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FFA Cup: Gwelup join NPL trio in last four

Football West News

Gwelup Croatia’s David Heagney stole the show on a fantastic weekend of FFA Cup action as the WA preliminary competition reached the last four.

Heagney scored twice on Sunday, including an extra-time winner, in Gwelup’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory over National Premier Leagues WA outfit Subiaco.

Joshua Booyson had put Subiaco ahead at the Croatian Sporting Complex midway through the first half before Heagney levelled after the break.

Subi wasted two great chances to win it in the 90 minutes and they were made to pay when Heagney beat the offside trap to slot past keeper Ryan Montgomery in the first period of extra-time.

“One-nil down at half-time, we could have thrown the towel in but we rolled up our sleeves,” Gwelup coach Taki Nicolaidis said.

Awaiting Gwelup in the preliminary semi-finals are one of three NPL WA sides – Floreat Athena, ECU Joondalup or Armadale.

And if Gwelup provided the story of the round then the drama came at E&D Litis Reserve where Floreat beat Perth SC on penalties.

After an opening half of few highlights, Perth looked like they were on course to advance when Richard Howles latched on to a long ball to score 13 minutes from time.

But Floreat, second bottom in the NPL WA, again showed league form counts for nothing in the cup. Having beaten Bayswater in the last round, they saved themselves deep into injury time through a goal from Calvin Whitney.

Neither side could break the deadlock in the extra 30 minutes and it was Floreat who held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to advance.

Spot-kick hero Jon Stynes said: “There’s a different feel about the boys in the cup at the moment and we pulled through.”

The other two ties were more routine, although first division Dianella White Eagles deserve a mention in dispatches despite going down 5-2 to Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve.

The Eagles were right in the game and possibly would have been eyeing extra-time when Dhamon Kalamaras made it 2-2 in the 70th minute.

But Armadale’s quality came through and they hit Dianella with a three-goal blitz in 10 minutes to ensure they moved into the next round, which doubles as the Belt up. State Cup semi-finals.

Armadale assistant coach Jonathan Lupolo-Chan 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 other match was a one-sided affair with ECU Joondalup beating Forrestfield United 5-0.

ECU had the game in the bag by half-time after a hat-trick from Daryl Nicol – his third of the season – helped them to a 4-0 lead.

Forrestfield at least stopped the scoreline from blowing out completely after the interval but it was still a case of sweet revenge for the Jacks, who were hammered 6-1 by the same opponents last month.

Nicol said: “I’m delighted to have got the goals today and it gave us a good cushion at half-time. But it was also good to get a clean sheet, especially after we copped six against them last time.”

The draw for the FFA Cup Preliminary Round Seven will take place on Tuesday, with a place in the national Round of 32 and the Belt up. State Cup final at stake for the winners.

Armadale 5 (Quinncroft 11min, Richman 45, Haslett 74, Kuser 78, Jackson 83)
Dianella White Eagles 2 (Andres 43min, Kalamaras 70)

ECU Joondalup 5 (Pollard 8min, Nicol pen 13, 17, 44, Hough 87)
Forrestfield United 0

Floreat Athena 1 (Whitney 90+4min)
Perth SC 1 (Howles 77min)
(Floreat win 4-3 on penalties – after extra-time; 1-1 at 90 mins)

Gwelup Croatia 2 (Heagney 62min, 100)
Subiaco 1 (Booyson 24min)
(after extra-time; 1-1 at 90 mins)