Bayswater hold on against ECU

Report by Peter Simcox

Bayswater City maintained top spot on the NPL WA table after a hard-fought 1-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon. 

The only goal of the game came early, with Luka Ninkovic heading home Arron Maplestone’s cross at the back post after only two minutes.

But it was the visitors who dominated late on, but they couldn’t breach a back four superbly led by skipper Trent Kay.

City coach Chris Coyne said they made the perfect start but agreed they had to survive a late onslaught from the Jacks.

“We looked really leggy in the second half. We have nine first squad players missing and we knew it would catch up with us eventually and today was the day,” he said.

“We had to tweak it a little in the second half and had to absorb the pressure and defensively we were magnificent today, and all that matters is we got the three points

“I thought ECU were magnificent today, they went on till the last minute and they will be disappointed to come away nothing.” 

Goalscorer Ninkovic said the match was a battle.

“It was a tough game today, we got the early goal but I thought we defended really well to hold on to the lead,” he said. 

“I was happy to get the winner – a great ball in from Arran, the defender hesitated and I managed to get in front of him, so considering we had the bare eleven out there today it was a great win.” 

The home side made the perfect start when Maplestone raced down the right and whipped in a great cross to the back post, where Ninkovic gambled and got in front of his marker to power a header past Johnny Perkins. 

The young striker went close again 10 minutes later, but this time his shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed wide of the target. 

Bayswater were dominating and Ninkovic headed wide again from Todd Howarth’s in-swinging corner, before Gino Albano fired over the top after a defensive mistake at the back by the visitors. 

As the half ended ECU started to get on top, Sam Pollard’s long-range shot was well held by Devon Spence, before they had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Steven Gregory.

ECU skipper Daryl Nicol raced into the penalty area and fell under a challenge of Kay, but the referee was well placed to wave away their protests. 

The visitors were on the front foot after the break and Spence had to be alert to claim Pollard’s cross early, with Gordon Smith ready to bounce at the back post.

It was backs to the wall for the home side as the Jacks pressed. Second half substitute Paddy Doyle had a shot whistle over the top, before Smith headed wide. 

Bayswater then thought they had a penalty on 78 minutes. Substitute Luke Salmon was sent down the right channel and after cutting inside the box, he fell under a challenge from ECU keeper Perkins but again the referee waved away their claims, much to the frustration of the home faithful. 

It was one-way traffic but ECU failed to create any clear-cut chances. Nicol headed wide and Cameron Murray’s shot deflected over the top, but Spence wasn’t to be beaten.

In the final minute the Bayswater keeper was out bravely to save at Ethan Brooks’ feet and at the whistle it was the home side celebrating a battling three points. 

ECU coach Dale McCulloch was proud of his team performance despite the loss. 

“I thought we dominated for 75 percent of the game today and we had them on the back foot, but we didn’t take our chances when they came,” he said.

“But we fought it out till the last minute today and showed grit and determination, something that was missing a couple of weeks ago.

“They (Bayswater) are a good team but I thought we were the better team today, so to come away empty-handed is a disappointment, but we’ll take a lot of positives from the performance.”

Bayswater City 1 (Ninkovic 2min)
ECU Joondalup 0
Saturday, May 12
Frank Drago Reserve
Kick-off: 3 pm
Referee: Steven Gregory
Assistant referees: Simon Hicks, Harry Bolan

Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 4 Arran MAPLESTONE, 5 Adam HARRIS, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY, 12 David STOKOE, 13 Trent KAY (C), 17 Gian ALBANO (22 Luke SALMON 50), 19 Luka NINKOVIC (14 Tristan COLLI 85), 24 Jake SARDELIC, 26 Paul LLOYD (15 Jordan POKLER 79)
Substitutes not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC, 23 Eraste VYAMUNGA
Yellow cards: Lloyd 53, Salmon 75 
Red cards: Nil

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Cian HIRRELL, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 6 Tom HOUGH (16 Ethan BROOKS 82), 8 Josh WHITMORE (12 Paddy DOYLE 50), 9 Daryl NICOL (C), 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Andy HIGGINS, 13 Sam POLLARD (7 Cameron MURRAY 73), 18 Declan HUGHES
Substitutes not used: RGK Jack NUNN, 3 Logan MCISAAC
Yellow cards: Whitmore 9
Red cards: Nil

Proudly Supporting Bayswater City Soccer Club