hHome Find a Club
Football West News

Gwelup crowned Amateur League champions

Report by Chris Caldwell
Second half goals from Benjamin Kouakou and Kris Spaseski ensured the back-to-back league winners finished top with one game to play.
They were made to work hard for their victory but in the end the result mattered little as Gwelup’s nearest challengers, North Perth United were held to a 0-0 home draw by North Lake.
Regardless of North Perth’s result, a win or even a draw for Gwelup was enough for them to seal the title and they did it with the mark of a champion, digging deep to defeat a determined Belmont side, who snatched the lead through Paul McCormack’s expertly taken 57th minute strike.
Having mounted a concerted rearguard action throughout, the home side looked as though they may inflict only a second league defeat of the season on Gwelup. 
That wasn’t to be, however, as Kouakou’s stunning 74th minute free kick, which sailed into Stephen Szklanka’s top right corner drew the champions-elect level.
Things then got even better for the visitors when, on 81 minutes, just 60 seconds after entering the fray, substitute Spaseski fired home what would be the winner, converting a delivery from fellow replacement Robert Phelan.
The inspired substitution capped an impressive season for Gwelup coach Mike Ford, who won’t be resting on his laurels with the Amateur Cup final and a last league game against North Perth still to come.
“We’ve officially won the league and I like the fact that Belmont made us work for it, I prefer a game like that,” Ford said.
“It took us the first half to settle down and then they got the goal but we didn’t get frustrated and we didn’t panic and I think in the end it was a well-deserved result. 
“I probably wasn’t that happy with the boys’ focus first half but I know they have it in them to come back and I always feel confident that we’ll score goals.
“We’ll need to be focused in the cup final coming up in a couple of weeks and we really want a good result against North Perth to finish the league season off.”
Belmont skipper James McDaid, meanwhile, was heartened by his side’s performance against the champions, saying it was a good battle. 
“No-one was expecting us to win it, so the plan was to go out, sit back and defend,” McDaid said.
“To be 0-0 at half-time was good, we were disciplined, and then we went 1-0 up. But their free kick to level was quality and that was it. They are a quality side and deserve to win the league.
“The coach [Phil Weale] told us he was leaving at the end of the season, so we wanted to put in a good fight for him because we’ve been disappointing at the end of the season.”
Belmont Villa 1 (McCormack 57min)
Gwelup Croatia 2 (Kouakou 74min, Spaseski 81)
Sunday September 18, 2016
Gerry Archer Complex
Referee: Walter Ciotti
Assistant Referee: Tom Ashton

Belmont Villa:
1. Stephen SZKLANKA, 2. Conor O’SHEA, 3. Emmett COLHOUN, 14. Alpha SHERIFF, 15. Brian O’KEEFE, 12. Paul KANE 4. Patrick BARRY, 8. James MCDAID (Cpt), 11. James FAY, 10. Yoshiro TAKEUCHI, 7. Paul MCCORMACK.
Substitutes not used: 9. Mehmet KARACAN, 13. Scott GOULD, 6. Daniel BARDONI
Yellow cards: Sheriff 49, McCormack, 88
Red cards: Nil
Gwelup Croatia: 20. Tom DIXON, 5. Romano FRANULIC, 6. Ian O’SULLIVAN, 8. Jake VERINI, 10. Gavin KNIGHT (15. Robert PHELAN, 62), 11. Benjamin KOUAKOU, 13. Anthony MIHALJ, 14. Isaac KOOMSON (88. Kris SPASESKI, 80), 17. Sebastian MUNOZ (Cpt), 33. David MARTINS, 82. Nicolas TATASCIORE.
Subs not used: 18. Patrick SWEENEY, 23. Jordan COSTANZO, 43. Marcus NATOLI
Yellow cards: Franulic, 70
Red cards: Nil