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Battle for the title goes to the wire
Football West News
The fate of the 2017 PS4 NPLWA title rests with Inglewood United this weekend when they take on Floreat Athena in the last round of the competition.
A victory for Inglewood will clinch the title, although second-placed Bayswater City will be waiting to pounce should Andy Keogh’s side fail to get maximum points from their clash against Floreat.
Bayswater face Stirling Lions on Saturday needing a victory and also hoping that Floreat earn at least a point against Inglewood.
Third-placed Perth SC have a slim mathematical chance of winning the title. They would need Bayswater to fail to win and make sure they score a big win over ECU Joondalup and also hope Inglewood suffer a heavy defeat.
The PS4 NPLWA title was top priority for Keogh when he took the reins at the club in round 11.
“It was my goal when I took over to win the league,” he said.
“We’re in a position now where potentially we could do it but there’s only so much I can do now and it’s up to the lads who walk out onto the pitch on Saturday.
“It’s a bit of a pressure game but it’s a good one and the fact that it’s in our own hands makes it even better, so it’s a weekend to look forward to, to embrace and enjoy.”
Keogh has been satisfied with the team performance this season and is confident they can complete the job.
“I think we’ve been very entertaining this season,” he said. “We’ve leaked less goals and we’ve put on some real shows.
“To score 10 goals in one game, seven in another and six in another has showed our attacking capacity and our clean sheets have improved since the start of the season as well.”
Keogh expects fifth-placed Floreat to put up a fight given they are pushing for a place in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup.
“Floreat are a good team and they’ve been up there all season so it’ll be a tough game,” he said. “They’ve got good players, they’ve got something to fight for as well and all to play for.”
Bayswater coach Chris Coyne won’t let the pressure get to his players.
“We’re confident, we’re on a good roll and there’s no pressure on us,” he said. “We’ve still got to go out and win our game against Stirling but (the title) isn’t ours to lose – it’s Inglewood’s.
A former Socceroos, Perth Glory, West Ham and Dundee defender, Coyne will use personal experience to get the most out of his team.
“I’ve played in some big games myself and some I didn’t enjoy or appreciate because I was more worried about the outcome than enjoying the game,” he said.
“The boys have to own it, enjoy it, do what they’ve been doing and I think their ability will take care of the rest.
“We’ve got no control over what happens (between Floreat and Inglewood).
“I’ve got no concerns, the boys can go out and play with the energy, enthusiasm and the enjoyment they’ve been having as a group.”
Fifth-placed Floreat Athena, who are under the charge of assistant coach Howard Tweats following the departure of Glen Grostate this week, have good reason to work for a win.
“As well as a must-win game for Inglewood, we also see it as a must-win game for us,” Tweats said.
“Being top of the league at the turn of the season our boys feel a bit disappointed that they didn’t kick on in the second half of the season and be in the mix at end.
“We’re not going to lie down. Over the last few games we’ve not been our best so we’ve still got a point to prove and we can still have a big say in who secures the title.”
In other matches this weekend, Perth SC and Sorrento will fight to retain their positions in the Top Four on Saturday when they take on ECU Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens and Subiaco at Percy Doyle Reserve respectively.
At the opposite end of the table, Balcatta and Mandurah City will battle it out in a must-win match at Grindleford Reserve to avoid finishing in last place.
Should Balcatta win or draw, Mandurah City will hold the relegation position. Alternatively, should Mandurah City win, Balcatta will finish last.
Armadale will host Joondalup United at Alfred Skeet Reserve, and Perth Glory will face Cockburn City at Ashfield Arena.
Saturday, August 26
Armadale v Joondalup United (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm)
Perth Glory v Cockburn City (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Perth SC v ECU Joondalup (Dorrien Gardens, 3pm)
Floreat Athena v Inglewood United (E&D Litis Stadium, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Stirling Lions (Finance 365 Arena, 3pm)
Balcatta v Mandurah City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Sorrento v Subiaco (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)