A final flourish from Armadale saw them progress to the preliminary semi-finals of the FFA Cup as they defeated Dianella White Eagles 5-2 in a thriller at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday.
John O’Reilly’s National Premier Leagues WA side are just one match from the national Round of 32 – and the State Cup Final – after this entertaining clash.
State League Division One Dianella tested their opponents in the first half and looked as though they were gaining momentum when substitute Dhamon Kalamaras made it 2-2 in the 70th minute.
However the Reds responded with three goals in 10 minutes, much to the delight of assistant coach Jonathan Lupolo-Chan who is already looking forward to the next round.
“I think in the second half Dianella really had to go for it and we managed to identify that and score three goals which made the difference in the end,” he said.
“It’s massive for the club to be in the final four of the cup. We have a real chance to win a trophy and be put under the national spotlight, so the boys will be fighting hard for it come the next round.”
The scoring began in the 10th minute when an Armadale free-kick found centre-back Billy Quinncroft, who headed the ball home.
It should have been 2-0 just two minutes later as Josh Kuser whipped in a cross from the wing to Chris Jackson but he skied his side-foot volley from inside the area.
The Eagles responded well from that moment, continuing to put the home side under pressure, and were rewarded in the 43rd minute when the ball was played to Angel Andres in the box.
The striker made space for himself with a quick turn before unleashing a shot to make it 1-1.
Dianella’s joy was shortlived, however, as Armadale responded with another header on the cusp of half-time, this time Dannie Richman directing a cross past the keeper.
After an uneventful start to the second period Dianella equalised again in the 70th minute when a corner from Ibrahim Hamad was met by the head of substitute Kalamaras.
It was deja-vu for the Eagles when they conceded only moments later. The ball was laid off to substitute Ryan Haslett and he fired a near-post shot into the back of the net.
This time Dianella were unable to respond and Haslett turned from goalscorer to provider just four minutes later when he crossed the ball from the byline to Kuser at the far post and he tapped the ball into an empty net.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 83rd minute as Chris Jackson made no mistake after he was put through by a quickly taken throw-in that arched over Dianella’s defence.
Dianella coach Robbie Dunn said the scoreline didn’t do his side justice and thought a lack of concentration ultimately cost his side.
“We had a very makeshift side today so I’m very proud of the players and thought they did very well,” he said.
“I think we had a chance of winning it at one stage but as we pushed forward Armadale kept punishing us on the break.
“We’ve lost five or six players in the last few weeks to injury so we will work with the players we have and see how far we can get in the league.”
Armadale 5 (Quinncroft 11min, Richman 45, Haslett 74, Kuser 78, Jackson 83)
Dianella White Eagles 2 (Andres 43, Kalamaras 70)
Saturday, May 19
Alfred Skeet Reserve
Referee: Tom Glavovic
Assistant referees: Shane Skinner, Ammar Timour
Armadale: GK. Sam HUTCHINGS, 2. Joshua KUSER (13. Hasan EL YASSIRI 64), 3. Delan DE SILVA, 4. Nathan COSTELLO (C), 7. Charlie KENNA, 9. Billy QUINNCROFT, 10. Chris JACKSON, 11. Michael RIZIDIS (22. Ryan HASLETT 61), 12. Dannie RICHMAN (16. Milan OGNJENOVIC 74), 15. Ali GHOLAMI, 21. Beau RAHIM
Substitutes not used: 17. James ATKINS, 34. Duncan LENNON-BLACK
Yellow cards: Costello 90
Red cards: Nil
Dianella White Eagles: GK. Joel DRISCOLL, 2. Sotiris THEODOSIADES (15. Dhamon KALAMARAS 66), 3. Spiro NENADIC (7. Yves MWILA 69), 4. Bojan RADINOVIC (C), 6. Josam MUWOWO, 8. Ibrahim HAMAD, 9. Angel ANDRES, 10. Jose ZUNIGA, 12. Branimic DRAGOJEVIC, 13. Jimmy TABAN, 16. Mordecal APPIAH (11. Komando SIKAZWE 74)
Substitutes not used: 14. Phil ANGELO, 23. Mackenzie FERGUSON
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil