Sorrento made it back-to-back wins and boosted their survival chances with a 2-1 win over Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon.
First-half strikes from Jack Salter and Cameron Teece proved enough against a Lions side who are bang in the NPL WA relegation fight themselves.
And despite Steve Sokol’s goal halving the deficit and some goalkeeping heroics from Lance Alavakis, Stirling couldn’t find an answer against the resolute Gulls.
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell said: “I’m really pleased.
“I thought in the first half we should have been three or four goals up and the game should have been over. Second half we knew they would come out, we dug in, defended well and limited them to pretty few opportunities.”
Coming off the back of a 1-0 win over Balcatta, Sorrento came out firing in the first half with a long-range effort from Teece forcing Alavakis into action.
The Gulls wingers were getting plenty of the ball and it was Scott Witschge on the right flank who got the assist for Sorrento’s opening goal. Witschge sent a great cross into the box, which Salter volleyed home from close range.
Stirling were struggling to create chances as the visitors dictated the tempo of the game and continued to push forward.
Sorrento had three chances to in just two minutes of madness starting in the 28th minute, when a great ball from Danny Jones played Witschge through on goal but his shot was saved by Alavakis in a one-on-one.
Alavakis was called into action again from the resulting corner when a knock-down header found Teece, who turned and volleyed from close range, but Alavakis made a great reflex save. Witschge had another chance after Alavakis’ punch from a cross failed to clear the danger, but despite getting the ball past the Stirling keeper the shot cannoned into a defender on the line and the score remained 1-0.
The Stirling defence continued to face a barrage of shots and Teece finally found the second goal for Sorrento with a great finish from outside the box in the 35th minute.
Having created few chances thus far, Stirling scored a surprise goal just minutes later. After a scramble in the box, Sokol received the ball and blasted his shot into the back of the net.
Despite struggling throughout the first half, Stirling looked better after the break as they pushed for an equaliser.
Alex Tanevski looked dangerous for Stirling and had a couple of chances to equalise, but he was unable to find the back of the net.
Sorrento’s defensive set-up was very effective in frustrating the home side, limiting their ability to get shots in the box.
Sorrento went close after a fast counter attacking move, but again Witschge was unable to score as his powerful effort rebounded off the post.
Stirling pushed hard to find their goal and were angry at having two penalty claims turned down in quick succession.
Despite their efforts, the home side couldn’t find a breakthrough and the match ended at 2-1.
Stirling coach Keegan Ashley was disappointed with the result, which marked his side’s fifth consecutive loss.
“I thought the boys worked hard, fought it out, we were denied an obvious penalty, but we’ll just keep pushing on,” he said.
Stirling Lions 1 (Sokol 38min)
Sorrento 2 (Salter 17, Teece 35)
Saturday, June 23
Referee: Josh Manella
Assistant referees: Amit Hosany, Ethan Persse
Stirling Lions: 1. Lance ALAVAKIS, 2. David MOLINARI, 5. Liam HENDERSON, 6. Dhuors CHOL, 8. Dejan SPASESKI (19. Zane CASELLA 81), 10. David MICEVSKI, 11. Alex TANEVSKI (13. David FILIPPOU 90+1), 14. Steve SOKOL, 15. Nathan DE ABREU, 16. Nicholas ASHLEY, 17. Abu DULLEH (12. Daniel HEPWORTH 76)
Unused substitutes: 18. Joey PERKINS, 20. Pasquale GIOFFRE
Yellow cards: Dulleh 61mins
Red cards: Nil
Sorrento: 1. James MORGAN, 3. Jaxon TEMATA, 6. Daryl PLATTEN, 8. Scott WITCHGE, 11. Timothy HILL, 16. Chris BALAZS, 18. Jordan BROWN, 19. Jack SALTER (7. Alex MORGAN 90+1), 21. Godwin Darkwa (10. Jordan ROBERTS 70), 22. Danny JONES, 23. Cameron TEECE (17. Reece VITTIGLIA 65)
Unused substitutes: 13. Steve MCDONALD, 60. Anastasis FARSALEAS
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil