Two first-half goals earned Sorrento a 2-0 win over Perth Glory in the historic first regional PlayStation 4 NPLWA match at Wonthella Oval in Geraldton on Saturday.
LINKS TO FULL MATCH REPORTS BELOW
The victory, secured through goals from Reece Vittiglia and Sean Canham, lifted Sorrento to third on the table as they seized their chance to leapfrog Perth SC, who lost 3-2 to league leading Inglewood United at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium.
Despite lashing rain and strong winds in the lead up to the match, more than 500 locals turned up to the Sorrento-Glory clash, which was part of the Geraldton Football Festival.
And they did not have to wait long for a goal as Vittiglia flicked a header beyond Glory goalkeeper Kyle McDonald with 14 minutes gone.
Sorrento dominated possession and territory and they made it count when Canham doubled the Gulls’ advantage in the 38th minute.
Both goalkeepers were called into action in a busy second half that produced no goals but plenty of nervy moments for Glory coach John Gibson and some for Sorrento’s Jamie Harnwell.
In particular, Sorrento’s James Morgan had to be alert to the danger when he produced a well-timed block to deny Daniel Stynes as Glory tried in vain to breach the Gulls defence.
Sorrento were deserved winners of the PS4 NPLWA Regional Cup, and Harnwell said his team put in a great effort to take home the three points.
“The players were fantastic, and I thought our performance, particularly in the first half was first class,” he said.
“To come off a five-hour coach ride and start the game with such endeavour is a credit to the group. “The only disappointing thing is that we didn’t come off four or five goals to the good at half time.”
Harnwell, who was also heavily involved in the coordination of the game through his role as Football West’s Head of Development, said the event was a great success.
“It was a great atmosphere and the players and club staff really enjoyed the trip,” he said.
“The effort from the Geraldton volunteers was huge and Sorrento is very keen to spread their regional wings further.”
Perth Glory coach John Gibson was disappointed with his team’s loss.
“It was very tough in the first half with tough weather conditions against a strong Sorrento side,” he said.
“We didn’t play to pitch and weather conditions and we certainly didn’t manage the game correctly.
“Sorrento deserved to be in front at half time but we didn’t help our own cause.
“We had a little chat at half time and I provided further solutions. The second was a very good performance but that’s two weeks in a row we’ve conceded two in the first half.”
Gibson was pleased his side had the opportunity to experience a match where the players were required to travel.
“For us, going to Geraldton as a squad was invaluable,” he said.
“The whole experience of travelling, staying overnight and playing in tough conditions was great and it’s something we look forward to doing again.”
In other round 19 matches on Saturday, Cockburn City edged Mandurah City 2-1 at Dalmatinac Park, Bayswater City claimed all three points against Joondalup United with two injury time goals to Gustavo Marulanda and Armadale beat Stirling 2-0.
The Balcatta v Floreat Athena match and the Subiaco v ECU Joondalup match were postponed due to weather conditions.