Perth Glory’s good start to the National Premier Leagues WA season will be put to the test on Saturday afternoon when they host ECU Joondalup at Ashfield Arena.
Glory sit in second spot heading into week five and are coming off big wins against Joondalup United and Forrestfield United.
Joe Knowles has caught the eye with four goals in the last two matches but the striker was keen to share the credit when reflecting on the 5-0 victory over Forrestfield at Wildlife Safari Stadium.
“I thought that was our best performance of the season. We created numerous chances and were also very clinical in front of goal for a change, which was nice,” he said.
“I also thought Forrestfield were a decent side and thought they played good football at times and will cause teams problems this season.”
Knowles’ State league form last season earned him an A-League contract with Glory and he scored his first goal in the competition against Newcastle Jets in Round 10.
“I’ve worked really hard for my opportunity with the first-team squad and I will continue to do so,” he said.
“I look at my goal as a reward for all the hard work I’ve put in over the years and I would love to add more to the tally.”
Knowles comes up against his former club this weekend as Glory’s youngsters aim to beat the Jacks for the first time in the NPL.
“They always have a strong side and it will be the same this time round,” Knowles said.
“But we have had a great start to the season and will be looking to continue our fine form with another three points on Saturday.”
Like Glory, ECU are unbeaten after four rounds but three draws have stalled their progress. They were held 2-2 at home by Cockburn last Saturday and skipper Daryl Nicol says they need to start putting games to bed when they are on top.
“The result was disappointing as we were looking to take all three points,” the Scottish winger said.
“We did so well to come back from a goal down and go into the break with the lead, but we let them back into it in the second half and a point was probably a fair result.
“At this stage of the season the teams are all quite evenly matched. It’s fine margins but we need to start turning draws into wins now.”
Nicol believes this weekend’s clash against Glory will be a stiff test for both teams.
“It’s probably going to be our hardest game of the season so far; they are a young, fit side who have started the season brilliantly and will be full of confidence,” he said.
“But we are playing with a lot of confidence as well and I think it could be a cracking game. With the players in our team I’m confident going into every game and we’re all looking forward to getting out there again on Saturday.”
This weekend’s matches all take place on Saturday. The other afternoon kick-offs see league leaders Bayswater City make the trip to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City, Armadale entertain Inglewood United at Alfred Skeet Reserve and Sorrento meet Stirling Lions at Percy Doyle Reserve.
In the 7pm games, Subiaco head to Dorrien Gardens to face Perth SC, Joondalup United go in search of their first points of the season against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium, while Forrestfield United and Balcatta meet at Wildlife Safari Stadium.
Saturday, March 24
Armadale v Inglewood United (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm)
Cockburn City v Bayswater City (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
Perth Glory v ECU Joondalup (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Sorrento v Stirling Lions (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)
Floreat Athena v Joondalup United (E&D Litis Stadium, 7pm)
Forrestfield United v Balcatta (Wildlife Safari Stadium, 7pm)
Perth SC v Subiaco (Dorrien Gardens, 7pm)