Report by Paul J Laverty
A spirited Wembley Downs side came from behind to defeat holders North Perth United and lift the Amateur Night Series Cup in an exciting encounter at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium.
It was North Perth who dictated the early play with forward Mehdi Rabei running from the halfway line and avoiding a raft of tackles before agonisingly smacking the upright.
A minute later he went one better when he collected the ball and went on another mazy run only to be pushed to the ground inside the box, with Ago Mujic keeping his cool and slotting home from the spot.
Wembley Downs didn’t crumble following their disappointing start, tightening up their backline and working themselves back into the game.
They scored on 36 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty following an infringement from a corner and Anthony Jones stepped up making no mistake.
North Perth made the perfect start in the second period when frontman Patrick Montgomery used his presence to play in Rabei who neatly finished to put them back in front.
Wembley boss Colm Costello rang the changes to get his side back in the match and his men responded.
His side weathered the storm and dragged themselves level with Gavin Walsh centering for sub Ally McDermid to side-foot past the stranded keeper on 67 minutes.
Wembley upped the tempo and found an extra gear, and on 78 minutes they hit the front with Stephen Geogheghan slamming home from the inside the box.
Then minutes from the end Mark King out-jumped the North Perth defence and Jamie Serra in the goals to nod home and put the icing on the cake, sending out a warning signal to this season’s league challengers.
Costello praised his team’s never-say-die spirit.
“It was amazing, a great performance,” he said. “This team are never beaten.”
United assistant coach Brian Ward was downbeat following the loss, but hopeful of his side’s prospects in the season ahead.
“It’s always disappointing to lose a final; we had a couple of injuries but Wembley were very good,” he said.
North Perth United 2 (Mujic 8mins, Rabei 48)
Wembley Downs 4 (Jones 36, McDermid 68, Geogheghan 78, King 84)
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium
Referee: Brendan Skinner
Assistant referees: Simon Hicks, Ethan Persse, Walter Ciotti
North Perth: 1. Jamie SERRA, 2. Niall MURRAY, 3. James STEEDMAN, 4. Keith MULLINS, 5. Patrick MONTGOMERY, 6. Kenneth NAAN (15. Darryl GREGORY 75), 7. Paul URBANSKI (13. Byron ANDREWS 46), 8. Ago MUJIC, 9. Mehdi RABEI, 10. Eamonn KELLY, 12. Richard DENDLE (17. Max BURKE 65)
Substitutes not used: 14. Sean LAHERT, 19. Paul RAINFORD
Yellow cards: Naan, Rabei, Murray, Steedman
Red cards: Nil
Wembley Downs: 1. Niall MCCARTHY, 3. Anthony JONES, 4. James LANIGAN, 5. Ken MCMAHON, 8. Blaine SLATER (6. Ian CLEARY 65), 9. Dean WALL (18. Briony MARIORITY 65), 11. Stephen GEOGHEGHAN, 12. Gary MCCARTHY (13. Ally MCDERMID 56), 16. Gavin WALSH, 17. Marty KELLY, 19. Mark KING
Substitutes not used:
Yellow cards: Walsh, Jones, Kelly
Red cards: nil