ECU Joondalup moved into the FFA Cup preliminary semi-finals after a comprehensive 5-0 win against an undermanned Forrestfield United at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sam Pollard opened the scoring for the hosts early, and Daryl Nicol bagged another hat-trick before half-time.
Tom Hough scored his first senior goal for the Jacks to round off the scoring.
ECU coach Dale McCulloch said it was an excellent performance from his side, especially after Forrestfield beat them 6-1 in the league four weeks ago.
“Really pleased with the performance today, especially after what they did to us last time we played them. But I thought the lads were magnificent from the first whistle,” he said.
“Young Paddy Doyle made his starting debut for us today and was great, and some of the link-up play up top was fantastic. So there are good signs.
“But a clean sheet was vital, our back six restricted them to very few chances and that’s something we pride ourselves on. After letting in 10 in two games, we’re back to our best and long may it continue.”
Nicol is the top goal scorer in the National Premer Leagues WA with 10 goals and Saturday was his third hat-trick of the season.
“Getting to a semi-final of a cup competition is a great feeling, and that was what we focused on this week, and the boys were magnificent today,” he said after helping put ECU into the State Cup semis and one game from the national Round of 32 of the FFA Cup.
“They were clinical and put in a very professional job, and you could tell from the start the lads were up for it and we want to go on and win the cup.
“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 today, especially after we copped six against them last time.”
The home side were on the front foot from the first whistle and were ahead on eight minutes when Pollard’s shot from the right of the box beat keeper Ben Parry at the near post.
It was 2-0 five minutes later after Doyle was brought down in the box by Will Tshubangu and referee Josh Mannella pointed straight to the spot. Nicol stepped up and sent Parry the wrong way to score from the penalty.
The home side were rampant and they added a third on 17 minutes. Shane Cassidy’s ball was flicked on by Doyle and Nicol finished clinically past Parry.
Then in the shadows of half-time Nicol completed his hat-trick. A great through ball from Doyle sent Nicol clear and the Jacks skipper lobbed the oncoming keeper to round a great first half for himself and the home side.
Forrestfield went close to pulling one back on the hour when Kristian Despotovski played in Jamie Duncan but his shot was saved low by Johnny Perkins. Moments later Sani Sinclair’s long-range shot flashed wide of the target.
But ECU still looked dangerous going forward. Gordon Smith fired over after being picked out by Nicol, before Pollard’s snap shot from the edge of the box whistled just wide of the post.
Then three minutes from time the home side added a fifth. Nicol’s corner was met by Hough, his first effort was well saved by Parry but the teenager defender made no mistake with the rebound.
Forrestfield skipper Rhys Loxley said his side could now concentrate on avoiding relegation from the NPL WA.
“I think they had a point to prove today after what we did to them in the league. They started well and got the early goals and it was tough from there on in,” he said.
“We had a few senior players out today but it was good to blood a few youngsters. But we now turn our attention to league matters, which is our main priority, and staying in the NPL, so we will put all our focus into that.”
ECU Joondalup 5 (Pollard 8min, Nicol 13 pen, 17, 44, Hough 87)
Forrestfield United 0
Saturday May 19, 2018
ECU Football Stadium
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistant referees: Arvin Shanmuganathan, Alexander Best
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Cian HIRRELL (12 Ryan MCDARBY 69), 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 6 Tom HOUGH, 8 Josh WHITMORE (18 Declan HUGHES 60), 9 Daryl NICOL (C), 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Paddy DOYLE, 13 Sam POLLARD (7 Cameron MURRAY 79)
Substitutes not used: RGK Jack NUNN, 17 Lukas DE LIMA
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Forrestfield United: GK: Benjamin PARRY, 2. Will TSHUBANGA, 4 Jamie DUNCAN, 5 Mitchell NORMAN, 6 Kristian DESPOTOVSKI, 7 Mitchell CROCKER, 8 Josh APPLEBY, 9 Hasani SINCLAIR (10 Ben ROGERS 73), 12 Callum DOBBS, 14 Antoine LEMARIE, 23 Rhys LOXLEY (3 Leslie MARI 60)
Substitutes not used: RGK Luke MARTINO, 16 Sammy ATTA
Yellow cards: Crocker 89
Red cards: Nil