NPL WA tightens at the top

Perth SC closed the gap on National Premier Leagues WA leaders Bayswater City with a last-gasp goal at Dorrien Gardens yesterday to set-up a grandstand finish to the season.

While Bayswater suffered a controversial 4-2 defeat at home to Cockburn City, Perth were pushed all the way by ECU Joondalup before Mark Pritchard scored a fortuitous late goal to seal a 2-1 win.

With three rounds to play, Bayswater lead Perth by just two points with third-placed Balcatta a further five points adrift.

Cockburn produced a sixth successive victory to stun Bayswater in a heated game at Frank Drago Reserve yesterday.

The home side had Steve Burton and Gustavo Giron Marulanda sent off as the match boiled over in the latter stages following a controversial call from the match officials.

The turning point of the game came as Bayswater striker Burton thought he had equalised after Cockburn led 3-2.

Burton had looked to be offside but referee Matt Southern gave the goal after his assistant failed to raise his flag. Following consultation between the officials the goal was ruled out and Cockburn were given a free-kick for offside.

Burton reacted angrily to the decision and received his second yellow card. Marulanda was sent off 10 minutes from the end for a poorly timed tackle.

Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses described the performance as Bayswater’s worst in two seasons.

“We were 3-2 down, starting to get momentum and we scored that goal,” Moses said of the controversy. “They’ve given the goal and the linesman has changed his decision. I think if the goal had stood, we would’ve got momentum and started kicking forward. But then a couple of undisciplined decisions by the players, we’re down to nine men and the game’s dead and buried.”

In other games, Stirling Lions mauled Inglewood United 5-1, Reece Vittiglia scored four goals as Sorrento crushed Perth Glory 6-1, Balcatta beat Subiaco 2-0 and Lewis McMahon hit a hat-trick in Floreat Athena’s 6-1 thumping of Armadale.