Jacks edged out by Floreat in State Cup Final

Jacks edged out by Floreat in State Cup Final

Posted on July 18, 2021 in 'Reports'

ECU Joondalup have gone down 0-1 to Floreat Athena in Saturday afternoon’s Belt-Up State League Cup Final at Inglewood Stadium.

The only goal of the game came on 56 minutes from Floreat midfielder Kyle Murray, but despite dominating possession and creating the better chances the Jacks couldn’t find a way back into the game. (Photos by Debra Massey)

“Really good game, and first thoughts are to congratulate Floreat their staff players and supporters, well done and well played,” Head Coach Kenny Lowe said.

“They lost out on Premiership last year to us, and this year we lose cup to them. It’s turning into a nice little rivalry. Maybe we can meet again in Grand Final at end of year, and we are hopefully due a win against them.

“Really proud of the players tonight, we had our backs to the wall with a serious injury to Jeremy (Tshongo) and hamstring to Tommy (Amphlett) in the first half.

“But they were all suburb tonight and the club should be proud of them, and more importantly they should be proud of themselves. We have come a hell of a long way in the last year or so.

“We had our chances, but it wasn’t to be, but like I said, really pleased with the performance and also pleased to see some of our kids come on tonight and perform well. We move on and look to get back to winning ways in the league on Saturday at Rockingham.”

The Jacks went into the game without the injured Chris Harold, Sami Riak and Ryan Lowry and were also missing the cup-tied Riley Woodcock and Luke Palmateer.

Floreat were also without a number of first team regulars, Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi were out injured, Jawad Rezai was cup-tied, while Denis Galan and Andrew Palmer missed the game due to suspension.

There was a good turnout of Jacks supporters in the big crowd, for our first Cup Final since 2002, and both sides had early chances on a damp Perth afternoon.

Floreat were in after only 47 seconds, Chris Saldaris’ long ball into the penalty area was met by Robert Harding, whose header drifted wide of the far post.

The Jacks thought they had the lead on five minutes, Daryl Nicol’s in-swinging corner was met by Declan Hughes who headed home, but referee Shane Skinner spotted a push by the midfielder on Jason Saldaris, but on replay, it looked a little harsh.

It was end-to-end football as both sides pushed for the opener. Jakub Prajza cut in from the right on eight minutes, but his shot on the run was saved low by Jason Saldaris.

Floreat were hitting on the counter attack and they went close on 19 minutes, Phil Arnold was found on the right, his diagonal pass picked out Sean McManus, who cut into the box, but Jonny Perkins saved his low shot.

Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris then produced a smart save to deny Danny Hodgson after the striker pounced on Nicol’s free kick, which wasn’t dealt with by the Floreat defence.

The Jacks were on the front foot and on the half hour mark Nelson Tshongo raced into the box, but Floreat defender Jesse Fuller got back with a great last-ditch tackle.

The Jacks suffered a huge blow on 35 minutes after Jeremy Tshongo was injured after a challenge on Wesley Casimir, whose long-range shot was saved low Perkins.

The defender tried to walk it off but buckled again and was carried off the field by two of his team mates, and he was replaced by youngster Oscar Malfiore.

It meant a switch at the back with Tom Hough dropping back to partner Shane Cassidy.

Malfiore was soon in the action, his deep cross from the right wasn’t deal with the ball finding its way to Amphlett, whose shot was well saved by Jason Saldaris at his near post.

Moments later Amphlett pulled up short with what looked like a hamstring injury, but he played on.

Floreat ended the half well and Ben Steele found Harding on the edge of the box and his shot flashed inches wide of the post. Then in stoppage time they went close again, Ambrogio’s curling effort drifting wide of the far post, but it was all too play for after the break.

Amphlett didn’t return for the second half, he was replaced by another Jacks youngster Jason Petrie. The Jacks opened brightly after the break and went close four minutes in.

Declan Hughes’ superb ball sent Nicol racing down the left, his cross on the run found Hodgson, who shot was tipped over the top by the alert Jason Saldaris. Moments later Floreat failed to clear a corner and Nicol’s snap shot whistled just wide of the post.

But in their first real attack in the second half, Floreat opened the scoring on 56 minutes. Arnold won possession in the middle of the park and after a give and go with Ambrogio, he squaring the ball to Murray, who finished well past Perkins from the edge of the box.

Kenny Lowe’s side weren’t finished and seven minutes later a quick free kick from Andy Higgins found Nicol in the penalty area, and his goalbound shot was cleared away by the alert Steele.

Floreat looked dangerous on the counter-attack and they went close to second on 69 minutes. Arnold made space down the right his cross picked out Ambrogio, whose header smacked off the post and away to safety. The Jacks broke from that and went close themselves, Hodgson’s shot on the run flew over the top.

Both sides had chances late, first Chris Saldaris headed over the top from Murray’s free kick, before Hough headed over the top from Nicol’s deep corner.

The Jacks were pressing late, but couldn’t break a solid Floreat defence well led by Chris Saldaris and Fuller. Floreat had the last chance of the game in stoppage time, substitute Filip Minic squared the ball to McManus whose low shot was saved by Perkins.

But at the final whistle it was Floreat celebrating the win, while for the Jacks, a great cup run is over and they put everything in today’s game, but it wasn’t our day.

Match Details
ECU Joondalup 0 Floreat Athena 1 (Murray 56’)
Saturday July 17, 2021
Inglewood Stadium
Referee: Shane Skinner
Assistants: Simon Hicks, Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: David Bruce
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO (14 Oscar MALFIORE 38’) (11 Ben RUTTER 85’), 3 Nelson TSHONGO (5 Danny DOUGLAS 68’), 4 Declan HUGHES, 8 Tom HOUGH, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT (7 Jason PETRIE 46’), 16 Shane CASSIDY, 17 Danny HODGSON – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD – Yellow Cards: Hough 27’, Hughes 61’
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 4 Ben STEELE, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert HARDING (3 Filip MINIC 85’), 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 12 Wesley CASIMIR, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Kyle MURRAY, 18 Phil ARNOLD – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER, 5 Elijah HAAS, 19 Laat MATHIANG, 21 Mou MARIAL – Yellow Cards: Nil