A solitary Hyundai A-League appearance for Wellington Phoenix continues to motivate ECU Joondalup goalkeeper Lewis Italiano.
The 25-year-old, who will return to Phoenix after the current PS4 NPL WA season, has been the man between the posts during Joondalup’s record-breaking run of five successive clean sheets.
He will be aiming to extend that streak against Stirling Lions at ECU Football Stadium on Saturday.
“We’re not after draws,” he said. “We’re after the three points because we want to climb up that ladder.”
ECU are seventh, six points adrift of fourth-placed Floreat Athena, but Italiano has not given up hope of reaching the Top Four Cup.
“As long as we do our jobs and keep playing well, we’re going to be hard to beat,” he said.
Italiano, who started his junior career with Hamersley, hopes consistent performances for ECU can help in his longer-term personal plan.
“I’ve only played one game out of three or four years as a professional,” he said. “My goal now is to be a starter in the A-League.”
That sole appearance, which came at the end of the 2014-15 season for Phoenix against Sydney FC, gave him an appetite for more.
“It was unreal,” he said. “I didn’t think about it much until I was in the change rooms and then you start to panic a bit. But once I was outside on the field it’s just like auto-play. It was unbelievable.”
His recent form for Joondalup has helped the northern suburbs club move from ninth to seventh and shave three points off the distance between ECU and fourth place.
The former Perth Glory, Inglewood and Balcatta goalkeeper, though, credits the work of those in front of him with Joondalup’s defensive stinginess.
“It’s not just about what I do,” he said. “The back four have saved me last week and the past four weeks, so all credit to them and the whole team.
“We do have confidence and we go out each week and try to make it happen.”
Saturday, July 9
Perth Glory v Armadale (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Cockburn City v Inglewood (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
ECU Joondalup v Stirling Lions (ECU Football Stadium, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Sorrento (Finance 365 Stadium, 3pm)
Balcatta v Subiaco (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Sunday, July 10
Floreat Athena v Perth SC (Litis Stadium, 3pm)