Heartbreak for ECU as Perth nick it late

Heartbreak for ECU as Perth nick it late

Posted on July 3, 2015 in 'Reports'

Perth SC left the ECU Football Stadium with all three points thanks to a 90th minute goal from striker Reece Vittiglia, which gave them a 2-1 win against ECU Joondalup.

(Photo Tommy Amphlett’s goal was not enough for ECU)  – Mark Pritchard had given Perth the lead mid-way through the first half, but Tommy Amphlett levelled for the home side eight minutes from time. It looked like the points would be shared, but Vittiglia had other ideas and won it late.

While their first half performance was lacking, ECU coach Dale McCulloch thought they played extremely well in the latter half of the game. “The last three or four games have been very similar to this – we’ve put in the effort and we’ve deserved something out of it, but it’s just not happened in the end,” he said.

“No one is a quitter here, so we’ve just got to keep going, keep working hard and things will change eventually.

“We want to be a lot better than we were in the first half of the year. We’ve had a little bit of an up and down season with players out but we can regroup now with the squad we’ve got and look forward to the second half.”

The home side regained the services of skipper Jon Higgins, but it was the visitors who began the brighter. Serra produced a stunning reaction save to thwart Pritchard on the quarter hour. But eight minutes later Perth hit the front.

Dean Evans picked the ball up wide on the left, and the midfielder delivered a perfect cross into Pritchard, who threw himself at the ball to head home past Serra. Both sides created chances for the rest of the half, but couldn’t find the target.

After the break ECU came out and took the game to Perth and started to get on top, and on 56 minutes Andy Higgins’ shot was tipped over the top by Francis Solae at full stretch. Both keepers were outstanding and Serra was at it again on 70 minutes, denying Pritchard again, before he produced another reflex save to tip over Marco Santalucia’s shot.

ECU was looking dangerous on the break and they were rewarded on 82 minutes with the equaliser. New signing Phil O’Callaghan came off the bench and played a great through ball to Amphlett who fired low past Soale. It looked like the home side had earned a point, but Vittiglia spoiled their day in the final minute.

A cross from the left was cleared by the ECU defence and Vittiglia brought the ball down and neatly finished from the six meters. ECU pressed late looking for the equaliser, but Perth held firm to take the points.

“It’s always pleasing to come away with three points on an away game, but we left it late,” Perth Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “I felt we had more than enough chances to put them away earlier, but we were too wasteful in front of goal, and also had Jamie Serra in great form.”

ECU Joondalup: GK Jamie SERRA, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Jon HIGGINS (C), 5 Harry BISSETT (11 Phil O’CALLAGHAN 56’), 6 Ryan MCDARBY, 8 Joe SMITH, 10 Andy HIIGINS, 12 Josh TUCKER, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT, 14 Ollie ANNIS (9 Stuart MONTGOMERY 57’), 15 Cian HIRRELL – Subs not used:, RGK Scott WALLIS, 16 Coire MCGUIGAN, 17 Joel PROUT

Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Josh WILKINS, 3 David CYRUS, 4 James MAROCCHI, 5 Dean EVANS, 12 Marco SANTALUCIA, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Mark PRITCHARD (C), 16 Nicholas AMBROGIO (9 Harley ORR 62’), 17 Reece VITIGGLIA, 18 Josh PEREIRA (7 Carlo COELHO 83’) – Subs not used:  RGK Alex DUNN, 21 Matt MILENKOVIC,

Referee: Matt Southern