Posted on October 4, 2020 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup are the 2020 NPLWA Champions after a 4-0 win against Sorrento at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Going into the game the Jacks needed to win and hope Cockburn City took a point of leaders Floreat Athena to seal the title, and it all went to plan for Kenny Lowe’s side.

Andy Higgins had given the Jacks the lead at the break, before Tom Hough doubled their advantage early in the second half.

A Danny Hodgson brace, including a last-minute penalty, which gave the striker the Golden Boot for the season, sealed the win and set off wild celebrations, both on and off the park as the Jacks won their first Premier League title since 1999.

Lowe made just the one change to the side that beat Cockburn last week, with defender Ryan Lowry ruled out with injury, he was replaced in the starting line-up by Sami Riak, while on the bench, teenager Luke Davis was rewarded for good performances in the under 20’s, with his first inclusion in the first team.

Visitors Sorrento made a bright start, and had the Jacks on the back foot, and they had the first chances after only six minutes. Tim Hill’s ball into the penalty area found Cameron Teece, his header beat Johnny Perkins, but the post came to the rescue of the Jacks custodian.

Moments later the Jacks went close themselves. Callum Timmins sent Ethan Brooks down the right, he cut inside the box, but his shot flashed wide of the target.

Perkins then got down well to save Alex Morgan’s long-range effort, as Sorrento continued to press.

But on 20 minutes, and somewhat against the run of play the Jacks hit the front. Timmins was fouled in the middle of the park, but a good advantage from referee David Bruce, saw the midfielder continue forward, before slipped in Higgins who made no mistake.

The goal settled the side and they went close to a second just after the half hour. A great switch of play by Hodgson found Riley Warland on the left, his cross picked out Harry Evans in the box, his header was saved by Joel Driscoll.

The Sorrento keeper then tipped over Hodgson’s header, from Higgins’ free kick, but as results stood the Jacks were sitting top of the table at the half time.

It was bright start to the second half for the Jacks and Timmins shot from close-range was wide, and on 50 minutes we doubled our advantage. Hough got the ball in the middle of the park, and he wasn’t closed down, the midfielder firing home superbly from distance.

News filtered though from Floreat that they were leading 1-0, but it didn’t affect Kenny Lowe’s side who added a third five minutes later. Ethan Brooks was sent down the right, he eased past his marker, and his cross was turned home by Hodgson from close-range.

Sorrento continued to battle and Perkins saved well to deny second half substitute Zdenek Bezdek, before Driscoll saved low to thwart Higgins’ long-range shot moments later.

There was a huge roar from the crowd, as news of Cockburn had hit the front at Floreat, and the Jacks were minutes away from being Champions, and the icing was put on the cake in the final minute with a fourth.

Hodgson’s shot hit the arm of Sorrento defender Tristian Stevens and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Hodgson stepped up and scored his 16th goal of the season to seal the 4-0 win and seal the title for Kenny Lowe’s side, and the celebrations could start in earnest.

In the earlier games Mark Scanlan’s 18’s went down 2-0 to Sorrento, while Rob Mahon’s 20’s won 4-2, with Dor Jok scoring a hat-trick, with another to Rene Kisesa. The win saw them finish the season in fourth place and qualify for the end of season finals.

Match Details

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Luke BODNAR, 4 Riley WARLAND, 6 Sami RIAK, 7 Danny HODGSON, 8 Tom HOUGH (14 Ben HINSHELWOOD 83’), 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Ethan BROOKS (15 Luke RHODES 80’), 12 Callum TIMMINS (18 Luke DAVIS 83’), 16 Shane CASSIDY, 17 Harry EVANS (9 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY 62’), – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD

Sorrento: GK Joel DRISCOLL, 3 Jakub PRAJZA, 3 Shaun KILKELLY, 7 Alex MORGAN, 9 Cameron TEECE, 11 Tim HILL, 15 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN (8 Tristan STEVENS 46’), 16 Scott WITSCHGE, 18 Jordan BROWN, 21 Daniel FAICHNEY (19 Jaxon TEMATA 62’) (35 Thomas HUNT 78’), 25 Amir AJAN (20 Zdenek BEZDEK 68’) – Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI – Referee: David Bruce