER, 4 Henry DURR, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 6 Ollie ANNIS (10 Andy HIGGINS 66), 7 Joe KNOWLES, 8 Josh WHITMORE, 9 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (13 Tommy AMPHLETT 58), 12 Billy QUINNCROFT, 14 Ewan FAWCETT, 15 Tom HOUGH – Subs not used: RGK George JACKSON, 11 Lukas DE LIMA, 17 Jamal REINERS

Balcatta: GK David KEENAN, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 John KEARNEY, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Shubham MOKALA, 10 Jonathan CORNESS, 12 Robert DEL BORRELLO (14 Luke RANDAZZO 58), 13 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 16 Alex CASTIELLO, 17 Callum TIMMINS (11 Adam ZIMARINO 46), 19 Nicholas CHALLOT (9 Gavin KNIGHT 71) – Subs not used: 7 Ben PELLIZZARI, 15 Callum STOCKS – Referee: Shane Skinner