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Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

Kingsley win cup thriller after Johnson double

Report by Samuel Hays

Sean Johnson was the two-goal hero as Kingsley beat Leeming Strikers 2-1 to win the Belt Up Amateur Cup Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday.

Following a relatively incident-free first half, the match exploded after the break with three red cards, a penalty and a late winning goal.

After Kingsley’s Luke Armstrong had received a red card, the 10 men went ahead from the penalty spot following a foul from Tom Grant for which he was also dismissed.

With both teams a man down the match opened up and Leeming levelled through top scorer David Palin.

But with just two minutes of normal time remaining Kingsley took advantage of a mistake from Strikers keeper Jordan Jones as Johnson stroked home the goal that gave them their first cup triumph since 1994.

The drama didn’t end there, either, with Kingsley substitute Stuart Montgomery sent off on the final whistle.

“What a game,” said Kingsley coach Steve Dimitrovich.

“It had everything; tackles, red cards, yellow cards and some decent football played – I thought it was actually not a bad game.

“I thought first half it was probably on an even keel, second half I thought we were probably the better team.

“I didn’t see their goal coming from a set-piece, I thought we defended them well all night. But apart from that it was a great game and happy to get that monkey off the back and push forward now.

Sean Johnson celebrates his late winner. Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

“You can see what it means – it’s unreal, it’s huge. This club has been starved of success for a long long time and to finally get this today, I think it’s only going to propel this club forward more and more.”

Kingsley also had teams in the Amateur Reserve and Masters cup finals and Dimitrovich added: “Having three teams in a cup final helps and the support we got today was absolutely phenomenal. Listening to the boys in the crowd singing was brilliant and I think helped the boys in the end.

“Making a Night Series final and pushing North Perth, who by the way were the best team all year in the league, we had to take something out of this season because if we didn’t it would have been a wasted season with all the work the boys put in from January.”

Getting Kingsley into the State League is the next aim for Dimitrovich, who added: “I’ve got a little bit of work to do (keeping the squad together) but they’re a pretty tight-knit group and they’re really good mates off the park, so I don’t think I’m going to have too much of a battle.

“That (promotion) is the goal. There’s no talk of holding back, we’re going to push forward and push forward hard.

“Hopefully we can try and recruit another couple of players next season as well to complement the squad and hopefully we can go that next step next year.”

The match featured the same teams as the Reserves Cup Final, which Leeming won 2-1, and Kingsley quickly looked to avenge that result as David Ashworth shot just wide following good work from Jayden Drummond to find him on the edge of the box.

Ben Greaves almost turned home a cross from Leandro Fernandes but he just couldn’t get the crucial touch.

The best chance of opening period came to Lee Thomas when his strike looked destined for the top corner but Leeming keeper Jones acrobatically tipped it over the crossbar.

But if the first half was low key, then the second was anything but.

It began when a shot from Leeming’s Karl Gorman hit the post before Johnson shot just wide for Kingsley.

Man of the match Paul Rainford with Amateur, Social & Masters Standing Committee chairman Jack Monaco. Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

Greaves was then brilliantly denied by Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford as he kept the ball out of the net with his outstretched leg.

A powerful volley from Lucas Pickering took a few deflections on the way to goal and nearly beat man of the match Rainford but he got it away on the second attempt.

Armstrong received his second yellow card after a reckless challenge but Kingsley weren’t at a disadvantage for long as three minutes Grant gave away a penalty for a high boot in the box and received a second yellow card.

Johnson stepped up to take the penalty and scored despite Jones getting something on it.

Leeming went looking for an equaliser and Gorman tried to poke the ball home, only for it to be cleared for a corner. However from the set-piece Palin was found unmarked at the back post and he headed home to level the scores with eight minutes remaining.

But any thoughts Leeming had of extra time did not last long as Jones passed straight to Drummond, who squared to Johnson to stick the ball into an empty net, sparking wild celebrations among the Kingsley faithful.

Leeming player-coach Palin was disappointed with the result but pleased with the season as a whole.

“I think the difference was we made two mistakes. You make mistakes in cup finals and you’re going to pay for them. We’ve made two today and they’ve cleaned up,” Palin said.

“Performance wise, I don’t think I can ask for any more from the players.

“We want to challenge, we challenged in all three competitions this year and we won the Night Series, finished fourth in the league and we’ve come runners-up today.

“But we’re there from the start to the finish and we couldn’t be happier with where we are.

“I think we’ll get everyone back, everyone wants to go again. We’re not getting any younger but we’ll give it another crack and we’ll keep going until we can’t do it anymore.”

The message says it all … Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

Leeming Strikers 1 (Palin 82min)
Kingsley 2 (Johnson 72, 88)
Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium
Sunday, September 23
Kick-off: 4.45pm
Referee: Anthony Walsh
Assistant referees: Tom Robinson and Stewart Beattie
Fourth official: Amit Hosany

Leeming: 1. Jordan Jones, 2. Lee Thoele, 15. Matt Bennion, 5. Tom Grant, 3. Kudli Chiguanda, 8. Danny McKenlie (18. Michael Jennings 79), 6. Karl Gorman (17. Michael Maratea 90), 12. Leandro Fernandes (10. Paulo Caelho 79), 7. Ben Greaves, 11. Lucas Pickering, 19. David Palin
Substitutes not used: 23. Greg Cristie, 14. Tom Wood
Yellow cards: Chiguanda 7, Grant 59, 71, Pickering 92
Red card: Grant 71

Kingsley: 1. Paul Rainford, 5. Brett Cutting, 16. Jesse Higgins, 4. Aaron Lickiss, 3. Bailey Salmon, 11. Luke Armstrong, 13. Lee Thomas, 14. David Ashworth (6. Luke Coltman 69), 9. Sean Johnson (7. Stuart Montgomery 89), 12. Josh Waldock (8. Nick Lowe 75), 10. Jayden Drummond
Substitutes not used: 15. Cathal Quinn, 31. Mark Woolley (RGK)
Yellow cards: Armstrong 52, 68, Drummond 86
Red cards: Armstrong 68, Montgomery 90+6