Gulls fly home with the points

Gulls fly home with the points

Posted on February 29, 2016 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have ended their QBE Night Series campaign with a 3-2 loss against local rivals Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening.

Jason Mirco scored early, before Jordan Dodd added a second before halftime. Gordon Smith scored early in the second half before Steve McGarry levelled. It was ECU who were on top but Sorrento won it late with Mirco scoring three minutes from time.

ECU Coach Dale McCulloch said a poor first half performance let them down, but was pleased how his players played after the break. “I was really pleased how the lads reacted after half time, but we were sloppy in the first half and were punished twice losing the ball on transition,” McCulloch said.

“I thought we played some good football in the second half and Gordy and Tommy caused them problems, but we need to be more focused when we defend, and that’s the whole team, it’s not good enough at the moment.

“We conceded 11 goals in the five games and at this level it’s not good enough, but there were signs of improvement in the second half last night but the damage had been done in the first half.”

Keeper David Keenan echoed his coaches’ comments, but said there were some good signs in the second half.  “Our first half performance wasn’t up to the standard we have set for ourselves this season, and we were told at the break,” he said. “But the second half we actually looked a lot better and played as a unit and created a number of chances, so we have to continue our improvement for the new NPL season.”

The Gulls dominated the early exchanges and were ahead on the quarter hour.  Mirco’s shot on the run beat Keenan to score. It was 2-0 on 32 minutes, Mirco and Niccolo Sabatini combined, and the Italian midfielders’ low cross was turned home by Jordan Dodd.

ECU almost pulled one back five minutes before half time, McGarry’s in-swinging corner was well saved by Sam Herbison. Then in stoppage time McGarry’s teasing free kick was only inches away from Amphlett unmarked in the box.

It was nearly 3-0 in the first minutes of the second half. Ryan Pearson made space on the left and his cross picked out Mirco in the six-yard box, but his first time shot produced a stunning reaction save from Keenan. That save became more important as sixty seconds later ECU reduced the margin. Tommy Amphlett’s through ball sent Gordon Smith clear, and the Scottish striker finished clinically past Herbison.

ECU were well on top and on the hour Bayley Montgorey-Brown’s shot was saved low by Herbison. The Sorrento custodian was lucky to stay on the pitch on 76 minutes, when Amphlett was sent clear on goal and Herbison, who was the last man, brought him down outside the penalty area but referee Joshua Nixon only showed him a yellow card. But from the resulting free kick Steven McGarry curled home the free kick into the top corner to level.

Both sides had chances late. Smith smacked his shot on the turn against the post for Joondalup, while Alan Patrov’s long-range shot whistled inches over the top. But the winner came three minutes from time. A long ball over the top sent Mirco clear, and he made no mistake from the edge of the penalty area to win it.

Match Details

Sorrento 3 (Mirco 15’, 87, Dodd 32’)

ECU Joondalup (Smith 47’, McGarry 77’)

Saturday February 28 @ Percy Doyle Reserve, Duncraig

Referee: Joshua Nixon – Assistants: Ammar Timour and Eamon Mcdonnell

Sorrento: GK Sam Herbison, 4 Shaun Kilkelly, 6 Daryl Platten, 8 Ryan Pearson, 10 Jason Mirco, 13 Steven McDonald, 16 Niccolo Sabatini, 18 Jordan Brown, 21 Jordan Dodd (14 Alen Patarov 75’), 25 Alex Morgan (23 Connor Boland 91’), 30 Aaron Krige (5 Billy Quinncroft 77’) – Subs not used: 15 Wesley Padley, 24 Scott Hoyle – Yellow Cards: Brown 67’, Herbison 76’

ECU Joondalup: GK David Keenan, 2 Ryan Lowry, 3 Joseph Jones, 4 Jack Oldham, 5 Roland Rixer, 7 Jason Marsden (12 Shane Pickering 61’), 10 Gordon Smith, 11 Joshua Booysen (15 Paddy Doyle 88’), 13 Tommy Amphlett, 14 Steven McGarry, 17 Bayley Montgomery-Brown (9 Jake Benson-Cooper 66’) – Subs not used: RGK Scott Wallis, 8 Paul Miller – Yellow Cards: Nil