Gwelup Croatia need just a point from their final match of the season to take their place in the National Premier Leagues WA following Saturday’s convincing 4-0 win at Olympic Kingsway.
Matthew Sparrow, Sam Wynne, Sean Canham, and Ellis Healing were among the goals for Taki Nicolaidis’ visitors, who are three points ahead of Western Knights heading into the final round of matches.
Knights, who defeated Mandurah 5-2, are also six goal worse off than Gwelup.
The match started slowly with both sides struggling to create clear-cut chances. The early exchanges highlighted the different tactical philosophies on display, with Olympic Kingsway playing a fast paced counter attacking game while the visitors looked to exploit Canham’s aerial prowess with long balls to the striker.
Sparrow eventually opened the scoring late in the first half for Gwelup Croatia, helped by a mistake from Kingsway goalkeeper Duncan Lennon-Black. The shot-stopper horribly misjudged a long ball into the box and despite a defender heading the ball off the line, Sparrow was on hand to score with the follow up.
Wynne had a chance to double the visitors’ advantage just minutes later after dribbling into the box, but his shot was blocked.
Gwelup started the second half with a bang when Wynne cut in from the left wing and placed a shot beyond the goalkeeper in the bottom left corner.
Frustration seemed to get the better of Kingsway right-back Joshua Tucker, who gifted Gwelup a penalty after a clumsy challenge. Duncan-Lennon made a superb initial save to deny Healing, but was powerless to prevent Canham putting away the rebound to make it 3-0.
Healing put the result beyond any doubt, volleying home from Graham Tough’s header in the 65th minute.
Olympic Kingsway never looked like scoring in the second half as the visitors ran out 4-0 victors.
With one round remaining, Gwelup will be playing NPL football next season unless they lose at home to Subiaco and Western Knights win at UWA Nedlands and can bring about a six-goal swing.
Star player: Sam Wynne (Gwelup Croatia)
Olympic Kingsway 0
Gwelup Croatia 4 (Sparrow 38min, Wynne 51, Canham 59, Healing 65)
Saturday, August 31
Referee: Tom Glavovic
Assistant referee: Stephen Knight, Adam Rousuell
Olympic Kingsway: 1. Duncan LENNON-BLACK, 2. Joel PROUT, 3. Jordan POKLER, 5. Luke PALMATEER, 6. Kristopher GATE (19. Shayden PASSAPAQUA 53), 9. Jakub SKLENAR, 10. Kyle MURRAY (8. Gino HAMPSHIRE 68), 13. Charlie BREEN, 14. Joshua TUCKER, 16. Chris BALAZS, 20. Kieron STALLARD
Unused substitutes: 11. Nenbrim CHARMING, 15. Daaragh KAVANAGH, 21. Jordan YOUNG
Yellow cards: Tucker 49
Red cards: Nil
Gwelup Croatia: 2. Ciaran SALLINGER, 4. Sam WYNNE, 5. Clark KELTIE, 8. Matthew SPARROW, 12. Isaac KOOMSON (15. Andrew SCALDAFERRO 73), 17. Sean CANHAM (9. David HEAGNEY 68), 25. Ali GHOLAMI, 30. Graham TOUGH (33. Nasser BELLO 76), 77. Ellis HEALING, 88. Bobby WILSON, 98. Riley STEPHENSON
Unused substitutes: 1. Connor CAMPBELL, 6. Brodie SMITH
Yellow cards: Wynne 71
Red cards: nil