A solid performance from Gwelup Croatia saw them edge out Dianella White Eagles 2-0 in an entertaining encounter at Dianella Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
The win on the road against their fierce rivals extended Gwelup’s lead at the top of State League Division One and ensured they enter next week’s Belt Up State Cup Final against NPL WA outfit Armadale in fine form.
Both teams started the match well in an even first half although neither was able to score.
But Gwelup burst out of the blocks after the break and broke the deadlock when Brian Mashingaidze marked his Gwelup debut with an ice-cool finish within sixty seconds of the restart. The goal came after some clever work by Benny Kouakou on the right. He crossed to a grateful Mashingaidze who made no mistake in volleying low and beyond Dianella goalkeeper Joel Driscoll.
Gwelup coach Taki Nicolaidis was full of praise for his side and their newest goalscorer.
“I thought it was a well-taken goal. That’s his first game in over a year and debut for the club.
“Overall, we controlled the game and deserved to win, we were quite solid. There are things we need to go over on the training track to ensure that come next week we put our best foot forward.
“It’s about the mindset and positive reinforcement.”
Substitute Isaac Koomson sealed the win for his side in stoppage time to ensure any hopes of a Dianella comeback were quashed. Koomson’s goal came after a Dianella back-pass left goalkeeper Driscoll in a world of pressure and his attempted clearance was charged down. The ball then fell to a waiting Koomson who made no mistake as he took a touch before calmly finishing.
Dianella coach Salv Todaro was upbeat despite the losing result.
“I’m disappointed in the result but pleased with my players,” he said.
“They were fantastic, I don’t think we deserved to lose. Going forward we just need the boys to keep their confidence and we’ll get some results. We’ve just got to keep going the way we’re going. It’s just about taking some of our chances.”
Dianella take on UWA-Nedlands in their next match while Gwelup get their shot at silverware against Armadale. Gwelup then face Adelaide Comets at Dorrien Gardens in their historic FFA Cup Round of 32 tie on July 25.
Dianella White Eagles 0
Gwelup Croatia 2 (Mashingaidze 46min, Koomson 90+1)
Saturday, July 7
Referee: S. Skinner
Assistant referees: D. Cole, J. Waldock
Dianella White Eagles: 1. J. DRISCOLL (GK), 2. S. THEODOSIADES 3. I. NEHEMIE, 4. J. AWAKA, 5. S. NENADIC, 7. Y. KWILA (6. H. HAMAD 69.), 10. J. OWEN (15. J. TABAN 78.), 12. P. ANGELO, 13. E. ACHAHYELEH (8. F. MINIC 88.), 14. B. RADINOVIC, 16. K. JACKSON
Substitutes not used: 11. J. ZUNIGA, 23. M. FERGUSON (RGK)
Yellow cards: Nenadic 19, Radinovic 72, Hamad 90+4
Red cards: Nil
Gwelup Croatia: 1. Connor CAMPBELL (GK), 2. Michael PUGLIESE, 3. David MARTINS (30. Reece ABRAMS 85.), 6. Brodie MARTIN, 7. James SAMMUT, 9. David HEAGNEY (25. Noah SHAMAKI 76.), 12. Benjamin KOUAKOU, 16. Stephen O’LEARY, 17. Sebastian MUNOZ (C), 28. Kwangmook LIM, 50. Brian MASHINGAIDZE (11. Isaac KOOMSON 63)
Substitutes not used: 20. Patrick STEPHENSON (RGK), 40. Ralph MANIRE
Yellow cards: Heagney 38, Martins 50
Red cards: Nil