Experienced striker Daniel McBreen scored the decisive goal as Edgeworth Eagles secured a 1-0 win over Perth SC and a place in next weekend’s PlayStation 4 NPL Final Series Grand Final.
After a scoreless first-half, the Northern New South Wales side started the second period with a bang when captain Josh Evans’ long ball was brilliantly brought down by McBreen, who showed his class by slotting
home in the 51st minute.
“The missus isn’t going to be happy,” said a chuffed McBreen after the whistle. “I’m supposed to be on a family holiday in Fiji so I might have to postpone that for a few days, but it’s a great achievement for the club.”
Edgeworth issued an early warning after the kick-off when Ayden Bryce waltzed from deep and fired a long-range effort just past a post.
Brody Taylor followed up moments later with an exquisite turn and chip from outside the box, which struck the bar.
Perth picked up their game and nearly opened the scoring on 16 minutes when a neat layoff by Gustavo Catarcione was beautifully struck on the volley by Nicholas Ambrogio only to see the ball rebound off a post.
On the stroke of half-time, Perth goalkeeper Francis Soale made a super double-block, first from Keanu Moore from close-range and then from McBreen, who smashed the rebound at the target when it fell to him outside the box.
After the early goal in the second-half, Perth upped the tempo and Aleksandar Jovic’s fine run and pass presented Matthew Milenkovic with a half-chance, which was saved by Edgeworth keeper Jim Fogarty’s feet.
In the 74th minute, Jovic almost levelled terms when his half-volley from Catarcione’s knockdown whistled past a post.
Aden Gardener almost sealed it for the visitors when he spun an effort centimetres wide with 10 minutes remaining.
He was almost left to rue that miss when Perth substitute Francesco Furfaro made an instant impact when he beat the keeper but not the post from 25m.
In added time, Furfaro made a brilliant run into the box and his pass found Catarcione, who misjudged the bounce of the ball with the goal at his mercy.
Perth coach Ramon Falzon was disappointed to miss out on the Grand Final but delighted with his club’s season.
“We hit the post twice so it’s a bitter one to swallow but I’m very proud of the boys and the character they’ve shown game after game,” he said.
“It definitely hasn’t been a fluke that we won the (WA) NPL and the Top Four Cup.”
Edgeworth will play the winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Sydney United 58 and Brisbane Strikers.