Under 18’s reports

Under 18’s reports

Posted on April 17, 2011 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup under 18’s report’s from the Cockburn City and Perth SC and Western Knights games – Thanks to Trevor Chapman


Western Knights deservedly got the points here in a hard fought 3-2 win over ECU, who, by their own high standards of the last year or so, never quite got into gear.

Western Knights demonstrated their pace as early as the 8th minute when a through ball had the ECU defence stretched but the resulting shot went wide.  ECU had their first real chance in the 19th minute when a long throw from Liam Chapman was flicked on by Alex Davies and Declan Hargreaves fired just wide with a neat turn and shot at goal.  Chapman and Hargreaves again combined two minutes later when a searching cross from Chapman was headed just over by Hargreaves.   The same player shot wide moments later after a neat free kick from ECU.

Alex Davies though he had given ECU the lead in the 32 minute after neat interplay between Hargreaves and Sokol.  Davies was ruled to be in an offside position and the ‘goal’ was disallowed.  Moments later ECU should have taken the lead after a neat move down the right wing involving Hargreaves, Davies and Sokol, who tried to feed Darren Tucker when a shot might have been a better option.

Western Knights had their chances in the first half and were causing a few problems with their fast paced attack and neat movement in midfield.  Katarina Jukic (no 10) was having a fine game for the Knights and she was involved in most of the fluent movement in the middle of the park.  It was no surprise when the Knights took the lead just before half time although the circumstances were a bit unfortunate.  A quickly taken free kick caught the ECU defence napping and Jamie Blue pulled back the Knights striker to concede a penalty.  Sadly Blue was dismissed as he was adjudged to be the last defender.

ECU therefore started the second half with 10 men and coach Willie Mc Nally opted for a positive attacking strategy and played with a three man defence, Jack Strachan joining Cam Burgess and Liam Chapman.  Sadly, after only four minutes of the half Western Knights scored their second goal after a well struck left wing shot could only be parried by keeper Reid Ahrens and Western Knights were first to the loose ball. Four minutes later, the quick footed Ethan Levitt rounded Cameron Burgess and Liam Chapman before calmly slotting past keeper Ahrens.  3-0 to Western Knights then and the ten men of ECU were starting to look tired.  The hard working Joel Gillespie and Steve Sokol were replaced in the 55 minute with debut boy Daniel Dixon and Sam Phillips and the fresh legs seemed to spark an incredible fight back from ECU.  Dixon in particular was keen to impress his new team mates.

Dixon and Phillips had an instant impact combining within minutes down the left wing and a great cross by Dixon was struck wide by Alex Davies. Hargreaves, Tucker and Gareth Hamilton started to control the midfield and ECU were suddenly up for it.  In the 60th minute Chapman and Davies combined neatly down the right wing and Dixon challenged for the cross from Davies which then fell loose in the box.  Dixon calmly drove the ball home.

Declan Hargreaves then struck a brilliant 30 metre drive which the keeper was nowhere near only for the ball to hit the bar and bounce down agonizingly on the goal line (according to the referee) although many spectators swore it crossed the line.  Shades of Geoff Hurst 1966.  ECU had their heads up again and piled on the pressure.  In the 83rd minute a long clearance from Chapman found Hargreaves 25 metres from goal and his long range effort was just over.

In the 85th minute Phillips and Dixon combined again when Phillips headed in a great cross from ZZZZ to make it 3-2.  A last minute Hargreaves corner was driven into the far post and there was Burgess with a towering header which was cleared on the goal line.  A stirring fight back from ECU but the Knights did just enough on the day to win the 3 points.


PERTH 18’s V ECU 18’s –  APRIL 9 2011

A top of the table clash that all players and spectators were looking forward to fizzled out into a rather tame 1-1 draw as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out.  ECU certainly had the better of the first half and perhaps more of the play in the second too, but Perth still looked the more likely to score.

Sam Phillips replaced the injured Steve Sokol in the central striking role and he caused endless problems for the Perth defence in the opening period, linking well with Daniel Dixon and newcomer Lee James.  However the finely marshalled Perth defence filled the box with numbers and it was difficult for ECU to find gaps.

ECU should have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Phillips was fouled on the edge of the box and a Hargreaves free kick rebounded to Davies on the right of the box, but the selfless winger tried to cross the ball for Phillips when a direct shot might have been a better option. The same players combined in the 29 minute and some delightful interplay between Hargreaves, Tucker and Phillips resulted in Phillips firing into the side netting.  Perth looked dangerous on the break with two speedy wingers on parade but Strachan, Burgess, Chapman and Gordon were all playing well in defence. Jack Strachan in particular was having a great battle with Perth winger Furfaro. Some great passing between Hargreaves, Tucker, James and Davies resulted in a timely interception from Perth just as Davies was about to shoot on goal.

In the 39th minute a corner to Perth resulted in a goalmouth scramble and 4 or 5 shots on the ECU goal with some desperate defending.  The ball was eventually cleared up field to Phillips who went on a great run down the left wing but his low cross into the box was wasted with no midfield players following through.

A good through ball early in the second half sent Ioasa Sameo clear for Perth but Chapman intercepted with a timely challenge for a corner.  Minutes later Perth took the lead when Conor Mackay took advantage of a surprisingly square ECU backline and drove a fine shot past a diving Reid Ahrens.

In the 75th minute a fine move involving Chapman, Gordon, Gillespie and Hargreaves resulted in a foul on Gillespie at the edge of the box but the referee chose to ignore the infringement.  Hargreaves played a good through ball to James but a timely interception from Thurston saved the day for Perth. ECU were coming more into the game now and  two substitutions brought fresh ideas and more movement to ECU as youngsters Ross Millard and Damien Simic joined the game and ECU went in search of their equaliser.  It was no surprise when it came in the 77th minute.  A free kick from Hargreaves landed in the box and after a series of shots and blocks the ball eventually fell to Joel Gillespie who drove the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and a deserved equaliser for ECU.

After the shock defeat by Western Knights last week this was a point gained by the young ECU team against a Perth side who many regard as favourites for the U18 title.

Report by Trevor Chapman

ECU under 18’s V COCKBURN City Under 18’s – 19 MARCH 2011

Well a fairly lacklustre game turned out to have quite a thrilling final score as ECU came from behind to win 3-2, maintaining their unbeaten start to the 2011 season.  The scoreline did not really reflect the game, which was largely bogged down in a midfield battle and was a game of very few chances really.  It was a credit to the attacking instincts of both teams that when chanced did occur, they were suitably dispatched!

Cockburn started off the livelier of the two teams and played some attractive football in the middle of the park, without really testing the ECU defence.  ECU struggled to get into a pattern of play, possibly due to the players adapting to their new look 4-3-2-1 formation. It was rather against the run of play then that they took the lead in the 13th minute.  Some fine interplay in midfield between Darren Tucker and Sam Phillips released Zawadi Tshongo down the right wing.  A surging run resulted in a teasing cross to the near post which Declan Hargreaves latched onto and flicked the ball over the advancing Cockburn keeper.

The next 30 minutes saw little goalmouth action in truth, just a hard fought midfield tussle.  From one of several free kicks that occurred in this period, Cockburn finally found an equaliser in the 43rd minute.  A smart free kick, played low down the central channel rather than high into the box, fooled the ECU defence and the Cockburn striker (50) drove the ball past a helpless Reid Ahrens for a deserved equaliser.

ECU came out for the second half with Liam Chapman back in his customary centre defensive role after replacing Joel Gillespie and Gareth Hamilton moved back into midfield.  Once again though it was Cockburn who looked the more likely to score in the early minutes of the half. A quixly taken 49th minute corner was driven low into the box and though partially blocked by Cameron Burgess, Cockburn were the quickest to react when their No 56 hammered in the loose ball.  Poor Reid Ahrens had hardly seen the ball all game but he was picking the ball out of the net for a second time.

This goal sparked ECU back into life with Tshongo, Phillips and Tucker driving them on and Strachan and Gordon working hard on the two flanks.  ECU equalised in the 58th minute when a long ball from Chapman found Steve Sokol on the edge of the area.  Sokol played a neat interchange with Phillips who drove the ball across the Cockburn box and there was Sokol to drive the ball in from 12 metres out – his 8th goal of the season.

ECU was the more lively team in the final third of the game as they went in search of a winner.  Alex Davies and Mitch McClymans joined the fray and Davies was booked for his first challenge trying too hard perhaps to drive the team on.  Despite some unselfish running from Sokol and some fine interplay between the midfield and ECU forwards, the final ball always seemed to let them down or the run of the turf went against them.  The game looked to be heading for another draw, a fair reflection of the game in truth, when ECU were awarded a free kick in the 89th minute in a dangerous position 35 metres from goal.  Hargreaves drove one of his pin point free kicks to the edge of the Cockburn penalty area, which was met by a towering Cameron Burgess.  He directed a looping header over the keeper and into the far post from fully 15 metres out for his fifth goal in five games this season.

This result, combined with others in the day, saw ECU hit the top of the Under 18 Division, although Perth (the previous leaders) have a game in hand.

Coach Willie Mc Nally was delighted with the result, and the good start to the season but he wants better performance from the boys.  “I am delighted we battled away for this result, but a little frustrated we did not string our game together a bit better.  The boys play some great football on the training ground and are full of confidence and show great skill, but we are not quite taking that to match days yet”.

Nevertheless this young ECU team are undefeated after four games and sitting on top of the league.  I can’t wait to see them when they start playing well.

Report by Trevor Chapman