The Sorrento Gulls won with the narrowest of victories away to Balcatta in their Football West National Premier League Round 4 at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday. The Gull’s only goal coming just before half time by Alex Morgan sealed the three points for Sorrento in a fortunate win.
Cloud over and humid despite a breeze from the west at 23 degrees. Then just after the start a shower of rain cooled, but then full sun made it very uncomfortable for the players at the hide-a-way venue in Balcatta.
Gulls Captain, Daryl Platten called incorrectly the toss of the coin by referee Julian Serra and Balcatta Captain, Callum O’Connell asked the vistors to attack the playground (south west) end goal.
The NPL WA fourth-round clash at Grindelford Reserve was an opportunity for Balcatta to secure their first victory of the season, but despite his side being on the backfoot for most of the match, Gulls striker Alex Morgan scored the game’s only goal in the 41st minute with a sliding finish.
The first half started with Balcatta looking the more dangerous side, as Sorrento struggled to keep the ball. Yet it was the Gulls who went close to scoring when Scott Witschge’s long-range effort was tipped onto the bar by Balcatta goalkeeper Domenico Savoldelli.
The game was more even as the half continued, with both keepers being forced into action.
Sorrento struck when New Zealander, Godwin Darkwa curling lob out left to Jordan Roberts who raced into the area and squared across to where the stretching Jack Slater couldn’t reach the football, but Alex Morgan managed to slide in at the far post to finish just inside the right post..
Balcatta players and Coach, Goran Stajic all appealed for offside against Morgan, but the goal stood.
The home side, perhaps feeling a sense of injustice, came out firing in the second half and it needed two great saves in quick succession from James Morgan to deny them an equaliser. Firstly, former Sorrent player, Brody Kennedy passed down the right to Adriano Jelenovic who cut back to Lawerance Shurama who was amazed to see his shot blocked by Morgan. Then from the break down it was Aton De Francheschi who blasted away from in front only again to have Morgan block the bullet.
Neither team could keep prolonged possession which kept the spectators interest until the end after three minutes of stoppage time.
Sorrento Coach, Jamie Harnwell was naturally happy with the result, but disappointed with how his side performed. “We didn’t play anywhere near where we can but the positive is that we won and we got the clean sheet, so we’ll move on from there,” Harnwell said. “They’ll probably feel a little bit hard done by but when we get our noses in front we are very difficult to break down. “Pretty much every aspect of our game needs to be improved upon, we need to keep the ball better, move the ball better, and when we do that we are a good team.
Balcatta Coach, Stajic rued his team’s fourth straight match without a win but was delighted with how his side played. “I thought we were the better team, I thought we were absolutely outstanding today and I think we beat them in everything except the scoreboard,” Stajic said. “The boys are hurting, they know that was big. Obviously Sorrento were resilient at the back, but we created so many chances. “We’re not far away at all, we can mix it with anyone and it won’t be long.”
20s: BALCATTA 0 v SORRENTO 3 (Danny Jones 18p, 37, Seamus Edwards 84)
18s: BALCATTA 1 (Siyan Dodhia 62) v SORRENTO 6 (Jason Escobar 9, 59p, 63, Daniel Faichney, Tim Schilperoort, Shayan Bahmani)
Sorrento’s next Football West match is at home to Stirling Lions in the league on Saturday, 24 March at Percy Doyle Reserve, Warwick Road, Duncraig. Kick off times are 18s at 11am, 20s at 1pm and First Team at 3pm.