North Perth United handed Leeming Strikers their first loss of the season after a 2-0 win at Woodville Reserve on Sunday in Round Six of the Belt up. Amateur Premier Division.
Goals from James Steedman and Paul Gabel gave North Perth their third win in a row and a valuable three points.
North Perth coach Alex Carter was pleased with the intensity that his side brought to the pitch for the whole 90 minutes.
“We’re really pleased with how we played over the course of 90 minutes today,” Carter said.
“Barring the first couple of minutes we were all over them in terms of pressing and second ball effort in the first half. The big challenge for us was how we come out of the change rooms and if we’ve got that same intensity then we’ll go a long way to getting the points.
“The other positive thing was that we’ve brought on two subs in the 65th minute and they’ve helped change the game.“
Carter added: “We set ourselves a bit of a goal after the first couple of rounds where we struggled that we’ve just got to put a string of results together and when we did that we’re climbing the table pretty quick because it’s such a close league and the boys have now put three in a row so it’s up to us now to turn up week in week out.”
There was plenty of passion in this encounter with eight yellow cards shown but Carter put it down to two sets of players who knew what there was to play for.
He added: “Some people say it’s fiery, some people say it’s a proper football game. There was nothing malicious, there was nothing dirty involved, it was just two teams that realised there’s a fair bit to play for and that’s all it was.”
It was Leeming who started the better of the two sides as they peppered the North Perth goal but were unable to find the crucial opener.
Once the home side settled into the match they looked more threatening and went close after a long throw-in was sent into the box but no one was able to apply the finishing touch.
Paul Gabel almost put North Perth ahead in the 25th minute but he failed to head the ball into the back of the net from close range following a corner.
Leeming keeper Jordan Jones nearly handed North Perth the opener when his poor clearance went straight to Emmon Kelly near the half way line. Kelly shot first time but Jones was able to scramble back and tap the ball to safety to ensure the game remained scoreless at half-time.
Brad North almost snatched the lead for Leeming in the 63rd minute when he found space inside the box but he could only send his shot wide.
The first goal would eventually come in the 76th minute through substitute Steedman. Thiery Berard saw his free-kick cleared by the Leeming defence but the ball was whipped across the face of the goal before rebounding out to an unmarked Steedman, who slotted it into the left corner of the goal.
And North Perth doubled their lead only five minutes later when the ball was clipped to the back post and Gabel nodded the ball across the line despite the clearance attempts from the defender.
The final ten minutes became a real dogfight; the referee being forced to hand out six yellow cards as North Perth tried to hold on and Leeming pushed for that elusive goal.
But as the final whistle blew it was North Perth who celebrated a hard-fought victory against a strong Leeming side.
Leeming player-coach David Palin remained upbeat despite the loss and preferred to focus on the positives.
“I think that’s our first loss in 12 games, including the Night Series, so if we’re only going to lose one game every 12 then we’ll take that,” Palin said.
“It’s not a bad place to come and lose, North Perth is a good team and they deserved the result today.”
North Perth now have the week off after being knocked out of the cup but will look to keep their winning streak alive when they face Southern Spirit in the next round, while Leeming take on Stirling Lions in the cup before facing Belmont Villa.
North Perth United 2 (Steedman 76min, Gabel 81)
Lemming Strikers 0
Sunday, May 13
Referee: A Best
Assistant referee: S Phiri
North Perth United: 50. Jamie Serra, 15. Thiery Berard, 12. Niall Murray, 5. Keith Mullins, 2. Michael Doherty, 8. Ago Mujic, 6. Paul Gabel, 10. Emmon Kelly, 13. Raido Reinsalu, 9. Sean Lahert, 7. Dinko Ahmetanovic, (19. William Pender 64), (3. James Steedman 69)
Substitutes not used: 11. Ricard Dendle, 1. Liam Reid
Yellow cards: Berard 71, Serra 84, Murray 87
Red cards: Nil
Leeming Strikers: 1. Jordan Jones, 2. Lee Thoelk, 3. Kudli Chigvanda, 4. Matt Bevion, 5. Tom Grant, 6. Kabl Goran, 7. Ben Grieves, 8. Danny McKenna, 9. Jay Dost, 10. Brad North, 11. Leanalu Fernades, (16. Tom Wood 65), (19. David Palin 68), (18. Michael Maratea 77)
Substitutes not used: 23. Josh Blackmore, 17. Pavlo Coelho
Yellow cards: Chigvanda 68, Palin 84, Grieves 88, Fernades 88, North 92
Red cards: Nil