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Delight for Armadale coach John O'Reilly. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Jackson double brings Armadale cup glory

Report by Peter Simcox

Chris Jackson was the two-goal hero as Armadale clinched their first major silverware on Saturday when they beat Gwelup Croatia 2-0 in the Belt Up Cup Final at Dorrien Gardens.

The Englishman struck early in the first half, collecting a lovely through ball from Michael Rizidis before firing low past Gwelup keeper Connor Campbell and in off the far post.

Armadale had the better of the opening period however Gwelup should have levelled after the break but Noah Shamaki volleyed wide when in front of goal.

And Armadale immediately went up the other end and scored a second. Jackson, who won the Stan Lazaridis Medal as man of the match, controlled a knock down before curling a brilliant shot into the far corner, with Campbell rooted to the spot.

Gwelup had a shout for a penalty near the end but it wasn’t their day and the vociferous Armadale fans began the celebrations right on the final whistle. They promised to go on long into the night as Armadale added the cup to their second tier Division 1 title in 2004.

Jackson said it was a great team effort while hailing their support as the best in the league.

“It was a good team effort, we grafted for each other and fought til the end and the two shots we had, we managed to take,” Jackson said.

“I was fortunate to get both, but the service I got today was a great, and once we had that two-goal cushion we soaked up their pressure and hit them on the break.

Chris Jackson ceebrates his opener. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

“Our supporters are brilliant we love playing in front of them at home and it’s quiet when we go away, but it is great to hear them celebrating our win today.”

Armadale head coach John O’Reilly said he was a proud of the players.

Cup joy for Armadale. Pic: FotoEnzo/Football West

“We’re a team of fighters and we knew Gwelup posed some serious challengers for us and we made sure defensively we were solid today,” he said.

“Chris (Jackson) scored two great goals for us but we were delighted with the defensive effort of the whole team today, and I can’t single out one person it was a fantastic team performance.”

It was the first appearance in a State League Cup Final for both sides, and it was Armadale who opened the brighter as Rizidis fired over after only four minutes. But that miss was soon forgotten when the Reds opened the scoring.

Winning skipper Billy Quinncroft with the Belt Up Cup. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Rizidis played a superbly weighted through ball into the path of Jackson, and the striker didn’t have to break stride and he raced in on goal and finished clinically past Campbell.

Gwelup looked to hit back and went close to the equaliser on 20 minutes, James Sammut’s corner wasn’t dealt with and Cameron Yorke’s shot at the back post was well-blocked by some desperate Armadale defending.

Chris Jackson receives the Stan Lazaridis Medal from WA star Paul Tombides. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Armadale looked compact at the back and were lively on attack and almost doubled their lead on the half hour when Rizidis sent Jackson out wide on the left and his cross shot had to be tipped over the top by Campbell.

Gwelup opened the second half well and Benjamin Kouakou’s low cross was well claimed by the alert Sam Hutchings.

Moments later they had their best chance of the game, David Heagney made space down the right and whipped in a teasing cross to Shamaki, who lost his marker but he shot wide.

John O’Reilly and Billy Quinncroft receive the Belt Up Cup from Insurance Commission of WA’s CEO Rod Whithear. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

That miss haunted Gwelup 60 seconds later as Armadale added a second. A ball over the top sent Jackson racing clear, he controlled the ball well and finished superbly from the edge of the box, much to the delight of the Armadale faithful.

It was a huge blow for Taki Nicolaidis’ side but they continued to press and Brodie Martin blazed over top before Kwangmook Lim fired straight at Hutchings.

Even the rain couldn’t dampen the Armadale supporters, who were singing in the rain, but their side still had some defending to do as Gwelup looked for a goal to get them back in the game, but with skipper Billy Quinncroft and David Annall outstanding at the back they were struggled to find one.

Armadale line up before kick-off. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Gwelup weren’t going down without a fight and Bobby Wilson’s header was well saved by Hutchings, before Kouakou fired wide of the target. Hutchings was then alert to tip Lim’s curing shot around the post late.

But time ran out and at the final whistle it was the Armadale players, coaches and supporters celebrated their first ever cup final win and coach O’Reilly paid credit to the club’s hard-working committee and supporters.

“I’m absolutely delighted for the club and our supporters and for the people behind the scenes, who put a great deal of work in, this is for them,” he said.

The Armadale team before the game. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

“We are so pleased to have been able to give them a day out like this, and something to remember going forward. I’m so happy for everyone involved in this great club, and we look forward to our trip to Cairns FC in the FFA Cup round of 32.”

Gwelup coach Nicolaidis said it wasn’t their day.

“Obviously bitterly disappointed that we missed an opportunity for some silverware, but fair play to Armadale who took their chances when it counted and that was the real difference at the end,” he said.

“We will need to lick our wounds very quickly and get back on the bike as we now need to focus on our upcoming league games and the upcoming FFA cup game against Adelaide Comets.”

Perth Glory after wnning the Resreves Cup. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Meanwhile Perth Glory won the Reserves Belt Up Cup after they held off Sorrento 2-1.

Two goals from Abias Bukuru gave Glory a 2-0 half-time lead. And while Sorrento pulled one back when Nicholas Speca punched the ball into his own net, the Gulls were unable to force extra-time.

Bayswater celebrate their Under 18 Cup success. Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

And in the Under 18 Belt Cup Final Bayswater City beat hosts Perth SC 1-0 thanks to Ajak Riak’s composed finish just before half-time.

Armadale 2 (Jackson 11min, 50)
Gwelup Croatia 0
Saturday, July 14
Dorrien Gardens
Referee: Stephen Gregory
Assistant referees: Shane Skinner, Michal Jasinski
Fourth official: Josh Mannella

Armadale: GK Sam HUTCHINGS, 5 David ANNALL, 7 Charlie KENNA, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (C), 10 Chris JACKSON, 11 Michael RIZIDIS, 12 Dannie RICHMAN, 15 Ali GHOLAMI, 16 Charlie SIMPSON, 17 James ATKINS (22 Ryan HASLETT 69), 21 Beau RAHIM
Substitutes not used: RGK Duncan LENNON-BLACK, 14 Milan OGNJENOVIC, 18 Brad GRIEPL. 20 Friday ZICO
Yellow cards: Rizidis 11, Kenna 86
Red cards: Nil

Gwelup Croatia: GK Connor CAMPBELL, 2 Michael PUGLIESE, 3 Kwangmook LIM, 4 Cameron YORKE, 6 Brodie MARTIN (17 Sebastian MUNOZ 77), 7 James SAMMUT (C), 9 David HEAGNEY, 10 Benjamin KOUAKOU, 12 Noah SHAMAKI (11 Isaac KOOMSON 66), 14 Victor BRAUNER, 20 Bobby WILSON
Substitutes not used: RGK Patrick STEPHENSON, 16 Stephen O’LEARY, 21 Reece ABRAMS
Yellow cards: Lim 39, Martin 58, Koomson 58, Heagney 88, Yorke 89, Munoz 90
Red cards: Nil