Athena holds on to take the three points

Athena holds on to take the three points

Posted on April 2, 2012 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have been beaten 1-2 in the round two All flags State Premier League clash against Floreat Athena at The ECU Arena on Saturday afternoon, despite surviving a late come back from the home side.

Second half goals to Liam Boland and Ludovic Boi gave Chris Barbas’ side a two goal buffer, but ECU skipper Dale McCulloch pulled one back in stoppage-time, and with the last play of the game ECU second half substitute Tanner Selyer’s header crashed off the crossbar, but it was Athena who grabbed the three points.

With caretaker coach Syd Amphlett away Charlie Comyn-Platt took was in charge for the opening home game of the season and he thought the lads battled the game out well. “It’s been an unsettled start to the season with no coach so hopefully we can get someone in for next week,” said Comyn-Platt.

“We started really well and were the better team for the first 30 minutes and had some good chances. After that we sat off a bit and Floreat started to put us under pressure. Second half we were under the pump for the whole half, and we became predictable and did not keep the ball. With that amount of pressure and not much possession for Floreat we were going to concede.

“The last 10 minutes we went to 4-4-2 and then we put the pressure on them and got a late goal to make, and we could have snatched a draw later on. We showed great team spirit to fight back from two down, but Floreat were the better team and will do well this year.”

The home side, which lost 2-3 at Inglewood United, last week, made two changes to their starting line-up with Michael Currie, and new import Michael Adamcewicz coming into the side, to replace the injured John Higgins, while Steve Sokol dropped to the bench.

Floreat, who lost in the opening round at home to Perth SC, also made two changes with new import David Heagney and Jake Allen coming into the side with Mark Zagami and Vincent Sweeney dropping to the bench.
It was the home side who opened the brighter and had the first chance on 10 minutes. A free kick from the left by Currie found David Foster in the penalty area, but the former Athena striker’s header from eight-yards flashed inches past the far post.

After the early pressure from the home side it was Athena who began to take control of the game, with skipper Mark Pritchard influential in the middle of the park. On 20 minutes his raking ball found Heagney on the right. He cut inside Currie, but his shot from 12-yards was straight at ECU keeper Andy Banks.

Then four minutes later, Heagney and Pritchard combined to set up Boland, the big strikers shot on the turn, whistled inches past the post.

Chances were few and far between with defences on top. McCulloch and Mark Tebbut were outstanding for the home side, while Bobby Wilson and Spencer Harris marshalled the Athena backline.

But late in the half, both sides had chances to break the deadlock. First on 40 minutes Jarred Smith burst into the penalty area on the left, but Banks was out quickly to block the midfielders shot. Then three minutes later Luke Smith’s cross from the right was flicked on by Rob Draper, and John Stark’s volley was well saved by Brad Eiffe.

After the break Athena lifted the tempo and went close two minutes in. Ludovic Boi’s corner from the left was headed over by Jake Geddes at the back post.

Then five minutes later they had a penalty claim turned down by referee Hugh Best. Pritchard’s shot hit the arm of ECU defender Tebbut in the penalty area, the official had a good view of the incident and waved away their protests.

But on the hour Athena’s pressure paid off and they were ahead. A header out of defence from Harris sent Heagney racing clear. He kept his composure drawing keeper Banks before squaring to Boland who fired home into an empty net.

Heagney was on fire and nine minutes later Boi’s pass sent him clear again, this time Banks was alert and saved well to deny the English striker.

But on 80 minutes the points looked safe when Athena added a second. An attempted clearance from Currie deflected off his own team mate into the path of Boi. The midfielder raced clear and finished clinically past Banks from 10-yards.

They nearly added another late on, Boland’s header from Boi’s corner was cleared off the line by Luke Smith and moments later Boi was one-on-one with Banks but blazed over.

But in the third minute of injury time ECU grabbed a lifeline. Currie’s free kick was flicked on by Draper and McCulloch fired home from clos-range.

There was still time for ECU to mount one last attack. They won a corner on the right, and Currie’s set piece found second half substitute Selyer, whose header from 10-yards crashed off the crossbar and was cleared away to safety.

The final whistle sounded immediately, and it was Athena who were celebrating the first league win under new coach Chris Barbas.

The coach was happy to get the first win of the new season but disappointed to concede the late goal. “Yes it’s a relief to get the first win of the season, but conceding the late goal was disappointing. It’s become a bit of a trait for us, we let one in late last week too, and it’s something we need to address going forward,” said Barbas.

All Flags State Premier League – Round Two

Date 31st March 2012

ECU Joondalup 1 (McCulloch 90+3’)

Floreat Athena 2 (Boland 60’, Boi 80’)

Venue: Edith Cowen University Arena

Kick Off: 3pm

Attendance: 200 (Approx.)

Referee: Hugh Best

ECU Joondalup: GK Andrew BANKS, 2 Luke SMITH, 3 Michael CURRIE, 4 Mark TEBBUT, 5 Dale McCulloch, 6 Rob DRAPER, 7 Tommy JONES (15 Tanner SELYER 73’), 8 Scott BLACKMORE (13 Shane DOYLE 83’), 9 David FOSTER, 10 John STARK (14 Scott BUSHBY 63’), 11 Michael ADAMCEWICZ – Subs not used: 16 Steve SOKEL

Yellow Cards – Jones 33’

Floreat Athena – GK Brad EIFFE, 2 Bobby WILSON, 3 Jack ALLEN, 4 Spencer HARRIS, 5 Jarred SMITH, 6 Mark PRITCHARD, , 8 Callum FRANSZ, 9 Jake GEDDES, 10 Liam BOLAND, 14 Ludovic BOI, 15 David HEAGNEY (16 Vincent SWEENEY 80’) – Subs not used – RGK Kenny FTYNOGIANNIS, 11 Mark ZAGAMI, 12 Matthew NG

Yellow Cards – Heagney 66’, Pritchard 92’