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FFA Cup glory for Gwelup, Armadale. Photos by FotoEnzo

MATCH WRAP: FFA Cup glory for Gwelup, Armadale

Football West News

Gwelup Croatia and Armadale will meet in the Belt up. State Cup final next month as both sides booked their spots in the national Round of 32 of the FFA Cup.

Division One leaders Gwelup added Floreat Athena to their list of NPL WA scalps with a 4-1 win at the Croatian Sporting Complex on Monday afternoon.

LINKS TO FULL MATCH REPORTS BELOW

Then Armadale pipped ECU Joondalup 3-2 under the lights at Alfred Skeet Reserve to cap a goal-laden WA Day.

Gwelup’s game was in the balance until the final 20 minutes when they scored three times to send Floreat the same way as Cockburn City and Subiaco.

Gwelup, who are unbeaten in the league, went ahead on 31 minutes through Victor Brauner but were pegged back in the second half when Athena skipper Dean Evans curled home a free-kick.

But Floreat’s hopes were snuffed out in ruthless fashion as Benny Kouakou buried two stunning free-kicks of his own before a late strike from David Heagney completed a famous day for Gwelup.

“We’ve worked very hard to get to this stage. I’m very proud of my teammates and very proud of the supporters,” two-goal hero Kouakou said, as Floreat were left with just a relegation scrap to focus on.

Few A-League sides will relish an out-of-season trip to face Gwelup in the FFA Cup draw, but before then Taki Nicolaidis’ side will meet Armadale in the Belt up. Cup final at Dorrien Gardens on July 14.

The  Reds saw off ECU Joondalup on Monday night in a cracking encounter which could have gone either way.

Billy Quinncroft put the home side in front early on, only for Gordon Smith to level for the visitors before the break.

Skipper Nathan Costello regained the lead for Armadale from the penalty spot, then the NPL WA’s leading scorer Chris Jackson added a third.

Smith grabbed his second a minute from time to set up a tense finale but the home team hung on.

Armadale coach John O’Reilly struggled for words after leading the Reds to their first ever State Cup final.

“I’m probably the proudest man in the world at the moment, the players put in a great performance tonight and I thought we deserved the win,” he said.

ECU coach Dale McCulloch admitted: “We defended really poor tonight and you don’t win matches defending like that.

“I thought we dominated in the first half and they had one attack and scored. The same in the second half, dominated early and gave them two goals.

“This is a huge blow for me and the club but we now have to concentrate on the league to get something out of the season.”

The draw for the FFA Cup Round of 32 takes place on June 26.

Results
Gwelup Croatia 4 (Brauner 31min, Kouakou 70, 80, Heagney 88)
Floreat Athena 1 (Evans 57min)
FULL MATCH REPORT HERE

Armadale 3 (Quinncroft 20min, Costello pen 57, Jackson 62)
ECU Joondalup 2 (Smith 37min, 89)
FULL MATCH REPORT HERE