Smith and Stynes give ECU the points

Smith and Stynes give ECU the points

Posted on August 15, 2014 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup good run of form continued after holding off a late rally from visitors Armadale to claim an important 2-1 win at ECU Football Stadium.

Joe Smith and Jon Stynes had given the home side the advantage early, while substitute Ben Wantee, who joined from ECU this season, led the charge for Armadale with his goal late in the second half, but the home side held on for the win.

ECU Coach Dale McCulloch, looking forward to being back in the technical area next week after a three-week suspension, was not overly inspired by his team’s performance.

“It’s the same set up to the way we went in against Perth last week but things didn’t live up to our expectations today,” he said.

“We were 2-0 up and cruising at the start of the second half and we really need to kill teams off. We didn’t do that today and we nearly got punished for it.”

“We want six points out of the next two games and jump as many spots (on the ladder) as we can. We’ll be pushing hard for our last two games.”

An action-packed start from the hosts resulted in the early goal to Smith, who delivered a bomb from the right wing, catching off guard keeper Matthew Gould. Armadale reacted immediately with spirited efforts from Sam Loveless and Faustinho Machochi testing the ECU defence as they sought a way through.

Jackson Bealey came close from a Machochi through ball when he stepped around his marker, but he was denied by a superb save from veteran ECU keeper Andy Banks. But the early display of enthusiasm from the visitors was soon to wane as ECU extended their lead when Andy Higgins showed great vision to pick out Stynes, who finished past Gould.

The second half saw ECU Joondalup drop the intensity level and loosen the vice-like grip they had held all over the pitch. Armadale sensed the door left slightly ajar and tried to build some pressure. David Foster was busy doing the same for ECU at the other end with his persistent but ineffective pestering of Gould. Similarly, Danny Dixon was instrumental in providing service from the left but collectively, ECU lacked drive. Armadale had the majority of possession but were unable to make much of an impression until their goal late in the game.

Dennis Gaye crossed to Wantee in space at the edge of the box and his strike proved too much for Banks. A fight back seemed possible when Varney took a free-kick in stoppage time. The ball floated over the wall and over the cross bar, along with his team’s chances of a draw.

ECU Joondalup: GK Andy BANKS,  2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 John HIGGINS, 5 Carl RODGERS, 6 Jon STYNES (9 David FOSTER 45’), 7 Henry DURR (12 Dejan SPASESKI 77’), 8 Joe SMITH, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Danny DIXON, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT, 19 Stuart MONTGOMERY (14 Jake BENSON-COOPER 55’) – Substitutes not used: RGK Jamie SERRA, 16 Daniel HEPWORTH

Armadale: GK Mathew GOULD, 12 Alec SOLOMONS, 4 Billy QUINCROFT, 5 Nathan COSTELLO (8 Josh KUSER 62’), 3 Dylan EASTOUGH, 10 James ATKINS (18 Ben WANTEE 71’), 2 Jackson BEALEY, 7 Faustinho MACHUCHI, 11 Dannie RICHMAN (17 Dennis GAYE 77’), 13 Sam LOVELESS, 6 Lyon VARNEY – Substitutes not used: RGK Jordan HOWELL, 14 Jett SHAW

Referee: Matt Southern