McGee silences The Cockerels (by Tim Lefort, Football West)

McGee silences The Cockerels (by Tim Lefort, Football West)

Posted on April 13, 2011 in 'Reports'

Oliver McGee recovered from a heavy knock to score ECU Joondalup’s winner in a 2-1 come from behind victory over Cockburn City at the Edith Cowan University campus. The central defender – who was forced to leave the pitch early on with blood streaming from a cut on his face – powerfully headed in at a corner to give Joondalup their first home win of the season. Michael Grigo had put the visitors’ ahead midway through the first half only to have Ian McMurray level on the hour.

The Cockerels came out with all guns ablaze as Grigo’s close range volley flashed just high and Alex Dibley’s shot from distance had the same final outcome. Joondalup settled and John Thornley looked to have done enough when he clipped the ball past advancing goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic but was denied by Declan Boyham’s scramble off the line. Thornley then set up Jon Higgins who saw two efforts in quick succession blocked by a desperate Cockburn defence.

The deadlock was broken after 23 minutes, Grigo getting free inside the 18-yard box to head John Davite’s pinpoint cross past a helpless Andy Banks. Joondalup was denied a clear penalty in the 34th minute when Paul Natale used his hand to keep Jordan Dodd’s close range header out of the net, but amazingly neither referee David Costello nor his assistant Shuo Chen spotted the blatant infringement. Aleksic then denied Higgins with a great save, while at the other end Johnny Mirco’s low drive kept Banks on his toes.

Banks was called into action again at the beginning of the second period to gather Adrian Webster’s snap shot. Moments later Grigo had the ball in the net for a second time but his effort was disallowed with the referee ruling he had handled Anthony Pereira’s through ball. Thornley dragged the ball wide after a strong run to the edge of the area, then Dodd’s close range effort deflected off Thornley and flew just over. Grigo then wasted a golden chance to score Cockburn’s second by lifting high of the crossbar.

That miss was compounded on the hour when Chris Wylie’s long throw-in was flicked on by Dodd for McMurray, who swivelled superbly to hook the ball into the bottom corner from close range. Another Thornley shot was deflected out for a corner before Aleksic produced a fine save to deny Jon Stynes. But there was nothing the Cockburn ‘keeper could do in the 72nd minute to keep out McGee’s bullet-like header from 8-metres which made it two-one.

At this stage Joondalup took control and were unlucky not to add a couple more goals to their tally. Thornley should have given the hosts more breathing space after but after beating the advancing ‘keeper to a long ball he lifted over the bar from just inside the area. McMurray also shot high from the edge of the box when he had more time than he might have thought. However, it mattered little as Joondalup held on for the three points which moves them level with Bayswater City and Western Knights on top of the table.

Post-game, Joondalup coach Syd Amphlett was delighted with his teams’ perseverance. “I thought to be honest the boys played really well. We were a bit nervous and they seemed to put themselves under a bit of pressure when we missed a few chances in the first half,” he said. “The penalty … you know … you get a penalty and they get a player sent off … everybody saw it except the referee and the linesman but to the boys credit they kept going and I’m really pleased.”