Stalemate at the Arena (by Tim Lefort)

Stalemate at the Arena (by Tim Lefort)

Posted on April 17, 2011 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup and Mandurah City played out a scoreless draw at Edith Cowan University Arena, in a game that failed to reach any great heights.

Despite failing to claim their fourth victory of the season, ECU boss Syd Amphlett was satisfied with his side’s performance.

“The lads have worked extremely hard again without just rewards. Taking the positives, it was our first game of the season where we did not concede a goal and the boys have to be congratulated for the hard work put in during the week,” said Amphlett.

“We now have to work to find space when teams defend deep against us. We had our chances again but invariably took the wrong option when players were better placed or we hurried shots when another touch would have been acceptable. However, pleased with the performance, as I have been since the start of the season.”

ECU made three changes to the side that lost at Perth SC last week with Scott Bushby coming in for suspended skipper Dale McCulloch, Mark Tebbut for Ollie McGee, who left the club last week, while Ryan McDarby returned from suspension, replacing Jon Stynes.

In a match of few clear-cut chances, it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal after 10 minutes but, after the ball was laid back to him on the edge of the box, Lucas Whitehouse sliced wide of the target.

The Mandurah man made much better contact seven minutes later, his first-time effort from 20 yards forcing ECU keeper Andy Banks to parry the ball behind for a corner.

It was Whitehouse again causing the home defence problems soon after, his close-range header from Jeff Bright’s cross calling Banks into action again.

The Dolphins were looking the more likely to score at that stage and they would have gone ahead after 24 minutes if Chris Wylie hadn’t scrambled Ryan Townsend’s header from a corner off the line.

Townsend then saw a close-range effort cleared by a combination of Wylie and Banks, before, at the other end, Jordan Withey volleyed over from 18 yards.

As Joondalup worked their way into the game, Charlie Comyn-Platt sent a weak effort wide from 16 yards after latching onto Ross Anderson’s cross, before Ryan McDarby blasted over from the corner of the box after being set up by Scott Bushby.

Tommy Jones had half a chance to send the Dolphins into the break with a slender advantage but a poor first touch when he was put through allowed Banks to come and gather.

John Thornley poked McDarby’s cross from the right over the bar five minutes after the restart as the deadlock continued.

Rafael Insauralde tried to inspire Mandurah with a good turn and volley from 20 yards midway through the second period but Banks was largely untroubled, then Bright failed to make ECU pay for a lapse in concentration at a corner, firing off target from 20 yards.

Townsend headed wide with eight minutes remaining, before Jones wasted a great chance to snatch all three points, slicing horribly wide from the edge of the area.

The visitors had a strong penalty appeal after 86 minutes when Comyn-Platt clattered into the back of substitute Graeme Matthews, but referee Paul Anderson waved play on, leaving both sides to settle for a point.

After the game Amphlett was pleased with the players that came in on the day, and is pleased with the squad he has this season. “We have a good strong squad which showed yesterday with Dale McCulloch, Jon Stynes, Ross Laing , Scott Blackmore and Matt Italiano (injured or suspended), but Scott Bushby, Ryan McDarby and Mark Tebbut all came in with a point to prove and all did exceptionally well.”

ECU Joondalup: GK Andy BANKS, 2 Mark TEBBUT, 3 Chris WYLIE, 4 Charlie COMYN-PLATT, 5 Ross ANDERSON, 7 John HIGGINS, 8 Scott BUSHBY, 9 John THORNLEY, 10 Ryan McDARBY (12 Jordan DODD, 68′), 11 Jordan WITHEY, 16 Ian McMURRAY (13 Jake BENSON-COOPER, 57′)

Substitutes not used: RGK Brynn HINDLEY, 14 Ben KELLY, 15 Ross EDWARDS

Mandurah City: GK Kenny FTYNOGIANNIS, 2 Ryan TOWNSEND, 3 Jeff BRIGHT, 4 Tom STRAKER, 6 Ivan ZUVELA, 7 Darren BROXTON, 8 Lucas WHITEHOUSE, 9 Seb BELL (16 Graeme MATTHEWS, 85′), 10 Rafael INSAURALDE (5 Jake LORETO, 79′), 11 Tommy JONES, 15 Matthew STARES

Substitutes not used: RGK Tim SMITH, 6 Robbie HAMM, 22 Billy RICKMAN

Referee – Paul Anderson