Draw gives Bayswater top four finish

Report by Peter Simcox

Bayswater City will play in the 2018 McInerney Ford Top Four Cup after a 1-1 draw in their final NPL WA game against ECU Joondalup at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Before kick-off both sides still had a chance to reach the end of season finals, although only Bayswater had their destiny in their own hands.

And their position was strengthened four minutes before half-time when Gian Albano gave the visitors the lead.

However, some slack defending allowed Daryl Nicol to level two minutes later. And while it was end-to-end football after the break with chances at both ends, the point was enough for City to progress while ECU’s season is now over.

Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was happy to reach the top four finals but said the game was typical of their season.

“We had three one-on-ones and didn’t take them and that’s been the story of the second half of the season for us,” he said.

“They hit the post twice but to concede a goal right after we had taken the lead, I wasn’t happy. It was a terrible goal to give away, it was crap, but I thought a draw was a fair result in the end.”

Coyne congratulated Perth SC on winning the title and said he was looking forward to taking on Cockburn City next week.

“I’d like to congratulate Ramon and everyone at Perth for winning the league, they have been the most consistent team this season,” he said.

“That’s why we haven’t challenged for the title, that’s why we’ve snuck in the back door to the top four – If you don’t take your chances and give away sloppy goals, something has to give eventually.

“But we’re in the finals. Do we deserve it? Probably not. But it’s knockout football now and I look forward to coming up against Scotty [Miller] and a really good Cockburn team next week.

ECU coach Dale McCulloch said his team had given it a good crack but fallen short. “We had half a sniff today and the lads gave it their all, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“We wanted to win our final game at home and we had enough chances, but they had some too.

“We really weren’t at the races in the first half, but we tweaked a few things at half-time and I thought we were the better side in the second half and had the chances to win it.”

It was an open game straight from the kick-off. Gordon Smith fired over the top early for ECU, before City’s Paul Lloyd had a volley well saved by Johnny Perkins. Lloyd tried his luck again moments later, his long-range shot whistling inches wide of the far post.

It continued to be end-to-end football and Smith headed wide on the half-hour, before Todd Howarth’s curling free-kick missed everyone in the box but drifted just wide of the ECU upright.

Then on 41 minutes the visitors struck. Nikola Talimdzioski was sent down the left and his low cross was turned home by Albano.

But the lead lasted only two minutes before ECU levelled, much to the frustration of the Bayswater coach. Smith and Ethan Brooks combined down the right, and Brooks crossed to the unmarked Nicol to score from close range.

It was the Scot’s 24th league goal of the season and would be enough to ensure he shared the Golden Boot with Armadale’s English import Chris Jackson.

The home side opened the brighter after the break. Smith’s long-range shot was saved by Dejan Aleksic, before Ronald Rixer’s shot flashed just wide.

This was the best period of the game for the Jacks and Nicol played in Smith whose shot crashed off the post, while the follow-up shot from Lukas De Lima was over the top.

Aleksic then produced a superb save to deny Ronald Rixer. The ECU man’s long-range shot looked destined for the top corner but the Bayswater keeper produced a great one-handed save. 

With news of scores from other games filtering through both sides went for it. Talimdzioski thought he had scored on 70 minutes for Bayswater but Andy Higgins got back to clear the ball off the line. Then at the other end Nicol saw his shot on the run flash wide of the post.

Bayswater looked threatening on the break and when Shane Cassidy lost the ball in the middle of the park, Albano raced away and slid the ball into Talimdzioski. Thankfully for the hosts Cassidy made up for his error by getting back with a great last-ditch tackle to clear the danger.

Bayswater were in again moments later and Talimdzioski was sent one-on-one with Perkins, but the ECU keeper stood tall to block his shot.

In the last minute of stoppage time the home side almost won it. Higgins’ free-kick was met by Rixer, his header beat Aleksic but smacked the base of the post and Smith’s follow-up was blocked.

A great game of football for the neutrals but probably not the coaches. Now Bayswater move on to a Top Four Cup knockout match with Cockburn, while it’s the end of the road for ECU. 

ECU Joondalup 1 (Smith 43min)
Bayswater City 1 (Albano 41)
ECU Football Stadium
Saturday, August 25
Referee: Michal Jasinski 
Assistant referees: Stewart Beatie, Jamie West 
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Cian HIRRELL, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Shane CASSIDY, 5 Adam TONG, 7 Tom HOUGH, 8 Ronald RIXER, 9 Daryl NICOL (C), 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Andy HIGGINS, 17 Ethan BROOKS (13 Lukas DE LIMA 46)
Substitutes not used: RGK Jack NUNN, 12 Ryan MCDARBY, 14 Harry EDWARDS, 15 Ben HINSHELWOOD 
Yellow cards: Rixer 29, Cassidy 31, Higgins 36, Hirrell 56
Red cards: Nil

Bayswater City: GK Dejan ALEKSIC, 5 Adam HARRIS, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY (23 Andrija JUKIC 85), 12 David STOKOE, 13 Trent KAY, 17 Gian ALBANO, 18 Brent GRIFFITHS, 24 Jake SARDELIC, 26 Paul LLOYD (19 Luka NINKOVIC 57), 27 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI (20 Giordano COLLI 89)
Substitutes not used: RGK Luke HUTCHINSON, 22 Luke Salmon
Yellow cards: Sardelic 81
Red cards: Nil

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