Perth SC coach Ramon Falzon has challenged his side to put runs on the board when they face Floreat Athena in Football West’s Belt up. Round in the National Premier Leagues WA on Saturday.
Falzon said the fourth-placed Azzurri had bounced back from a “very difficult” six weeks with two big wins against Sorrento and Armadale to lift themselves back to the fringes of the title race.
Victory over their neighbours at E&D Litis Stadium will move Perth to within seven points of the top.
And with leaders Bayswater not playing until Sunday when they go to Inglewood United, Falzon wants his players to strike first.
“We will go looking for three points knowing that Inglewood are playing against Bayswater on Sunday so someone will drop points. But the most important thing is we win,” he said.
Perth and Floreat have won their previous two games, with the former following up a 5-2 defeat at Sorrento with a 4-0 victory over Armadale.
“The last two games we have played really well and last week it was pleasing to have a clean sheet,” Falzon added.
“It’s good to get back to winning ways. The previous six weeks have been very difficult for us. After playing five games in 14 days we had a lot of injuries but we’ve been getting players back the last couple of weeks.”
During that poor run Perth dropped down the table and went out of the FFA Cup to Saturday’s opponents.
“Hopefully we beat Floreat after losing to them on penalties, that hurt,” Falzon added.
Floreat’s own upturn in results has seen them move out of the bottom three.
Last week they backed up a fine 2-1 away win over ECU Joondalup with a 5-1 thrashing of Balcatta, and in keeping with the nature of the season three points on Saturday could see them move into the top half of the table.
In between those games Athena exited the FFA Cup to Gwelup Croatia, but coach Howard Tweats conceded that getting up the ladder was the overriding priority.
“The league is the bread and butter,” he said. “Because of our position we didn’t have the opportunity to rest players before the cup game, but ECU didn’t either and we beat a team higher up the table.
“The table isn’t a pretty picture considering the standard of the club but we are looking at the next team above us, which is Armadale who are one point above us.
“Over the past few weeks there has been a marked improvement and we’ve got points from our last four games. We had to dig ourselves from the situation we were in and we were worthy winners against ECU. Against Balcatta it was tight for an hour but in the last half-hour we could have scored more.”
Tweats said new striker Robert Petkov, who scored his side’s first against Balcatta, is a doubt for Saturday with a knee injury.
As Falzon mentioned, Inglewood and Bayswater meet at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday, where a Bayswater win will put them 13 points in front of their opponents and all but out of sight.
Inglewood, who are fifth and on the same points as Perth SC, last week took what would normally be regarded as a good point at Cockburn City. However, Andy Keogh’s side now need wins if they are to have a say in the destination of the title.
That 1-1 draw for Cockburn, who host ECU on Saturday, allowed Perth Glory to slip into second spot and a win over Forrestfield at Ashfield Arena will leave them just one point behind Bayswater.
There is a big game at the bottom on Saturday when second-from-bottom Sorrento host Balcatta, who are one place and two points ahead of them.
Belt up. State Cup finalists Armadale will want to steady their league form at home to Stirling Lions, while Subiaco can take a further stride away from the drop zone if they beat bottom club Joondalup United at Rosalie Park.
– Saturday is Football West’s first Belt up. Round as we support the Insurance Commission of WA’s road safety message to drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts.
A number of NPL WA players helped us launch the round and Perth SC coach Ramon Falzon threw his support behind the initiative.
He said: “It’s a very important message. How many times do we hear of a serious injury or even a fatality because someone has not been wearing a seatbelt.
“It’s such a simple thing to do, it just takes a second. Yet such a simple thing can be so important – no one should lose their life for something so simple.”
Saturday, June 16
Armadale v Stirling Lions (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm)
Perth Glory v Forrestfield United (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Cockburn City v ECU Joondalup (Dalmatinac Park, 6pm)
Floreat Athena v Perth SC (E&D Litis Stadium, 3pm)
Sorrento v Balcatta (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)
Subiaco v Joondalup United (Rosalie Park, 3pm)
Sunday, June 17
Inglewood United v Bayswater City (3pm)