NPL WA Round 17 Review

Perth SC are the new leaders of the NPLWA – Men’s competition after Calvin Whitney's goal seven minutes from time gave the Azzurri a 2-1 win at Gwelup Croatia.

Ramon Falzon's team are now a point clear of Floreat Athena, who dropped off top spot for the first time since Round Two.

Perth SC found their groove quickly at the Croatian Sporting Complex as they took the lead inside 80 seconds. Yagoub Mustafa flashed a cross into the near post and Jayden Gorman headed home his second of the season.

Malek Kuc denied Michael Domfeh a second and then saved from Whitney in the first half, while at the other end Ryan Montgomery saved with his feet to thwart Gustavo Marulanda.

But in first-half added time Gwelup pulled level. Declan Hargreaves swung over a corner which hit the inside of the post and deflected in off an unfortunate Lachie Byrd.

After that, Shubham Mokala's effort clipped off the bar and Gorman hit tamely at Kuc from Domfeh's pass as the game remained there for both teams to win.

Perth grasped that opportunity and ultimately returned to the top of the league. Whitney chanced his luck with his shot taking a deflection to deceive Kuc and ensure Perth continue their run of one defeat in 13.

The 23-time league champions moved ahead of Floreat, who were held 1-1 at Cockburn.

The State Cup winners are now without a league win in five and went behind two minutes into the second half. Jesse Lazzaro's free-kick was brought down and lashed into the net by Cockerels leading scorer Daniel Robinson.

Athena levelled just after the hour when Ben Radonich spilled Phil Arnold's awkward free-kick at the feet of Chris Saldaris with the defender scoring his sixth of 2021.

Nick Ambrogio volleyed over the best chance of a winner at either end as Cockburn clawed another point closer to safety.

It shapes up as a thrilling title race with five games to play and third-place Sorrento cannot be discounted. They sit two points behind Floreat and three off top spot after beating Rockingham City 3-1.

Dean Cummings was the hat-trick hero for the Gulls as they won for a third game in a row. The midfielder drove into the area and scored via a deflection inside 10 minutes, before doubling his tally with a volley from close range.

But Rockingham are fighting to avoid the drop and were back in it before the break when Hamish Van Dieken beat Connor Campbell with a beautiful curling strike from the edge of the area.

Dylan Rogers blazed over from distance with 10 minutes remaining, but Jamie Harnwell's side would put the game to bed in the final few minutes when Cummings completed his treble from the penalty spot.

Sorrento still have to play the two sides above them – they travel to Perth SC in Round 20 then host Floreat a week later in the season’s penultimate round.

ECU Joondalup returned to the top four places with a 4-1 win over Balcatta.

Danny Hodgson put the defending champions 2-0 up with a first-half brace. The Englishman's first was a clinical finish after a mistake at the back and his second from the penalty spot moved him outright second in the Golden Boot race with 13 goals.

Two thumping second half strikes from Daryl Nicol ensured ECU would cruise to victory in the second half as they ended the weekend in fourth spot.

Amir Ajan drove in a late consolation for Balcatta, who have now lost six straight and are well and truly in a relegation scrap with bottom club Rockingham.

Inglewood United celebrated their 70th anniversary in style as they thrashed Bayswater City 5-0 to move within two points of fourth place.

Two goals in four minutes set the hosts on their way. Ajak Riak opened the scoring when he followed in Andreas Theodosiades' dink off the bar, before Rob Petkov netted for a fourth straight home game when he headed home Egide Ngendakumana's cross.

Bayswater weren’t without their chances in the first half with Fraser Dunlop bringing the best out of Josiah Godfrey on two occasions, but Inglewood ran away with proceedings in the second half.

Riak capitalised on an error at the back to join Petkov on eight for the season before Steve Sokol came off the bench to arrow a fourth into the bottom corner.

The division's leading scorer moved to 14 for the campaign when he converted Riak's pull back as the hosts' milestone day was one to remember.

Finally, Perth Glory and Armadale drew 1-1 on Friday night in a result which helped neither team's ambitions of finishing in the Top Four Cup places.

Nathan Costello gave Armadale the lead, but that opener was soon cancelled out by Ciaran Bramwell’s header.


Cockburn City 1-1 Floreat Athena
ECU Joondalup 4-1 Balcatta
Gwelup Croatia 1-2 Perth SC
Inglewood United 5-0 Bayswater City
Perth Glory 1-1 Armadale
Sorrento 3-1 Rockingham City