Jacks beat Balcatta to finish fourth

Jacks beat Balcatta to finish fourth

Posted on September 6, 2020 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have made the top six of the NPL-WA table after a comprehensive 3-0 win against Balcatta at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Harry Evans scored early and gave the Jacks the lead at the break, before a Danny Hodgson brace saw them run out comfortable winners and end the first phase of the season in fourth spot.

Click here to listen to post-match interviews with Ethan Brooks and Head Coach Kenny Lowe

With the league splitting after the game the Jacks knew three points were a must in this one, and Kenny Lowe made three changes to the side that beat Perth SC last week.

In came keeper Johnny Perkins for Joe Pollard, who dropped to the bench, Luke Bodnar came in for the suspended Callum Timmins, while Harry Evans replaced the injured Tommy Amphlett.

The Jacks made the perfect start and where ahead after only nine minutes. Bodnar spotted the run of Evans, and the defender played a perfect ball for the striker to run onto, and he lobbed the on-coming keeper Riley Stephenson from the edge of the penalty area.

It was nearly 2-0 three minutes later, Andy Higgins slipped Brooks into the penalty area, but Stephenson was out bravely to save at his feet.

But on 26 minutes Balcatta should have levelled. A poor pass by Shane Cassidy went straight to Adam Zimarino, who was in on goal, but his first touch let him down and the golden opportunity was gone.

The Jacks were on top, but couldn’t find away past a tight Balcatta defence, well marshalled by Alex Castiello and Calum O’Connell, but late in the half both sides had chances.

First on 38 minutes Riley Warland sent Brooks racing down the left, his low cross was fumbled by Stephenson, but as Andy Higgins and Hodgson were ready to pounce on the loose ball it was cleared by Joseph Marino.

Balcatta went close in stoppage time. A free kick wasn’t dealt with and the ball found O’Connell at the back post, but his hooked shot was saved on the line by Perkins.

The Jacks made a change at the break with Ross Millard coming on for Shane Cassidy, and it meant a slight change of formation, but not their dominance, and eight minutes in they doubled their advantage.

Higgins’ corner picked out the unmarked Hodgson, who headed home from close-range for his eighth goal of the season.

Balcatta looked to hit back but Ryan Lowry and his fellow defenders held firm and it was the Jacks who continued to look dangerous.

The introduction of Bayley Brown-Montgomery almost had an immediate impact, after the striker raced down the right, sixty seconds after coming on, his inviting low cross found Hodgson, whose goalbound effort was deflected over the top.

Moments later Hodgson turned provider finding Higgins 18 meters from goal, his powerful shot was parried away by the alert Stephenson.

But there was little the Balcatta custodian could do on 70 minutes, when the Jacks made it 3-0.

Brooks sent Brown-Montgomery down the right he got to the bye-line and crossed to Hodgson in the penalty area and the striker fired home with aplomb.

Balcatta went in search of a consolation goal, but Perkins wasn’t to be beaten, saving low to deny Adam Zimarino, before former Jacks midfielder Henry Durr played Zimarino in again moments later, but Perkins stood tall to deny him.

The Jacks ended the game like they started it, on top. Second half substitute Cian Hirrell wriggled his way into the penalty area, but his shot was blocked, before Higgins’ corner picked out Warland, whose flick was well saved by Stephenson.

The win moved the Jacks in fourth place on the ladder, and have joined Floreat Athena, Gwelup Croatia, Cockburn City, Sorrento and Armadale in the next phase of the competition.

In early games, Mark Scanlan’s young under 18’s side were beaten 2-0 by Balcatta. But there was better news for Rob Mahon’s under 20’s who ran out 3-0 winners against Balcatta, with goals from Oscar Malfiore, Dor Jok and Rene Kisesa.

Match Details

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Luke BODNAR, 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 6 Sami RIAK (12 Cian HIRRELL 70’), 7 Danny HODGSON (14 Ben HINSHELWOOD 70’), 8 Tom HOUGH, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Ethan BROOKS, 16 Shane CASSIDY (3 Ross MILLARD 46’), 17 Harry EVANS (9 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY 66’) – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD – Yellow Cards: Warland 45’

Balcatta: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 4 Calum O’CONNELL (7 Dylan LEONARD 72’), 6 Alex CASTIELLO, 10 Jon CORNESS, 11 Michael ZIMARINO (19 Nicholas BURMEJ 86’), 13 Anthony TOPINI (9 Oliver STULTZ 86’), 15 Jackson DONGRAY (12 Jonathan BOUHLAS 5’), 16 Adam ZIMARINO, 17 Henry DURR – Subs not used: RGK Jake ANGELOVSKI – Referee: Tom Glavovic