UPDATE: Holders Floreat Athena all but secured their place in the last four of the 2019 NPL Night Series on Sunday night by thrashing Armadale 5-0.
Despite falling behind after only four minutes to Calvin Whitney’s strike, Armadale stayed in the game at E&D Litis Stadium until the 58th minute, when Whitney added a second.
That signalled a collapse from John O’Reilly’s team who conceded four goals in a 12-minute spell. An own goal from James Harin made it 3-0 then goals from Nick Ambrogio and Luka Ninkovic ensured Armadale suffered their third 5-0 loss in a row and a fourth straight Night Series defeat.
Floreat are top of Pool 2 with 10 points from four games and only a loss to third-place Cockburn City by six goals or more in the final round of group matches on Saturday could prevent them from reaching the semi-finals.
Cockburn’s other route to the last four is that they beat Floreat and second-place Bayswater City fail to defeat Armadale, although Army’s Night Series form won’t offer the Cockerels too much cause for optimism.
Cockburn stayed in contention on Sunday by beating Perth Glory 1-0 thanks to substitute Devon Gibson’s second-half goal.
Bayswater, who sit a point behind Floreat, haven’t looked back since bringing in their big guns following a first game drubbing by the pool leaders.
For the third week in succession Chris Coyne’s side scored four goals, with Balcatta the latest team to suffer. New signings Steve Hesketh, Daryl Nicol and Gordon Smith all netted in Friday night’s 4-0 win, while sub Paul Lloyd rounded off the scoring.
The only club so far guaranteed a semi-final spot are Pool 1 leaders Perth SC after their 1-0 win over Stirling Lions.
Jackson Morgan scored for the league champions as the Azzurri went two points clear at the top. And with ECU Joondalup, in second, meeting Rockingham City, a point further back in third, in the final group game, Ramon Falzon’s outfit go into their own match against Inglewood United knowing they are through.
ECU defeated Inglewood 4-3 on Friday at Frank Drago Reserve – a match which saw four of the goals come from the penalty spot.
Joe Knowles scored a hat-trick for ECU, two of which were late penalties. Jakub Sklenar got the Jacks’ other, while Chock Dau (penalty), Hamza Hina and skipper Scott Blackmore were on target for United.
After victories in their first two Night Series matches, Rockingham have tasted back-to-back losses following their 4-2 setback against Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday.
James Harmer struck first for Rockingham with a penalty on 27 minutes and although Jordan Roberts equalised 10 minutes later, Cam Lord’s men were back in front almost immediately through Jonathan Araya.
However Rockingham were pegged back again before half-time when Cameron Teece made it 2-2 and it was Teece who put the Gulls ahead for the first time in the 57th minute.
Shaun Kilkelly made the game safe for Sorrento, for whom this was a first Night Series win in four matches.
ECU Joondalup 4-3 Inglewood United
Perth SC 1-0 Stirling Lions
Sorrento 4-2 Rockingham City
Bayswater City 4-0 Balcatta
Cockburn City 1-0 Perth Glory
Armadale 0-5 Floreat Athena
Friday, February 22
Inglewood United v Perth SC (Percy Doyle Reserve, 6.30pm)
Sorrento v Stirling Lions (Percy Doyle Reserve, 8.30pm)
Saturday, February 23
ECU Joondalup v Rockingham City (Frank Drago Reserve, 5pm)
Floreat Athena v Cockburn City (E&D Litis Stadium, 5pm)
Perth Glory v Balcatta (E&D Litis Stadium, 7pm)
Bayswater City v Armadale (Frank Drago Reserve, 5pm)